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DDCA row: Gopal Subramanium writes to NSA for officers, BJP brands it ‘cheap publicity’

“AAP is in fact ‘pakhandi’ aam aadmi party (PAAP),” he said in a dig. The more muck Kejriwal will throw at Prime Minister Narendra Mod and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the more he will sink into it, Sharma said.

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New book says Communist China’s first premier Zhou Enlai was probably gay <!– /.block –>
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2016 may be a watershed year in Indo-Pak ties

If the year-end turned out well for India-Pakistan relations, 2016 holds greater prospects.After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore, he is set to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the Swiss city of Davos, on the margins of the World Economic Forum between January 20 and 23.This is the third meeting between the two leaders in less than two months – the first being in Paris. It will take place a few days after the meeting of the foreign secretaries in Islamabad on January 15.Both prime ministers will have another opportunity to meet in Washington in March. US president Barack Obama has invited both the leaders for the Nuclear Security Summit to be held on March 31 and April 1.Experts here believe that the frequent summit meetings are designed to put pressure on bureaucrats to carve out a road map for peace, ahead of Modi’s tete-a tete in Islamabad with Sharif in September, on the sidelines of the SAARC summit.Insiders believe that a combination of factors pushed the Modi government into chalking a new line, cloaked in optics and symbolism.Western nudges, fears of extremism in South Asia, security situation in Kashmir, repeated requests by J&K chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and worries of disruptions to a thaw – all played a part.Also, after repeated setbacks, the US and Russia appear to have concluded that the recent peace attempts between the Afghan government and the Taliban represent the last opportunity for a resolution in Afghanistan.Given Pakistan’s centrality in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, the US has, for weeks, been nudging New Delhi and Islamabad to resume dialogue, last suspended in 2013.US president Barack Obama, in October and November, had hosted both Nawaz Sharif and his army chief Raheel Sharif. The US secured an assurance from both that they were keen on avoiding exacerbation of tensions with India.While welcoming Modi’s diplomatic outreach, the J&K CM recalls that during his October 15 meeting with Modi, he had conveyed to the latter that development and success of his PDP-BJP coalition was linked to peace with Pakistan.”I was assured that an effort was on,” he said.Pakistan’s recent appointment of a former army general, Naseer Khan Janjua, as its national security adviser, has also opened a fresh window for early negotiations on terrorism and cross-border violence.”That the Pakistan NSA represents the views of his military establishment is good because the shadow-boxing is over,” said former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy.The “mother of all coups” – Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar described Modi’s December 25 visit to Lahore – also had an important fall-out.Modi’s optics have succeeded in convincing Pakistani leaders once again that a hardline BJP was more decisive than the Congress.Congress prime ministers, right from Rajiv Gandhi to Narasimha Rao to Manmohan Singh, despite having agreed to settle issues like Siachen and Jammu and Kashmir, backed out because of indecision.Ministry of External Affairs officials concede that what Modi had achieved was something Manmohan had dreamt of for a decade, but was not allowed by his own party – the Congress.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

‘Akhand Bharat’ a cultural concept, not a political one: RSS

Ram Madhav, had earlier said that the Sangh believes that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will one day reunite again not by war but through ?popular goodwill?, the comment came when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover in Lahore for a meeting with Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

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Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries meet on Jan 15 in Islamabad to draw roadmap for dialogue

In a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited Lahore yesterday to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday in person. They held talks and decided to open ways for peace for the “larger good” of the people of the two countries.

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Nawaz Sharif gets birthday hug from Narendra Modi in Lahore; surprise move stuns even PM’s own party

“Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif & wished him on his birthday,” came the first tweet. The twitter handle was @narendramodi.Then came the second. “Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi.”It took the world by surprise. Modi was in Kabul then. But at the end of the two-and-a-half hours in Pakistan, the two sides had given trust a big push. The two leaders agreed to increase people-to-people contact and take talks forward.The prime minister’s choice of the day for the visit was also significant. It was not only Christmas day, it was Nawaz Sharif’s birthday as well. It was also the Rasm-e-Heena (a wedding ceremony) of Sharif’s granddaughter Mehr ul Nisa.In fact, Modi was recreating what his mentor A B Vajpayee did in 1999, that too on the latter’s birthday.In his inimitable style, Modi ended 2015 with a unique diplomatic venture, having dinner in Moscow, breakfast and lunch in Kabul and afternoon Kashmiri noon chai (salt tea) at Sharif’s Raiwand residence.The surprise move even caught Modi’s own party, the BJP, off-guard. Its leaders, however, characterised it as one of PM’s “pleasant surprises”.Though official sources here said that the PM himself took this “instantaneous” decision, the sequence of events over the past one week, makes one believe that a window was being explored behind-the-scene for this highly secretive visit.Pakistan’s high commissioner in India, Abdul Basit, had left for Islamabad last Tuesday. The presence of an Indian industrialist in Lahore, who had arranged a one-to-one meeting between Modi and Sharif on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Kathmandu last year, to attend Sharif’s birthday as well as the wedding of his granddaughter, doesn’t seem a coincidence.After the meeting, Pakistani foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said: “The Modi-Sharif meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere… It has been decided that there will be greater interaction, people-to-people contact, and an environment of goodwill will be created.”Pakistani channels reported that both the prime ministers were in a casual mood during the chai pe charcha, which included vegetables, kheer and special Kashmiri salt tea. Sharif later saw off PM Modi at the airport.Chaudhry said that during the brief meeting, the two PMs decided that as part of a comprehensive dialogue, the foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet in mid-January.Attempting to dispel the notion that the visit was pre-planned, Chaudhry said that the Pakistani PM’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz and National Security Adviser Nasir Janjua too would have attended the meeting if the Indian PM had informed about his visit earlier.He added that the two sides decided to collectively work towards the common goal of fighting poverty and to open new avenues for peace and mutual cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.Special security arrangements were put in place in and around Lahore. Flights were diverted or grounded, hours before the Indian Air Force plane hit the tarmac of the Alama Iqbal Airport, Lahore. Modi had left for Moscow in Air India One, meant for the PM’s foreign travels, he arrived in Kabul and Lahore in an Indian Air Force plane which was escorted by a decoy plane and was also laced with defence systems.Modi is scheduled to visit Pakistan once again, in September 2016, to attend the SAARC summit.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

PM Modi returns home after concluding his three-nation tour

The third and last leg of his three-nation tour took him to Pakistan’s Lahore. The surprise visit came after he wished his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his 66th birthday today. Modi’s 150-minute visit to Pakistan was first by an Indian Prime Minsiter in nearly 12 years. In Pakistan, he held talks with Sharif during which they decided to open ways for peace for the “larger good” of the people of the two countries.

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Modi in Pakistan – PM Modi visit to take Indo-Pak relations to new height: Ram Madhav

Prime Minister Modi landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport today on a surprise visit, where he was received by his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. This is the first time an Indian Prime Minister has visited Pakistan in more than a decade.

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<!– /.block –>Modi in Pakistan: Congress rejects claims that PM Modi’s Pakistan visit was spontaneous <!– /.block –>
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Modi in Pakistan: Congress rejects claims that PM Modi’s Pakistan visit was spontaneous <!– /.block –>
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Modi in Pakistan: Congress rejects claims that PM Modi’s Pakistan visit was spontaneous

Prime Minister Modi landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport today on a surprise visit, where he was received by his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. This is the first time an Indian Prime Minister has visited Pakistan in more than a decade.

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Also ReadIndiaPM Modi returns home after concluding his three-nation tourIndiaGive me proof of any-party activities: Kirti Azad to Amit ShahIndiaFadnavis’ proposal for 10-yr rural service by med grads faces oppositionIndiaWelcome home: Sushma Swaraj confirms three Indian workers abused in Saudi Arabia will be back tomorrow IndiaModi in Pakistan: PM Modi’s favourite dish among other delicacies at Pak PM Sharif’s homeIndiaModi in Pakistan – PM Modi visit to take Indo-Pak relations to new height: Ram Madhav <!– /.block –>

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Modi in Pakistan Live: PM Narendra Modi departs for Lahore to meet Pak PM Nawaz Sharif

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Prime Minister Modi had earlier today extended his wishes to the Pakistani counterpart on his 65th birthday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday departed for Lahore for his surprise visit to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The two Prime Ministers would be meeting at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport.Earlier, confirming the news, the Prime Minister tweeted, “Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif and wished him on his birthday. Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi.”Prime Minister Modi had earlier today extended his wishes to the Pakistani counterpart on his 65th birthday. The two Prime Ministers had last met at the Paris Climate Summit COP21

Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim to retire on 60th birthday, announce his successor

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But the transition will not be sudden. Dawood might hang around for a few years and guide the gang’s successor.

Dawood Ibrahim

Wanted underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, has decided to retire, says a report in Mumbai Mirror.Dawood, who is currently based out of Karachi in Pakistan and enjoys the protection of the Pakistani security agencies, is likely to appoint his successor, even as his health is failing. The frontrunner for the position is his brother Anees Ahmed.Dawood’s right hand man Chhota Shakeel on the other hand, will only retain his position, says the report. The successor’s name will be declared on Saturday when Dawood Ibrahim turns 60.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dawood has decided that his failing health will not allow him to helm D-company’s $10 billion multinational empire of drugs, betting, hawala, and arms smuggling. There has been no official word on the same from D-Company. But Mirror reports say that no one knows the venue of Dawood’s birthday celebration. Those who have been invited have been told that they will be picked up just minutes before.But the transition will not be sudden. Dawood might hang around for a few years and guide the gang’s successor.Dawood now has three brothers living with him – Anees, Humayun and Mustaqeem, after he death of his brother Noorul Haq alias Noora and deportation of Iqbal Kaskar from Dubai. Humayun and Mustaqeem are not very active in the gang any more.Dawood’s two sons Mahrukh and Moin, as well as wife Mehjabeen have advised him to reduce his workload. Mahrukh is married to Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad’s daughter Junaid.Dawood also did not want to leave his huge ill-gotten fortune to become a source of contention and endless dispute among his family members including his brothers, their children and his own, says the report.Indian intelligence agencies and the Mumbai Police are already keeping a tab on the forthcoming birthday celebrations in Karachi. They already have a list of 35 people who are supposed to attend the event. The list includes members of UAE’s royal family and influential diplomats.But the D-Company sources have denied that any such bash is to take place. What we know about is the family’s plans to feed 10000 orphans and distribute clothes to poor. We have no idea about any succession plan,” said a Karachi-based family friend of Dawood to Mirror.Secret parties and revelry is also planned at some South Mumbai locations on Saturday. The Mumbai Police is keeping a watch on these parties.Dawood, who has turned into a ‘devout’ Muslim over the past few years, is likely to visit Mecca after his 60th birthday.

Uddhav Thackeray should visit Pakistan, says Sudheendra Kulkarni

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On October 12, Sena activists had blackened the face of Kulkarni for organising Kasuri’s book launch and termed him as a “Pakistani agent”.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, head of Observer Research Foundation and Hameed Haroon CEO Dawn Media Group during a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday.

PTI
ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni on Wednesday said Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party had opposed former Pakistan minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s visit to Mumbai, should visit the neighbouring country.”If Madhur Bhandarkar (filmmaker) can go to Pakistan then why should there be a ban on Pakistani artists here. I appeal to Uddhav Thackeray to visit Pakistan. Your understanding of Pakistan will change,” Kulkarni said while addressing an event here to launch ‘Karachi Mumbai Friendship Forum’ organised by his Observer Research Foundation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CEO of Dawn media group of Pakistan, Hameed Haroon was present on the occasion.”It is heartening that our two governments have decided to move ahead with a comprehensive bilateral dialogue,” Kulkarni said. He said the 26/11 terror attack mercenaries who came to Mumbai did not represent Pakistan.”In October we organised Kasuri’s book launch despite threats of Shiv Sena. Today’s event is yet another demonstration that Mumbai wants to separate from such ideologies,” he said.On October 12, Sena activists had blackened the face of Kulkarni for organising Kasuri’s book launch and termed him as a “Pakistani agent”. Kulkarni said that a demand should be made to allow Pakistan to reopen its consulate and that India should also reopen its consulate in Karachi.”Next year, we would like to have a Marathi Utsav in Karachi and also a Gujarati Utsav there,” he said.Kulkarni also spoke of a “crowd-sourcing initiative” for people to share experiences of partition.”We want to have a peace boat to Karachi,” the ORF chairman said.Noted filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt spoke of security threats to Pakistani artists in India.

