Pakistan Court Sentences Former Ruler Musharraf to Death for Treason



Pakistan Court Sentences Former Ruler Musharraf to Death for Treason

Tuesday, 17 December, 2019 – 11:00
A supporter holds a picture of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, during a protest at the Special Court where Musharraf will attend his trial in Islamabad February 18, 2014. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

A Pakistani court sentenced on Tuesday former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to death on charges of high treason and subverting the constitution, government officials said.

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and later ruled as president, is not in Pakistan and was not available for comment on the sentence, handed down by an anti-terrorism court hearing the high treason case.

“Pervez Musharraf has been found guilty of Article 6 for violation of the constitution of Pakistan,” government law officer Salman Nadeem said, according to Reuters.

The court’s full ruling was not available but it said in a summary it had analyzed complaints, records, arguments and facts in the case and had reached a majority verdict, with two of the three judges giving the decision against Musharraf.

The charges stem from Musharraf’s imposition of a state of emergency in 2007, when he was facing growing opposition to his rule.

He resigned in 2008, after a political party that backed him fared poorly in a general election, and he has spent much of the time since then abroad.

Legal experts in Islamabad said Musharraf can challenge the order in the High Court.

An American’s Thoughts On India’s New Citizenship Laws (NRC & CAB)

An American’s Thoughts On India’s New Citizenship Laws (NRC & CAB)


Yesterday one of my readers asked me to write this article and I told him that I would once I had had a chance to study it more so this is my effort to fulfill that promise to him. As most American’s know there are big issues politically and personally about the immigration policies here in the U.S. concerning our southern border. So, I am going to try to match up the two nations ongoing concerns about this issue.


In India the new law called the NRC (National Register of Citizens) law seems to also be called the “anti-Muslim” Law just as in the U.S. the issues are only at our southern border. To me, the difference is that here in the U.S. I feel that the biggest issue is race (anti-Hispanic) while the biggest issue in India is Religion, not race. There is also the real truth that in both cases there are a lot of people, mostly among the poorest of the peoples about the influx of new immigrants taking what little jobs and housing that they are clinging to at this time. New people to your area still need to have human basic needs like food and housing. Truth is that if there are not jobs for these new people then they will still need an income whether it be from taking your job, having to use your nations welfare system thus draining it from the ones currently using it or be placed in the position of beggar’s or thieves. This is an issue that faces every nation when it comes to immigration. This is one of the biggest concerns of the people who live in the northeast of India at this time yet the biggest issue there seems to be the new laws are written for the purpose of being anti Muslim, or anti believers of the Islamic faith.


The government of India says the new law is in part meant to weed out infiltrators or illegal’s from within their nation. The law is designed to be favorable toward six religions that are persecuted in the Islamic nations that are northeastern neighbors of India, nations like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. India’s government is said to be trying to give these persecuted people of these countries a safe place to live, meaning India while at the same time weeding out illegal infiltrators whom seem to be mostly Muslims or in reality, believers of Islam. One of the issues that is going to have to be resolved is if the Indian Constitution allows such curbs on a section of people based on a religious faith. The population of India is about 1.4 billion people with about 180 million of those being believers of Islam. The government is loosely using the reason why these new laws are legal is the fact that Islamic nations do discriminate against all faiths that are not Islamic even to the dividing point of if people are Sunni or Shiite. Being that these Islamic nations do discriminate and persecute against other faiths like the Hindu’s, Parsi’s, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jain’s and Christians that India is simply trying to give them a safe place to live. Concerning the Indian population of Islamic believers it seems to me the government is saying that if their Islamic citizens don’t like the new laws they can move to an Islamic nation. To me, it seems that just like here in the States with the discrimination against Hispanic people whether it is Constitutionally legal if India is going to have to go through the  process to discover if it is legal in India to do the same to a group of people based on religion.



India’s new Citizenship Act and national register of citizens are inspired by “paranoia”



Same-same, but different.

India’s new Citizenship Act and national register of citizens are both inspired by “paranoia”

By Manavi Kapur

India’s contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, which was cleared by parliament last week, has sparked violent protests across the country, for more than one reason. While there is anger that the legislation is discriminatory against Muslims, there are also fears of an influx of settlers.

