Tag Archives: Pakistan

Pakistani PM urges UN action on Kashmir

Reiterating Islamabad’s demand for international intervention in Indian-administered Kashmir, Pakistani prime minister on Tuesday appealed to the “world’s conscience” to act against the “illegal annexation” of the valley with New Delhi.

On the World Human Rights Day, Khan condemned the “gross” human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, especially after New Delhi’s controversial revocation of the valley’s long-standing special rights last August, which sparked worldwide criticism.

Human Rights Day has been observed every year on Dec. 10 since 1948, when nations in the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“On Human Rights day we must appeal to the world’s conscience, to upholders of international law & to the UNSC [UN Security Council] to act against the illegal annexation of IOJK [Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir] by the Indian Occupation govt.,” Khan said on twitter.

Condemning the Indian government’s “siege” of Kashmir, he demanded “an end to the gross abuse & atrocities being inflicted on Kashmiri men, women & children by Indian Occupation forces in violation of all Int Humanitarian & Human Rights Laws.”

“We salute & stand resolutely with the brave Kashmiris struggling for their right of self determination,” Khan added.

Meanwhile, the day is being observed as a “black day” by several groups in the Indian and Pakistani sides of Kashmir, against New Delhi’s controversial move.

Long-fraught ties between the two nuclear rivals have plummeted to a new low following the India move of scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, which is divided between the two neighbors in parts with both claiming it in full.

Many fear this step was an attempt to change the demography of the Muslim-majority state.

Since partition in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir, in addition to a three-week long Kargil skirmish in 1999.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.


Pakistan Army’s Ex-Media Chief Named First Chairman of Multi-Billion Dollar CPEC Project

New Delhi (Sputnik): The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a pilot project of China’s Belt and Road initiative, is a planned network of connectivity comprising roads and railways linking China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port.

Pakistan on Wednesday appointed the former head of its military’s media wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) as the first chairman of the CPEC Authority – which is tasked with promoting the timely completion of the project.

Lt. Gen (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa will head the CPEC authority responsible for monitoring, evaluating and implementation of the project-related activities.

The authority was set up ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing in October, where he had assured China of its determination to complete the mega-corridor project.

The CPEC body, set up through a presidential ordinance, saw resistance from ‘sthe joint parliamentary committee on CPEC, which opposed setting up the authority through a presidential decree.

The authority has been conferred with absolute power to ask for any information related to the China-led project and impose penalties for failing to do so, media reports said.

The deployment of the retired army chief as CPEC authority head comes after Pakistani military’s initiative to raise a division headquarters of the 44th Light Infantry in Balochistan Province’s Gwadar to coordinate security initiatives and protect the CPEC.

Meanwhile, the political parties in Pakistan have been divided over the formation of the corridor authority itself.

While Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was against giving its constitution, another political party of the country, Pakistan Peoples Party, said the formation of authority is a violation of the recommendations of a parliamentary committee.

Sharif, chief of Pakistan’s Muslim League Nawaz, had said it would hinder collaboration between Ministries and departments. Both the parties claimed it would obstruct or hamper the multi-billion dollar project.


Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Declares Holy War Over Kashmir

New Delhi (Sputnik): After his campaign on behalf of Kashmiris at the United Nations National Assembly and with world leaders, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan returned to Islamabad on Sunday (29 September) to a rousing welcome by his cabinet and party colleagues, as well as a large number of party workers.

On his arrival, Khan alleged there were eight million Kashmiris in Indian-occupied territory being held as hostage by Indian troops. He encouraged his countrymen not to get disappointed, as the people of Kashmir are looking to them and he has promised to be their ambassador.

“Whether or not the world stands with the Kashmiris, Pakistan will stand with them. This is a holy war (jihad). We are with them (Kashmiris), because we want to please the Almighty (Allah),” said Khan. “I will unmask the RSS government of Narendra Modi at all forums.”

