Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

American hitchhiker gang raped in India

June 5, 2013

Area 14/8

NEW DELHI:An American woman was gang-raped in the northern Indian resort town of Manali,police said.

Three men in a truck picked up the 30-year-old woman as she was hitchhiking to her guest house after visiting a friend,police officer Sher Singh said.

The men drove to a secluded spot and raped her,he said. She went to police and they filed a rape case.

Authorities issued an alert for the three men and set up roadblocks to check any trucks leaving the town,he said. No arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon,Singh said.

The rape came after a Swiss tourist was gang-raped in March while on a cycling trip through rural India. Six men were arrested in that attack.

The same month,a British woman traveling elsewhere in northern India jumped from a third-floor window fearing a sexual attack after the hotel’s owner tried to force his way into her room.

Concern about sexual assaults in India has heightened since the fatal gang-rape of a woman in New Delhi in December sparked public protests demanding better protection for women.

In response,the government passed a law increasing prison terms for rape and providing for the death penalty in cases of rape that result in death or leave the victim in a coma.

It also made voyeurism,stalking,acid attacks and the trafficking of women punishable under criminal law.

FP Analysis: The Population Bomb

May 3, 2013

By Enum Naseer
FOR PAKISTAN

It is simple economics: resources are scarce and wants are unlimited. The problem of allocation gets more serious when population growth is unchecked- as is the case in Pakistan. It is confusing hence, that no one has taken the pains to voice the issue in the mainstream media; no political party mentioned it in its rallies; no slogans or chants went further than the usual clichés. While the future leaders and the public busy themselves with the task of wooing and being wooed, the population bomb ticks away. The promises and plans, albeit optimistic and hopeful, evade the population issue almost strategically. It is as if the fact that the unrestrained population growth will have an undesirable impact on the distribution of resources like food has gone unnoticed. Or more so perhaps, the problem has been brushed under the carpet for fear that it may give rise to an uncomfortable debate?

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Lip Service to Goodwill

April 25, 2013

FOR PAKISTAN

Over the past few months an ongoing debate about opening the borders to our next door neighbor has engulfed drawing room discussions, economics and politics lectures, the industrialist, the Mazdoor (wage laborer), and of course the talk shows. Those in favor of this upgrade in India’s status have brought to notice a need for better ties. It is now more obvious than ever that on all fronts, economic, social, political and security; India has left Pakistan far behind. While India has been labeled the World’s largest and most multicultural democracy, proud liberals quote Mother India as the torch bearer, pride of the democratic legacy, a success story; Pakistan is equally known for the opposite reasons: Terrorism, conflict, unstable governance, and sectarian and religious strife.

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Aboard the Opportunists’ Bandwagon

April 9, 2013

By Zara Zulfiqar
ZoneAsia-Pk

The Syrian opposition bloc has had its eyes on a seat in the Arab League for weeks now, and is likely to push the demand further to the UN and OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) as the self proclaimed representative of the Syrian people. Since the Arab League distanced itself from Assad, and after failed attempts to reach some mutual political solution, the League asked Assad’s opposition to join the bandwagon. On 27 March 2013, Qatar went another notch ahead by allowing the Syrian opposition to open their embassy.

This weekend events caught pace dramatically. Barack Obama has decided to hold meetings with all the Sunni leaders in the region backing the opposition. These include Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE. These meetings, to be held over the next few months, starting April 16th, will allow Obama to gauge the varying demands within the opposition and region, and channelize them to gain momentum against Assad’s regime. Disparate political, geographical and religious standpoints have landed these saviors in a critical deadlock. The infighting between the opposition groups has been a major factor for their failure so far. For Obama these meetings will cover more than just dilemma if the Syrian opposition. It will be an opportunity to bring Arab nations on board for the Palestine/Israel issue which is critical to relations between West and Muslim World.

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AN EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT OF A PAF – IAF ENCOUNTER 1965

March 26, 2013

Area 14/8

History has never been a particularly interesting subject for me,but on 7th September,1965,I had the unique opportunity of seeing history being made.

I shall not hesitate to accept that,ever since,my prejudices against history have weakened quite a bit.

The tension of the post-Rann-of-Kutch period had increased,progressively culminating in the out-break of the Indo-Pak War. The PAF was in a high state of alert. I was then at Sargodha – the focal point of interest for the Indian Air Force. It did not take a psychologist to analyse the state of mind of the PAF pilots. Calm and resolute,quiet yet zealous,they were all too keen to teach their adversaries a lesson.