The legislation aims to fast-track citizenship for persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians who arrived in India before Dec. 31, 2014, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, or Afghanistan. For the immigrant religious minorities, the law effectively amends India’s Citizenship Act, 1955, which required an applicant to have resided in India for 11 years.

The upheaval in most of the country, is due to the exclusion of Muslims from the list. Rohingya Muslims fleeing from Myanmar, for instance, will not be given citizenship under the new law. Likewise, for Sri Lankan Tamils. Several people took to the streets in West Bengal, Kerala, and Goa, and some protests turned violent. In Delhi, police allegedly resorted to tear-gas shells, guns, and batons to push back protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia university.

In the northeastthough, the resistance to the legislation has a different hue.

The NRC piece

In Assam, which shares a border with Bangladesh, people fear an ethnic, and demographic shift due to an influx of immigrants—regardless of their religion. Violent protests in state capital Guwahati led the Indian government to shut down the internet in the state on Dec. 11.

Citizens here are also concerned about the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC), which requires people to produce documents of ancestry to be enlisted as Indian citizens. This exercise, undertaken by prime minister Narendra Modi’s government in Assam between February 2015 and August this year, was meant to “throw out infiltrators.”

The final list of citizens, published on Aug. 31, excluded nearly 19 lakh residents of Assam, including Hindus.

Ever since, India’s home minister Amit Shah has hinted at the possibility of a nationwide NRC. Shah referred to “illegal immigrants” as “termites” in April, and the citizenship act is now being seen in the context of the planned nationwide NRC.

By all accounts, the NRC in Assam only seems to have deepened the divide between the different cultural groups in the state, bringing back memories of the unrest of the 1980’s. This was a time when Assamese-speaking residents of the state feared being overpowered by Bengali-speaking Bangladeshi immigrants after Bangladesh’s liberation in 1971.

Some commentators have equated the NRC with ethnic cleansing, much like what the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar faced. The fear is that a nation-wide NRC could only prove disastrous where residents could be profiled on the basis of their religions and stripped of their citizenship overnight.

Citizenship Act and NRC

Protesters believe that the exclusion of Muslims and a nationwide NRC are products of the same school of thought. The paranoia against “outsiders” and “infiltrators” rings strong in both narratives, though by the government’s own estimates, the citizenship act will help a little over 31,000 people.

Given the exclusionary privileges, those protesting believe that the new law will only be used to polarize Indian communities, especially Hindus, against Muslims. On Dec. 11, just before the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was cleared, over 700 activists, academicians, and filmmakers wrote a letter to the Indian government expressing grave concern over these two proposed laws. “For the first time there is a statutory attempt to not just privilege peoples from some faiths but at the same time relegate another, Muslims, to second-rate status,” they wrote.

The new law, they wrote, also went against the tenets of the Indian constitution. “The CAB is at odds with Constitutional secular principles and a violation of Articles 13, 14, 15, 16 and 21 which guarantee the right to equality, equality before the law and non discriminatory treatment by the Indian state,” they wrote.

India: Army officers ‘targeted’ by Pak operatives



Army officers ‘targeted’ by Pak operatives asked to change WhatsApp settings

The army recently issued an advisory to its men alerting them about the risk of being automatically added to WhatsApp groups created by intelligence operatives from the neighboring country Pakistan.

INDIA Updated: Nov 23, 2019 06:28 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Indian Army has asked its personnel to alter the settings of popular messaging service WhatsApp to rule out the possibility of being added to groups run by the Pakistani intelligence.
The Indian Army has asked its personnel to alter the settings of popular messaging service WhatsApp to rule out the possibility of being added to groups run by the Pakistani intelligence. (AP Photo)

The Indian Army has asked its personnel to alter the settings of popular messaging service WhatsApp to rule out the possibility of being added to groups run by the Pakistani intelligence to gather sensitive information about the force, two Army officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity on Friday.

The army recently issued an advisory to its men alerting them about the risk of being automatically added to WhatsApp groups created by intelligence operatives from the neighboring country, after a soldier reported that he was added to one such group without his consent, said one of the officials cited above.