In the Pakistani Prime Minister’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, which far exceeded his allotted time, he demanded that India must lift the “inhuman curfew” in Kashmir and release all “political prisoners”. He warned that if there is a face-off between the two nuclear-capable South Asian neighbours, it would have consequences reaching far beyond their borders.

Pakistan, which claims to be a stakeholder in Kashmir, was incensed at India’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special quasi-autonomous status by amending Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.

India revoked the special status with a Presidential decree on 5 August and partitioned the restive state into two federally-administered territories in a move which was later ratified by the nation’s parliament.

India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads over Kashmir since they attained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Both countries rule part of Kashmir, while claiming the entire territory. They have also fought three wars since independence; two were over Kashmir.

Indian leaders have been asserting that the entirety of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Pakistan-occupied portion of Kashmir, is part of the country and the unfinished agenda now is to integrate the occupied territory with the rest of Indian Republic.

“Pak-occupied Kashmir belongs to India. It is under illegal occupation by Pakistan. We have expressed our bipartisan commitment to resolve that contentious issue and get the occupied Kashmir rid of Pakistan,” asserted India’s ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s General Secretary Ram Madhav, in an interview last week.


Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia agree to fight Islamophobia

Leaders of Turkey, Pakistan, and Malaysia have reached a consensus to jointly fight the rising threat of Islamophobia across the world, mainly in the West.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad reached the agreement at a meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

The three countries also agreed to launch a TV channel tasked with confronting the challenges posed by Islamophobic ideologies.

“President Erdogan, Prime Minister Mahathir and myself held a meeting today in which we decided our three countries will jointly start an English language TV channel dedicated to confronting challenges posed by Islamophobia and setting the record straight on our great religion – Islam,” Khan said in a series of tweets.

Pakistan, Malaysia, and Turkey held their first trilateral meeting on the foreign ministerial level on the sidelines of the 14th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Saudi city of Mecca on May 30.  


26 Dead, 300 Injured As Strong Earthquake Jolts Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir

The death toll mounted to 26 in a powerful 5.8-magnitude earthquake that jolted Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and several cities. At least 300 people were injured.

The epicentre of the earthquake was near New Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which was severely affected by the quake. The depth of the quake, which occurred at 4.02 pm (local time), was at 10 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey.

According to the Home Department, 26 people were killed and over 300 injured in Mirpur and surrounding areas due to the powerful quake.

Pakistan Meteorological Department’s earthquake centre said the 5.8-magnitude earthquake was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in Punjab province. However, Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry said that the intensity of the quake was 7.1.

Some houses collapsed in Mirpur following the earthquake, Deputy Commissioner Raja Qaiser said. Parts of a mosque also collapsed in the area. Emergency has been declared in hospitals across PoK.

TV channels showed the footage of heavily damaged roads in Mirpur, with many vehicles overturned. Several cars fell into the deep cracks on the roads. The building of the state-run Broadcasting House in Mirpur was badly damaged.

The quake was powerful and created panic as people ran out of the building, eyewitnesses said.

Several cities including Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Skardu, Kohat, Charsadda, Kasur, Faisalabad, Gujrat, Sialkot, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Okara, Nowshera, Attock and Jhang felt the tremor.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session, expressed grief over the loss of human life. He directed all the concerned departments to provide immediate assistance to the quake-hit areas. President Arif Alvi also expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives.

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa directed “immediate rescue operation in aid of civil administration” for victims of the earthquake in PoK. Army troops with aviation and medical support teams have been dispatched, the media wing of the army tweeted.

“Pakistan Army aviation helicopters have completed an aerial survey for damage assessment in Mirpur, Jarikas and Jatlan areas. Army teams have reached earthquake-hit areas of Mirpur, Jatlan and Jarikas. Rescue efforts initiated,” state-run PTV tweeted.

Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, said that most of the damage was done in Mirpur and Jhelum.

