Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Don’t wreck democratic process in Pakistan, By Hashim Qureshi

Don’t wreck democratic process in Pakistan, By Hashim Qureshi
AUGUST 19, 2014   

It is just fifteen months when elections were held in Pakistan, Imran Khan’s PTI formed its government in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. Its 35 members were elected to National Assembly, took the oath of office; some of them became members or office bearers of different committees of the assembly. Appeals were filed with the Election Tribunal in some instances of irregularities in election and some of these were formally disposed off.
Thus the march of democratic process in Pakistan was smooth. Economy was reviving and the army was meeting with success in dealing with terrorism in its Operation Zarb-e-azab. On international level also Pakistan was appreciated for taking desirable steps against Taliban terrorists. Nawaz Sharif’s government conducted agreements with various countries especially with China for expanding trade and commerce and more importantly for generating ten thousand megawatts of electric power and road and rail link from Gilgit to Gawadar.
But the enemies of Pakistan and their stooges within the country are not happy with Pakistan stabilizing its democratic institutions. They are not happy with Pakistan recovering from economic downslide as well as Pakistan taking care of its security. These inimical forces are hell bent to destroy all these achievements.
A dissection of the motives of those who have given a call for ‘ Long March’ or ‘Freedom March’ will show that Muslim League (Q), Chowdhury Brothers and those who have been supporters of military dictatorship and have been occupying the seats of power in the centre or in Punjab, have never felt comfortable with Pakistan hanging on to democratic dispensation. They cannot come to power when democracy is entrenched in Pakistan. Sheikh Rashid has been an ardent supporter of military establishment and has invariably betrayed his colleagues.
Tahiru’l Qadri has been cooling his heels at the doors of the Pope and other Christian leaders in the West, and has been surviving on social assistance in Canada. Wherefrom did he get all this enormous wealth to run a movement? What can one expect from religious maniacs like him? Hazrat Ali has rightly said about such people that “by obliging a man of cheap mentality, seek refuge with God Almighty from his evil nature”
What an irony that a noble family like Qadris should produce an evil like Tahiru’l Qadiri. Don’t forget that even religious fanatics have caused no small damage to the Muslims. The nexus formed by these groups in which Imran, Qadri and others are involved is striving to bring about destruction of Pakistan.
General Musharraf has also announced that he would be joining the inquilab march of Qadri. He and his other cohorts, too, are readying to destroy Pakistan’s democracy. After going through the speeches, video messages and religious thoughts of Tahir, one feels that he is a psychological patient and needs medical treatment. All his speeches show that there is an external enemy instigating him and prompting him in his malicious utterances. It is curious that in this 21st century a religious leader is shifting from his statements and stands every time and is instigating his blind followers to resort to violence. It is baffling how Pakistan is tolerating such a rabid fanatic and his blind followers. His followers may not number more than a few thousand persons and they want to hold a country of 18 crore people as a hostage?
Joining hands with Imran Khan and other undemocratic elements, Qadri wants to bring down the entire democratic system including the parliament and democratic institutions of the country. And all this is happening at a time when the Pakistani army is engaged in destroying the stronghold of international terrorists in North Waziristan.
How can one explain the fact that in the National Assembly,Khan’s PTI occupies the third place, and additionally, it has formed the government of one province namely Pukhtunkhwa, and still he wants to cut at the roots of democracy in the country? Hardly has the government of Nawaz Sharif been in the seat of power for a year and half when Imran is there asking for his resignation?
Let it be noted that Khyber Pukhtunkhwa has become the centre of international terrorists. It also remains a backward area. Here runs the government of Imran Khan’s PTI. He could have undertaken social work on a large and positive note and brought about a big change in the entire region. This would have brought him great credit among the people of Pakistan and he would have achieved commendable national profile. It is unfortunate that he has chosen to work against democracy which Pakistan has been struggling hard to stabilize. The marches for which he has given a call can lead to disturbances and civil war and thus provide the army an opportunity to step in.
The question is that if these groups, now in tandem, demand renewed election after just fifteen months of the existing government, and for that purpose they resort to ‘Long March” type of process, what guarantee is there that this practice will not be repeated once they succeed derailing the existing government? They know it well, and yet they are persisting with their nefarious design which can be summed up as follows:
1.Not to allow Pakistan become a peaceful country and free from terrorism
2. Uproot or weaken democracy at any cost.
3. Punish Nawaz Sharif for his independent foreign policy.
4. Shield Musharraf from legal cases.
5. Maintain domination of the army.
6. Maintain Pakistan as the epicentre of terrorism.