Officers holding critical appointments have been asked not to share any information on the messaging service, said the second official cited above. Also, they have been told not to share any official communication on WhatsApp.

“A case has come to notice wherein one army pers (personnel) was automatically added to a Whatsapp gp by a suspected Pak No…The indl (individual) with presence of mind took the screenshot and exited the gp,” the advisory read.

The development showed that Pakistani operatives were “actively targeting” Army personnel, the advisory said.

The advisory details how Army personnel can change their WhatsApp settings to avoid being added to “unauthorized and undesirable groups.”

The Indian Army regularly sensitizes its officers and men on the use of social media and messaging services so that sensitive information is not inadvertently leaked, according to the second official. While protocols were in place to pre-empt any breach, it was critical to drive home the message to soldiers to stay alert, he added.

Former army vice-lieutenant general AS Lamba (retd) said, “As far as the armed forces are concerned, security is paramount no matter what the platform. One needs to be specially careful on social media and messaging services as these are the easiest way to subvert an individual or group of individuals in order to collate sensitive information.”

Pakistan, with China, tries to put 4 Indians on UN terror list


Pakistan, with China, tries to put 4 Indians on UN terror list

After the UN Security Council designated Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government in Pakistan has been on an overdrive to frame Indians in terror cases.

INDIANS-ABROAD Updated: Nov 22, 2019 04:24 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
After Masood Azhar was designated global terrorist by the UN security panel, there have been several attempts by Pakistan to falsely implicate Indian nationals in terror cases.
After Masood Azhar was designated global terrorist by the UN security panel, there have been several attempts by Pakistan to falsely implicate Indian nationals in terror cases.(VIA REUTERS)

Officials in the national security agencies and South Block are now convinced that Pakistan has embarked on a tit-for-tat designation of Indian nationals as terrorists under the UN Security Council’s 1267 Al Qaida sanctions committee as a response to India’s success, with assistance from the US and France, in having got Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist on May 1.

Last week, Pakistan, with the support of UN Security Council permanent member and its all-weather ally China moved the 1267 Al Qaida sanctions committee to designate two Indians global terrorists after accusing them of past terror attacks in Balochistan and Peshawar, and even registered FIRs against them. This takes to four the number of Indians labelled terrorists by Pakistan. All four persons were evacuated by Indian security agencies from Afghanistan, with the last one being flown out of Kabul on November 18.

Hindustan Times has reported on three of the cases. The fourth is that of Andhra Pradesh resident Appaji Angara, who was working as a software developer in a bank in Kabul, Afghanistan. While Angara was moved out of Kabul as early as January 18, Pakistan accused him of a terrorist attack on Mall Road in Lahore on February 13, 2017, along with the Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan.

ALSO WATCH | PM Modi hails ‘big victory’ after UN sanctions on Jaish chief Masood Azhar

In the dossier submitted to the 1267 committee, Angara has been accused of the attack on Army School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, in collaboration with JuA, and a bombing in Warsak colony in Peshawar on September 2, 2016. An FIR number 77 (dated July 13, 2019) under sections 312, 324, 353, 14B, 149, ¾ F & P, 7 ATA, counter-terrorism department, police station Peshawar, has been registered against him. The residence address, passport number and personal details of Angara are being withheld by HT.

Earlier this week, HT reported Pakistan’s effort to designate Gobinda Patnaik Duggivalasa. The Odisha-born Duggivalasa, 54, was hurriedly evacuated from Kabul by Indian security agencies on November 18 after he was accused of a terror attack on Siraj Raisani, a Pakistani politician, on July 13, 2018 in Mastung, Baluchistan in which 160 persons were killed. An FIR number 12/18 (dated July 13, 2019) under sections 109-427-34-ATA counter terrorism department, police station Quetta, Balochistan, and another FIR number 08/2018 (dated July 9, 2019) under section 109-427-07 ATA CTD, police station Quetta, Balochistan, names Duggivalasa as a terrorist.

A B. Com graduate from Odisha, with a diploma in computer applications from Chennai and a MBA from Vishakapatnam, Duggivalasa, according to dossier, worked as President of Phoenix Consulting Services in Kabul, Afghanistan. The company was a wholly owned subsidiary of Fluentgrid, and involved in capacity-building projects in Afghanistan. The full details of Duggivalasa are being withheld by HT.