He said all departments, including NDMA, Pakistan Army, and State Disaster Management have started rescue operation in quake-affected areas.

Afzal said Mangla to Jatalan road and three bridges were damaged in the quake. “We have enough resources to cope with the disaster,” he said.

He said the exact magnitude of disaster will be known by Wednesday.

Pakistan’s major water reservoir Mangla Dam located near Mirpur remained safe, officials said. Mangla dam powerhouse has been closed, cutting off 900 MW power supply to the national grid, they said.

However, the Upper Jhelum canal was damaged and water inundated various villages. The breach in the Upper Jhelum Canal was fixed due to the timely intervention of officials, PoK Information Minister Mushtaq Minhas said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief at the loss of lives and damage to property due to the earthquake.


Earthquake strikes Pakistan, killing at least 22

 A 5.6-magnitude earthquake rocked several cities in northern Pakistan and parts of the Kashmir region under its control, leaving at least 22 people dead and more than 700 injured, officials said on Tuesday (Sept 24).

The strong tremors, which struck just after 4pm on Tuesday and lasted for several seconds, shook buildings and houses, causing panicked people to pour out into roads and streets.

In Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, people scrambled out of buildings, many praying out loud.

“Our focus will be on the rescue operation in the next couple of days,” Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, said during a news conference in Islamabad, the capital.

“After that, we will start the relief and repatriation efforts.”

The earthquake brought back painful memories of the magnitude 7.6-earthquake that struck the same region in October 2005 and left more than 75,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.

On Tuesday, several houses were damaged and one building collapsed in Mirpur, part of the Pakistani-controlled area of Kashmir, government officials said.

As the injured streamed into hospitals, officials declared an emergency in Mirpur, rescue officials said.

Television news networks broadcast images of a road that buckled in several places, leaving several vehicles stuck in the depressions.

Videos shared by social media users showed images of people running out of houses and buildings during the tremors.

One widely circulated video from Mirpur showed several men running out of a house before its roof caved in.

Most of the damage was reported there and in Kotli, another part of Kashmir.

Army troops have been mobilised to help civilian authorities in Kashmir, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the spokesman of the Pakistan army, said.

Mr Raja Farooq Haider Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, cut short a visit to Lahore and headed back to his native region soon after news of the damage surfaced.

While Pakistan’s meteorological department reported that the earthquake was magnitude 5.8, the US Geological Survey revised its initial figure, stating that the earthquake measured 5.6.

Officials said that the Mangla Dam, which holds one of Pakistan’s biggest water reservoirs, and its power generation house were safe, although operations were temporarily shut down as a safety measure.

After hearing initial estimates of the damage, it appeared, officials felt that local authorities could cope with the emergency situation.

“For now, things are under control,” Mr Afzal, the head of the national disaster management authority, said.


Trump confirms Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza killed

“The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qa’ida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group,” the US president said in the statement, according to the CNN on Saturday.

He did not give a time period for the operation or the death.

CNN previously reported on July 31 that the US believed Hamza bin Laden was dead, citing a US official. The official told CNN at the time that the US had a role in this death but did not provide details.

Terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank told CNN at the time that one thing puzzled researchers who are closely tracking al Qaeda: “If Hamza bin Laden has indeed been dead for months, you would expect al Qaeda to have released some form of eulogy before today. The fact they haven’t is highly unusual, given his status in the group.”


Pakistan sees risk of ‘accidental war’ over Kashmir

Pakistan’s foreign minister warned on Wednesday that the situation in Indian Kashmir risked sparking an “accidental war,” and urged UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to visit the troubled region.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he believed both Pakistan and India “understand the consequences of a conflict.”

But with tensions soaring since New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s autonomy last month, he warned that “you cannot rule out an accidental war.”

“If the situation persists… then anything is possible,” Qureshi said.

India imposed a military clampdown on Kashmir from August 5 to prevent unrest as New Delhi revoked the disputed region’s autonomy.

