India: Top Terrorist Commanders Killed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Top commanders killed in Valley, Jaish activates new launch pads across LoC: Officials

According to the counter-terror and police officials, none of whom wished to be identified, the reason for the activation of the launch pads is to boost the Jaish’s strength and capabilities in the state.

INDIA Updated: Apr 16, 2019 11:03 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
JeM,terrorism,Jaish-e-Mohammed
Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad(AP file photo)

Terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) launch pads in new locations across the Line of Control have been activated ahead of a possible effort to push terrorists from the Pakistan-based group into Jammu and Kashmir, top counter-terror officials and senior Jammu and Kashmir police officials said, although the latter added that this is because Indian security forces have eliminated most of the Jaish leadership in the valley.

They added that Mohammad Umair, JeM chief Masood Azhar’s nephew, who was seen around Pulwama in February, when a terrorist affiliated to it carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy, killing 40, has either been killed or has gone back to Pakistan.

According to the counter- terror and police officials, none of whom wished to be identified, the reason for the activation of the launch pads is to boost the Jaish’s strength and capabilities in the state.

After the Pulwama attack, Indian security forces have been able to eliminate the majority of the Jaish leadership in the valley, they added, with only one commander, who operates under the codename Munna Bihari currently active in the Shopian district.

Previously, Indian forces have gunned down Azhar’s elder brother Ibrahim Athar eldest son Usman Haider and brother-in-law Abdul Rasheed Kamran’s son Talha Rasheed. Soon after Pulwama, the security forces gunned down Jaish divisional commander Kamran on February 18.

In a recent audio clip, broadcast over the Jaish’s Rang-o-Noor channel, Ibrahim Athar indicates that Mohammed Umair may have also been neutralized by the Indian security forces. In the audio clip, Athar is heard telling his cadre that Umair and Kamran have already reached “heaven.”

HT learns that many of these launch pads are in the scenic Lolab Valley, north of Kupwara, and around 114 km north-west of Srinagar.

Also read | ‘Pakistan failed to achieve objective in counter-attack’: IAF Chief BS Dhanoa

The effort to amplify the infiltration of terrorists coincides with the melting of snows on high mountain passes. Post Pulwama, the Pakistan Army cleared terrorist launch pads fearing a repeat of the 2016 Indian surgical strikes. After the Indian air strike at Jaish’s biggest terror training camp at Balakot, the globally proscribed group has threatened to get even by targeting innocents in hinterland India or security forces in the Valley. Communication intercepts indicate that Jaish will ratchet up violence in the Valley in the coming months, the counter-terror officials said.

“While Pakistan has taken some uncontrolled action against its nationals involved in terrorism to curry favour with Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it is continuing to shelter Indian fugitives like Dawood Ibrahim gang, remnants of Indian Mujahideen and Sikh radicals. If Pakistan really means business, why provide shelter and comfort to Indian fugitives,” said one of the officials.

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 06:57 IST

PDP ruined 3 generations in Kashmir, says PM Narendra Modi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Lok Sabha elections 2019: NC, PDP ruined 3 generations in Kashmir, says PM Narendra Modi

Modi also took a jibe at Abdullah over his recent remark over a separate PM for Jammu and Kashmir. “Some are threatening of two prime ministers, some are speaking the language of anti-nationals but I want to make it clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and their ‘vanshwaad’ [dynasty rule] will not survive for long,” he said.

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: Apr 15, 2019 00:23 IST

HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Kathua/Moradabad/Aligarh
NC,PDP,Kashmir
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was riding a wave stronger than the support it received in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. (Nitin Kanotra/HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was riding a wave stronger than the support it received in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while also attacking the two main parties in Kashmir during his campaign for the second phase of polling.

Modi was in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua to campaign for Union minister and the BJP’s Udhampur Lok Sabha candidate Jitendra Singh. Voting will be held for the constituency on April 18.

“I have visited the entire country… I have seen a more powerful wave this time as compared to 2014,” Modi said. He said that opinion polls and surveys showed the BJP was set to win three times the seats that the Congress was projected to get.

The Prime Minister blamed two political families of Kashmir – one of National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and the other of Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti – for “ruining” three generations in the state and said he will not allow them to “divide” the country.

“These families have sucked the blood of people of J&K for long and I challenge them – let them field all their relatives in the polls, abuse me as much as they can, but I will not allow them to succeed in their nefarious design of dividing India,” he said after starting his speech in the local Dogri language.

Modi also took a jibe at Abdullah over his recent remark over a separate PM for Jammu and Kashmir. “Some are threatening of two prime ministers, some are speaking the language of anti-nationals but I want to make it clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and their ‘vanshwaad’ [dynasty rule] will not survive for long,” he said.