Seated in the cockpit of an F-104 aircraft,I was awaiting my turn to be launched into the air. On a warning of an approaching low-level raid,some of my colleagues had already got airborne. For a short span of about half a minute we were anxious,but it was not long before we realised that the enemy had failed to deliver a proper attack and had caused no damage except to chip off a corner of a transistor-radio. They had to pay a rather heavy toll for the damage they had caused on the personal property of an officer – 4 out of the 6 raiding aircraft were shot down.

When a second in-coming raid was detected,four of my colleagues flying the F-86s and I in my F-104 were ordered to the air. In minutes we were airborne and were waiting to “greet our friends”. Squadron Leader M. M.

Alam with his wingman was orbiting southeast of the airfield,the other pair of F-86s led by Flt Lt Bhatti was further east of Sqn Ldr Alam’s section and I was circling the airfield at a height to about 15,000 feet.

While heading north,I spotted four enemy aircraft exiting in a south-easterly direction. I called out on the radio that I had visual contact with them and started turning in the direction of the enemy’s exit. By the time I had come behind the enemy aircraft,I saw that four F-86s – two of Alam’s formation and two of Bhatti’s were already chasing the Indian Hunter aircraft.

The Hunter is a faster aircraft than the Sabre. In order to close in to a firing range the Sabres had to jettison their external fuel tanks and dive down from height. Bhatti tried to get rid of his external tanks but unfortunately one of his tanks failed to jettison. It was now practically impossible for him to close the gap between himself and his prey. So,he wisely decided to let the other pair of F-86s,led by Alam tackle the Indian aircraft. Alam and his wingman started gradually to close in on the enemy. Though I,in the F-104 would have had no problem getting into the firing range. I thought it appropriate and fair to let Alam try his hand first. I decided to keep the Hunters in sight and trail Alam,firstly to allow him more manoeuvring area and,secondly to be ready for any one of them who might decide to run away faster. In the heart of my heart,I feared that Alam,with his complete mastery of the F-86 and his determination to punish each one of the Indians for the liberty they had taken,would give me no opportunity. In a short while I realised that my fears were turning into facts.

Like me,Alam had also spotted only four Hunters. He decided to engage the one on the extreme right first. It was then that he spotted a fifth Hunter further to the right. He changed his mind and switched his attack to this new find. Barely a couple of seconds must have lapsed before Alam’s six guns were spitting fire and fury at this Hunter and I saw a ball of fire hit the ground. Alam pulled his guns on to the next Hunter. A few seconds later,another ball of fire hit the ground. Then the Indians tried a halfhearted defensive manoeuvre. Alam was almost overshooting an enemy aircraft but by then he had destroyed -it a third ball of fire and the pilot of this Hunter managed to eject from his aircraft before it crashed.

Alam was once again in a better position to tackle the two remaining Hubters. It was only a matter of moments before these two also turned into balls of fire and crashed into the ground. I felt a pang of disappointment – Alam had been unfair to me. He had himself tackled them all,giving me no chance to bear my guns on to any one of them. The Indians disappointed me too. Had they just decided to run away from Alam,I would have possibly had a chance.

I checked my distance from Sargodha;it was 37 miles. This was the first time that a fighter pilot had attacked and destroyed five enemy fighters at almost treetop level in a short span of minute or so. A new chapter was added not only to the history of the PAF,but also to that of military aviation.

It was a great privilege to have been a witness to this encounter. The big “Fox Hunt” started by the Indian Hunters had ended up in the “Fox” killing all the hounds but one. This one hound,I do not know how,managed to detach himself from the rest of the ‘hounds’ and ran back with his tail between his legs. I believe that on his return he was awarded a “Veer Chakra” for his demonstration of great courage and valour in the face of the enemy!

FP: Pakistan Army set to reveal MRAP vehicle

March 21, 2013

FOR PAKISTAN

ISLAMABAD – Faced with mounting casualties among security forces from roadside bomb attacks in its Tribal Areas, Pakistan is set to reveal an indigenous mine-resistant vehicle.

A spokesperson for Pakistan’s state-owned vehicle manufacturer, Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), has confirmed that its Burraq mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle is nearing the end of its prototype phase and will be unveiled in “three to four months.” The announcement comes after years of development and failed efforts to acquire such a vehicle from other sources.

The need for an MRAP is great, and the military has acknowledged the considerable menace improvised explosive devices (IEDs) pose to security forces, particularly in the Tribal Areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border in fighting with the Taliban.

In what was perhaps the largest loss of life from an IED attack to date, 14 soldiers were killed and 25 wounded during a Jan. 13 attack on a Pakistani Army convoy in Waziristan.