7. Constitute assemblies under the control of the army
8. Imran Khan’s accusation against the former chief justice is to avenge latter’s (CJ’s) animus against Musharraf.
9. Spread disorder and turmoil if you want to instigate army’s revolt and wind up democracy as the political system of the government.
10. Foment civil war in Pakistan leading to its collapse is the plan of the Jews and the Americans so that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is snatched away from them.
One can only say that all these anti-national activities are carried out either by blind, dumb and deaf followers (of these leaders) or that the literate youth are just day-dreaming?
Pakistanis should remember that they are becoming the enemies of their own. By dragging their country to a civil war, they are planning to destroy their country and in the process they, too, shall get decimated.
The present government has people’s mandate for five years. It must be allowed o work for the full tenure as is the usual system with all democracies in the world. Its delivery will have to be judged after it has completed its term. People can decide at that time but demanding its ouster before it completes its tenure, will only weaken Pakistan’s democratic institutions. Do the above mentioned groups want that?


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Pakistan crisis puts army back in the driving seat

Pakistan crisis puts army back in the driving seat
BY MEHREEN ZAHRA-MALIK
Aug 20 (Reuters) - As tens of thousands of protesters advanced on the Pakistani capital last week to demand his resignation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dispatched two emissaries to consult with the army chief.

He wanted to know if the military was quietly engineering the twin protest movements by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan and activist cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, or if, perhaps, it was preparing to stage a coup.

According to a government insider with a first-hand account of the meeting, Sharif's envoys returned with good news and bad: there will be no coup, but if he wants his government to survive, from now on it will have to "share space with the army".

Even if, as seems likely, the Khan and Qadri protests eventually fizzle out due to a lack of overt support from the military, the prime minister will emerge weakened from the crisis.

The army may have saved his skin, but its price will be subservience to the generals on issues he wanted to handle himself - from the fight against the Taliban to relations with arch foe India and Pakistan's role in neighbouring, post-NATO Afghanistan.

"The biggest loser will be Nawaz, cut down to size both by puny political rivals and the powerful army," said a government minister who asked not to be named. "From this moment on, he'll always be looking over his shoulder."

A year ago, few would have predicted that Sharif would be in such trouble: back then, he had just swept to power for a third time in a milestone poll that marked nuclear-armed Pakistan's first transition from one elected government to another.

But in the months that followed, Sharif - who had crossed swords with the army in the past - moved to enhance the clout of the civilian government in a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history.

He irked the generals by putting former military head Pervez Musharraf, who had abruptly ended his last stint as prime minister in a 1999 coup, on trial for treason.

Sharif also opposed a military offensive to crush Taliban insurgents, sided with a media group that had accused the military of shooting one of its journalists and sought reconciliation with India, the perceived threat that the army uses to justify its huge budget and national importance.

INDIA RAPPROCHEMENT AT RISK

Sources in Sharif's government said that, with civilian-military relations in such bad shape, Sharif suspected that the street protests to unseat him were being manipulated from behind the scenes by the army.

He also feared that, if the agitations turned violent, the army would exploit the situation to seize power for itself.

However, the two close aides who went to see army chief Raheel Sharif in the garrison town of Rawalpindi last Wednesday were told that the military had no intention of intervening.

"The military does not intend to carry out a coup but ... if the government wants to get through its many problems and the four remaining years of its term, it has to share space with the army," said the insider, summing up the message they were given.

"Sharing space" is a familiar euphemism for civilian governments focusing narrowly on domestic political affairs and leaving security and strategic policy to the army.

The army's media wing declined to comment on the meeting.

The fact that the military is back in the driving seat will make it harder for Sharif to deliver the rapprochement with India that he promised when he won the election last year.

Indian media speculated this week that Sharif had already been forced by the generals to scuttle peace talks.

New Delhi on Monday called off a meeting between foreign ministry officials of the two countries, which had been set to take place on Aug. 25, because Pakistan announced its intention to consult Kashmiri separatists ahead of the meeting.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since both gained independence in 1947. The two nations have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir, and came close to a fourth in 2001.

The Pakistani army's predominance could also mean it could torpedo the government's relationship with Afghanistan, where a regional jostle for influence is expected to intensify after the withdrawal of most foreign forces at the end of this year.

PAYING THE PRICE

Few believed that the army would back Khan's bid for power even if it used him to put Sharif on the defensive.

"Even the army knows that Imran Khan may be a great pressure cooker in the kitchen, but you can't trust him to be the chef," said a former intelligence chief who declined to be named.

Sharif may now pay the price for miscalculating that the military might have been willing to let the one-time cricket hero topple him.

"Thinking that Imran could be a game-changer, Nawaz has conceded the maximum to the army," a Sharif aide said.

"From a czar-like prime minister, they (the army) have reduced him to a deputy commissioner-type character who will deal with the day-to-day running of the country while they take care of the important stuff like Afghanistan and India. This is not a small loss."