Abdullah questioned why the BJP made two members of the Mufti family chief ministers. “‘We have to rid J&K of these two political families,’ says Modiji in 2014 and then promptly goes and makes not one but two members of the Mufti family CM of J&K,” Abdullah tweeted.

Launching an attack on the BJP, Mufti said leaders of the party “are suffering from the disease of fear”.

At another rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad, Modi renewed his attack on the Congress and other opposition parties over the issue of national security.

“What used to happen earlier was terrorists would come from Pakistan, attack us and the Congress government would only lament before the world that we have been attacked. But in this new India when terrorists attacked Uri, our brave soldiers conducted a surgical strike,” he said.

“The second big mistake the terrorists made was in Pulwama after which we killed them in their home through air strikes,” Modi added, referring to the air strike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot after a February 14 suicide bombing in Kashmir killed 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). He added that the Congress did not have faith in India’s armed forces.

The PM said that wrong policies of the Congress led to the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1989.

In Aligarh, Modi raised the issue of nationalism, a key plank of the BJP’s outreach to voters.

“They [Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party] have fielded such candidates in this election who have reservation over Vande Matram. Those who cannot respect Vande Matram, cannot respect mother India. Their (SP-BSP) thinking is only one – abuse Modi as much as they can,” he said.

The Prime Minister also launched an attack on Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, saying he did not get time to attend the government’s Jallianwala Bagh event with vice president Venkaiah Naidu as he was busy with “parivar bhakti”, an oblique reference to the Gandhi family.

Responding to the allegations, Singh accused the PM of playing “dirty politics”. He alleged the central government had deliberately chosen to hold a “parallel event” instead of supporting the initiatives and programmes of the state government. “I had personally approached the Prime Minister several times over the last two years to seek support for ensuring that the centenary of the historic event is observed in a befitting manner but the central government had failed to respond suitably,” the Punjab CM said. He added that the PM was trying to mislead the people of the country with politically motivated falsehoods.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 00:22 IST

Why Trump’s Golan Heights move should worry India and Taiwan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘QUARTZ NEWS’)

 

AP PHOTO/SUSAN WALSH
United Nations who?
NOT THE WORLD’S COP

Why Trump’s Golan Heights move should worry India and Taiwan

By Heather Timmons

Donald Trump signed a proclamation today (March 25) recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel, overturning 50 years of US precedent and defying international law on sovereign borders.

That means that the world’s most powerful military has decided to support Israel’s 1967 occupation and 1981 annexation of a region that the rest of the world and the United Nations recognize as belonging to Syria. “Aggressive acts by Iran and terrorist groups, including Hizballah, in southern Syria continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks on Israel,” Trump said, explaining the move.

By ignoring the United Nations charter pledge to refrain from “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” Trump is putting the future of other long-disputed territory in jeopardy, foreign policy experts say. “It sets a terrible precedent,” said Edward Goldberg, a professor with New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. “If the US doesn’t recognize international law as the ‘cop,’ then who does?,” he said.

“What if China goes into Taiwan tomorrow, isn’t that the same thing?,” Goldberg said, “or Pakistan into Kashmir?”

Beijing considers Taiwan part of China, despite the fact that the island nation has an indigenous population, is self-governing, and has conducted independent democratic elections since the 1990s. Most other democracies around the world don’t recognize Taiwan as an independent country, in deference to China, and it is barred from the United Nations. While the United States has recently partnered with Taiwan officials to fight intellectual property theft, this January Chinese president Xi Jinping warned that Beijing could retake the island by force.

The Kashmir region between India and Pakistan has been disputed for more than 70 years, a legacy of the Partition that accompanied Britain’s withdrawal from India in 1947. Tensions rose in the volatile region in recent weeks, after India conducted a “pre-emptive strike” in Pakistan-controlled territory, and Pakistan captured an Indian fighter pilot. The mostly Muslim residents of the India-administered Kashmir Valley view the national government as an occupying force, and Pakistan officials support their self-government.

So far there are no signs that the Trump administration is interested in inserting itself into the long-simmering Pakistan-India dispute. However, the US Navy has increased its presence in the Taiwan Strait, most recently on March 24, responding to Beijing’s circling of the island in recent drills.

Trump made the unprecedented Golan Heights decision in a bid to boost prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of national elections April 9. Netanyahu has been charged in several corruption cases, although he still maintains an edge in polls. He applauded as Trump signed the proclamation, while secretary of state Mike Pompeo and vice president Mike Pence looked on:

Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and the United Nations immediately condemned Trump’s proclamation, and the UN declared Israel’s annexation of the area “null and void.” As president, Trump has pulled the US out of international agreements, including the Paris Climate Accord and the TransPacific Partnership, but the Golan Heights decision is being specifically criticized as breaking international law.

Pakistan using hybrid warfare against India

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS AGENCY)

 

Pakistan using hybrid warfare against India: Army chief General Bipin Rawat

Bipin Rawat said the whole world was aware that terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were being run by government agencies to cause disruptions in India and that all terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir was state sponsored.