Several Indian companies are working on projects in Afghanistan as the country seeks to rebuild its infrastructure after years of conflict.

Indian intelligence officials point to the two other instances, involving Indian nationals Ajoy Mistry in October and Venu Madhav Dongara in September – HT was the first to report on both – where Pakistan, with the help from China, tried to embarrass India in the UN through the 1267 route.

In the backdrop of the Imran Khan government showcasing two Indians arrested this week near Bhawalpur, despite New Delhi having informed Islamabad about their inadvertent crossing over to Pakistan months ago, the proposals before the 1267 committee are ominous, officials say it is evident from the chain of events that Pakistan, with the help of China, wants to brand India as a terror factory to “achieve parity”.

Had these Indians not been extracted, it is possible that they may have been abducted by ISI from Afghanistan, in much the same way Indian naval officer-turned-businessman Kulbushan Jadhav was from Iran, the officials added. Islamabad claimed in 2017 that he was arrested from Balochistan and accused him of terrorism and spying for Indian spy agency Research & Analysis Wing. He was sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan but the International Court of Justice stayed the execution. In July, it asked Pakistan to review his trial and conviction and to also provide consular access to India.

While the first two proposals (involving Mistry and Dongara) were blocked by the US, New Delhi has again sought the help of its friends within the UNSC to stop any further attempts by Pakistan to tarnish India’s reputation.


Pakistan: terror training camps still active in Pakistan



Imran Khan’s posturing aside, terror training camps still active in Pakistan

South Block confirms that terror training camps of LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen are still active in Pakistan despite the public posturing of Imran Khan government.

INDIA Updated: Nov 17, 2019 09:33 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan(Reuters file photo)

External affairs minister S Jaishankar’s statement this week that Pakistan has developed a terrorist industry comes in the backdrop of reports that trained Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) suicide attackers have infiltrated Jammu and Kashmir in October and that the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leadership is in constant touch with their handlers in Rawalpindi GHQ.

In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, Jaishankar said the eradication of anti-India terrorist groups is a pre-condition for dialogue with Pakistan.

South Block confirms that terror training camps of LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen are still active in Pakistan despite the public posturing of Imran Khan government. India sent a specific list of locations, including Google map co-ordinates of 24 prominent terror training camps in Pakistan to the country after the Pulwama attack but none of these camps has been shut down to date.

The names of camps include Abdulla bin Mashood (LeT); Balakot (JeM); Barali/Fagosh 1 & 2 (LeT); Barnala (HM); Bhawalpur (JeM); Batarsi camp 1 & 2 (LeT & JeM); Chelabandi (LeT/JeM/ HM) and Daura-e-Azeemat (HM). Many of these camps are located in Occupied Kashmir, Manshera, Peshawar, Bhawalpur and Lahore.

According to security agencies, JeM’s operational commander Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar along with his brother Maulana Ammar met their handlers in Rawalpindi GHQ on November 10 seeking financial help, removal of restrictions on the terror group and instructions for future action.

Indian intelligence inputs also say that two LeT suicide attackers, Osama and Abdullah infiltrated the newly created UT in early October after undergoing a so-called purification course and with the approval of senior LeT leadership.

While the hunt is on in J&K for these two, the state police has killed no less than 150 terrorists this year including 70 Pakistani nationals.

When EAM Jaishankar talked about terrorist factory, he was also talking about Pakistan’s other options in targeting India. As recently as September 23, Pakistan based Ranjeet Singh Neeta’s Khalistan Zindabad Force tried unsuccessfully to send a cache of AK-47 rifles, pistols, satellite phones and ammunition across the international border.

Pro-Khalistan terrorists currently being given shelter by Pakistan include Harmeet Singh and Lakhbir Singh of International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF); Paramjit Singh Panjwar of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF); Gajinder Singh of Dal Khalsa and Wadhawa Singh Babbar of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI).