But Sharif's aides say a stint in jail under Musharraf, followed by exile from Pakistan and five years as leader of the opposition party, have made him realise that he needs to share power to survive.

"This is not the old Nawaz, the wild confrontationalist," said an adviser to the prime minister in Lahore, the capital of his Punjab province power base. "This is the new Nawaz who has learnt the hard way that politics is about living to fight another day." (Editing by John Chalmers)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Pakistan Independence- Day what is there to celebrate? By Iffat Rasheed

Pakistan Independence- Day what is there to celebrate? By Iffat Rasheed
14 Aug 2014
 "Pakistan Independence day today. Don't really know what there is to celebrate?...
 Corruption is rife. There is no electricity, no jobs, prostitution is on the increase, no justice in whatever shape or form, people are homeless, starvation is on the increase, parents can't afford to send their children to school, child labor, sex trafficking, gang rape is becoming part of revenge attacks, slavery, acid attacks, leaders live lavish lifestyles, and the list goes on. That is not even half the list - then there are drone strikes, torture, missing people...... that's listing only a few more!

Yet here I am sitting watching GEO and ARY showing the nationalistic flag of Pakistan and how we should be proud of our country's independence.

I don't see any independence. Only sadness and deeply rooted societal issues that need to be openly discussed to start making changes to a country that has so much potential but is oppressed by corrupt leaders.

So no, it's not happy Independence Day and the sooner Pakistanis begin to realize the real issues with their country the better."

https://www.facebook.com/WomenAgainstOpressionLiberationThroughIslam/photos/a.352103398207689.85629.344201352331227/674399069311452/?type=1

What is the BJP’s Ladakh Strategy? By Akhilesh Pillalamarri

What is the BJP’s Ladakh Strategy? By 
The BJP has grand electoral plans for Kashmir, beginning with the Buddhist-majority Ladakh region.         August 15, 2014
As Ankit reported recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the remote northern state of Jammu and Kashmir this week. On his visit to Kashmir, he reaffirmed his commitment to the development of Jammu and Kashmir and criticized Pakistan for its role stirring up trouble in the state. While Modi spoke about his dreams for the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a whole, it is especially telling that he visited Leh and Kargil, cities in the Ladakh region of that state whileavoiding the more populated Kashmir Valley. In some ways, Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir can be seen as a visit to Ladakh — a fact that has broad implications for Ladakh’s future and how the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) views the region.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is composed of three regions: the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, Hindu-majority Jammu, and Buddhist-majority Ladakh. Muslims make up the majority of the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a whole, but are minorities in Jammu and Ladakh. Of the three regions, Ladakh is the most remote, separated by high mountains from both the rest of Kashmir and from India itself. It is a high altitude desert plateau nestled high in between the Karakorum Range and the Himalayas. It is host to a relatively low population of around 300,000 people. Interestingly, the world’s second coldest inhabited location is allegedly in India of all places — the town of Dras in Ladakh. The people of Ladakh are related to Tibetans, follow Tibetan Buddhism, and speak Ladakhi, which is derived from Tibetan.
Due to its geography and culture, Ladakh is often isolated and neglected by the rest of India, both politically and culturally although its picturesque scenery is often used for Bollywood song shoots. Despite this fact, Ladakhis are very enthusiastic about being a part of India and participating in Indian political and cultural life as they have little sympathy for Muslim-Kashmiri inspired Kashmiri separatism and nationalism or desire to live with their brethren in Chinese-ruled Tibet.
This desire for security and integration has made Ladakhis increasingly conducive to supporting the BJP. Additionally the BJP’s overall support of smaller states has raised hopes that eventually the BJP will supportstatehood for Ladakh, a key desire of many Ladakhis who do not wish to live in Muslim-dominated Kashmir. Additionally, many Ladakhis fear that Muslim immigration and births will soon deprive their region of its Buddhist Ladakhi majority. Most of the Muslims in Ladakh live in the western Kargil district of Ladakh and are distinct from Muslims from the Kashmir Valley; they are Shia Muslims ethnically related to the Ladakhis. As such, Modi’s visit to Ladakh in particular was as much about shoring up his party’s support there as it was about demonstrating his commitment towards Kashmir.
Thupstan Chhewang, the sole Member of Parliament in India’s Ladakh, is a member of the BJP. He won his seat in May 2014 by a razor-thin margin of just 36 votes. His election represents the first time a member of the BJP has won a seat from Ladakh. Modi’s wish is to use this victory as a stepping stone to increase the BJP’s role in Kashmir’s politics, which have long been dominated by the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKN), a local political party allied with the national Indian National Congress, BJP’s rival. In May 2014’s national elections, the JKN did not win any of Kashmir’s 6 seats in India’s parliament, while the BJP won 3. The JKN still forms the state government in Kashmir though but assembly polls are later this year.
The BJP’s goals are to increase its share of parliamentary seats in the state for the next national election in 2019 and to form the next government in Kashmir after 2014’s assembly polls. In order to do this, it must consolidate the Hindu and Buddhist votes and win all the assembly seats in Jammu and Ladakh. This is a winning strategy–consolidation of non-Muslim votes–and has helped the BJP enormously in states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh earlier this year. While the BJP had previously written off Muslim-majority Kashmir, a strategy of consolidation actually makes it winnable.  The BJP also aims to win the Shia Muslim votes of Kargil, as it has a history of doing better with Shia Muslims than Sunni Muslims. If the BJP can win these votes in addition to the nearly certain Hindu and Buddhist votes of the rest of Ladakh and Jammu, it will probably garner the seats needed to come to power in Kashmir, a major achievement for a Hindu oriented party in a Muslim majority region.
By promising voters of the region development as well as recognition of their culture, Modi is helping both his party and the people of Ladakh, both of whom share common goals. Ladakhi votes may well help bring the BJP to power in Kashmir in 2014 and for a long time after if the BJP’s current rhetoric and strategies yield fruit.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Pakistan is heading for a disaster, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Pakistan is heading for a disaster
Dr Shabir Choudhry          12 August 2014