India sees no role for a third party in Indo-Pak talks: Sources

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They were asked what will happen if Pakistani delegation again met Hurriyat separatists or the Kashmiri separatist leaders tried to meet them here in the run-up to the next month’s meeting between the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries.
File Photo
PTI
India is very clear that no third party has any role in Indo-Pak parleys despite Pakistan’s stand that it would continue to speak to Kashmiri separatist leaders whom they term as “voice of Kashmiris”, highly placed government sources said on Monday.”What we have agreed with Pakistan during External Affairs Minister’s visit to Islamabad is Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue. So, it is a bilateral thing and no third party has any role to play in discussions between India and Pakistan,” the sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They were asked what will happen if Pakistani delegation again met Hurriyat separatists or the Kashmiri separatist leaders tried to meet them here in the run-up to the next month’s meeting between the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries. India is also very clear that any attempt to consult Kashmiri separatists will be highly undesirable.The Indian assertion assumes significance as Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit recently said at an event, held after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s Islamabad visit, there was no change in Islamabad’s policy towards Hurriyat leaders as they represented the “voice of Kashmiris” and hoped that the dialogue process will not be halted even if there were roadblocks.”Hurriyat represents aspirations of people of Kashmir. As far as we are concerned, there is no change in our policy towards them,” Basit had said when asked whether Hurriyat leaders will be invited for dinner if the talks between India and Pakistan were held in the national capital. The Pakistan envoy had also asserted “it was time both the neighbours behave as mature nations”.Angered by Pakistan’s consultations with Kashmiri separatists India had in August last year called off talks between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries, telling it bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.In August this year also, the NSA-level talks were called off after New Delhi had made it clear that the then Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz would not be allowed to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders during his visit in New Delhi.

Pakistan apprehends 70 fishermen; seizes 11 boats

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The incident took place this morning and the association came to know about it from other fishermen who were fishing nearby
File Photo

Pakistani Marine Security Agency (MSA) on Sunday apprehended around 70 fishermen and seized their 11 boats from international waters off Jakhau coast of Gujarat, fishermen association said in Ahmedabad. “Pakistani MSA has today apprehended 70 fishermen from international waters off Jakhau,” National Fishworkers Forum secretary Manish Lodhari said. “The fishermen were in 12 boats, but one of the boats somehow caught fire and drowned during the MSA operation. We don’t know the reason on how it happened. Fishermen of the drowned boat were rescued. They have seized 11 boats and are taking the boats and men towards Karachi,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The incident took place this morning and the association came to know about it from other fishermen who were fishing nearby, Lodhari said. The Indian Coast Guard and police have been informed about the incident, he added.

26/11 Mumbai attacks: Accused used fake stamps to attest false identity, says Pakistan witness

During External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit earlier this month, Pakistan assured India of “steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion” of the Mumbai attack trial, something that India has been pressing for long.

Indian national Fahim Ansari, earlier accused of being an LeT member and co-conspirator in the 2008 Mumbai attack case, used fake Pakistani official seals to attest his false identity under which he travelled to Pakistan, a government witness told the anti-terrorism court. “Fake stamps of my department for attestation of the fake computerised national identity card (CNIC) of Hammad Hassan were used,” Sadiq, an employee of the Parliament House, testified in the ATC Islamabad which held the hearing at the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi yesterday, according to a court official. “Subsequently on the same identity, a passport was issued (which was used by Fahim Ansari to travel to Pakistan under the name of Hassan before the attack),” the official said. Sadiq told the court that he would present the public record in this regard during the next hearing. The court adjourned the hearing till December 21.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit earlier this month, Pakistan assured India of “steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion” of the Mumbai attack trial, something that India has been pressing for long. A Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official was also to testify in yesterday’s hearing but could not reach the court due to a delay in his flight from Karachi.According to the FIA, the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) of Karachi airport shows that Ansari, who has been acquitted by Indian courts, had travelled to Pakistan under the name of Hammad Hassan before the Mumbai attacks. Ansari allegedly made a map of targets in Mumbai.In August 2012, India’s Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, the two Indians accused of being co-conspirators in the Mumbai attack. The trial court and the Bombay High Court, too, gave a clean chit to the duo. Ansari allegedly obtained a Pakistani passport on November 1, 2007 by using forged documents. The passport was seized from him after his arrest in Uttar Pradesh in another case on February 10, 2008.The trial against LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Sadiq, Shahid Jamil, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum has been underway since 2009 for their alleged role in the Mumbai attack.Lakhvi, 55, secured bail in December last year and was subsequently released from the Adiala Jail on April 10 after the Lahore High Court set aside the government’s order to detain him under a public security act.

Amid thaw SAS Geelani asks Pakistan to remain firm on Kashmir policy

During her two-day visit on the occasion of “Heart of Asia” Conference, Swaraj brokered new initiative for a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, including Kashmir issue with Pakistani leadership.

A two member Hurriyat delegation of SAS Geelani led All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi on Monday to discuss in detail the implications of the fresh thaw in relations between India and Pakistan during recent Pakistan visit of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.During her two-day visit on the occasion of “Heart of Asia” Conference, Swaraj brokered new initiative for a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, including Kashmir issue with Pakistani leadership.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to According to the Hurriyat spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar, the personal secretary to S A S Geelani, Peer Saifullah and chief organizer APHC (G) Altaf Ahmad Shah conveyed the message to Basit that “Pakistan should continue to maintain consistency and firmness over its Kashmir policy and play an active role in highlighting the human rights violations committed by Indian forces in Jammu & Kashmir on the international forums.”Though Basit discussed the matter threadbare with APHC (G) delegation for one-and-a-half hours, given the previous episode of acrimony with India, he chose to remain tight-lipped so much so that he even committed a goof up by instructing press counsellor, Manzoor Ali Memon to “Keep Silent” on WhatsApp group meant to give information to journalists.Basit discussed the matter threadbare with APHC (G) delegation for one-and-a-half hours, given the previous episode of acrimony with India, he chose to remain tight-lipped so much so that he even committed a goof up by instructing press counsellor, Manzoor Ali Memon to “Keep Silent” on WhatsApp group meant to give information to journalists.

Coast Guard fires DIG who ‘blew up’ Pakistani boat

Loshali was found guilty of all charges during the inquiry that was held in Mumbai.

File photo

Coast Guard deputy inspector general (DIG) B K Loshali, who ‘ordered’ the blowing up of a Pakistani boat on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, 2015, has been dismissed from service. “Court martial was carried out on Saturday evening as per the outcome of the Board of Inquiry that went on for over three months,” said an officer. Loshali was found guilty of all charges during the inquiry that was held in Mumbai. A year ago, during New Year night, a Pakistani fishing boat with four occupants, suspected to be having terror links, went up in flames. This led to a diplomatic row between India and Pakistan, with India maintaining that the boat had suspected terrorists and they themselves blew up the boat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> But on February 15, Loshali, while addressing officers of the Coast Guard and a private company, claimed that he ordered that the boat be destroyed. “I was there at Gandhinagar, and I told at night, ‘blow the boat off. We don’t want to serve them biryani'”, he said. This put India in an embarrassing spot. Soon after, the defence ministry removed him from the position of Chief of Staff, North West, and attached him to the force’s Gandhinagar-based regional headquarters.

Pak boat row: Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali sacked for contradicting govt’s stand

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the “circumstantial evidence” indicated that the Pakistani boat had suspected terror links
File Image
PTI
Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali has been sacked following a Board of Inquiry over his comments that contradicted the government’s stand on the sinking of a Pakistan fishing boat last year.”He was dismissed from services after the Board of Inquiry found him guilty of all the charges on Saturday. The inquiry was conducted by a panel of senior DIG (Deputy Inspector General) rank officers for over three months,” said a senior Coast Guard official. On eve the of New Year last year, a Pakistani fishing boat said to be carrying explosives was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard off the coast of Gujarat, but the vessel exploded and caught fire before sinking along with four occupants.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the “circumstantial evidence” indicated that the Pakistani boat had suspected terror links. Dismissing claims that the occupants of boat were smugglers, the Minister had said he would classify them as “suspected or possible terrorists” since they had committed suicide after being intercepted and added that they were in touch with Pakistani maritime officials, “army and international contacts”.While the government has claimed that the Pakistani boat had been set on fire by its crew, Loshali told an audience of Coast Guard and Larsen & Toubro officials on February 15 that he had ordered to blow off the boat, which was a major embarrassment for the government as well as the Coast Guard. On “31st December night. I was there at Gandhinagar, and I told at night, blow the boat off. We don’t want to serve them biryani,” Loshali had said.Following this, the government had removed Loshali from the position of Chief of Staff, North West and attached him to the force’s Gandhinagar-based regional headquarters. A Board of Inquiry at Mumbai was also constituted to look into the matter, which probed the matter for over three months and court martialed him.

Most defence organisations have accepted OROP, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

As approved by the government in September, the OROP will be implemented from July 2014 and arrears alone would cost the exchequer about Rs 10,000-12,000 crore.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said government’s OROP (One Rank One Pension) formula for retired defence personnel has been accepted by most associations and only a small section had some issues on it.”The government has already announced its decision. Most personnel in their (defence) organisations have accepted that. If one faction or the other have reservations, I think it’s for all of you to sit together and decide …within the organisation itself. The mainstream organisations personally met me and thanked the government that their long-standing demand has been accepted,” he said.The Minister was responding to a question on the implementation of OROP at ‘Aaj Tak Agenda’ programme.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As approved by the government in September, the OROP will be implemented from July 2014 and arrears alone would cost the exchequer about Rs 10,000-12,000 crore.Replying questions on the government’s recent policy initiatives with regard to Pakistan, Jaitley said there were no fundamental changes and effort has been to resolve differences through talks. India’s foreign policy approach, the Minister said, “has always been of resolving disputes by way of talks but the environment, in which you want to talk, the responsibility (of it) lies with Pakistan as well.”So it depends on the environment and conditions. And when the conditions improve, it improves the conditions to talk as well. And government’s policy on the matter, being ongoing for so many years, is appropriate. We should hope that the conditions will remain good and the talks will keep going.”Following the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Paris, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Islamabad for talks. The official level talks are likely to continue.

Intolerance row: Return of awards by intellectuals ‘beauty of democracy’, says PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti

The strength of India is in its democracy which is being misplayed, said Mehbooba.

PDP President Mehbooba Mufti

dna Research & Archives
Amid the intolerance debate, BJP’s alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, on Saturday, said return of awards by intellectuals was not manufactured but the “beauty of democracy”.”We should be proud of Indian democracy that we can register our protest like this as well,” she said talking at the ‘Aaj Tak Agenda’.The PDP leader also said that India is a unique nation with unity in diversity as its core strength and some “fringe elements, who combine pseudo-Hinduism with nationalism”, lead to the problem.Asked about the charge levelled by certain quarters that the return of awards was “manufactured” and not “spontaneous”, she said, “I don’t think so. The award winners are intelligent and can’t be swayed by anyone.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is a message for everyone that intolerance will not yield anything beneficial for the country and that too when “we want to move on a path of progress,” she said.Terming the entire debate on which meat to eat and not to eat as “sickening”, she said, adding, “Here we talk about this even when the prices of dal have gone up”.”All this discourse is sickening. All religions have contributed to India’s growth where Hinduism has taught us to be tolerant, Islam has taught us equality and Christianity shows us compassion,” she said.Speaking about ISIS, she said the banned terror group was not a threat to Kashmir and the waving of ISIS or Pakistani flags in the Valley was nothing put a publicity stunt aimed at grabbing media attention.”ISIS does not represent Islam, they are killing Muslims, preaching that atrocities be committed. Islam in Kashmir is different and teaches us to live with neighbours in peace. ISIS will never be a threat to Kashmir,” she said.She asked the media not to give publicity to such elements and recalled an incident of August 15. “There were nearly 20-25,000 people at the venue. We took a conscious decision of keep private television channels out of the venue.””We were apprehensive that one of the TV channels will pass on a Pakistani flag or an ISIS flag to someone in the audience and then the focus will shift from the function and this visual will be repeated again and again.”This would have followed by various debates and at the end we would have to hear that the nation wants to know…” she said as the audience in the hall burst into peals of laughter.

ISIS flag hoisting in Kashmir bid to portray contradictory picture: CRPF

CRPF Special DG Bhagat said radicalisation of Kashmiri youths was a “critical issue” which posed much wider threat.

