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Posts tagged as Kashmiris

The Pulwama aftermath

The deaths of Indian security personnel in a massive explosion on a busy highway at Lethpora in the Pulwama district was the first such successful fidayeen attack in the history of the Kashmiri militant resistance.
That it took Kashmiris another two decades to produce full-blown destruction is surprising because the raw state repression that drives Kashmiri youth, including intellectuals and scholars, to take up guns have ignored such an easy spectacle for quite a long time.
In fact, people have been talking about such possibilities for quite a while, given the amount of radicalisation caused by wanton state brutalities.Following such a high-impact attack, and the amount of negative reaction that it has generated from the Indian media, public and the government, there are apprehensions that such a method might catch the fancy of the new generation of Kashmiri fighters.If so, there is cause for much concern for more deaths those of both military personnel and resistance fighters and its possible spill over to civilian populations could be massive and devastating. Such a thought conjures up images of Baghdad or Kabul at the height of the insurgency following the US invasions.
The impact of the blast was so strong that those slain were blown to smithereens, catalysing the pain of the tragedy. The government put a ban on showing graphic footage of the destruction, and perhaps rightly so, but social media exhibited a limitless fetish to spread the gruesome images.It is beyond any doubt that none of those killed in the blast could be identified through their bodies.While I usually refrain from watching such graphic photos of violence,

I accidentally’ saw some of them for they came from a source never associated with such an activity.Frankly speaking, I felt sick to my core and for several days I remained under the spell of intense sadness. Many felt the same way, but the argument of those who justified such gruesome violence cannot be ignored either.One of them compared the incident with the growing incidents of the military blowing up houses and militants during encounters. The army could easily capture these rebels or at least fight them humanely.
Instead, they choose to blow them up in pieces, destroy houses and celebrate deaths.During the last few years, there has been a significant change in the rules of engagement military personnel are willing to increasingly jettison their professional behaviour and indulge in such profanities as taking selfies with dead militants, dancing with their cadavers while chanting Hindu religious slogans, and filming the beatings and torture of the Kashmiri youth.
Sometimes, such videos get leaked and reach the public domain only to provoke and further anger and hostility.The only consolations from the attack were that it did not target civilians or cause civilian deaths and that the military personnel did not go berserk after the incident to target civilians, an otherwise usual practice.
But the pessimistic view suggested that the paramilitary personnel were so frightened after the blast that they were unable to form any sort of reaction. Later, after an hour or so, the military personnel did target unsuspecting civilians and beat scores of them to exact revenge.The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the agency that was targeted in the suicide blast, also beat dozens of peoples in downtown Srinagar producing yet more anger and hate that will ultimately provoke many more Kashmiri youth down the path of militancy.The story of the alleged suicide bomber, Adil Ahmed Dar, is somewhat similar to the trajectory of other Kashmiris who take to the gun as a path to break the stalemate of oppression.
Adil had been continually harassed and humiliated by the Indian army and the personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police. Knowing no escape, he took the extreme step with a dreaded determination to cause as much damage to the military as possible.Soon after the blast, the government took the extreme step to ban the internet, but the damage had been done as photographs carrying gruesome details had already been circulated with sensational and often fake news. This spread panic, hatred, and calls for open revenge.Several Indian news channels made consistent calls for revenge, preparing the ground for more violence primarily directed against Kashmiris spread across India. The speech made by Prime Minister Modi in the aftermath was also provocative and bordered on hate speech.
As the pliant Hindutva media whipped up a frenzy, violent mobs of people were galvanised to exact revenge amid chants of teaching Pakistan a lesson that ultimately boiled down to mass violence against Kashmiris. In Jammu, the winter capital of the province of Jammu and Kashmir, thousands of Hindutva youth attacked Kashmiri Muslims, vandalised their properties and burned more than a hundred of their vehicles.
Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, the police watched helplessly as the mobs ran amok and pillaged around for several hours. The Hindu mobs attacked government officials of Kashmiri origin, students and even women.Where are the pellet guns, asked several Kashmiris over social media. There were wide-scale attacks on Kashmiri students across India, and strangely there were no condemnations from any political party or any serious attempts to stop this from happening.
The only credible help these Kashmiri students received, and in abundance, were from Khalsa Aid, a leading international Sikh charity. Their volunteers offered aid, rescued students from mobs, provided shelter and later procured transport facilities to take those who were stranded back home.This has earned them instant yet massive following and admiration with social media flooded with messages of goodwill.Amarpreet Singh, the Asia-Pacific director of the charity, left a message on my WhatsApp that they were willing to provide more emergency aid and assistance for stranded Kashmiris.In an ocean of hate-filled frenzy, Khalsa Aid offered a glimmer of hope that must grow into a flame!