Imran Khan and Dr Tahir Ul Qadri need dead bodies for the success of their Long March. Dead bodies, blood of innocent people and chaos will win them public sympathy; and will increase chances of success of their Long March. This is not to suggest that they will successfully topple the government. Their role is to create conducive environment in which intervention of other players could be justified.

Despite efforts to appease him and reason him, defiant and stubborn Imran Khan wants to go ahead with his illogical policies designed to create anarchy in Pakistan. He seems to have distanced from the wise council, and have gone under the influence of a megalomaniac preacher, who seems to be on fire; and wants to take revenge by promoting violence, hatred and bloodshed. This policy will not only divide the Pakistani society it can also divide PTI as well.

If they had made inflammatory statements full of hatred, incitement to violence and murder in a place like Britain which is known as mother of democracy, they would have been arrested and charged with appropriate laws. But, this is Pakistan, where powerful get away with everything, even when they commit treachery.

No government could allow an attack of tens of thousands of people on its capital, which come with declared intention of toppling the government. In order to fool innocent people, they and some anti government leaders say it is their democratic right to protest. True, they have a right to protest, but this thin cover of democratic right does not entitle them to change a government by a mob rule.

If this precedent is set that people defeated in elections could change the government by mustering 30 -40 thousand people in D Choke then no one in future will be able to rule the country; and all stake holders and champions of democracy and human rights must understand that.

Imran Khan is a cricketer and a social worker. It was better for him to continue with his social work; but lust of power blinded him. No doubt he has a charming personality, confidence and a big mouth to accuse and attack everyone who disagrees with him. No doubt he was a cricketing star and a man with with controversial international reputation, but these characteristics are insufficient to make him a Chief Executive of a nuclear country with troublesome geography and important strategic position.

His politics lacks wisdom and consistency. His emotionalism and illogical politics have won him a title of ‘U Turn Khan’, because of frequent U turns in politics. What is driving Dr Tahir Ul Qadri and Imran Khan is not any principle or welfare of people, but their injured pride and ego; and in order to satisfy their ego they are fooling innocent people of Pakistan in name of rigging and accountability.

In corrupt society of Pakistan it is not possible to have totally rigging free elections. However, all foreign observers and political analysts agree that elections of 2013 were less rigged than the previous elections. Rigging did not take place in Punjab only; it took place in all provinces of Pakistan. Then question arises why so much agitation in Punjab, whereas there is no agitation in other parts of the country.

Is this a power struggle between political elite in Punjab, which is endangering democracy and future of Pakistan? Is this not illogical and uncompromising demand that the government must resign (what will take its place, he is not clear on that) and then Commission be formed to investigate. Question is what if the Commission finds Nawaz Sharif innocent, is he going to be re installed as a Prime Minister again? Does he think Prime Minister of Pakistan is one of the Director of Khanam Shaukat Hospital, which could be changed by its founder?

Well before Dr Qadri was ‘launched’ the second time and before Imran Khan announced his Long March with intention to topple the government with a mob power, I said to a Pakistani journalist in London that in near future Punjab will be the new battleground. We were discussing what India would do under PM Modi. I said his priority is economic development, peace and friendship, but if situation warranted he would not hesitate to go to any extremes.