ISIS Flag waved in the Valley

The CRPF on Friday said the incidents of hoisting of ISIS and Pakistani flags in parts of Kashmir were an attempt to portray a contradictory picture of patriotic Kashmiris, and described the radicalisation of youths as a “critical issue”.”There are reported incidents of waving of Pakistani and ISIS flags, but I would rather like to submit that these could just be an attempt by some people, perhaps, to sway it otherwise. “Otherwise, I can always say the people of Kashmir are as patriotic and as heroic as anybody else from the country can be,” CRPF Special DG S K Bhagat told reporters here. Bhagat said radicalisation of Kashmiri youths was a “critical issue” which posed much wider threat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The situation of the Valley is a bit complex. There are foreign militants and then there are militants who get the local support. So in that situation, especially, there is an attempt from across the border to put in militants who could disrupt the situation which is day-by-day improving,” he said. “One thing which I think is very very important is that apart from the challenge of militancy, the radicalisation of youths becomes a critical issue. Perhaps this radicalisation poses a much wider and a much diverse threat viz-a-viz the militancy situation,” he said.The CRPF Special DG, however, said that radicalisation was not religion specific. “That is not the issue. We are not hinting at religion as such because that interpretation is wrong,” he said. He said that radicalised youths could be some people who could be “misguided” but there was a need to look into what the people at large want.”They want a good life, they want a secure life. They want a life in which they can prosper and their aspirations can be met. They can have a grand life. They can actualise what they aspire for.”So, those issues are very important and radicalisation is one thing that is a challenge not only for the country…but has international dimensions also,” Bhagat said. Bhagat said the state government faces many challenges in terms of development, education, better networking facilities and also in terms of meeting the aspirations of the people. “The more it is able to do, the better the situation shall be…it is only through the process of development, education, outreach and other things that you are able to take care of these issues which are coming up in large numbers,” the senior CRPF officer said.He said nobody should think the security forces feel that the citizens of Kashmir were different from the citizens from the rest of the country.”That is just not the issue. Not just the CRPF, the Army, the BSF have taken a sizeable number of people from here into the forces, including some ex-militants also, but there has been no complaint. When we have no complaints from them, including the ex-militants, why should we have complaints from the citizens? he asked.The officer was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a passing-out parade of CRPF where 648 new recruits joined the force.

Mumbai Court pardons David Headley, makes him approver in 26/11 case

From the order of the US court, which convicted Headley for his role in 26/11 conspiracy, it can be seen that the plan could not have reached its logical end without his involvement, the judge noted, saying this was one of the aspects to be considered while tendering pardon to Headley.

David Headley

A Mumbai court on Thursday pardoned Pakistani-American LeT operative David Headley, who had surveyed targets for the 26/11 attacks, and made him an approver in the case, a move that may unravel the conspiracy behind the brazen terror assault.”Accused David Headley is tendered pardon as per section 307 of Code of Criminal Procedure….Headley would be the prosecution witnesses in the case,” said the judge G A Sanap. Headley will depose through video conference on February 8. The court added that pardon was being granted on the condition that he would reveal “every fact”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He shall reveal all true facts leading to the conspiracy of terror attacks and also details of all the co-accused involved in this matter and crimes committed in India by him and others as per his knowledge,” the judge said. “If (the prosecution’s) application for pardon (for Headley) is rejected, it will be difficult to bring on record the direct and best evidence in the case and hence I am inclined to accept the application,” the judge said.From the order of the US court, which convicted Headley for his role in 26/11 conspiracy, it can be seen that the plan could not have reached its logical end without his involvement, the judge noted, saying this was one of the aspects to be considered while tendering pardon to Headley. The conspiracy was hatched outside the country and LeT operative and 26/11 key plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who is currently facing trial before this court, was Headley’s co-conspirator, but there is no direct evidence (against Jundal), the court noted.”In this case fortunately for prosecution Headley expressed his desire to unfold the larger conspiracy of 26/11 terror attacks hatched outside India. The evidence of co-conspirator like Headley could be of immense importance in case of prosecution. It is very difficult to get such direct evidence and firsthand account of criminal conspiracy,” the judge noted. After hearing the conditions set by the court, Headley, who is undergoing a 35 years prison sentence in the US and who appeared through a video-link from an undisclosed location, said, “Yes, I agree to the conditions.”Earlier in the evening, Headley told the sessions court that he was ready to depose if given pardon. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court that the prosecution was agreeable to Headley’s offer.”I have received the charging document filed against me in this court. It charges me with same conduct for which I was charged in the US. I had pleaded guilty to the charges in the US and I admitted that I was participant in these charges,” Headley said. “I accepted responsibility for my role in those offences in my plea agreement (in US). I also agreed to make myself available as a witness in this court. I appear here ready to answer questions regarding these events if I receive a pardon from this court,” he said.Mark Tellitocci, India Desk officer with the Internal affairs office of Department of Justice of the US Government, N K Mishra, Minister (Personal and Community Affairs) in the Indian Embassy at Washington DC, and JS Parmar, Attache (Community Affairs) in the Indian Embassy also appeared in the court through video link from Washington.Headley, his lawyers Robert Seer and John Tyse, Sarah W, Assistant Trial Attorney with Department of Justice, and FBI agent Raymundo Nagera appeared from an ‘undisclosed location’. Jundal was produced through video link from the Arthur Road jail here. Nikam identified Headley for the court. “The gentleman is David Headley,” he said.The judge Sanap then introduced himself to Headley and asked if he had received the copy of summons. “You can see my name on summons, the case number is also mentioned in the summons,” the judge said. When the court sought to know the residential address of Headly, Sarah intervened and said that he cannot provide his address.The judge then proceeded to read out the charges against him and said, “I have taken your custody and I have taken cognisance of the offences (against) you.” When the judge asked if he had been threatened or pressured by any person for giving evidence in the court, Headley replied in the negative. “I am obliged to testify because of my plea agreement, I am testifying under the pressure of the agreement,” said Headley, who was wearing his prison dress. On November 18, the court had said that Headley must be produced through video conference on December 10 as it allowed the Mumbai police’s plea to make him an accused. The police had said he should be tried by the Mumbai court along with Jundal.Headley reportedly visited India five times between 2006 and 2008, drew maps, took video footage and scouted several targets for the attacks including the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House. His reconnaissance provided vital information to the 10 LeT terrorists and their handlers, who launched the attack on November 26, 2008, in which 166 people were killed, including many foreigners. The Mumbai police, in their application to make him an accused, had said that as per the judgement passed by the US court, it was clear that Headley was a member of LeT and had played an active role in the conspiracy of the attack.Headley had committed the offences of conspiring with LeT for committing illegal acts in India, waging war against the government of India and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the police said.He has also been accused of intentionally aiding and abetting the LeT in Pakistan for committing illegal acts in Mumbai, mischief by fire with intent to destroy Hotel Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House, offences under Explosives Act and Explosives Substances Act as also under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.Co-conspirator Abu Jundal, a native of Beed district of Maharashtra, was deported from Saudi Arabia in June 2012. As per the charge sheet, after fleeing Maharashtra, Jundal entered Bangladesh in May 2006, from where he went to Pakistan with the help of ISI. He is also accused of involvement in Aurangabad arms haul case, 2010 German Bakery blast case in Pune, and Nashik police academy attack conspiracy case.In the 26/11 case, the lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab was sentenced to death by the Mumbai court and was executed on November 21, 2012.

Pakistan and Lashkar terror matrix in Jammu and Kashmir exposed again

Indian Army had foiled an infiltration bid in Poonch-Saujian area near Makhiari Nala on December 3 and killed three top militants.

The items recovered from the militants; (inset) A food packet shows Pakistani marking proving that it was produced there

Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba’s role in exporting terror has been exposed after the Indian army recovered Jamat-ud-Dawa’s thermal suits and Pakistan made items from the three infiltrators who were gunned down by troops on the Line of Control (LoC) in Saujian area of Poonch sector.Indian Army had foiled an infiltration bid in Poonch-Saujian area near Makhiari Nala on December 3 and killed three top militants. The operation was launched in the evening hours on December 3 when the infiltration bid was detected by surveillance devices and the sentries guarding the area of operation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The area was cordoned off and search operations carried on till next day morning. On 4 December, army recovered a huge quantity of arms, ammunitions and other war likes stores. Many Pakistan manufactured/ origin items were also recovered (from slain ultras”, said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command Headquarters.The items recovered from three slain militants included two AK-47 rifles, one AK-56 rifle, one long barrel rifle one (Sniper), two pistols, one UBGL, 2005 rounds of AK-47 amounation, four UBGL grenade, 20 rounds of Pistol, five sniper rounds.What however has exposed Pakistan was the recovery of thermal suits of Jamat-ud-Dawa, the fountainhead of Lashkar-e-Taiba led by Mumbai terror mastermind Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, and Pakistani made food items used by infiltrators to sustain during infiltration.The other items include one sleeping bag 01, six socks, three blankets, 20 fuel tablets, six biscuit packets, two oil bottles,13 dry fruit packets, 14 assorted toffies, three thermal trousers, one thermal t shirt, one knee cap. Besides, roties pickle, water bottles, medicines and lip balm were also recovered.”The recovery of Pakistani items including Jamat-ud-dawa clothing bears the testimony of Pakistan’s involvement in exporting terror and sending in Lashkar militants to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir,” said an army officer.

India, Pakistan to resume dialogue; Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen among issues to be discussed

The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and Pakistan who had recently met in Bangkok, will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries

Reuters
Breaking the logjam in their ties, India and Pakistan on Wednesday announced that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that will include peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir.Capping a series of positive developments since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Paris only ten days ago, it was announced here that the Foreign Secretaries will meet to decide the modalities and schedule of the dialogue. Pakistan has assured India of “steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion” of the Mumbai attack trial, something that India has been pressing for long.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and Pakistan who had recently met in Bangkok, will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries. The joint statement came after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Sharif and later his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz here on the concluding day of her two-day visit for attending a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.In another significant step towards betterment of ties, Modi will visit Pakistan to attend the SAARC summit likely to be held in September. The “comprehensive bilateral dialogue” will also include Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Baragge/Tulbul Navigation Project, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-Terrorism, Narcotics Control, Humanitarian Issues, People-to-People exchanges and religious tourism.The joint statement condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate it. Swaraj and Aziz noted the successful talks on terrorism and security-related issues in Bangkok by the two NSAs and decided that the NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism. At a joint press conference with Aziz, Swaraj said that she had a “very good meeting” with both Aziz and Sharif. She said we have decided to start afresh the dialogue, which was going on under the composite dialogue earlier and then in the name of resumed dialogue, and call it Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD).”The CBD will have all the pillars of Composite Dialogue and some additional components. How this dialogue process should be taken forward will be decided in a meeting between our Foreign Secretaries, who will work on scheduling and modalities of the process.”Scheduling means which all pillars, when, what modalities and who all Secretaries will hold it,” Swaraj said adding “It will have additional components apart from those in the composite dialogue.”Earlier, speaking at the ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference on Afghanistan, Swaraj extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan, saying it was time the two countries displayed “maturity and self-confidence” to do business with each other and offered to move cooperation at a pace Pakistan is comfortable with.”Let me take this opportunity to extend our hand to Pakistan as well. It is time that we display the maturity and self-confidence to do business with each other and strengthen regional trade and cooperation. The entire world is waiting and rooting for a change. Let us not disappoint them.”For its part, India is prepared to move our cooperation at a pace which Pakistan is comfortable with. But today, let us at least resolve to help Afghanistan – in the best traditions of good neighbourliness – through more effective transit arrangements,” she said.Swaraj, who was accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan and envoy to Afghanistan Amar Sinha, said terrorism in that country has grown in both intensity and scope in the last few months and that India was ready to work with the Afghan government to strengthen its defensive capability.Swaraj will make a detail statement on her Pakistan visit in Parliament tomorrow. Asked what was the “big change” for India to commence a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, sources said the NSA-level meeting to address terror-related issues went off constructively and that was a big change.They said Pakistani side showed that they understand India’s concerns over the Mumbai attacks trial on which the Pakistani side assured India of the steps to expedite the judicial process. On the Swaraj-Aziz meeting, the sources said some amount of time was spent on the Mumbai trial case.On renaming the dialogue process, they said, “the sense was that we could re-engage but there are other issues like fishermen and religious tourism which needed to be discussed…” The sources said the dialogue process is not disowning the past but taking forward the broad-based dialogue. “We wanted more than the existing subset in the composite dialogue that is why it was renamed,” the sources said.They said the Bangkok meeting was a good meeting and the issues were complex but were not dealt in an accusatory manner but in a constructive way. Swaraj’s meeting with Sharif was multi-lingual where Urdu, Hindustani and Punjabi were used for the conversation.She also met Sharif’s family which included four generations of his family — his mother, wife, daughter and granddaughter. The effort was to unblock ties and move forward, the sources said.In her meeting with Aziz, Swaraj discussed a number of issues with the Pakistani side showing an understanding to India’s concerns over terror. Asked about the progress in ties, the sources said this goes back to Paris where the two Prime Ministers desired to find a way to go forward and India saw the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference as a good opportunity and to convince Pakistan to have NSAs meeting before the External Affairs Minister comes here.

US aid to Pakistan will end up being used against India, warns ex-diplomat Husain Haqqani

As the US is preparing to sell F-16s fighter jets to Pakistan, the country’s former top diplomat, Haqqani, described the sale of such military hardware as an ‘appeasement policy towards the Pakistani military’.

Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani

Image Courtesy: Twitter
Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani has warned Washington that its aid to Islamabad will ‘end up being used against India and not against terrorists’.As the US is preparing to sell F-16s fighter jets to Pakistan, the country’s former top diplomat, Haqqani, described the sale of such military hardware as an ‘appeasement policy towards the Pakistani military.’In a prepared remark submitted ahead of a Congressional hearing on ‘Civil Nuclear Cooperation with Pakistan: Prospects and Consequences to the Terrorism, Non-proliferation, and Trade Sub-committee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs’, Haqqani said Pakistan’s failure to tackle its jihadist challenge is ‘not the result of a lack of arms’, but a reflection of an ‘absence of will’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>South Asia terrorism expert Daniel Markey also told American lawmakers that pursuing a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan is not only ‘unrealistic, poorly timed, and unwise’, but also counter-productive to American national interests in the near term.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reaches Islamabad

Upon her arrival in Islamabad, Swaraj said that the Heart of Asia conference holds immense importance.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday reached Islamabad to attend a multilateral conference, during which she will hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz and meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation at the ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday. In Islamabad, she will hold talks with Aziz and call on the Pakistani Prime Minister.Upon her arrival in Islamabad, Swaraj said that the Heart of Asia conference holds immense importance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Heart of Asia conference is important because its associated with Afghanistan, that is why I came specially to attend this. I will meet Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif and my counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Efforts will be on to improve relations,” Swaraj said.Aziz had said on Monday that the deadlock in Indo-Pak ties had eased to some extent and the focus of the meeting would be on the resumption of the stalled composite dialogue process.Swaraj’s visit comes three days after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement.

Cricket in Dubai, talks in Bangkok, firing at LoC: JD(U) on NSA-level talks

“The NSA of Pakistan Sartaz Ajiz has said that they will have talks without discussing the Kashmir issue. We want to raise this issue in the Parliament today whether the Kashmir issue was raised in the NSA-level talks yesterday,” he added.

Janata Dal(United) leader KC Tyagi on Monday said the country has been betrayed by the government with regard to the secret National Security Advisor(NSA) level meeting held in Bangkok at a time when innocent civilians and soldiers are being killed along the Line of Control and the International Border by Pakistani troops.”Cricket match is taking place in Dubai, talks are taking place in Bangkok, and firing is taking place across border. It seems the country is being betrayed,” Tyagi told ANI.”The NSA of Pakistan Sartaz Ajiz has said that they will have talks without discussing the Kashmir issue. We want to raise this issue in the Parliament whether the Kashmir issue was raised in the NSA-level talks on Sunday,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Sunday, it was revealed that the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan had held a secret meeting in Bangkok and discussed a range of issues, including peace and security, terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir.According to media reports, the meeting was agreed upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif when they met in Paris last week on the sidelines of COP-21, and Bangkok was chosen as the most convenient location for both sides to have the discussions.A joint statement issued later said that the foreign secretaries of both countries accompanied the NSAs. The statement said the discussions “covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, other issues including tranquillity over the Line of Control.”The discussions reportedly lasted for over four hours and that all subjects having a security dimension, including Jammu and Kashmir, were raised and talked about.”It was agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement,” the joint statement.It is also being reported, but yet to be confirmed, that Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is all set to travel to Pakistan on Tuesday for an Afghanistan-related conference.

EAM Sushma Swaraj to visit Pakistan for multilateral conference tomorrow, to hold talks with Sartaj Aziz

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Islamabad on Tuesday on a two-day visit during which she will hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz and attend a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.

AFP
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Islamabad on Tuesday on a two-day visit during which she will hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz and attend a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.”External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to lead Indian delegation for ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on December 9 in Islamabad,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweetedSwaraj’s visit comes two days after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan on Sunday in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The External Affairs Minister will call on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and meet his Adviser on Foreign Affairs Aziz on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia’ regional conference on Afghanistan on Wednesday.Her visit comes three years after former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna travelled to Islamabad in 2012 when the countries also inked a visa liberalisation pact.During her visit, Swaraj will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was also present during the four-hour-long meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Janjua in the Thai capital.The joint statement after the meeting of NSAs said the talks were held pursuant to a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the climate meet in Paris, rejecting the version given by the Indian side then that it was a mere “exchange of courtesies” although Sharif had told Pakistani media that he had a “good meeting” and “doors of dialogue should open”.Before Paris, Modi and Sharif had held bilateral meeting in Russian city of Ufa where they decided that their NSAs would meet to discuss all “terror-related” issues.However, Pakistan had called-off Aziz’ visit after New Delhi had made it clear that he would not be allowed to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders in the Indian capital.

Indo-Pak NSA talks: Moderates rejoice, hardliners sulk

Moderate Hurriyat Conference has gone gaga over the resumption of Indo-Pak NSA level talks even as the hardliners are in no mood to relent on their demand of treating Kashmir as “core issue” and resolving it according to the aspirations of its people.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan at a meeting in Bangkok.

PTI
Moderate Hurriyat Conference has gone gaga over the resumption of Indo-Pak NSA level talks even as the hardliners are in no mood to relent on their demand of treating Kashmir as “core issue” and resolving it according to the aspirations of its people.”It is a good step that Indian and Pakistan are talking again.. We always feel that there is no other option for the two countries but to engage with each other. We are happy that apart from other issues they have discussed Jammu and Kashmir,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mirwaiz, who is also the chief cleric of Kashmir, noted that Kashmir issue needs to be on the agenda of the talks between the two countries. “We are not averse to both countries discussing other issues. But Kashmir has to be on the agenda,” he said.Moderate Hurriyat leader hoped that Indo-Pak leaders would involve Kashmiris in the process in the later stage as well. “It is a thaw. I am sure once talks move forward they will take Kashmiris on board. We are happy that both the countries have realized Kashmir cannot be put under back burner,” he said.Hurriyat hawks however were not amused by the NSA level talks saying unless core issue of Kashmir is resolved there cannot be friendly ties between India and Pakistan.”We are not opposing talks but we want that the core issue of Kashmir to be addressed. Unless you address this core issue, the relations between the two countries cannot be good. People of Kashmir, who are the basic party to the dispute, needs to be involved. Unless they are taken on board talks cannot yield any result “, Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani led hard-line faction of Hurriyat Conference, told dna.Welcoming the talks, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the two countries should take the initiative to the logical conclusion. “It is a good beginning. The two countries should take it to the logical conclusion”, said Mehboob Beg, chief spokesman of PDP.Premier opposition party National Conference (NC) too welcomed the initiative hoping that there will be structured dialogue to solve all issues. “We want that both countries should talk. And they should talk on all issues”, said Junaid Mattu, spokesman of National ConferenceFormer chief minister and NC working president Omar Abdullah took to twitter to welcome the move. “Clearly Paris was more than the officially termed courtesy meeting. Good to see India & Pakistan resume the dialogue process… Now the challenge is to make sure the Indo-Pak dialogue process is ring-fenced from incidents designed specifically to derail it,” he tweeted

Indo-Pak NSA talks: Congress dubs it a ‘grand betrayal’ by Modi govt; BJP hails meeting

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan at a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday.

PTI
Congress on Sunday termed the secret meeting of National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok as a “grand betrayal” of the Modi government and reflection of “flip-flops” over its Pakistan policy.”It’s a grand betrayal. It’s a betrayal of everything that this government has ostensibly, publicly espoused,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said. Asked about the meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Janjua in Bangkok, Tewari said this is absolutely “crowning glory” after two sides had engaged in mutual blame game earlier resulting in cancellation of talks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If you look at the track record of this government over the past 18 months, their Pakistan policy has been an extravaganza, a somersault, flip-flops and 180-degree U-turns and this is absolutely the crowning glory,” he said.After the verbal calisthenics that one witnessed between the foreign minister and the then NSA of Pakistan Sartaz Aziz, now suddenly without any provocation, without explaining to the country as to what has changed between September, 2015 and December 2015, the government decides to re-engage and that too in Bangkok, he said.Talks underway (PTI)Tewari said if the talks were so essential, government should have explained the rationale behind it and held it either in New Delhi or Islamabad. “If you felt that engagement with Pakistan is so essential, then the correct way to do it would be to stand up, explain the rationale and say that we have been making mistake after mistake in calling off the engagement with Pakistan and therefore, we are now going to persist with the broad spectrum engagement ,” he said.On its part, BJP supported the NSA talks saying that it was in the spirit of Ufa statement by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif. “The spirit of the Ufa statement is exactly what we are seeing in play here…we have seen that the last two opportunities have not been translated into direct talks. The first between the foreign secretaries and the second one being just after Ufa between the NSAs, that got cancelled out. So, I think we need to see it in that context,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said. Kohli said the talks were held in Bangkok to avoid the media attention and the excitement that Indo-Pak relationship generates. “Indo-Pak relationship is subject to an ultra-microscopic approach in terms of the excitement it generates within a whole segment, including the media so perhaps that may be a reason,” he said.Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the talks, saying holding them away from media glare can lead to “quiet progress”. “Good to see India and Pakistan resume the dialogue process,” Omar wrote on microblogging site twitter. “Perhaps this is the way quiet progress will be made away from each other’s capitals and the glare of media driven expectations,” he tweeted.

Crime Branch identifies four more suspects

It is worth mentioning that Indian citizens are required to declare criminal cases against them, a move which can be the deciding factor for the issuance of passport.

The Crime Branch of Delhi Police will most likely scrutinise passport issuing procedures in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri area after it came to the fore that Kaifaitullah Khan, accused of sending state secrets to a Pakistani intelligence operative, had been issued a passport by the authorities there.It is worth mentioning that Indian citizens are required to declare criminal cases against them, a move which can be the deciding factor for the issuance of passport. The Crime Branch of Delhi Police, following the arrest of Kaifaitullah Khan had said that the accused had a criminal background and had been charged previously as well. It it yet to be known how Kaifaitullah managed to get a passport as well as the year in which the travel document was issued as it is believed that he began to work for the PIO from 2013, the year he visited Pakistan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Moreover, a ‘recommendation letter’ written by a separatist leader of Rajouri area in favour of Kaifaitullah had also been recovered from the accused’s possession, as claimed by police sources. The letter, which many separatist leaders write, when approached by people to do so, is more like a request made to the Pakistan High Commission to grant visa to the concerned person for travelling to Pakistan.The separatist leader in this case, has been identified as Sharief Sartaj, of the Freedom Movement group, aligned with Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party. While speaking to dna Sharief said, “We only make a formal request to the authorities in Pakistan for a visa when people approach us and we do not entertain anyone who does not posses a passport. Generally those who have been issued a passport are cleared by state agencies. It is their job to screen the people applying for passport, how would we know who is a criminal and who is not”.Meanwhile, intelligence sources said that Crime Branch had detained a retired BSF officer in Rajouri area for questioning but was later released. The Crime Branch official denied that they had detained anyone on Wednesday but told dna that at least 4-5 suspects will be questioned in the coming week. On Sunday, the Crime Branch arrested Abdul Rasheed, a head constable with the BSF who is being accused of procuring information about security development and sending it to Kaifaitullah who was arrested Thursday last week. While Rasheed was arrested from J&K, Kaifaitullah was taken into custody from Delhi while he was on his way to Bhopal to attend a religious gathering. Police came he had gone there to collect information and scout for recruits. His family has denied the accusations calling them baseless.

Pakistan dubs Delhi cops claim of busting ISI network as ‘baseless’

One of the accused Kafaitullah Khan, a resident of J&K, allegedly had connections with an official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah

Image courtesy: ANI
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah on Thursday termed the Delhi Police claim to have busted a Pakistani spy network of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) ‘baseless and unfounded’. “We have seen media reports. Indian authorities have not approached us in this regard. We reject allegations against the High Commission and our premier intelligence agency. They are baseless and unfounded. Such allegations levelled against our intelligence agency in the past have proved to be false”,he said.Two espionage rackets were busted last week with arrests of five people from Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Kolkata. One of the men caught was suspected to be a handler from Pakistan’s ISI, while the other was a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, claimed the Delhi police.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the accused Kafaitullah Khan, a resident of J&K, allegedly had connections with an official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

Imran Khan brands Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif ‘cowards’ for allegedly holding secret meeting

Nawaz Sharif and Modi held a secret meeting. Leaders do not need to hold meetings in secret. In fact Sharif is afraid of the (Pakistani) establishment and Modi of extremists in India.