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The most dangerous place in the world

On the eve of his visit to South Asia in March 2000, American President Bill Clinton referred to the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir as “the most dangerous place in the world”.
This was not an exaggeration but recognition of the fact that the Kashmir dispute, made even more volatile by the popular Kashmiri uprising against the Indian occupation, could escalate into war between two nuclear weapon states.The recent Pulwama incident has once again raised the spectre of war between Pakistan and India which can, either through intention or accident, lead to the use of nuclear weapons.Therefore, Kashmir still remains the most dangerous place in the world and it is incumbent on all sides to act responsibly in order to avoid Armageddon.The Pulwama attack in which more than 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed by a young Kashmiri, Adil Ahmad Dar, who had been tortured by Indian forces  should not come as a surprise.For more than seven decades, India has resorted to brute force to put down the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination.
Indian failure is not just due to the brave resilience of the Kashmiri people but also due to the escalating levels of Indian brutality that has made the Kashmiri resolve even stronger.Despite the presence of more than 700,000 Indian troops armed with draconian powers, nearly 90,000 casualties, use of indiscriminate killings, torture, rape, illegal detentions, and disappearances as instruments of policy, India has failed to intimidate the Kashmiris.
Now, an entirely new generation has taken up the struggle, including children in their teens. Even they have not been spared from the cowardly Indian use of indiscriminate firepower including pellet guns that have blinded and maimed hundreds of them.No wonder Kashmiri youth like Dar are ready to sacrifice their lives to exact revenge on their tormentors.All Indian governments since 1947 have refused to recognise the reality that Kashmiris do not want to be a part of India.
Instead they have blamed Pakistan for promoting “terrorism” in Kashmir.The Modi government of Hindu chauvinists and extremists has taken this repressive charade to an even lower level  seeking a Nazi-type fascist solution in Kashmir by settlement of Hindus in the Muslim majority valley to change its demographic character.Viewed from this perspective, the Indian allegations of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in occupied Kashmir are hollow. The Kashmiris are fighting for themselves and do not need persuasion from Pakistan.
Some Indian political and military leaders now acknowledge this fact.In terms of international legal norms, the UN Charter and several UN resolutions recognise not only the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples under foreign occupation and alien domination to wage an armed struggle for their freedom and realisation of the right of self-determination, as is the case of the Kashmiris, but also draw a clear distinction between terrorism and the legitimate struggle for self-determination.
Therefore, the Kashmiris are not engaged in terrorism but a legitimate struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.Unfortunately, however, in the realm of realpolitik, international law and principles are only relevant when they suit the powerful — as in East Timor or South Sudan, but not Kashmir or Palestine.
After 9/11, America’s war on terror has essentially targeted all Muslims as terrorists even if they are involved in a just and legitimate struggle under international law.India was quick to seize this opportunity by fully aligning with the US and Israel to project Muslims as terrorists, including of course the Kashmiris.
False flag operations carried out by Indian security forces and ‘Sarkari’ militants have been blamed on the Kashmiris and Pakistan.The Americans, instead of determining the truth, are just happy to have India join them in the fight against ‘Islamist terrorism’.