He wanted me to explain this further. I said I can visualise 1970 like situation emerging with Punjab being a new battleground. He did not buy my logic and changed the topic. Last week when Punjab had practically become a battleground, Professor Ejaz Pracha, who was present in that meeting, complimented me on my prediction, but insisted that I must have had some information from somewhere.

Without saying anymore on this topic, I want to assert that issue is not electoral reforms or rigging in some constituencies. The mission has many targets; and satisfaction of ego is one objective. Both revolutionaries want to take revenge from Nawaz Sharif for their own reasons. Nawaz Sharif shattered Imran Khan’s dream of becoming the Chief Executive of Pakistan, and this was perhaps the last opportunity for him. In the next elections, if they are held constitutionally on time, PTI will not even get 30 seats, as people will be more familiar with his game plan.

Also, it looks that the agenda is to prepare ground for some other experiment in Pakistan; and it is important that Punjab is invaded or subdued for this purpose and Nawaz Sharif ousted and defamed. What the men behind this game need to understand is that it could lead Pakistan to a disaster.

No doubt Nawaz Sharif government has also committed blunders; but all governments make mistakes, and this doesn’t warrant toppling of an elected government. Flaws in the electoral system could be improved and relevant laws could be passed to ensure that in future elections either there is no rigging; but that is not the real agenda of the two revolutionaries who want to create anarchy.

Now that government’s olive branch and agreement to set up a Supreme Court Commission to investigate the rigging allegations is rejected by the revolutionaries, it is clear that they don’t want a peaceful resolution. They want chaos and bloodshed for the success of their agenda, and the government must not allow them this opportunity; as first responsibility of the government is to protect life and property of its citizens.

Both revolutionaries and their senior colleagues should be taken in protective custody. The government must understand that once they start the Long March with thousands of people it will be difficult to control them, and reluctant and ideologically divided police will not be able to control the frantic mob.

The government also needs to understand that the army will only protect certain sensitive positions, especially those with military importance, but surely they will not shoot at a Punjabi crowd. I know some people will accuse me for using regional card, but history proves my point. Pakistan army never hesitated to shoot Pakistani civilians in other provinces, East Pakistan, Balochistan, FATA, KPK etc but when they were ordered to shoot in Lahore they fired in the air and preferred to resign. If the army is asked to shoot at Punjabi protestors, and moreover, Sunni crowd, they will not shoot; and the government must avoid reaching this quandary.

The government also needs to understand that just like members of police force and other secret agencies, men in army also have religion or faith. They are also influenced by religious leaders; and history proves that despite claims to contrary many Pakistani senior army officers had extremist tendencies and worked against the army discipline.

In view of the above, if the two revolutionaries are allowed to create anarchy, and which result in deaths of civilians then the danger is that Pakistan will enter a new phase of civil war that will have far reaching consequences not only for Pakistan but for the entire region.

Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.




Tuesday, 12 August 2014

PM Narendra Modi visits Leh, Kargil; slams Pakistan for proxy war against India

PM Narendra Modi visits Leh, Kargil; slams Pakistan for proxy war against India       August 12, 2014
  The PM vows to do everything possible for the development of Kargil.

  Raising the issue of corruption, Modi said: "In my government, I won't let officials ask for bribes or let people give bribes."

  The PM underlined strengthening farmers and cultivators in Kashmir with better technology facilities.

  We are interested in development and taking everyone together towards development, said Modi:

  We are working towards fulfilling the dream of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

  You will be linked to Srinagar and to India and will not have to face power cuts: Modi in Kargil

  We have inaugurated a transmission line here with a budget of Rs 1,800 crores.

  My government is committed to improving connectivity to Kashmir, assured PM Modi.

  About 20 percent people of Jammu and Kashmir are displaced. We will take all possible steps for their rehabilitation, assured the PM.

  I am sure the youth here can work hard, earn money and feed their families, said the PM.

  The PM vows an additional Rs 8,000 crores to finish pending projects.

  Power is not just for TV sets and charging mobile phones. This electricity is critical to the industrial development of this area. If there is electricity, small scale industry will grow.

  The patriotism of the people hailing from Kargil inspires the people of India. I bow to this land and to the people, said the PM.

  The day we recaptured Tiger hill is still vivid in my memory, said PM Modi.

  When I was here, people here knew I was a BJP worker. I was provided with tea, food and people welcomed me. I saw the people here cooperate with the soldiers who were fighting.

  When I came here in 1999, all one could hear was the sound of the guns as guns were booming all around. Today I am only hearing clapping of hands. People in other parts of the country would find it hard to believe the situation has changed so much in Kargil, said Modi.

  Addressing a public meeting at Bimathang playground in Kargil town, Modi said: "It is my privilege that I am able to come here and meet all of you in Kargil."