INDIA Updated: Nov 29, 2018 00:10 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Pakistan,Imran Khan,Bipin rawat
Bipin Rawat said each act of cowardice in Jammu and Kashmir would be responded to with vigour and no sacrifice made by soldiers would go in vain. (PTI)

On a day Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan made a pitch for peace with India, army chief General Bipin Rawat said that Pakistan has used “hybrid warfare” against India since Independence and continues to do so. He cited the use of irregulars by the Pakistani army in 1947-48, 1965 and, most recently, in the 1999 Kargil war.

Delivering the 9th YB Chavan Memorial Lecture at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses on Addressing the Challenges of Hybrid Conflict in the 21st Century, Rawat said each act of cowardice in Jammu and Kashmir would be responded to with vigour and no sacrifice made by soldiers would go in vain.

Rawat said the whole world was aware that terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were being run by government agencies to cause disruptions in India and that all terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir was state sponsored.

He said hybrid warfare was well-sequenced and organised, and focused on support from local population and infrastructure. “War is waged without declaring it, fought with proxies in collusion.”

General Bipin Rawat said hybrid operations last for a long time and the prime intent is to maintain deniability and that was what India was witnessing in Kashmir.

“In the 21st century technological advancements have added greater asymmetry to hybrid warfare. Irregulars can surprise conventional forces with hi-tech gadgets and weapons such as rockets, surface-to-air missiles, sophisticated communication systems and near-instant reach back to their state sponsors,” he said.

He said small but tech-savvy teams with intimate local knowledge and support could cause big disruptions.

Underlining the risks of using hybrid warfare, he said instigators ran the risk of losing control of the choreographed plan and that states practicing this often fall victims to these same tactics.

Responding to a question on whether India should go in for an offensive hybrid war, General Bipin Rawat said, “The stone that is thrown up comes and falls on your head…What happens to those people (the non-state actors) after the end state has been achieved?” Rawat advocated a calibrated offensive and defensive hybrid warfare strategy.

Rawat said the Pakistani military enjoyed supremacy in the country’s internal affairs. “This means they can use all governmental agencies in coordination against us whenever they feel like. Therefore, this hybrid warfare is likely to endure just remaining below the conventional threshold.”

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 22:49 IST

No BJP role in Jammu-Kashmir assembly dissolution: Rajnath Singh

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

No BJP role in Jammu-Kashmir assembly dissolution: Rajnath Singh

Governor Malik dissolved the state assembly late on Wednesday night after claims for forming a new government were pressed both by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti and People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone.

INDIA Updated: Nov 23, 2018 07:05 IST

Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times
Jammu and Kashmir,Rajnath Singh,BJP
Home Minister Rajnath Singh(Waseem Andrabi/ HT File Photo)

Home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday distanced the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik’s decision to dissolve the state assembly, saying Malik acted after concluding that it wasn’t possible for a new state government to be formed in the current scenario.

“The governor of J&K took the decision after considering the political situation there; he reached to a conclusion that government formation was not possible in the state,” Singh said in an interview with Hindustan Times. “It was a decision taken by the governor. The BJP has no role. It is unfortunate that some section is trying to drag the BJP into this.”

Governor Malik dissolved the state assembly late on Wednesday night after claims for forming a new government were pressed both by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti and People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone. Mufti said she had the support of PDP’s arch rival National Conference (NC) and the Congress, claiming the backing of 56 MLAs. Lone said he had the support of the BJP’s 25 legislators and “more than 18” other members in the 87-seat assembly.

The home minister questioned Mufti’s claim of having secured the support of the Congress. “Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has made a statement that suggests his party had not supported PDP’s bid to form the government. Why did he make that statement if Mufti was right,” Singh asked.

Another senior government functionary claimed that the governor had been considering dissolution of the assembly for the “past three-four days” and there had been no pressure on him from the Centre or any leader to pre-empt Mufti’s bid to form government.

“The governor, it looks, felt there was not a situation where any party had the numbers to form the government,” Singh said. The state has been under governor’s rule since June.

The home minister rejected any notion that the BJP had been spooked by the fact that the PDP, the NC and the Congress had come together to stake a claim for forming a government in J&K. “Where does the question of BJP getting unnerved arise in this case?. It was a decision of the governor,” he said.

The home minister credited Malik for starting the political process in Kashmir.

Singh dismissed concerns that the dissolution of the assembly may lead to another round of uncertainty in Kashmir, and said fresh election will be the obvious next step after Wednesday’s decision.