Today, this is even truer of Trump and his crowd of bigoted anti-Muslims who have found a fellow fascist in Modi. No wonder Trump says he is “a great fan of Hindu”.This has added to the prevailing dangers of an Indo-Pakistan conflict. Modi and his Hindutva cohorts, who have already created mass hysteria against Pakistan and Kashmiris, are now braying for blood to avenge the Pulwama attack.Forthcoming Indian elections make Modi even more desperate to be seen as being muscular.Apart from threatening to ‘isolate’ Pakistan and withdrawing the MFN status, military options are being explored.American support for Indian allegations against Pakistan could make India even more adventurous in its actions.Despite all this Indian bravado, it will have to be cold hard logic that will determine Indian response.‘Isolating’ Pakistan has already been tried and failed.Withdrawal of the MFN status is meaningless given the low volume of bilateral trade, and in any case Indian non-tariff barriers have already stunted Pakistani exports to India.While sponsoring terrorist attacks is possible, any ‘surgical strike’, like the last one, would be more of a sham.Heavy artillery or air strikes are also possible.Then there is the much-hyped ‘Cold Start’ type limited military operations option. But the Indians are fully aware of Pakistan’s Full Spectrum deterrence doctrine and it remains to be seen whether they will risk testing it.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has already assured them that Pakistan will surely respond. Significantly, former Indian generals like General DS Hooda, former head of the Northern Command, and in whose tenure the so-called surgical strike was carried out, has suggested caution and hoped for ‘rethinking and reconciliation’ from all sides.Owing to these factors, the only realistic option for India is to seek a sustainable solution to the Kashmir dispute through dialogue with Pakistan and the Kashmiris.As their American allies have learned in Afghanistan, there is no military solution to such problems.
Only then can Kashmir cease to be the most dangerous place in the world.

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PM Imran to launch health card scheme in Rajanpur today

RAJANPUR: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday is all set to launch the health card scheme in Rajanpur. According to Radio Pakistan, “800,000 people of Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh districts will be provided health cards by the end .

According to Radio Pakistan, 800,000 people of Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh districts will be provided health cards by the end of next month.At least 7.2 million residents of the 36 districts of Punjab will also get health cards by the end of 2019, said provincial Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid.
Earlier, PM Imran had launched the Sehat Insaf Card for people living in the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Addressing the ceremony, PM Imran said that having access to free healthcare is perhaps “the biggest blessing from God for a household of lesser means”.

“For such a family, when a member falls ill, it is a bombshell. As it is, the earning member feeds the others with a lot of difficulties.
With someone getting sick, the whole budget gets upset, and they fall deeper into poverty,” he had said.Stating that the health cards will alleviate poverty, PM Imran said, We want to aid and safeguard the poor segments of the society by issuing health cards.Under the programme, Rs 720,000 will be allotted for every household. “At least in their difficult times they can have the consolation that they have the health card,” the prime minister had said, adding that a family can use the card at any hospital in any city and receive treatment worth that amount.

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DG ISPR to address important press conference today

RAWALPINDI: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor is expected to address an “important” press conference at 3 pm on Friday.
The press conference comes at a time when Pakistan and India face heightened tensions after the Pulwama attack in the Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK).
On February 14, at least 49 Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and many others injured when suspected militants targeted a convoy with a car bomb at Awantipora, in what is the worst attack ever on security personnel in the state.The car bomb attack was reportedly claimed by militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad and carried out by a 20-year-old Kashmiri man.

India has accused Pakistan of facilitating the attack as tensions between the two countries escalated and India announced it would withdraw Pakistan’s ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status. However, Pakistan has denied all allegations of terror financing.Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Pakistan Army to respond decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure by India.The premier issued the directives during a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC), which discussed the geo-strategic environment in the region as well as the situation arising after the Pulwama incident.Prior to the NSC meeting, Khan also held a meeting with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. The two dignitaries discussed the national and regional security situation, it was reported.

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Pakistani stoned to death in Jaipur Jail

ISLAMABAD: As law and order situation is spinning out of control in some areas of India with Muslims and Kashmiris being targeted by lynch mobs, a Pakistani prisoner in Jaipur Central Jail was stoned to death by a group of Indian inmates in retaliation …

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