  PM Modi inaugurated the 44 megawatt Chatuk hydro-electric power project which is a run-of-the-river project built on the Suru river in Kargil.

  Narendra Modi reaches Kargil, becoming the first PM to visit the region after war.

  He also promised that the National War Memorial would be built and would inspire future generations of India.

  Addressing soldiers at a Sainik Sammelan in Leh, the PM spoke of the provisions made in the union budget towards the modernisation and welfare of the armed forces, including ‘One Rank One Pension’.

  Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the government is committed to make India self-reliant in defence manufacturing.

Also Read: India to be self-reliant in defence manufacturing: Modi

  Addressing soldiers, Modi said that armed forces deployed in border areas are well-connected with the people who live there. He highlighted the example of the Kargil infiltrations, about which the first information was given to our armed forces by a shepherd named Tashi Namgyal. India defeated Pakistani infiltrators in the 1999 Kargil war.

  The Prime Minister Narendra Modi also recalled the Kargil war.

  The PM added that the Indian armed forces are suffering more casualties from terrorism than from war.

  Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the "continuing proxy war by Pakistan". Addressing soldiers at Leh, Modi said that the "neighbouring country has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism".

  PM Modi will now inaugurate 44 MW hydro power project at Chutak village in Kargil district.

  PM Modi has concluded his speech.

  You have already made me your own, but today you have designed my attire too, said Modi.

  Corruption is troubling us. People are angry. I assure that we will fight corruption and work with all those against corruption, assured Modi. There are also honest officers. We will work with them too. If we win the fight against corruption, we will win battle against poverty, added the PM.
Also Read: Government to fight corruption with all its might: Narendra Modi

  The government is planning special projects, including large-scale organic farming for development of all Himalayan states, said the PM.

  When I went to Kutch (Gujarat) in the past as CM, a person asked me why I speak of border and not development there. This rang bells in my mind. Since then, whenever I go to border areas I always speak of development. My solution to problems of Jammu and Kashmir state and the north east is development, development and development, the PM noted.

Also Read: Solution to border states' problems is development: Narendra Modi

  Modi said the additional Rs 8,000 crore that the central cabinet would soon sanction for road development in Jammu and Kashmir would also include additional funds for the Zojila Tunnel that would connect Kargil with the rest of the country making all-weather road connectivity possible for the Ladakh region.

  Modi announced waiver of the interest, saying Centre and J&K have had a feud over interest on foodgrain sent to FCI.

  We will modernise the design and production of Pashmina shawls, said Modi.

  PM Modi added that he would bring 'saffron revolution' in the state, adding saffron farmers would get special attention from spices board.

  The government is committed to developing tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. The state will soon witness huge changes, said Modi.

  The patriotism of people of Ladakh is inspirational to India. I bow to that strength, said Modi.

  PM Modi said it was Atal Bihari Vajpayee's dream to bring connectivity to Kashmir.

  Centre will work shoulder to shoulder with Jammu & Kashmir for development. Development must be such that it positively transforms the lives of the common people, said Narendra Modi.

  Gujarat's Kutch and Kashmir's Ladakh have equal solar energy potential, added Modi.

  Modi suggested Prakash, Paryavaran and Paryatan (light, environment and tourism), the three-P formula for Leh-Ladakh. "If these three are utilised properly then the country will benefit...Development must be such that it positively transforms the lives of the common people," he said.

  "There was a time when...prime ministers would not come (here), and now twice the prime minister has come," said Modi.

  I am grateful for your love. You appreciated even a written speech I sent during Lok Sabha election campaign, Modi told the audience.

  Speaking in Leh, PM Modi said he is not only well acquainted with this region and its challenges but also its strengths. "We have put Leh at the focus of our solar energy initiatives," added Modi.

  After a very long time, this place is witnessing such a large gathering of people, said Modi.

  The PM inaugurated Leh-Kargil-Srinagar transmission line and the 45 MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydro-electric power project.

  Addressing the audience, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the PM to Leh "on behalf of myself and all of you".

  Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal addressed the gathering.

  The Prime Minister is at Polo Grounds, Leh, to inaugurate the 45 MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydro-electric power project. He will also be addressing a public rally.

  Commenting on the trip, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is in Leh, said Leh-Ladakh is a neglected region and the PM's visit is a signal of intent. Narendra Modi will be the first PM who will interact with locals, added Naqvi.

  Leh town is all decked up to welcome the Prime Minister with hoardings erected at various places and BJP's Lotus flag seen prominently at various traffic intersections.

  Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Ladakh parliamentarian Nawan Rigzin Jora, Chief of Indian Army General Dalbir Singh Suhag and senior civil, police and military officials received the PM at the Leh airport.