First Published: Nov 23, 2018 07:04 IST

India: Army Soldier Murdered By Pakistan Sniper In Jammu-Kashmir

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Army jawan killed in Pakistan sniper fire in Sunderbani sector of Jammu-Kashmir

An Army jawan was killed in sniper fire in yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the Line of Control in Sunderbani sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

INDIA Updated: Nov 11, 2018 00:02 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Army jawan killed,Army jawan,Pakistan sniper fire
Rifleman Varun Kattal, a resident of Mawa-Rajpura area of Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, was shot dead by a sniper from across the border in Sunderbani sector

An Army soldier was killed Saturday in sniper fire by Pakistani troops, while two BSF personnel were injured in cross-border firing along the Line of Control in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

Rifleman Varun Kattal (21), a resident of Mawa-Rajpura area of Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, was shot dead by a sniper from across the border in Sunderbani sector, the officials said. This was the second sniper attack along the LoC in two days. An Army porter lost his life in a similar attack in Akhnoor sector on Friday.

“At about 0945 hours, unprovoked ceasefire violation was initiated by Pakistan in Sunderbani sector in which one soldier was shot by a sniper from across the border and later succumbed to injuries at 11.10am,” a defence spokesman said, adding his death will not go in vain. He said the Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively on Pakistan army posts.

Two BSF personnel manning a border outpost in Sunderbani sector were also injured in an exchange of fire with Pakistani troops this evening and were hospitalised, the officials said.

On October 21, three soldiers of J&K light infantry regiment and two heavily-armed infiltrators, believed to be members of the Border Action Team of the Pakistani army, and terrorists, were killed in Sunderbani sector.

On Nov 6, a soldier was injured when he was hit by a sniper from across the border in Noushera sector of Rajouri, while a BSF jawan was injured in a separate incident of firing by Pakistan in the Manjakote area of the Rajouri-Poonch sector Friday.

The number of ceasefire violations this year by Pakistan has been the highest in the past eight years. The first seven months saw 52 deaths and 232 people getting injured in 1,435 ceasefire violations in the state, according to an RTI reply by the home ministry.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Nov 10, 2018 14:19 IST

Four highly-trained snipers active in Kashmir

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Four highly-trained snipers active in Kashmir, believe security agencies

Sniper attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed militants have emerged as a new source of worry for security agencies in Kashmir with three personnel having been killed since mid-September, prompting agencies to re-calibrate their strategy to thwart such strikes, officials said.

INDIA Updated: Oct 28, 2018 23:51 IST

sniper,Kashmir,Jaish-e-Mohammed
Based on intelligence inputs, security agencies believe that at least two separate ‘buddy’ groups of the Jaish-e-Mohammed comprising two terrorists each have entered Kashmir Valley in early September.(AP/Picture for representation)

Sniper attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists has emerged as a new source of worry for security agencies in Kashmir Valley with three personnel having been killed since mid-September, prompting law enforcement agencies to re-calibrate their strategy to thwart such strikes by the Pakistan-based group, officials said.

The first such attack took place at Newa in Pulwama on September 18 when a CRPF personnel was injured. Security officials thought it to be a one-off strike till the recent spate of sniper attacks that claimed the lives of a Sashastra Seema Bal jawan and an Army personnel in Tral, and a CISF jawan in Nowgam.

Based on intelligence inputs, security agencies believe that at least two separate ‘buddy’ groups of the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) comprising two terrorists each have entered Kashmir Valley in early September and have entrenched themselves in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district with the help of some overground supporters of the outfit.

These terrorists, according to officials, have been thoroughly trained by Pakistan’s external snooping agency ISI for carrying out sniper attacks in Kashmir Valley and have been armed with M-4 carbines, used by the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.

There is a possibility that these weapons may be part of the arms and ammunition captured by the Taliban, with whom the JeM cadre were fighting the allied forces in Afghanistan, security officials in the state said. However, they said that the weapon was also being used by the special forces of Pakistan Army.

In all the instances of sniper attacks, the terrorists used a nearby hillock to carry out strikes on a security force campus when unsuspecting jawans were using their mobile phones to talk to their family or friends. “These attacks have been precise, even while targeting a personnel inside a sentry post as he uses his mobile phone. They pick up the light of the mobile phone to carry out the attack on jawans,” said one of the officials.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has reacted to the rising cases of sniper attacks. “We’ve dealt with snipers on the border/LoC regularly and have SOPs to deal with those but never in the hinterland. This will force a rethink of all manner of security and protection procedures.”

The M-4 carbine is mounted with a telescope and the terrorists are using night vision devices to locate their potential targets, the officials said. The weapon can fire at its target up to 500-600 metres with precision.

The security agencies, including army, CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir police, have already issued fresh guidelines to their jawans and officers located in camps in the militancy-hit areas. Maintaining a silence over the change in tactics, the officials said that more combing operations would be carried out around the security camps.

They said that Jaish cadres were likely to carry out more such attacks in the future, but added that some modules had been identified and these cases were likely to be cracked soon.