Mobile phone networks and the internet are still cut off in all but a few pockets.

Tensions over Kashmir, split between India and Pakistan since 1947, have sparked two major wars and countless clashes between the two nuclear-armed arch-rivals.

Qureshi, who on Tuesday appealed to the Human Rights Council to launch an international investigation into the situation in Indian Kashmir, told reporters that he had spoken with Bachelet and had invited her to visit both the Indian and Pakistani parts of the region.

“She should visit both places and report as objectively as she can so that the world knows what the true… situation is,” he said.

The minister said Bachelet had said she “was keen to visit.” Her office could not immediately be reached for confirmation.

Qureshi meanwhile ruled out the possibility of bilateral talks to resolve the tensions.

“In this environment and with the mindset that we see in New Delhi today, I do not see any room for a bilateral engagement,” he said, adding that a multilateral forum or a third-party mediator would likely be needed.

“If the US plays a role, that can be important because they have a considerable influence” in the region, he said.

New Delhi, meanwhile, has insisted that the situation in Kashmir is an internal Indian affair, rejecting all international interference in the region.


COAS, Centcom commander discuss Kashmir, Afghan issues

ISLAMABAD: US Central Command (Centcom) Commander Gen Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr on Monday called on Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed with him geo-strategic environment and regional security, including the situation in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

Gen McKenzie — who has been in Pakistan since Sept 7 — met Gen Bajwa with his delegation, the military’s media affairs wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a press release.

The Centcom chief had arrived in Islamabad along with a 17-member delegation on Saturday. He visited the Tarbela dam and toured various components of the project, including the main dam, spillways, reservoir and the powerhouse.

Accompanied by US Ambassador to Pakistan Paul Jones and others, Gen McKenzie was briefed about the project by Water and Power Development Authority chairman (Wapda) retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain.

On the occasion, the US delegation had observed that the US recent grant worth $41 million would extend the useful life of the Tarbela powerhouse by 15-20 years and restore 148 megawatts of its power generation capacity.

Earlier in April, Gen McKenzie met Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed US-Pakistan relations and the Afghan peace talks among other issues.

The prime minister, in his meeting with Gen McKenzie, had expressed his “long standing commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan through a political settlement”.

The premier had also highlighted the importance of continuing military cooperation between Pakistan and US in order to counter “emerging threats”, including the militant Islamic State group, which is concentrated on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Gen McKenzie — who took over as head of US Centcom in May after General Joseph Votel’s retirement — during his previous two-day stay in Islamabad, had also met Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall Mujahid Anwar and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Abbasihad.

In his meetings, Gen McKenzie had reaffirmed the United States commitment to security and stability in the region.


ndia: Kashmir valley restrictions eased progressively

The presence of Indian army in Kashmir Valley was only limited to counter-terrorism, and police and central forces are there for handling public order, said India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on Saturday.

”I am ‘fully convinced’ that a majority of Kashmiris support the revoking of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and affirmed that restrictions in the state are aimed at preventing Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies

and terrorists,” said Press Trust of India (PTI) quoting Ajit Doval.

In a wide-ranging interaction with a select group of journalists, Doval said restrictions have anyway been eased progressively, and only 10 of the 199 police districts in Kashmir, Jammu and Laddakh now still have prohibitory orders,

while land-line telephones have been restored fully in all three areas, according to PTI.

According to PTI, Doval said, “If anybody is interested in restoring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, it is India.”

Jammu and Kashmir has been facing a communication blackout since Aug. 5 when New Delhi stripped the disputed region of special provisions guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir had special provisions under which it enacted its own laws. The provisions also protected the region’s citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the


Kashmiri leaders fear this is a deliberate move by the Indian government to change the demography of the Muslim-majority state, which is claimed by India and Pakistan in full and held by both in parts.

The two South Asian nuclear powers have fought two wars over Kashmir in 1947 and 1965.