  In his second visit to Jammu and Kashmir after assuming Prime Minister's Office, Narendra Modi on Tuesday arrived in Leh. Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal and National Security Advisor Ajeet Kumar Doval are accompanying the PM.

  PM Modi is scheduled to inaugurate two hydro-power projects in the Ladakh region and a 330 km Leh-Srinagar transmission line. This will be PM Modi's maiden visit to the Leh district ahead of the Assembly Elections.

He will address a public rally in the local Polo Ground and also one in Kargil town later today.

  BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Avinash Rai Sharma have been camping in Jammu and Kashmir for the last two days ahead of Modi's visit to overlook the arrangements for the public meetings being addressed by him.

  Leh-Srinagar transmission line
The Leh-Srinagar transmission line will connect the Ladakh region with the country's northern grid and ultimately solve the electricity woes of the energy starved Leh and Kargil districts.

  Hydro-electric power projects

The Prime Minister will inaugurate the 45 MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydro-electric power project which is situated at Alchi village. The inauguration will be done at Leh polo grounds, where he will also be addressing a public rally.

Later, the PM will inaugurate another 44 MW hydro power project at Chutak village in Kargil district.

The 45 MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydro-electric project is a run-of- the-river scheme to harness the potential of river Indus in the state. The project is designed to generate 239 million units of energy.

The Nimoo Bazgo power station is located on river Indus in Leh district of the state and has an installed capacity of 45 MW (3x15 MW).

The approval for the project was accorded at an estimated cost of Rs 611 crore. However, on account of escalation, statutory charges and higher cost of award, project cost has now been revised to Rs 985 crore.

  Siachen Glacier

Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag is camping in Leh to receive the Prime Minister who is scheduled to address airmen and soldiers who guard the world's highest battlefield for the country.

The PM is scheduled to conduct an inspection of the forward posts before addressing a gathering of the jawans and officers in Siachen.

Around 3,000 soldiers have been deployed on the glacier where sub-zero temperatures drop to even minus 60 degrees in winters.

Majority of the posts are located at over 16,000 feet and the highest of them is the Bana post at around 22,000 feet.

Since 1984, India has lost more than 860 lives and majority of them have been due to climatic conditions and challenging terrain of the 76 km long glacier.

Pakistan has been talking about demilitarising the Glacier as it is in disadvantageous position there and has even refused to authenticate the ground positions.

The Army Chiefs over the years have frequently voiced their opposition to demilitarising the area, terming it as a strategic location.

  PM Modi is scheduled to inaugurate two hydro-power projects in the Ladakh region and a 330 km Leh-Srinagar transmission line. This will be PM Modi's maiden visit to the Leh district ahead of the Assembly Elections.

He will address a public rally in the local Polo Ground and also one in Kargil town later today.

  BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Avinash Rai Sharma have been camping in Jammu and Kashmir for the last two days ahead of Modi's visit to overlook the arrangements for the public meetings being addressed by him.

  Leh-Srinagar transmission line

The Leh-Srinagar transmission line will connect the Ladakh region with the country's northern grid and ultimately solve the electricity woes of the energy starved Leh and Kargil districts.

  Hydro-electric power projects

The Prime Minister will inaugurate the 44 MW Chutak hydro-electric power project in Kargil and 45 MW Nimoo Bazgo project in Leh district.

The 45 MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydro-electric project is a run-of- the-river scheme to harness the potential of river Indus in the state. The project is designed to generate 239 million units of energy.

The Nimoo Bazgo power station is located on river Indus in Leh district of the state and has an installed capacity of 45 MW (3x15 MW).

The approval for the project was accorded at an estimated cost of Rs 611 crore. However, on account of escalation, statutory charges and higher cost of award, project cost has now been revised to Rs 985 crore.

State-run Power Grid Corporation of India is implementing the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar Transmission System for connectivity with Northern Region Grid for meeting demands of the Ladakh region.

  Siachen Glacier

Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag is camping in Leh to receive the Prime Minister who is scheduled to address airmen and soldiers who guard the world's highest battlefield for the country.

The PM is scheduled to conduct an inspection of the forward posts before addressing a gathering of the jawans and officers in Siachen.

Around 3,000 soldiers have been deployed on the glacier where sub-zero temperatures drop to even minus 60 degrees in winters.

Majority of the posts are located at over 16,000 feet and the highest of them is the Bana post at around 22,000 feet.

Since 1984, India has lost more than 860 lives and majority of them have been due to climatic conditions and challenging terrain of the 76 km long glacier.

Pakistan has been talking about demilitarising the Glacier as it is in disadvantageous position there and has even refused to authenticate the ground positions.