Members of Indian Mujahideen group, who planned and executed blasts in India between 2005 to 2013, are also now freely operating in Pakistan. These include Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal, Mohasin Choudhary, Afiff Hassan Siddibappa and Mohammed Rashid.

The fugitives taking shelter even today in Pakistan are all the principals accused in 1993 Mumbai bomb blast cases, engineered by global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. His associates including Anees Ibrahim, Tiger Memon, Chhota Shakeel, Mohammed Dosa and Fahim Machmach also operate freely in Pakistan.

Pakistan: 73 People Die From Fire On Train



Seventy-three people have died after a moving train in Pakistan caught fire when two stoves being used by passengers to cook food exploded, a senior Pakistani railway official, who asked not to be named, told Business Insider.

Pakistani officials first reported the fire at 9:50 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The train is known as the Tezgam train and was traveling from the city of Karachi across the country to Rawalpindi.

A further 47 people were injured as three of the train’s carriages caught fire when it was approaching the town of Liaquatpur in Punjab, the official added.

Pakistan Train Fire
A map showing the route of the train and the location where the fire broke out. 
Google Maps.

Pakistan’s minister for railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, said the fire started from a gas cylinder that was used by the passengers to cook breakfast, according to the BBC.

“Two cooking stoves blew up. They were cooking, they had [cooking] oil, which added fuel to fire,” Ahmed said, according to the BBC.

Survivors reported it took the train over 20 minutes to stop after the fire broke out, and some pulled emergency cords and ran to notify the conductor farther down the train, according to the Associated Press.

According to several local news reports, many of the victims jumped to their death as the train was still moving.

Video footage from AFP shows the scorched remains of the carriages that caught fire. Rescue teams can be seen on the scene:

The Pakistani Army dispatched doctors and paramedics to assist with rescue missions and sent helicopters to the scene of the incident to evacuate the critically injured, according to the local news site The Express Tribune.

President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan offered their condolences to the victims of the train fire.

Khan said an immediate inquiry had been ordered “to be completed on an urgent basis” on the incident.

Imran Khan


Deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of the Tezgam train. My condolences go to the victims’ families & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. I have ordered an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis.

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According to the BBC, many of the passengers were traveling to the city of Raiwind to attend a major religious festival hosted by the Tablighi Jamaat, a Sunni Muslim missionary movement.

India: 18 terrorists killed, JeM launch pads destroyed in PoK strikes by Indian army



18 terrorists killed, JeM launch pads destroyed in PoK strikes by Indian army: Officials

The officials added that all the terror launch pads housing Jaish-e-Mohammed and other jihadists were destroyed in the pin-point artillery firing by the Indian army – retaliatory action to indiscriminate and unprovoked Pakistani firing along the Line of Control.

INDIA Updated: Oct 23, 2019 09:25 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The site of Indian Army’s assault on Pakistani terror camps.
The site of Indian Army’s assault on Pakistani terror camps.(Photo: HT/ Special arrangement)

Officials in Indian security agencies that have assessed the impact of the Indian Army’s artillery assault on terror launch pads in Neelum Valley and three other places in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), said on condition of anonymity that at least 18 terrorists were killed along with 16 Pak Army personnel on October 19 and 20. The army hasn’t confirmed the number of dead. Hindustan Times couldn’t independently authenticate the numbers.

The officials added that all the terror launch pads housing Jaish-e-Mohammed and other jihadists were destroyed in the pin-point artillery firing by the Indian army – retaliatory action to indiscriminate and unprovoked Pakistani firing along the Line of Control.

On Sunday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat briefed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh twice about the Indian Army fire assault on PoK launch pads with the latter congratulating the former on the resolute action, the officials said. Asking General Rawat to go public on the artillery firing, Rajnath Singh said that while no terror launch pads should be spared, care should be taken to ensure that the innocent civilian population is not targeted.

Also Watch l ‘Our forces can give befitting response to our enemies’: Rajnath Singh

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Defence ministry officials said on condition of anonymity that ammunition and ration depots of the Pakistani Army were also destroyed by 155 mm guns using precision long range ammunition. While four launch pads in Neelum Valley were hit, launch pads in Jura, Athamuqam and Kundalshahi were also decimated in the fire onslaught on wee hours of October 20, they added. The Indian response came after the Pakistani Army targeted Indian positions and civil localities in Karnah sector killing two Indian soldiers and one civilian on Saturday night.