The security agencies had been observing that while pushing the terrorists into Kashmir Valley from the Line of Control (LoC), ISI meticulously planned to send in Jaish-e-Mohammed cadre along.

Those terrorists were armed with the best possible arsenal including bullets with steel core – with the capability to pierce a static bullet proof bunker used during counter-terrorism operations, the officials said.

The first such incident was noticed on the New Year eve when JeM terrorists had carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Lethpora in South Kashmir. Five personnel of the para-military force were killed in the attack and one of them was hit by a bullet fatally despite using a static bullet-proof shield provided by the Army, officials said.

A thorough inquiry into the attack showed that the bullet fired by the terrorist from the assault AK rifle was of steel core with the capability of piercing through the static bunkers used by security personnel during encounters with terrorists.

Generally, the AK bullets used in the armoury have a lead core covered with mild steel which cannot penetrate a bullet proof shield but after the December 31, 2017 encounter and subsequent findings, the rules of the proxy-war changed, the officials said.

A detailed analysis of the previous suicide attacks was carried out during which ballistic analysis of the terror attack on district police lines of Pulwama in South Kashmir in last August showed that ‘steel core’ bullets had been used by the terrorists in that encounter with security personnel. Eight security personnel had lost their lives in the terror strike.

The ammunition, according to the officials, is being modified from across the border with the help of Chinese technology of encasing the bullet with hard steel core. At the United Nations, India has been seeking a ban the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group and designation of its chief Maulana Masood Azhar as global terrorist, but its efforts have been blocked by China four times so far.

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 18:26 IST

India: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This Great Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

India

Introduction Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated onto the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. – which reached its zenith under ASHOKA – united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Arab incursions starting in the 8th century and Turkic in the 12th were followed by those of European traders, beginning in the late 15th century. By the 19th century, Britain had assumed political control of virtually all Indian lands. Indian armed forces in the British army played a vital role in both World Wars. Nonviolent resistance to British colonialism led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU brought independence in 1947. The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. A third war between the two countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India’s nuclear weapons testing in 1998 caused Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. The dispute between the countries over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions since 2002. Despite impressive gains in economic investment and output, India faces pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and ethnic and religious strife.
History Stone Age rock shelters with paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh are the earliest known traces of human life in India. The first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilization,[22] dating back to 3300 BCE in western India. It was followed by the Vedic period, which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society, and ended in the 500s BC. From around 550 BCE, many independent kingdoms and republics known as the Mahajanapadas were established across the country.

The empire built by the Maurya Empire under Emperor Ashoka united most of South Asia in the third century BCE.[24] From 180 BCE, a series of invasions from Central Asia followed, including those led by the Indo-Greeks, Indo-Scythians, Indo-Parthians and Kushans in the north-western Indian subcontinent. From the third century CE, the Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred to as ancient “India’s Golden Age.”[25][26] Among the notable South Indian empires were the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Pandyas, and Cholas. Science, engineering, art, literature, astronomy, and philosophy flourished under the patronage of these kings.

Following invasions from Central Asia between the tenth and twelfth centuries, much of north India came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, and later the Mughal Empire. Mughal emperors gradually expanded their Kingdoms to cover large parts of the subcontinent. Nevertheless, several indigenous kingdoms, such as the Vijayanagara Empire, flourished, especially in the south. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century, the Mughal supremacy declined and the Maratha Empire became the dominant power. From the sixteenth century, several European countries, including Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom, started arriving as traders and later took advantage of the fractious nature of relations between the kingdoms to establish colonies in the country. By 1856, most of India was under the control of the British East India Company.[27] A year later, a nationwide insurrection of rebelling military units and kingdoms, variously referred to as the First War of Indian Independence or Sepoy Mutiny, seriously challenged British rule but eventually failed. As a consequence, India came under the direct control of the British Crown as a colony of the British Empire.

Mahatma Gandhi (right) with Jawaharlal Nehru, 1937. Nehru would go on to become India’s first prime minister in 1947.

During the first half of the twentieth century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress and other political organizations. In the 1920’s and 1930, a movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, and displaying commitment to ahimsa, or non-violence, millions of protesters engaged in mass campaigns of civil disobedience.[28] Finally, on 15 August 1947, India gained independence from British rule, but was partitioned with independent governments for the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan in accordance to wishes of the Muslim League, along the lines of religion to create the Islamic nation state of Pakistan.[29] Three years later, on 26 January 1950, India became a republic and a new constitution came into effect.[8]

Since independence, India has experienced sectarian violence and insurgencies in various parts of the country, but has maintained its unity and democracy. It has unresolved territorial disputes with China, which in 1962 escalated into the brief Sino-Indian War; and with Pakistan, which resulted in wars in 1947, 1965, 1971, and 1999. India is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations (as part of British India). In 1974, India conducted an underground nuclear test.[30] This was followed by five more tests in 1998, making India a nuclear state.[30] Beginning in 1991, significant economic reforms[31] have transformed India into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, adding to its global and regional clout.