Reuters
Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said that Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif had acted “cowardly” by holding a “secret” meeting at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu last year which was denied by the Pakistan government. “A leader shows courage. He is not afraid of any one.Nawaz Sharif and Modi held a secret meeting. Leaders do not need to hold meetings in secret. In fact Sharif is afraid of the (Pakistani) establishment and Modi of extremists in India. That is why they held a meeting in secret,” Pakistan Tehreek- i-Insaf chief Khan said adding that by doing so the leaders had acted “cowardly” and lost credibility.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing a press conference, Khan also termed both Sharif and Modi as “vision-less” leaders. Reacting sharply to Khan’s statement, Sharif’s spokesman Musaddaq Malik said, “Imran Khan should be ashamed of himself for levelling baseless allegations against Mr Sharif,” adding that no such meeting ever took place.”Modi got a wonderful opportunity to fight poverty but he chose some other path which is unfortunate,” Khan said adding leaders sell their vision to their people.He further said India and Pakistan hold immense potential to benefit from bilateral trade, citing the example of the European Union where the concept of borders is insignificant.He said the subcontinent is one of the world’s poorest regions so the leaders need to re-prioritise their priorities. “Through improved trade relations between Pakistan and India, and by implementing policies that aim to end poverty and resolve disputes like the Kashmir issue, our leaders can create peace in both countries. Few extremists who resist will always resist and need to be marginalised through public opinion,” Khan said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj likely to visit Pakistan next week

A Foreign Office (FO) official said that Pakistan has invited the Foreign Ministers of different countries including India for the meeting. “We hope for maximum participation, though some of the countries like India so far have not confirmed high-level participation,” he said on condition of anonymity.

Sushma Swaraj
File Photo

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to visit Pakistan next week for a regional conference on Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said on Thursday.Pakistan is co-hosting a ministerial-level conference on December 9 to discuss regional cooperation on Afghanistan and officials of about 27 countries are expected to attend it.A Foreign Office (FO) official said that Pakistan has invited the Foreign Ministers of different countries including India for the meeting. “We hope for maximum participation, though some of the countries like India so far have not confirmed high-level participation,” he said on condition of anonymity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another FO official said there was “greater possibility” that Swaraj would come to Pakistan for the regional conference after the brief interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart in Paris on the sidelines of the UN climate summit. According to Dawn, a senior Pakistani official said that Swaraj was “highly likely” to attend the meeting.The Express Tribune quoted officials at Pakistan’s Foreign Office and an Indian diplomat that “Swaraj will most likely attend the conference following this week’s unscheduled meeting between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India in Paris”.Modi and Sharif had a brief meeting during which they warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat, with the Indian side describing the encounter as a “brief exchange of courtesies” but Pakistanis terming it as a “good” meeting.Swaraj’s possible visit may also indicate breaking of impasse created in Indo-Pak ties after the cancellation of a meeting between the NSAs of the two countries in August amid mutual blame game.

Retired BSF Personnel held by Crime Branch in Rajouri

The Crime Branch last week had arrested a BSF head constable and a Jammu and Kashmir based lab assistant for allegedly spying for a Pakistani Intelligence Operative.

In what is turning out to be a major controversy for the Border Security Force, a retired inspector was taken into custody, by the Crime Branch of Delhi police on Wednesday evening from Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir in connection to the alleged espionage network prevalent in country’s security forces. Both the accused were taken into custody by a Crime Branch team currently camping in Rajouri area of Jammu and Kashmir.The Crime Branch last week had arrested a BSF head constable and a Jammu and Kashmir based lab assistant for allegedly spying for a Pakistani Intelligence Operative. The latest police action also is part of the investigation which was initiated after Intelligence agencies informed the Crime Branch of the prevalent espionage network.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to intelligence sources, the retired inspector of the BSF was identified as Abdul Aziz. Abdul is a resident of Dhani Dhar area of Rajouri district which falls under Kaapa Kha police station. Abdul, according to officials, had retired from the BSF 2-3 years ago and had been staying in his village since then. His name allegedly cropped up during questioning of the two persons arrested by Delhi police last week. Among the arrest persons are BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed and the civilian Kaifaitullah Khan, both of whom belong to Rajouri area in J&K.The arrested persons are accused of passing secret information about security deployment along the Line of Control (LoC) to their PIO handler in Pakistan identified as one Faizal. Crime Branch of Delhi police told dna that Kaifaitullah had been forced to develop sources in the Indian armed forces so that he could procure secret information about army movement. Kaifaithullah had then approached his cousin Rasheed and some other officers of the armed forces who now are accused of providing information to Pakistani intelligence agencies. Sources told dna that the information was passed through WhatsApp but the conversations and the documents exchanged between the PIO and the accused were being deleted regularly.According to police, names of at least 4-5 army-men have cropped up during the questioning of the arrested men who have been charged with the Officials Secrets Act. A senior police official of the Crime Branch told dna that several of its teams have been dispatched to J&K as well as other northern states of India to question the suspected army-men that include some retired personnel as well.”Most of the information procured and sent to the PIO by the accused was regarding army deployment in areas including Nowsheera and Manthal. We suspect that the details of deployment, timings of movement and the number of forces were being asked by the Pakistani intelligence for the purpose of infiltrating terrorists,” said a senior Crime Branch official.

26/11 Mumbai attacks: Trial delayed in Islamabad court as judge hearing case ‘busy’

This was the third consecutive time when hearing in the case could not be held.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is currently out on bail and living at an undisclosed location.
File Photo

Hearing in the trial of seven Mumbai terrorist attack accused, including mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, could not be held in a Pakistani anti-terrorism court as the judge was “busy” hearing another case on Wednesday.”The judge of the Anti-Terrorism Court Islamabad did not attend today’s hearing at the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi as he was busy in other case proceedings,” a court official said. He said the court office adjourned the hearing till December 9.This was the third consecutive time when hearing in the case could not be held. Earlier, hearings on November 18 and 25 were not held as either the official witnesses summoned did not turn up in the court or the judge was on leave.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The trial of LeT operations commander Lakhvi, and Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Sadiq, Shahid Jamil, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum has been underway since 2009 for their alleged role in the Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people and injured more than 300.Lakhvi secured bail in December last year and was subsequently released from the Adiala Jail this April after the Lahore High Court set aside the government’s order to detain him under the Public Security Act. He is currently out on bail and living at an undisclosed location.

Crime Branch to question ex-army officer in probe of ISI espionage network

ISI Espionage Network: Alleged spies deleted all whatsapp conversations.

The Crime Branch of Delhi Police will be questioning a retired army officer based in Jammu and Kashmir after his name cropped up several times during questioning of Kaifaitullah Khan and Abdul Rasheed, both arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan. According to sources, a team of investigators will be dispatched to J&K sometime this week to question the senior ranking army officer who retired from service recently.Investigators of Crime Branch will also be hunting for more evidence in Jammu and Kashmir as most of the documents allegedly dispatched to Pakistani intelligence agencies were sent using WhatsApp and the record of the same were deleted afterwards.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials said that besides the retired army officer, some other colleagues of BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed, who is accused of providing secret information to his Pakistani handlers, might also be questioned in the process. Senior officials of the Crime Branch refused to name the army officer saying that “revealing any information about the accused might interfere in the ongoing investigation”.Meanwhile, investigators told dna, that new details about the modus operandi of the espionage network have emerged following interrogation of Kaifaitullah alias Master Raja. According to sources Kaifaitullah was initially reluctant to work for a Pakistani intelligence operative (PIO) named Faizal, who had approached him in Gujrawala, Pakistan two years ago.”Kaifaitullah Khan was only permitted to visit a few places, including Islamabad. But some of his relatives were in Gujrawala. A PIO by the name Faizal approached him there and told him that he would be arrested because he was not supposed to travel beyond Islamabad.”Later the same PIO took him to the local police station where he was kept for days and ultimately convinced to develop sources in the Indian Army. According to the accused, the PIO threatened to hurt his extended family in Pakistan after which he was left with no choice but to work for him,” said a source in the Crime Branch. Other than his liaison with Abdul Rasheed, Kaifaitullah had allegedly managed to infiltrate Indian armed forces as well as the BSF.Crime Branch officials also believe that this particular network for now, seems to be limited within the Jammu and Kashmir but did not deny the possibility of similar networks within the armed forces stationed across the country.”After confiscating mobile phone of the accused, we found out that the whatsapp conversation were wiped clean. We are trying to retrieve mobile phones belonging to PIO’s in Pakistan. For now we are relying on the multiple bank transactions under which money was deposited into the accounts of the two accused. The accused have mentioned the Jammu and Kashmir based bank and we will be approaching the same to retrieve concerned documents,” said a senior police officer.Kaifaitullah was arrested on Thursday when he was on his way to Bhopal for a religious gathering while, Rasheed was arrested on Sunday. Rasheed is accused of procuring documents related to security deployment in India and sending them to his cousin Kaifaitullah. Families of the accused men have claimed their innocence stating that the duo are being framed.

Despite Modi-Sharif meeting at COP21, India-Pakistan talks will be non-starter if not thought out clearly

By Seema Guha

Much is being read into the short meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris. The brief meeting led to speculations about a more structured dialogue later. But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were at pains to describe the meeting as one-off unplanned tête-à-tête. The point however is that the two leaders can meet or direct their officials to talk, but unless Modi has a clearly charted-out direction for India’s Pakistan policy, nothing can move forward.

Sharif fired the first salvo, ahead of the Paris climate change meet, by saying he is willing to talk to India without pre-conditions. Both Modi and Sharif are being nudged along to begin peace parleys by the international community. Paris provides an opening to rescue talks that have been hanging in limbo since Modi took office.

Pakistan Policy Must Have Direction

File photo of Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif. PTI

File photo of Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif. PTI

There have been several attempts which has fizzled out. The same thing will happen again unless Modi and his close aides have a clear idea of how they want to deal with Pakistan. That call has not yet been taken. While the prime minister’s foreign policy has generally moved in the right direction in most areas (with the notable exception of Nepal), there seems to be no clear cut policy on Pakistan. So far it has remained both whimsical and directionless. Modi began well, by inviting Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in last May. But the foreign secretary-level talks that were to follow were called off because the Pakistani High Commissioner in India, met with the leaders of the Hurriyat Conference.

Delhi insisted that no talks were possible if the Kashmiri separatist groups were consulted. Not only were the talks cancelled but the separatists who were losing ground in the Kashmir Valley, suddenly found themselves at the centre of an India-Pakistan spat. This gave the Hurriyat more importance than they deserved and a fresh lease of political life. The Kashmiri separatists were not going to decide the outcome of the talks, so what was all the noise about?

PM becoming a prisoner of his party’s fiery rhetoric on Pakistan

Drawing the red line over the Hurriyat was possibly an attempt to make a break from the past. In an effort perhaps to be different from the Manmohan Singh regime — which the BJP criticised as weak-kneed on Pakistan — New Delhi proceeded to change the rules of engagement. It may have pleased the hard-liners within the BJP to dictate terms to Pakistan, but this seemed more of a knee jerk reaction, considering the previous NDA government with Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the helm, had decided to overlook it as an issue of no consequence.

It is now up to the Prime Minister to decide what he wants to do about Pakistan. Admitted that Pakistan, more so its military and its spy agency the ISI has been using terror groups to inflict a thousand cuts on India. That is not acceptable. At the same time continuing the current narrative of hate is equally unproductive. India and Pakistan share a complex relationship mired in historical baggage of blood and gore. The task will not be easy, but a start must be made. Modi, with the stature he enjoys, is best placed to change the India-Pakistan narrative and be remembered as a statesman.

Can Modi afford to ignore Pakistan as many of his hardline supporters want him to? Not if India wants to project itself on the international stage as a rising player in world affairs. Any nation hoping to make a mark in the high table of international diplomacy must first be in a position to manage its own neighbourhood. This means it also has to live in peace with its neighbours. India and Pakistan have been unable to do so since Independence in 1947. The prime minister himself realises he cannot, considering he has made several attempts to engage with Pakistan.

Knowing there is too much public scrutiny and noise on both sides of the border when it comes to India and Pakistan talks, Track II channels have been left open. Humanitarian issues are also progressing well. Recently Geeta, the young Indian woman in Pakistan, has come home and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is taking a personal interest in getting a Pakistani boy back home to his family. The India-Pakistan cricket series has already been okayed by Islamabad. It is up to India now to take a decision.

All eyes are now on whether New Delhi accepts Islamabad’s invitation to Swaraj for a Heart of Asia group meeting in Islamabad in December. The meeting to discuss stabilising Afghanistan — started by Afghanistan and Turkey in November 2011 — provides a platform to discuss regional issues and, to face common threats, encourage security, political and economic cooperation among Afghanistan, its neighbours and regional partners. Swaraj travelling to Pakistan would be a real ice-breaker.

However none of this will be meaningful unless Modi has a clear idea of the road ahead with Pakistan.

Indian plan to let kids work in family business is backward step – Satyarthi | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – India’s plans to allow children to work for family businesses and bar teenagers from employment in only a few hazardous industries are “regressive”, Nobel Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi said on Tuesday.

The government wants to amend a three-decade-old law which bans children under 14 from working in 18 hazardous occupations and 65 processes including mining, gem cutting, cement manufacture and hand-looms.