On Sunday, the army mounted the artillery attack in retaliation to ceasefire violations meant to assist infiltrators, inflicting heavy terrorist casualties.

The counter-offensive measures come weeks after multiple intelligence agencies warned the government that at least 60 terrorists have infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir recently and another 500 are waiting to infiltrate, according to the army.


Ground intelligence and communication intercepts from PoK suggests that the jihadists and their army handlers were taken by surprise by the pin-point firing and the fact that the Indian Army knew about their locations. “Intelligence about 18 terrorists and 16 army personnel killed have been corroborated on ground with hard intelligence. Many have been injured,” said a senior Indian Army official who asked not to be named.

“ By taking out the launch pads near LoC in PoK, we have sent a message that retaliation will come if any infiltration attempt is made in Jammu and Kashmir,” said a senior official in a security agency.

First Published: Oct 22, 2019 23:43 IST

India, Pakistan trade barbs over deadly Kashmir clash



India, Pakistan trade barbs over deadly Kashmir clash

Several soldiers and civilians killed on both sides, as India and Pakistan blame one another for ‘unprovoked’ firing.

Relatives and friends mourn next to bodies of victims in cross border shelling in Pakistan's Neelum valley [Sajjad Qayyum/AFP]
Relatives and friends mourn next to bodies of victims in cross border shelling in Pakistan’s Neelum valley [Sajjad Qayyum/AFP]

India and Pakistan blamed one another for cross-border shelling in the disputed Kashmir region which killed and injured soldiers and civilians on both sides and made it one of the deadliest days since New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status in August.

India said there was heavy shelling by Pakistan across the border in northern Kashmir’s Tangdhar region late on Saturday night, killing two Indian soldiers and one civilian.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Armed Forces said one of its soldiers and three civilians had died and that India had violated the ceasefire.

There was an unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan, Indian defense spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.

“Our troops retaliated strongly, causing heavy damage and casualties to the enemy,” Kalia said.

Pakistan’s army, meanwhile, claimed that India’s attacks in Jura, Shahkot and Nowshera sectors was “unprovoked” and deliberately targeted civilians.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, a spokesman for the Pakistani Armed Forces, said Pakistan responded “effectively”, killing nine Indian soldiers, injuring several others and destroying two bunkers.



Indian unprovoked CFVs in Jura, shahkot & Nousehri Sectors deliberately targeting civilians. Effectively responded. 9 Indian soldiers killed several injured. 2 Indian bunkers destroyed.
During exchange of fire 1 soldier & 3 civilians shaheed, 2 soldiers & 5 civilians injured.

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Islamabad has summoned the Indian envoy in protest over the shelling and killings, and offered to have diplomats from the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members, including the United States and Russia, visit the border and see that no rebel camps exist there.

Both sides accused each other of violating a 2003 ceasefire accord.

Border clashes

Sunday’s clashes came days after Pakistan’s foreign ministry protested against similar incidents from across the heavily militarized Line of Control (LoC) by Indian forces that killed three civilians and wounded another eight on October 15.

Deadly border clashes have spiked over the past few weeks which have seen Indian and Pakistani forces target frontier posts as well as villages, leading to casualties among soldiers and civilians on both sides.

Tensions between the neighbors have remained high since India revoked Kashmir’s autonomy on August 5 and imposed movement and communications restrictions to quell unrest.

Islamabad has warned that changing Kashmir’s status would escalate tensions but India said the withdrawal of the special status is an internal affair and is aimed at faster economic development of the territory.

Pakistan and India both control parts of Kashmir, but each lays claim to the entire region since the countries gained independence from Britain in 1947.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the region.


India: Army increases troops at LoC to fend off infiltration



Army increases troops at LoC to fend off infiltration

Northern Army commander Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said anger over scrapping Article 370 was subsiding in the Kashmir valley but Pakistan was trying its best to reinvigorate the terror machinery.