Geography Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan
Geographic coordinates: 20 00 N, 77 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 3,287,590 sq km
land: 2,973,190 sq km
water: 314,400 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly more than one-third the size of the US
Land boundaries: total: 14,103 km
border countries: Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km
Coastline: 7,000 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north
Terrain: upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Kanchenjunga 8,598 m
Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land
Land use: arable land: 48.83%
permanent crops: 2.8%
other: 48.37% (2005)
Irrigated land: 558,080 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 1,907.8 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 645.84 cu km/yr (8%/5%/86%)
per capita: 585 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes
Environment – current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes; Kanchenjunga, third tallest mountain in the world, lies on the border with Nepal
Politics India is the largest democracy in the world.[12][48] For most of its democratic history, the federal government has been led by the Indian National Congress (INC).
People Population: 1,129,866,154 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.8% (male 188,208,196/female 171,356,024)
15-64 years: 63.1% (male 366,977,821/female 346,034,565)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 27,258,259/female 30,031,289) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 24.8 years
male: 24.5 years
female: 25.2 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.606% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 22.69 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 6.58 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.12 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.098 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.061 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.908 male(s)/female
total population: 1.064 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 34.61 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 39.42 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 68.59 years
male: 66.28 years
female: 71.17 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.81 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.9% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 5.1 million (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 310,000 (2001 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality: noun: Indian(s)
adjective: Indian
Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)
Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 21 other official languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanscrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 61%
male: 73.4%
female: 47.8%

Officials Warn South Kashmir Cops Not To Visit Their Homes For Their Safety

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Don’t go back home, officials tell south Kashmir cops after wave of attacks targeting policemen

Since January, 37 policemen have been killed by militants, many when they were off-duty.

INDIA Updated: Sep 23, 2018 07:07 IST

Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Jammu and Kashmir,Cops in Jammu and Kashmir,J-K cops killed in
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Swayam Prakash Pani pays respect to colleagues who were killed by militants, during a wreath laying ceremony at a base camp at Shopian, near Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on September 21, 2018. (Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

The Jammu & Kashmir administration is telling policemen and Special Police Officers in South Kashmir, which is seeing a wave of attacks against both, to not visit their families or homes.

The advisory comes in the wake of the killings of three SPO’s on Friday, and unconfirmed resignations of several others following a warning on Wednesday by Hizbul Mujahedeen commander, Riyaz Naikoo. The killings were in part responsible for India reconsidering its decision to agree to the meeting of the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in New York later this month.

SPO’s, whose main role is in gathering intelligence, and local policemen are soft targets because they do not live in fortified camps like the ones housing members of the army and the Central Reserve Police Force.

On Friday , selection grade constable Nisar Ahmad, SPO Kuldeep Singh and follower, Firdous Kuchay were abducted by militants from Batagund and Kaparan villages early in the morning and killed within hours. Two other policemen in the same villages escaped because they weren’t home when the militants came visiting.

In the past too, there have been occasional advisories asking officers of the J&K police who reside in sensitive areas of south Kashmir to avoid visiting their homes.

“Keeping in view the sensitivity of threats and latest abduction and killings of three policemen, all SPO’s and policemen who are from south Kashmir are being told through telephone not to visit their homes,’’ said a police officer familiar with the advisory. “This is being done to save the lives of our men as militants have killed many of our men at their homes when they were not on duty. In the past, many have ignored similar warnings.’’

Since January, 37 policemen have been killed by militants, many when they were off-duty. Last month, on Eid ul Azha, three policemen including an officer, all of whom were on leave and celebrating Eid with their families were killed by militants.

The militants have been targeting SPO’s and local policemen whom they hold responsible for the killing of militants, especially in south Kashmir where so-called cordon and search operations are launched on specific information. Officials said that 28 militants were killed in Shopian district alone this year.

The four districts of south Kashmir have more than 3,000 SPO’s. Across the state, there are more than 30,000 SPO’s.

J&K Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said soon after the killing of three policemen on Friday that action would be taken against all the militants involved in the killings, and also dismissed the resignations of special police officers as rumors.

So far, over two dozen SPO’s have resigned in different parts of south Kashmir.

On August 30, militants abducted 11 police personnel and their family members after the police detained the father of Riyaz Naikoo. However, they were released after the police released Naikoo Sr.