If passed by parliament in the coming weeks, the changes will outlaw child labour below 14 in all sectors, stiffen penalties for offenders and expand the age range covered to 15- to 18-year-olds.

But there are exceptions.

Children who help their family or family businesses can work outside school hours, and those in entertainment or sports can work provided it does not affect their education.

Also, children aged 15 to 18 will be barred from working in only three hazardous industries, Satyarthi said.

Satyarthi, whose charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) is credited with rescuing more than 80,000 enslaved children, said he welcomed the move to amend the child labour law, but disagreed with the two exemptions.

“I definitely appreciate the government’s move to enhance the age of employment from 14 to 18, but these are two serious grey areas,” Satyarthi said, speaking during an event hosted by the United Nations in the Indian capital.

“Finally, the government has agreed to bring an amendment to the existing law, but what is more shocking is that this amendment is regressive, it is not progressive.”

There are 5.7 million Indian child workers between the ages of five and 17, out of 168 million globally, an International Labour Organization report said in February.

More than half are in agriculture, toiling in cotton, sugarcane and rice paddy fields, and over a quarter work in manufacturing – confined to poorly lit, barely ventilated rooms embroidering clothes, weaving carpets or making matchsticks.

Indian children also work in restaurants and hotels, washing dishes and chopping vegetables, or in middle-class homes, looking after other children or cleaning and scrubbing floors.

Satyarthi asked how the law would be implemented in a country where most enslaved children do not have birth certificates, and traffickers and employers pretend to be their uncles or other relatives.

“I have personally rescued thousands of children, and most times in small-scale industries especially, the employers, traffickers and slave masters claim that they are uncles of the children,” said Satyarthi, who was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousefzai.

“Who is going to do a DNA test on them to check if they are related to the children?”

The government says the exemptions aim at striking a balance between education and India’s socio-economic reality, where children must go to school but also help their parents in occupations like agriculture and artisanship.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Dawood Ibrahim has bases in Pakistan; keeps changing location: Govt to Lok Sabha

Earlier, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had told Parliament that the government would leave no stone unturned in bringing back Dawood.

Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim has bases in Pakistan though he keeps shifting his location from time to time, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Inputs available from different agencies suggest that Dawood, a prime accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, has bases in Pakistan and keeps changing his location from time to time, Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary told the House.He said that India has from time to time been apprising Pakistani authorities of details concerning Dawood, including passports and his reported addresses in the neighbouring country, with the request that he be handed over for facing trial here for terrorist activities and other offences.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government will keep pursuing this matter through different channels to ensure that Pakistan and its agencies fulfil their international obligations in the context of the Red Corner Notice issued against Dawood Ibrahim and the relevant UN Security Council resolution,” he said in reply to a written question.Earlier, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had told Parliament that the government would leave no stone unturned in bringing back Dawood.”The Indian government is committed to bringing back Dawood,” he had said.

Why the fuss over the Modi-Sharif handshake?

Tongues have started wagging about the future of the talks.

The handshake offers a ray of hope. One hopes that this gesture turns out to be ice-breaker before the winter chill sets in.

File Photo
News and social media went into frenzy after Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked up to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of a climate change summit in Paris and shook hands. Many jumped the gun and started discussing the fate of the stalled talks between the two countries. Was the handshake a mere courtesy photo-op, or was there something more to it? And so on and so forth. Well, one just does not know what the two leaders discussed, but one thing is certain that they did not discuss the climate of Paris. But what mattered most was the handshake which replaced the most important Paris climate talks as the lead story in Indian and Pakistani newspapers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tongues have started wagging about the future of the talks. What a prosaic interpretation? Is there any doubt about resumption of talks? Absolutely not! It is just a matter of time when the two countries will again start talk the talk, but what is more important is whether they will walk the walk. No two neighbours can remain in a perpetual mode of denial for long. In the past also, the two countries have been involved in talks despite going to full-fledged wars three times and a brief conflict in Kargil in 1999 since their independence. But they were back to talks after sometime. It is an on and off exercise which will go on before the two nations regain trust about each other to operationalise the full-scale structured talks. The leadership of both the countries is mature enough to understand that war would only lead to catastrophe and complicate the matters beyond repairs. Dialogue can only take them forward to any meaningful and lasting solution to the issues that bedevil their relations.But for that to happen, a congenial atmosphere is the basic requirement. Incidents in the last few months have only widened the trust deficit as both the countries view each other with suspicion. The media of the two countries has also played a devilish role by resorting to jingoist rhetoric forcing the hands of the leadership of both the countries to move cautiously. The cross-border firing, increase in militant activities in Kashmir, the recent arrest of agents affiliated to Pakistan’s intelligence agency in India do not augur well for the immediate resumption of talks, even though cosmetic, in the immediate future.The handshake offers a ray of hope. One hopes that this gesture turns out to be ice-breaker before the winter chill sets in. This was their second meeting this year after they met in the Russian city of Ufa in July and decided to give a push to the stalled talks by agreeing to a meeting of National Security Advisors. But sadly, the meeting just failed to take off as both the sides stuck to unreasonable grounds. There was another opportunity a month later in the United Nations General Assembly session for them to meet. But by then the ties had soured and the two leaders intentionally decided to stay away from public glare by only waving at each other.Talks for the sake of talks should be avoided. Both the countries should do some serious introspection and adopt a pragmatic approach if they are really serious in taking the talks forward. Nawaz Sharif’s recent offer of unconditional talks with India during his meeting with British Premier David Cameron on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit in Malta has largely gone unnoticed in India as New Delhi has not even bothered to take note of it, leave aside making any comments. Pakistan needs to understand that talks and terror can?t go hand in hand. At a time, when the world has been rattled by a series of bloody terrorist activities, the sentiments are running high against terrorist groups. And to expect India to enter into talks with Pakistan as long as it is seen as in collusion with terrorist groups is asking for too much. Pakistan needs to make some forward movement in this regard before it can hope for resumption of normal ties.The use of terrorism as a state policy is falling apart as the nations themselves are feeling the pinch. Who knows is better than Pakistan which has suffered the most? The same groups whom it cradled have started turning their back on it and are causing the maximum damage. Terrorism today poses a major threat to the world than anything else. The Paris attacks have only emboldened the resolve of the global community to formulate a common and concerted strategy to defang this monster which is spreading its tentacles.There is an opportunity before Pakistan to join the global war against terrorism to regain its bruised image. India is not the only country which views its estranged neighbour with suspicion. The list is endless. Pakistan has been ticked off by major powers from time to time. It should listen to the sage counsel and launch a war against terrorism. There is no doubt that it will feel the pain initially, but this pain is worth suffering, because if it is allowed to fester it will become a deadly disease and amputation will be the only recourse. It is up to Pakistan to decide which path it wants to tread. Talks with India can wait.Vikas Khanna is a senior journalist and the views expressed by him are personal.

Congress dubs Modi-Sharif meet as ‘sixty second selfie’

“It looked like a sixty-second selfie rather than any substantive dialogue. In any case, this government has no policy towards Pakistan. It drifts from the sublime to the ridiculous,” Congress leader Manish Tiwari said.

The Congress Party on Tuesday referred to the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit as a ‘sixty second selfie’ and asked the government to frame a substantive policy towards Pakistan.”It looked like a sixty-second selfie rather than any substantive dialogue. In any case, this government has no policy towards Pakistan. It drifts from the sublime to the ridiculous,” Congress leader Manish Tiwari told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”At times, they hug and kiss Nawaz Sharif and play verbal kabaddi with him. It is high time that this government sorts out its Pakistan policy,” Tiwari added.Prime Minister Modi and Sharif met briefly yesterday in Paris as the climate conference began in the French capital. The two leaders warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat amidst frosty ties between the two neighbours.The two leaders had earlier met in Russian city of Ufa and had agreed that their National Security Advisors would meet.

Congress takes exception to Modi- Sharif meeting, asks for political consensus

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Ambika Soni raised doubts on Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif’s credentials of having a mandate.

Modi-Sharif

The Congress Party on Monday took strong exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference, stating that there should be a political consensus in the country before these talks take place abroad.”We were not aware of Modi ji meeting Nawaz Sharif; I believe there should be a political consensus in the country before these talks take place,” former law minister Ashwini Kumar told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Till the time acts of terrorism don’t stop from Pakistani side, these talks won’t be fruitful. This has been the stated position of the country and the Congress party,”he added When asked if this initiative was a good move for taking ahead the dialogue process with Pakistan, Kumar pointed out that when circumstances are in favour, then only these initiatives matter, otherwise they fail to have an impact.Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Ambika Soni raised doubts on Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif’s credentials of having a mandate. “One doesn’t know if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has mandate to assure the Prime Minister that he genuinely wants to discuss the issues which are in the interest of the people of both the nations,” she said.Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with Nawaz Sharif has drawn mixed responses from all the corners, with experts dubbing it as an opportunity for future talks and few terming it as an act of diplomatic courtesy.Prime Minister Modi and Sharif were seen shaking hands on the sidelines of the summit where 150 heads of states and governments will make three-minute speeches each, offering their political support to the negotiations that are expected to deliver a landmark global agreement on climate change.

BJP is encouraging communal forces, attacks on minorities, claims Sitaram Yechury

Sangareddy (Telangana): CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday accused the ruling BJP of “encouraging communal forces” in the country and creating a fear psychosis in minds of minorities and dalits by intimidating them.

“BJP is encouraging communal forces as well as attacks on minorities. Atrocities on dalits are becoming very common. They are living in fear while precious human lives are at stake on what to eat and what not to. Such incidents and ideology are dangerous to the country and our secular fabric is being threatened,” Yechury said.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury.CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury.

He was addressing a two-day conclave of the CPI-M Telangana State Extended Executive Committee, which began in Sangareddy on Sunday.

Observing that any kind of intolerance is “condemnable”, the Left leader said, “The NDA government has done nothing concrete to control such forces which imply that they are supporting the communal forces”.

He said returning of awards by various authors, filmmakers and other prominent persons in protest against ‘intolerance’ is not new as Nobel-laureate Rabindranath Tagore had also returned his award to the British government.

“As scores of authors, artists, poets and scientists have returned their awards against growing intolerance, the government should take a serious note and initiate remedial measures,” he said.

Referring to the BJP’s debacle in Bihar Assembly elections, Yechury said, “The BJP’s intolerance mantra is not acceptable to the country’s secular people and the Bihar verdict is a clear indication to the BJP that such communal politics will not garner votes or seats for them.”

He also took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “frequently” touring foreign countries.

“Nothing has been achieved through Modi’s foreign trips. Economical growth has slowed down, prices of petrol and diesel have shot up nine times in last sixteen months, rate of farmers’ suicide has gone up by 19 percent under NDA dispensation,” Yechury said.

He alleged that farmers are yet to get satisfactory minimum support price for their produce and that manufacturing sector has slowed down to two percent.

“Prices of pulses are skyrocketing and the common man cannot afford dal in his meal,” the general secretary said.

He said the CPI(M) will conduct a nationwide programme from 1 December to denounce the BJP’s “communal agenda”. Yechury said that efforts were afoot to bring various Communist parties on a single platform and a Left Front will soon emerge as an alternative.

On terrorism, he said the IS was nurtured by the US to further its interests in Arab countries to gain control over petrol and gas.

He said the government should reveal the agenda of a proposal, if any, on a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart at the climate summit in Paris.

“Before the general elections last year, the BJP used to tell that they will teach a lesson to Pakistan. Has BJP taught any lesson to Pakistan,” Yechury questioned.

CPI-M general secretary of Telangana, T Veerabhadram and other party leaders, besides around 200 delegates from various parts of the state were present at the conclave.

PTI

Dialogue only route to resolution of Kashmir problem: Farooq Abdullah

“How much can the army defend us even if the entire army of India came to our rescue, they cannot defend us against terrorists or militants. The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution,” he stressed.