INDIA Updated: Oct 14, 2019 07:59 IST

Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh has been constantly reviewing the situation in the Kashmir valley.
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh has been constantly reviewing the situation in the Kashmir valley. (ANI Photo)

The Indian Army has deployed more troops along the Line of Control (LoC) over the past two months to deal with an unusual spike in infiltration by Pakistan-backed terrorists looking to stir trouble in Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre’s move revoking the special status of the state on August 5, one of the army’s top-most commanders said on Sunday.

Northern Army commander Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said anger over the government’s move to effectively scrap Article 370 of the Constitution and J&K’s bifurcation into two Union Territories was subsiding in the Kashmir valley but Pakistan was trying its best to reinvigorate the terror machinery in order to destabilise the border region.

Infiltration attempts, accompanied by ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army, are occurring almost every day since the decisions on J&K were announced on August 5, he said.

“We have brought in additional soldiers from outside Northern Command to strengthen our counter-infiltration posture along the LoC. Troops have also been pulled out of pockets where terror has been dormant and sent to forward locations. No patch of the border is unguarded and we have repelled the majority of infiltration attempts,” General Singh told Hindustan Times.

While the Northern Army commander did not reveal details of the redeployment citing operational reasons, two officers familiar with the development said troop numbers along the LoC were up by a few thousand. General Singh is in Delhi to attend a biannual meeting of the army’s top commanders who will discuss a raft of important issues including the one on Kashmir over the next five days.

The army’s Udhampur-based Northern command is the nerve-centre for counter-insurgency operations in J&K and is also responsible for guarding the LoC.

The number of border violations by Pakistan has risen dramatically this year. According to official data, there have been 2,317 violations as on October 10 this year, compared to 1,629 last year and 860 in 2017. The neighbouring army was initiating ceasefire violations along the LoC to help infiltrators sneak into J&K and carry out terror attacks, Singh said. Such infiltrators have carried out a string of suicide attacks recently including the ones in Uri, Pathankot and Nagrota.

Intelligence reports have warned against the presence of more than 500 terrorists at launch pads and terror camps across the LoC, facing Kupwara, Baramulla, Poonch and Rajouri sectors. In addition, the number of terrorists in Kashmir stands between 250 and 300.

“Even one terror strike backed by Pakistan could ratchet up bilateral tensions. There’s no doubt we are going to act on it. Pakistan is frustrated as it is unable to push infiltrators across the LoC. It is now looking at using border routes in Punjab, Gujarat and Nepal,” said General Singh. He was heading the army’s military operations directorate in 2016 when India launched multiple surgical strikes against terror pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in response to the Uri suicide attack that left 19 Indian soldiers dead.

With post-paid mobile phone services set to be restored across J&K from Monday, General Singh said restrictions imposed after the August 5 announcement were being lifted in a gradual way after a detailed risk assessment.

“The communications blackout was eased when landlines became functional. People can use their cell phones now. Restoration of Internet services will take some time. While control measures can’t be there forever, we have to deny Pakistani elements the chance to whip up tensions in Kashmir,” he said.

He said the security forces could face a fresh set of challenges in the coming weeks due to a series of important events such as the move of the seat of governance from Srinagar to Jammu on October 26 (the J&K government functions six months each from Jammu and Srinagar), Diwali the following day and J&K and Ladakh coming into existence as Union Territories on October 31. J&K’s winter capital Jammu will become functional from November 5.

“The aim of the Pakistani machinery will be to create trouble around this crucial time. We are at our highest alert levels,” he said.

General Singh said Pakistan had fully activated the terror infrastructure on its soil and attempts to push in infiltrators were likely to spill over into the winter months.

Experts said that the security forces were in control of the situation in J&K but they highlighted the threat from Pakistan-sponsored terror.

“It is positive that there has been very little violence in the Valley post August 5. Now that restrictions are being eased, the big challenge for the government will be to win the confidence of the people. This is not going to be an easy task but it is absolutely essential,” said former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd), who oversaw the September 2016 surgical strikes in PoK.

“As far as Pakistan is concerned, we are seeing no change in its behaviour in supporting terrorist activities in J&K. This could have serious implications if there is a major terror strike that India will be forced to respond to,” General Hooda added.

First Published: Oct 14, 2019 01:33 IST