First Published: Sep 23, 2018 07:05 IST

Pakistan: This Is The History And The Truth Of Their Nation And Their People

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Pakistan

Introduction The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world and dating back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. During the second millennium B.C., remnants of this culture fused with the migrating Indo-Aryan peoples. The area underwent successive invasions in subsequent centuries from the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Arabs (who brought Islam), Afghans, and Turks. The Mughal Empire flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries; the British came to dominate the region in the 18th century. The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars – in 1947-48 and 1965 – over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971 – in which India capitalized on Islamabad’s marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics – resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998. The dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions since 2002. Mounting public dissatisfaction with President MUSHARRAF, coupled with the assassination of the prominent and popular political leader, Benazir BHUTTO, in late 2007, and MUSHARRAF?s resignation in August 2008, led to the September presidential election of Asif ZARDARI, BHUTTO?s widower. Pakistani government and military leaders are struggling to control Islamist militants, many of whom are located in the tribal areas adjacent to the border with Afghanistan.
History From the earliest period of pre-history and recorded history of the region, modern Pakistan formed the heart-land of a larger territory, extending beyond its present eastern and western borders and receiving momentous and mighty impacts from both the directions.

The Indus region, which covers much of Pakistan, was the site of several ancient cultures including the Neolithic era Mehrgarh and the Bronze era Indus Valley Civilization (2500 BC – 1500 BC) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.

Waves of conquerors and migrants from the west — including Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Persian, Greek, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, Hephthalite, Afghan, Arab, Turkics, and Mughal — settled in the region through out the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. Great ancient empires of the east — such as Nandas, Mauryas, and Guptas — ruled these territories at different times. However, in the medieval period, while the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sindh became aligned with Indo-Islamic civilisation, the western areas became culturally allied with the Iranic civilisation of Afghanistan and Iran. The region served as crossroads of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road, and as a maritime entreport, for the coastal trade between Mesopotamia and beyond up to Rome in the west and Malabar and beyond up to China in the east.

The Indus Valley Civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BC and was followed by the Vedic Civilization, which also extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Achaemenid Persian empire around 543 BC, Greek empire founded by Alexander the Great in 326 BC and the Mauryan empire there after. The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab from 184 BC, and reached its greatest extent under Menander, establishing the Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of Taxila (Takshashila) became a major center of learning in ancient times — the remains of the city, located to the west of Islamabad, are one of the country’s major archaeological sites. The Rai Dynasty (c.489–632) of Sindh, at its zenith, ruled this region and the surrounding territories.

In 712 AD, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab. The Pakistan government’s official chronology states that “its foundation was laid” as a result of this conquest. This Arab and Islamic victory would set the stage for several successive Muslim empires in South Asia, including the Ghaznavid Empire, the Ghorid Kingdom, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam. The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis and Sikhs to exercise control over large areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia.

The War of Independence 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, was the region’s last major armed struggle against the foreign British Raj and it laid the foundations for the generally unarmed freedom struggle, led by the Hindu dominated Indian National Congress, in the twentieth century. The All India Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. On 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal’s presidential address called for an autonomous “state in northwestern India for Indian Muslims, within the body politic of India.” Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940 (popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution), which ultimately led to the formation of an independent Pakistan. The Indian independence movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi, demanded freedom from British rule. In early 1947, Britain, coming under strong pressure from other Western nations to end its violent suppression of the freedom movement, decided to end its rule of India.

In June 1947, the nationalist leaders of British India — including Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, B. R. Ambedkar representing the Untouchable community, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs — agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and independence. The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 (27 Ramadan 1366 in the Islamic Calendar), carved out of the two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of British India and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The controversial division of the provinces of Punjab and Bengal set the stage for communal riots across India and Pakistan — millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Disputes arose over several princely states including Muslim-majority Kashmir and Jammu, whose ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun warriors, leading to the First Kashmir War in 1948.

From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations. It became a Republic in 1956, but the civilian rule was stalled by a coup d’état by General Ayub Khan, who was president during 1958–69, a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, Yahya Khan (1969–71) had to deal with a devastating cyclone — which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan — and also face a civil war in 1971.

Economic greivances and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political tension and military repression that escalated into a civil war, which invited covert and later overt Indian intervention that escalated into the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and ultimately to the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh. Estimates of the number of people killed during this episode vary greatly, from ~30,000 to over 2 million, depending on the source.

Civilian rule resumed in Pakistan from 1972 to 1977, under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death, (in what his followers claimed was a judicial murder), in 1979 by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country’s third military president. Pakistan’s secular policies were replaced by Zia’s introduction of the Islamic Shariah legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of President Zia in a plane crash in 1988, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she alternated power with Nawaz Sharif, as the country’s political and economic situation worsened. Pakistan got invoved in the 1991 Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a US led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia. Military tensions in the Kargil conflict with India were followed by a Pakistani military coup d’état in 1999 in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed executive powers. In 2001, Musharraf became President after the controversial resignation of Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf transferred executive powers to newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 Prime-Ministerial election by Shaukat Aziz and was followed, for a temporary period in office, by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. On 15 November 2007 the National Assembly completed its tenure and so, pending elections, a caretaker government was appointed with the former Chairman of the Senate, Muhammad Mian Soomro as caretaker Prime Minister. However, the December 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto during election campaign led to postponement of elections and also underscored the then prevailing instability of Pakistan’s political system. After the parliamentary elections held in march, Yousaf Raza Gillani was sworn in as Prime Minister .