Dialogue is the only way forward for a resolution to the Kashmir issue, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said even as he held that nothing has been done to reclaim Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from the neighbouring country while reiterating views that have invited criticism. “The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution (to the Kashmir issue),” the National Conference leader said at a function here. Ever since I came into politics, I have always said that this state (PoK and J-K) can never become one. Neither do we have the power to take back their part (PoK) nor have they (Pakistan) the power to take our part; we are a nuclear power and they, too, are,” he said at a discussion by civil society to explore the ways for bringing peace and reconciliation between the two countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”How much can the army defend us even if the entire army of India came to our rescue, they cannot defend us against terrorists or militants. The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution,” he stressed.He said he was hopeful that the Kashmir issue would be solved during the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but that did not happen. In the wake of his comments yesterday, he blamed the media for hyping up his statement and said his views about Pakistan continuing to hold PoK and India keeping J-K could not be the only scenario and he would accept any decision which was acceptable to the majority of people in India, Pakistan and J-K. “I never said it was the ultimate solution that they keep their part and we keep ours. If you have a better solution acceptable to a majority of Indians, Pakistanis and J-K citizens, it is also acceptable to us,” he said while urging that dialogue has to be started for reaching a resolution.Referring to the 1994 Parliament resolution on PoK, Farooq said nothing has been done following its adoption unanimously to reclaim area under Pakistani occupation. “They say there is a resolution in Parliament; but tell me what the Parliament has done so far to reclaim that part. “You passed the resolution, tell me how many resolutions are there in United Nations regarding Kashmir; have any of those been implemented. People on both sides are suffering due to the cross-border firing,” he said. Meanwhile, BJP today sought an apology from Abdullah for his remarks that “PoK is part of Pakistan” and said he was “deliberately raking up” the issue in order to remain in news for his political survival. “For how many years have we been saying that it (PoK) is part of India. What have we done so far, have we ever taken it back,” he had said yesterday.

Entire Indian Army cannot defend Kashmir against terrorists; dialogue only option, says Farooq Abdullah

Jammu: Dialogue is the only way forward for a resolution to the Kashmir issue, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said even as he held that nothing has been done to reclaim Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from the neighbouring country while reiterating views that have invited criticism.

“The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution (to the Kashmir issue),” the National Conference leader said at a function in Jammu.

“Ever since I came into politics, I have always said that this state (PoK and J-K) can never become one. Neither do we have the power to take back their part (PoK) nor have they (Pakistan) the power to take our part; we are a nuclear power and they, too, are,” he said at a discussion by civil society to explore the ways for bringing peace and reconciliation between the two countries.

“How much can the army defend us; even if the entire army of India came to our rescue, they cannot defend us against terrorists or militants. The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution,” he stressed.

Farooq Abdullah. AFPFarooq Abdullah. AFP

Farooq Abdullah. AFP

He said he was hopeful that the Kashmir issue would be solved during the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but that did not happen.

In the wake of his comments on Friday, he blamed the media for hyping up his statement and said his views about Pakistan continuing to hold PoK and India keeping J&K could not be the only scenario and he would accept any decision which was acceptable to the majority of people in India, Pakistan and J&K.

“I never said it was the ultimate solution that they keep their part and we keep ours. If you have a better solution acceptable to a majority of Indians, Pakistanis and J&K citizens, it is also acceptable to us,” he said while urging that dialogue has to be started for reaching a resolution.

Referring to the 1994 Parliament resolution on PoK, Farooq said nothing has been done following its adoption unanimously to reclaim area under Pakistani occupation.

“They say there is a resolution in Parliament; but tell me what the Parliament has done so far to reclaim that part.

“You passed the resolution, tell me how many resolutions are there in United Nations regarding Kashmir; have any of those been implemented. People on both sides are suffering due to the cross-border firing,” he said.

Meanwhile, BJP on Saturday sought an apology from Abdullah for his remarks that “PoK is part of Pakistan” and said he was “deliberately raking up” the issue in order to remain in news for his political survival.

“For how many years have we been saying that it (PoK) is part of India. What have we done so far, have we ever taken it back,” he had said on Friday.

The former J&K chief minister said that even though Nawaz Sharif was heading the government in Pakistan, the real power was in the hands of the army there.

Further, claiming that if Pakistan army wanted, it would not take more than two minutes for it to get Sharif removed, he said, “The day problems between India and Pakistan are resolved, Pakistan army will lose its significance.”

He said that a former Pakistan external affairs minister had told him that before the Prime Ministers of the two nations decide to meet, all roadblocks that may impede any meaningful dialogue need to be removed.

On the issue of the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, he said that the country has till date not been able to accomplish that.

“When I tried to do it, the very same day two massacres took place in Ganderbal and Budgam in which innocent and unarmed Kashmiri Pandits were killed.

“How will the situation improve till the time Pakistan does not understand that this part of J&K will never become their part,” he said.

Recalling that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had tried to find a way out in Egypt’s Sharm-al-Sheikh, Abdullah said that the attempt had evoked a backlash in the country and within Congress.

“There was a hue and cry in India and even in his own party which said that if you talk friendship with Pakistan we will lose elections. Let these elections go to hell which divide the people,” he said.

“Every election makes India weak and does not strengthen it”, he said, adding that “we get divided into religions and even divide religion into small parts”.

Seeking to caution India and Pakistan against America, he claimed that the country was a friend of neither of the two South Asian neighbours and was only interested in selling its weapons to both.

Talking about the Kashmir problem, he said that it was not an economic but a political one.

“We are saying we have got a Rs 80,000-crore package, now we will do everything. This is not an issue of development. It is a political issue which has to be resolved. If it was only about money, then the country has already spent billions on this state, but the issue still lingers,” he said.

Meanwhile, in an apparent attack on PDP, he charged that “they (PDP) claim Abdullah used to say that we will drop bombs; ask them, when our houses were being blown, when our hospitals and schools were being blown, when our people were being fired upon because they were the ones who were carrying Tricolour, what was their fault.

“They were killed inside their houses. What should have Farooq Abdullah said, to keep quiet.”

Without taking any names, he further said that “man was being made an enemy of another man and now they are ruling and saying such things… they don’t have a conscience. God knows what attraction they have with each other.”

Turning to Pakistan, he stressed that he was proud to be an Indian and an Indian Muslim.

“I want friendship but I don’t want to be their slave. I am for sure a Muslim, but I am not a Chinese, Pakistani or an English Muslim; I am an Indian Muslim, I am born an India, live as an Indian and will die as an Indian,” he said.

“Today Farooq Abdullah is sitting amongst you, he might not be there tomorrow. Tomorrow, some terrorists will kill me but I am not afraid. I am only afraid of Allah,” he added.

He said that the need of the hour was to strengthen the unity amongst the different religions in the country.

“We have to strengthen the bond between Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and other religions and our survival is not possible without the survival of
India,” he said.

PTI

PoK is and will remain part of Pakistan, says Farooq Abdullah

PoK is part of Pakistan and it will remain so. Jammu and Kashmir is part of India and it will remain so. You need to understand this. Only thing is that India and Pakistan should talk and find the solution, said Farooq in Jammu.

J&K deputy CM Nirmal Singh with former CM Farooq Abdullah after paying tribute to veteran Congress leader Girdhari Lal Dogra on the occasion of his death anniversary in Jammu on Friday

PTI
A major political storm has hit the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir after the former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is and will continue to remain the part of Pakistan.”PoK is part of Pakistan and it will remain so. Jammu and Kashmir is part of India and it will remain so. You need to understand this. Only thing is that India and Pakistan should talk and find the solution,” said Farooq in Jammu.Farooq, a three time chief minister and former union minister, noted that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had told the then Pakistani president Parvez Musharaf to retain PoK while they would keep Jammu and Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”How long have we been saying that PoK is part of India? Have we ever taken it back? I know when Vajpayee went to Lahore he told me that he asked Musharaf that they should keep PoK and we will retain Jammu and Kashmir which they (Pakistani) refused…Today they are ready, and India should talk,” he said.Farooq’s remarks has stoked a major political row with Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh terming it unconstitutional and against the spirit of resolution passed by the parliament in 1994.”Parliament passed a unanimous resolution in 1994 saying that if there is any outstanding issue with Pakistan it is Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK). It has been illegally occupied by Pakistan. Not only we have claim on PoJK but constitutionally it is our integral part and we should get it back. If someone is making such remarks it is unconstitutional and puts a question mark on Jammu and Kashmir which the country will not accept,” said Singh.Ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) too has joined the chorus terming Farooq statement as “hypocrisy”. “When he (Farooq) was a chief minister it (PoK) was part of India and when he is out of power it is not part of India.They are responsible for the mess. PoK could have been part of Jammu and Kashmir had Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah acted timely,” said Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, PDP spokesman and political analyst to chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, ISI motivating militants to wage war against India: BSF

“Hafiz Saeed is provoking terrorists time and again. We recently got inputs that he goes to the terror camps and delivers motivational speeches asking militants that we need to do something (attacks). When preachers will provoke (militants), then there will be more attacks,” Rakesh Sharma, inspector general of BSF, Jammu frontier, told reporters in Jammu.

On the seventh anniversary of the 26/11 terror attack, Border Security Force (BSF) dropped a bomb saying that the Mumbai attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was working in tandem with the Pakistani security forces and visiting terror camps to motivate militants to launch attacks on India.The revelation comes in the backdrop of intelligence reports that Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) is again trying to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir by working out to forge an alliance of top three terrorist outfits – the LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“Hafiz Saeed is provoking terrorists time and again. We recently got inputs that he goes to the terror camps and delivers motivational speeches asking militants that we need to do something (attacks). When preachers will provoke (militants), then there will be more attacks,” Rakesh Sharma, inspector general of BSF, Jammu frontier, told reporters in Jammu.Sharma said Pakistan security forces are complicit in allowing Saeed, who also heads Jamat-ud-Dawa, to carry out his activities in the border areas.“If Hafiz Saeed can openly and without any hindrance operate in the border area, it is an indication that Pakistani security forces are involved with him. It is as simple as that. If they are interested to maintain peace and tranquility on the International Border (IB), they can stop (him) but they do not,” he said.“I would say that any security force, who want nothing to happen in their area of responsibility definitely forces its will. If it is not forced it is a clear indication (of their complicity)”, he said.What has however created a stir in the security establishment are the intelligence inputs that the ISI has brought about 30 highly trained terrorists from the three outfits into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) region from Peshawar to infiltrate the Line of Control (LoC) and launch attacks on the security forces.The fresh intelligence comes days after the earlier intelligence alert proved correct and almost following the written script JeM launched an attack at an army camp in the border town of Tangdhar in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Wednesday.Sources said that the ISI has instructed the terrorists to carry out terror attacks in Kashmir valley over the next one month and before the routes in the upper reaches are closed down due to heavy snowfall.“Apparently, the ISI has got frustrated because of the high degree of vigilance maintained by our troops along the LoC and the border as most of the terrorists are being neutralised or forced to retreat. This perhaps is the reason why it has brought all the three outfits together,” sources said. terror mastermind, ISI motivating militants to wage war against IndiaISIS involvementWhat has added a new dimension to the whole saga are the apprehensions that ISIS may support the Pakistani militants operating on the other side of Line of Control and IB”It is being believed that ISIS can support Pakistani terrorists who are operating on the LOC and IB. Intelligence agencies accept it and there are also inputs. Let us see how things pan out in future”, Sharma said.IG BSF however hastened to add that there are no inputs (about ISIS trying to sneak into the state). “However, we are keeping pace with what is happening in the world. Terrorist can do anything anywhere in the world. We also become vulnerable. We have taken adequate measures. We have sensitized our ground commanders that they should be carefully examining the situation developing in front of them”, he said.

Elderly Pakistani Hindu woman finally gets permission to leave India

An elderly Hindu woman from Pakistan, who has been stuck in India since March last year due to alleged refusal of Indian immigration authorities to grant her exit permission, will leave for home on Friday. S (CID) Santosh Kumar Chalke said that Hawa Devi has been granted permission to leave for Pakistan, along with her son and sister-in-law. After consultation with the Home Department and perusal of documents, the cash has been found to bona fide for departure from the country, he added.

India and Pakistan Flag

An elderly Hindu woman from Pakistan, who has been stuck in India since March last year due to alleged refusal of Indian immigration authorities to grant her exit permission, will leave for home on Friday. S (CID) Santosh Kumar Chalke said that Hawa Devi has been granted permission to leave for Pakistan, along with her son and sister-in-law. After consultation with the Home Department and perusal of documents, the cash has been found to bona fide for departure from the country, he added. “…it has been solved and they have been granted permission to leave for Pakistan on Friday,” Chalke said. Hawa Devi (75) of Mithi in Sindh Province of Pakistan had visited Haridwar on pilgrim visa in March 2014, along with her son Mahesho and sister-in-law Moomal. But when she came back to Jodhpur and wanted to leave for Pakistan, they were allegedly denied permission for departure.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After completing our pilgrimage, when we came back to Jodhpur and applied for departure permission from Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO), they kept on lingering the matter until the date of visa expired,” said Mahesho.”…we were asked to deposit our passports in January this year at FRRO by an inspector, which we did and today, we do not have any valid document with us to show our status,” Maheso said, adding that they needed to go back home at the earliest to attend to his ailing father.”Though I did not have any trouble living here but the denial of permission to leave for Pakistan was quite a painful experience…,” said Hawa Devi.Hindu Singh Sodha, President of the Seemant Lok Sangthan, which has been fighting for the rights of Pakistani Hindu migrants, said it was unfortunate that a family was made to stay back despite its will to go, that too after expiry of their visa, over some petty.