The Army Chiefs over the years have frequently voiced their opposition to demilitarising the area, terming it as a strategic location.

First Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 07:00


Monday, 11 August 2014

Is General Raheel Sharif in control? Dr Shabir Choudhry

Is General Raheel Sharif in control? Dr Shabir Choudhry   11 Aug. 14

In May 2014, I wrote an article titled ‘Pakistan army is back in the driving seat’. There were many who used foul language against me because I criticised holy cows of Pakistan. Now, I ask, if General Raheel Sharif is in control of his troops? I wrote in May 2104:

...‘Those who established Pakistan had strategic, political and imperialist aims in the region; and in order to advance their agenda they needed a religious state which could look after the interests of the West and Capitalism. For that purpose they left in charge Brown Sahibs who were trained and educated by the British to carry the burden; and no wonder the British trained army, the British appointed feudal lords and the British trained bureaucracy has always been at the helm of affairs in Pakistan’......This troika always ensured that the interests of the West are appropriately looked after; and that democracy does not get its roots in Pakistan. They also ensured that people are not empowered and they always remain divided on religious, ethnic and linguistic lines and remain subservient. Furthermore they ensured that the ordinary people always remain at subsistence level where they are only worried about their next meal.’

‘However, army’s record against civilian governments of Pakistan is brilliant, as they have successfully invaded their capital four times and directly ruled the country for more than three decades. The remaining period in the life of the country men in uniform dictated the terms by either sitting in the back seat, or on the front seat.....He is trying to assert the civilian rule, which the army cannot tolerate. He is working hard to provide Pakistan economic stability and make peace with the Pakistani Taliban and insurgents of Balochistan. Also he wants to have friendly relations with India and have mutual cooperation in many areas including trade and commerce. He has also abandoned this policy of previous governments to have a strategic depth in Afghanistan, and have a government in Kabul which Pakistan approves or likes....The army started asserting themselves some months ago; hence we see the turmoil in various walks of life in Pakistan, including in media.....’ 1

The power of Nawaz Sharif government has considerably weakened since I wrote the above article in May; and his rivals seem to be dictating the terms now. Many are claiming that Nawaz Sharif won’t be the Prime Minister for much longer. The next 10 days could be very crucial; and will test the nerves of all those contesting for power.

Many experts claim that the Pakistani army is very strong and discipline force; always loyal to the Chief. I wonder if that is still true. To me the war in Pakistan is not only a war for power. It has many dimensions. The army is trained and equipped to fight against enemies of the country; especially enemies that are visible or identified, for example, armed forces of neighbours or insurgency.

Threats to existence of Pakistan are not from outside, as most Pakistanis claim and think. Real threat is from inside the borders of Pakistani state. This threat also has more than one dimension. Outside forces may join the brawl once the domestic fight spills over and directly affect other countries.

In view of one Pakistani defence analyst: ‘Pakistan is in the midst of a new elite war for the control of state power. Competing political leaders and parties are once again at each other’s throats in a bid to outmanoeuvre one another..... If the ruling elite and the counter elite do not find some political solution by stepping back from their maximalist demands, the possibility of widespread violence cannot be ruled out. If the situation becomes very violent and unmanageable, the political initiative will shift to the military that has enough experience of deciding who will go home and who will be installed.’2 

One dimension of the threat or war people tend to ignore is the serious threat of religious sect or cult, which has deeply torn apart the Pakistani society. In this divided society people are divided on sectarian lines. People have strong loyalties to their sects or Masleks; and they are willing to do anything on the orders of their sect or cult leader.

Sad thing is that some countries have chosen to make Pakistan a battleground for their rivalry and sectarian war; and Pakistan has lost thousands of lives and property worth billions of dollars in this cult war. This sect war or cult war has sadly penetrated all sections of the Pakistani society; and it must be noted that men in uniform, whether they belong to army, police or other Para military forces are also part of this society.

By and large, Pakistani people are traditional and religious. It must be remembered that men in uniform are also human beings. Many of them belong to religious families; and they also want to go to Heaven after death. In view of this it is impossible not to be influenced by religious sects and other factors.

So it is difficult to say who is loyal to whom? When it comes to crunch, who knows who will stand with whom? It is clear that in guise of democratic rights, Imran Khan and Dr Tahir Ul Qadri want to push Pakistan to civil war; and who will side with whom it is difficult to say.

My fear is that this looming civil war could divide the men in uniform with devastating consequences for Pakistan and the entire region. It is too much to expect from these contestants with big ego and misplaced loyalty to apply wisdom and control the situation; however, I pray Almighty to help us.

1.       http://drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/pakistan-army-back-in-driving-seat-dr.html
2.      The elite war, Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2014.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.