Geography Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north
Geographic coordinates: 30 00 N, 70 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 803,940 sq km
land: 778,720 sq km
water: 25,220 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly less than twice the size of California
Land boundaries: total: 6,774 km
border countries: Afghanistan 2,430 km, China 523 km, India 2,912 km, Iran 909 km
Coastline: 1,046 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north
Terrain: flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m
Natural resources: land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone
Land use: arable land: 24.44%
permanent crops: 0.84%
other: 74.72% (2005)
Irrigated land: 182,300 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 233.8 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 169.39 cu km/yr (2%/2%/96%)
per capita: 1,072 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)
Environment – current issues: water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; most of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note: controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent
Politics The government of Pakistan was based on the Government of India Act (1935) for the first nine years after independence. The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958 by General Ayub Khan. The Constitution of 1973 – suspended in 1977, by Zia-ul-Haq, but re-instated in 1991 – is the country’s most important document, laying the foundations of government. Pakistan is a semi-presidential federal democratic republic with Islam as the state religion. The bicameral legislature comprises a 100-member Senate and a 342-member National Assembly. The President is the Head of State and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and is elected by an electoral college. The prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly. Each province has a similar system of government with a directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or alliance becomes Chief Minister. Provincial Governors are appointed by the President.

The Pakistani military has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan’s history, with military presidents ruling from 1958–71, 1977–88 and from 1999 onwards. The leftist Pakistan Peoples Party, led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, emerged as a major political player during the 1970s. Under the military rule of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan began a marked shift from the British-era secular politics and policies, to the adoption of Shariat and other laws based on Islam. During the 1980s, the anti-feudal, pro-Muhajir Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was started by unorthodox and educated urban dwellers of Sindh and particularly Karachi. The 1990s were characterized by coalition politics dominated by the Pakistan Peoples Party and a rejuvenated Muslim League.

In the October 2002 general elections, the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q) won a plurality of National Assembly seats with the second-largest group being the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), a sub-party of the PPP. Zafarullah Khan Jamali of PML-Q emerged as Prime Minister but resigned on 26 June 2004 and was replaced by PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as interim Prime Minister. On 28 August 2004 the National Assembly voted 191 to 151 to elect the Finance Minister and former Citibank Vice President Shaukat Aziz as Prime Minister. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a coalition of Islamic religious parties, won elections in North-West Frontier Province, and increased their representation in the National Assembly – until their defeat in the 2008 elections.

Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the latter of which Pakistan has used as a forum for Enlightened Moderation, a plan to promote a renaissance and enlightenment in the Muslim world. Pakistan is also a member of the major regional organisations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO). In the past, Pakistan has had mixed relations with the United States; in the early 1950s, Pakistan was the United States’ “most allied ally in Asia” and a member of both the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO). Also, during the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s Pakistan was a crucial US ally. But relations soured in the 1990s, when sanctions were applied by the US over suspicions of Pakistan’s nuclear activities. However, the 11 September 2001 attacks and the subsequent War on Terrorism have seen an improvement in US–Pakistan ties, especially after Pakistan ended its support of the Taliban regime in Kabul. This was evidenced by a drastic increase in American military aid, which saw Pakistan take in $4 billion more in three years after the 9/11 attacks than in the three years before.

On 18 February 2008, Pakistan held its general elections after being postponed from 8 January 2008. The Pakistan Peoples Party won the majority of the votes and formed an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League (N). They nominated and elected Yousaf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister of Pakistan

On 18 August 2008, when the ballooning impeachment scandal threatened his power, President Musharraf resigned as President of Pakistan, claiming it was a “difficult decision”.

In the presidential election that followed, Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan People’s Party won by a landslide majority and became President of Pakistan.

People Population: 172,800,048 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 37.8% (male 33,617,953/female 31,741,258)
15-64 years: 58% (male 51,292,535/female 48,921,023)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 3,408,749/female 3,818,533) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 20.5 years
male: 20.3 years
female: 20.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.999% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 28.35 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 7.85 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 66.94 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 67.04 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 66.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 64.13 years
male: 63.07 years
female: 65.25 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.73 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 74,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 4,900 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality: noun: Pakistani(s)
adjective: Pakistani
Ethnic groups: Punjabi 44.68%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.42%, Sindhi 14.1%, Sariaki 8.38%, Muhagirs 7.57%, Balochi 3.57%, other 6.28%
Religions: Muslim 95% (Sunni 75%, Shi’a 20%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 5%
Languages: Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski and other 8%
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 49.9%
male: 63%
female: 36% (2005 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 7 years
male: 7 years
female: 6 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 2.6% of GDP (2006)