Jammu and Kashmir: ISI brings LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish together for attacks – Intelligence

The JeM, which was out of favour of the ISI after an unsuccessful assassination attempt on former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf a few years ago, seems to be back under the ISI fold.

Representational Image

At least 30 terrorists have been brought into the PoK region by ISI to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir with the help of terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), intelligence inputs have suggested. According to the inputs, these terrorists were brought from Peshawar under the guidance of ISI and kept in a launching pad across the Line of Control in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir region.The ISI has instructed the terrorists to carry out terror attacks in Kashmir valley over the next one month and before the routes in the upper reaches closes down due to heavy snowfall, the sources said quoting the inputs. The ISI also organised a meeting of LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen and JeM in the PoK and it was held under the supervision of ISI handler Shaukat Khan alias Abu Suleman, the sources added. The Pakistani intelligence agency wants the three terrorist groups, which are active in the Jammu and Kashmir, to let the 30 terrorists to carry out the attacks in the Valley, the sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The JeM, which was out of favour of the ISI after an unsuccessful assassination attempt on former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf a few years ago, seems to be back under the ISI fold. The attack yesterday at an Army camp in Tangdhar in Kashmir, near the Line of Control, was carried out by three heavily-armed militants of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad.After the intelligence inputs, the Centre has asked all security organisations to beef up security along the border and in Jammu and Kashmir.

Etched in history: The villains and heroes of 26/11

The 26/11 attacks and the people connected to the event.

Taj Mahal Hotel after the 26/11 attacks – File Photo – Representational Image

Ten terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had come to Mumbai and carried out the strikes in which 166 people were killed. Nine of them were killed during the 60-hour siege which began on the night of November 26, 2008. TerroristsAjmal KasabFacing death penalty for the terror attacks Kasab, the sole surviving Pakistani gunman, claimed in the Supreme Court he was brainwashed like a “robot” into committing the heinous crime in the name of “god”. Nearly four years after the attack, he was hanged on November 21, 2012 at Yerawada central prison in Pune. Both Central and Maharashtra governments spent around Rs 29.5 crores on Ajmal Kasab to provide him food, security, medicines and clothes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Zaki ur Rehman LakhviAt the time of the attacks, Lakhvi was believed to be the operational head of the banned Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) that has been accused by India of carrying out the attacks in India’s financial capital. Lakhvi along with Zarar Shah was allegedly the key planner of the attack.Lakhvi and six others –- Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum –- have been charged with planning and executing the attacks. On December 7, 2008, Pakistan arrested Lakhvi. In April 2015 was released on bail. David HeadleyDavid Coleman Headley or Daood Sayed Gilani, a Pakistani-American terrorist, conspired with Lashkar-e-Taiba to plot the attacks. He made five trips to India between 2006 and 2008, to collect all the information that would aid the 10 terrorists and their handlers. Headley was arrested in October 2009 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on his way back to Pakistan. He is serving a term of 35 years in jail in the US in connection with the case.Hafeez SaeedChief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, is an internationally designated terrorist. He was instrumental in providing financial support to the perpetrators of 26/11. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is listed as a terror outfit by the UN. There is a $10 million US government bounty on his head.Police & MilitaryHasan GafoorThe then Police Commissioner of Mumbai received a lot of flak in the aftermath of multi-pronged attack, hence he was removed as the commissioner and promoted to the post of Director General Housing.Rakesh MariaMaria was the Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch), leading the probe into the attack. He was also heading the police control room for some time during the 72-hour siege. Vinita Kamte, widow of Ashok Kamte, had filed a RTI seeking call logs of wireless conversation between the control room and Kamte’s van.Also Read: 26/11 call record case: Bombay High Court provides relief to Rakesh MariaHemant Karkare Chief of Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad, died fighting terrorists when he was shot thrice in the chest. He was well known for his investigations in Mumbai serial blast case and for leading special investigation of the Malegaon blast. He was honoured posthumously with an Ashoka Chakra for his bravery in the 26/11 attacks.Vijay SalaskarThis encounter specialist and head of Anti-Extortion Cell was killed by terrorists in the lane between St. Xavier’s College and Rang He was in a car travelling from CST towards Cama Hospital with Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and four other constables. He too was awarded Ashoka Chakra posthumously.Ashok KamteKilled along with Hemant Karkare and Vijay Salaskar and commemorated with Ashoka Chakra in the succeeding Republic Day, Kamte was the Additional Commissioner of Police then.Tukaram OmbleAsst. Sub-inspector and retired army man, he was serving at the police chowki at Girgaum Chowpatty when Ajmal Kasab and his accomplices passed from there. Though he lost his life fighting Kasab, he was instrumental in capturing the sole Pakistani terrorist alive.Major Sandeep UnnikrishnanCommando of National Security Guards, he lost his life fighting terrorists at Taj Mahal Palace and Towers. Unnikrishnan was heading Operation Black Tornado and was the team commander of 51 SAG in the siege. Politicians Vilasrao DeshmukhThe then Chief Minister of Maharashtra had to resign in the aftermath of the attacks due to growing public discontent as he was perceived to be inept and insensitive to the sufferings of people when he took his son Riteish Deshmukh and filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma to the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers post the incident. RR PatilDeputy Chief and Home Minister of Maharashtra in 2008, RR Patil received a lot of criticism when he made this statement in a press conference post 26/11, “Aisa nahi hai. Itne bade shahar mein chhota hadsa ho jata hai. To total failure nahi hai”. He was forced to resign over comment.

Pakistani flag hoisted at Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s ancestral house in south Kashmir

The incident occurred during a funeral procession of the three local Hizb-ul-Mujhadeen militants killed in the encounter with security forces at Siligam on Monday.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) suffered a major embarrassment when a group of youth hoisted a Pakistani flag on the ancestral house of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in Bijbhera town of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.The incident occurred during a funeral procession of the three local Hizb-ul-Mujhadeen militants killed in the encounter with security forces at Siligam on Monday.Shouting anti-government slogans, thousands of protestors marched through the lanes and bylanes of the area and offered the funeral prayers to the militants.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of youth later hoisted a Pakistani national flag on the outer wall of Mufti’s house. Clashes also broke out in the area with police using smoke shells and lathi-charge to disperse a stone pelting mob.Police, however, played down the row saying the flag was not raised on Mufti’s house but on an adjacent structure. PDP too tried to skid safe of the controversy saying it has become a fashion to hoist Pakistani flags in the valley.”It has become a fashion to raise flags in Kashmir. You can see flags of Pakistan, Argentina and Brazil. If it is a cricket season there is a Pakistani flag and if it is football season there are other flags… Even they can do it on my house if it is abandoned. You have abandoned mobile towers and they do it there too,” said Molvi Imran Reza Ansari, senior PDP leader and J&K minister for sports and technical education.Mufti was born and brought up in Baba Moholla in Bijbhera Township of south Kashmir. His daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti won her first assembly elections from Bijbhera constituency in 1996 on the Congress ticket. She later went on to become Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader before quitting to form her own party.In fact, Baba Moholla is synonymous to Muftis since entire clan is putting up in this historic township. Though Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has been putting up in Srinagar, most of his relatives are still living in this township.”Chief minister does not reside there. He does not own any property there. His relatives live in this Mohollah. Flag was not hoisted on chief minister’s house but next to it. Since whole Mufti family lives there and if they hoist flag on any of the house it is seen as chief minister’s house. Otherwise they do not own any property,” said Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, political analyst to chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Nuclear club eyes Indian inclusion, but risks Pakistan’s ire | Reuters

NEW DELHI Diplomats have quietly launched a new push to induct India into a club of nuclear trading nations, but rather than increasing stability in South Asia, the move could escalate strains with rival Pakistan.

The chairman of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) visited New Delhi recently to meet Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj as part of a diplomatic “outreach” that seeks to build a consensus to admit India at its annual meeting next June.

Membership of the 48-nation club would bring India into the nuclear fold 41 years after it tested its first nuclear bomb, and give the nation of 1.25 billion a vested interest in curbing the world’s most dangerous regional arms race.

“It’s a very delicate process, but I think there is less and less justification for the impasse,” Rafael Grossi, the Argentinian ambassador to Vienna who heads the NSG, told Reuters in an interview.

Yet there are doubts. For one, India has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, which seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

And Pakistan, an ally of China, also aspires to join the NSG. With a history as a proliferator, Pakistan’s accession would be a tough sell.

Because the NSG operates by consensus, admitting India alone would mean it could then bar its western neighbour from the club, potentially pushing Pakistan further to the fringes.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has been testing missiles that can reach all of India, and very short-range missiles that it insists could be used only if Indian troops cross onto Pakistani soil.

A seat at the NSG would strengthen India’s geopolitical clout and help it capitalise on nuclear trade and technology transfer opportunities, while also raising concern in Pakistan.

“India has a nuclear deal with the U.S., with France, it will soon have deals with Australia and Japan. So all this will of course complement its effort to get into NSG,” said a senior Pakistani security official with knowledge of nuclear issues.

“But people don’t understand that India will use all this additional fuel (through civil nuclear deals) to make energy and have a lot more left over to use to make weapons.

“So at the end of it, the need for even more deterrence from our side will grow, not decrease.”

UPPER HAND

Pakistan sees a nuclear lead as vital insurance against possible aggression by its larger neighbour, and it appears to be gaining the upper hand over India in the nuclear contest.

Analysts Toby Dalton and Michael Krepon estimate Pakistan is producing 20 nuclear warheads a year to India’s five.

Yet defending that lead is a “losing proposition” that imposes huge costs on Pakistan’s economy and strains its social fabric, they said.

In a report for the Carnegie and Stimson think tanks, Dalton and Krepon argued Pakistan should abandon its goal of “full-spectrum” deterrence against India and satisfy itself with “strategic” deterrence, or the ability to launch an effective counter-strike in the event of an attack.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence and partition in 1947, two over Kashmir. Their disputed frontier is one of the world’s most heavily militarised regions. Border clashes and incursions pose a constant risk of escalation.

The U.S. State Department declined to comment on specific discussions over Pakistan, but an official said Washington had not entered into talks on a civil nuclear pact with it. Nor was it seeking a waiver for Pakistan to trade with the NSG.

The United States was continuing to integrate India into the “global non-proliferation mainstream”, this official also said, adding that Washington supported India’s membership in the four multilateral export control regimes. One of those is the NSG.

COMFORT LEVEL

India’s long road to nuclear legitimacy began with a bilateral deal with the United States in 2005 that, three years later, yielded an exemption allowing it to trade in sensitive nuclear technology with NSG nations.

New Delhi expressed its interest in 2010 in formally joining the nuclear club.

But India’s lobbying has met with scepticism from European countries like Austria and Switzerland, who have questioned its refusal to sign the NPT and give up nuclear weapons.

Indian negotiators now detect a change of tone, and are focusing on winning over European sceptics. That, in turn, could bring round China, they calculate.

“We are optimistic; there is a desire within the NSG to bring this process to a conclusion sooner rather than later,” one Indian diplomat told Reuters. “People are comfortable with India.”

Despite two summit meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has yet to signal its assent and may not agree, analysts caution.

Despite those concerns, India is upbeat: “France joined the NSG before ratifying the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” said the Indian diplomat.

“It’s not about arms controls. It’s about export controls.”

(Additional reporting by Mehreen Zahra Malik in Islamabad, Idrees Ali in Washington and Adam Rose in Beijing; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

‘We want Ramzan to unite with his mother’, says Sushma Swaraj

“I have asked my mother to come here. I have told her that I am being treated well here. I want to go to Pakistan,” he said.

“The Pakistan High Commission has not said anything about it yet,” Swaraj told the media here. (File Photo)

AFP
External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said India wants 15-year-old Pakistani boy Ramzan, who has been stranded in Bhopal for over two years, to unite with his mother. “Ramzan told me that his mother has told him that she wants to come to take him from here. We want Ramzan to unite with his mother. Now it’s up to Pakistan if they want to accept him as a citizen because Pakistan will give that visa. The Pakistan High Commission has not said anything about it yet,” Swaraj told the media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When I learnt about Ramzan’s case, I asked the Indian High Commission to Pakistan to meet Ramzan’s mother and ask her if she wishes to come to India. If Ramzan’s mother is ready to come to India, then we are willing to give her visa for that time,” she added. Swaraj further said if Ramzan’s mother does not have any document or proof to give to the Pakistan High Commission then the DNAs can be matched. Meanwhile, Ramzan looked quite relaxed and expressed his desire to go back home. “I have asked my mother to come here. I have told her that I am being treated well here. I want to go to Pakistan,” he said.Ramzan, who hails from Karachi, was separated from his mother at age of 10 when his father Mohammad took him to Bangladesh and remarried. After being tortured by his step-mother, the boy crossed the border alone in 2011 with the hope of coming back to his mother in Pakistan.Ramzan travelled to many states before landing in Bhopal.