Pakistan has reportedly sought better protected vehicles from as far away as Germany, Turkey and the U.S. However, a lack of financial resources seems to have hampered those efforts.

Failure to acquire an off-the-shelf solution ultimately led to the development of an indigenous answer.

However, as of November, with no news of the Burraq entering production and its non-appearance at Pakistan’s biannual exhibition, IDEAS2012, many analysts began to believe it had been quietly shelved. An order for an undetermined number of Poly Group Corporation Type CS/VP3 MRAP vehicles from China at IDEAS2012 reinforced that notion.

Hitherto, HIT has produced mostly tracked armored fighting vehicles, with some lightly armored four-wheel-drive and Toyota Corolla sedans its sole wheeled products.

According to HIT, the wheeled Burraq will carry 12 passengers and a crew of two. It has standard protection features similar to other MRAPs and will be open for export.

The 8-to-10-ton vehicle can withstand IED blasts of up to 10 kilograms, can be armed with a .50-caliber heavy machine gun (protected against fire from a similar weapon), as well as being fitted with bulletproof windows and run-flat tires. The occupants sit on blast-mitigating seats.

A former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, was given a briefing on the Burraq during a visit to HIT last year. He said he was impressed with what he saw.

“It appears that the Burraq is a mid-tech and affordable protective vehicle that should serve the defense forces well,” he said.

He said he was also “impressed with the proposed manufacturing process and with what I was told about its technical parameters, which, while not as advanced as U.S. or European equivalents, which are vastly expensive, seem to be adequate to counter the current IED threat.”

Having garnered a considerable amount of data from IED blasts, it appears Pakistan is able to adapt its designs to meet requirements, which Cloughley said is reflected in the Burraq’s design.

“The high profile is caused by the ‘V’-shaped underside, which is so necessary to minimize the effects of mines and IEDs, and although details of the degree of protection afforded are understandably kept confidential, I was told that analysis of the effects of IED incidents showed that Burraq’s armor configuration could cope well,” he said.

It is, however, less well protected than the Chinese Type CS/VP3, and analyst Haris Khan of the Pakistan Military Consortium said the Burraq has not yet been ordered by the military. It cannot meet requirements because, in its present form, it cannot withstand hits from the ubiquitous rocket-propelled grenade-7 (RPG-7), he said.

“Since most resistance in the military’s operations against militants is by IEDs and RPG-7s, Burraq is not designed and is not capable of countering the specific threat posed by the RPG-7. Some of the RPG-7 rounds used by the militants have very destructive warheads, which Burraq will not be able to withstand,” he said.

He said he believes a ready remedy would be bar/slat armor.

Still, Khan acknowledges the Burraq’s benefits, such as being based on a four-wheel-drive cross-country chassis, which is mechanically simple enough for Pakistan’s industry to locally support, and possessed reasonable protection against IEDs.

HIT has fitted bar/slat armor to main battle tanks such as the Type-69 II, and this could readily be applied to the Burraq.

Despite the large numbers of MRAP vehicles required, Khan said the Chinese vehicles could prove to be more affordable than the Burraq if a “soft loan” financial package is provided for their purchase.

Conversations with Badami Bagh residents

March 15, 2013

By Ahsan Waheed
ZoneAsia-Pk

Badami Bagh is no less than a ravaged town awaiting life once again. Along the sides of the roads are little yellow tents set up for the Christian families who lost their homes when an angry mob set fire to the entire residential area.

These little tents are filled with people. It is as if the little tents have become portable homes for the citizens who have nothing else left. Little toys, water bottles, a pile of clothes – Badami Bagh residents have begun to reconstruct their lives within the temporary homes provided to them since there is no knowing when their real homes will be ready for them to go back to.

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PAKISTAN SHAMED!!

March 13, 2013

By Ghalib Sultan
Area 14/8

The picture on top says it all. A mob in the background and an exultant youth in the foreground with smoke, fire and burning homes all around. This was the scene in the heart of Lahore when Christian homes were set on fire because of alleged blasphemy by a Christian who had already been booked under the Blasphemy Law by the police on the complaint of a Muslim. The mob that went on the rampage looting and burning homes was apparently venting their rage. No one died and no injuries were reported but Pakistan’s image was destroyed beyond repair-collateral damage from the point of view of the bigoted and the intolerant but a mortal blow to Pakistan for those whose heads hung in shame.

Now that the smoke has blown away, compensatory payments made to those who lost everything, the rebuilding process begun and some arrests made a clearer picture is slowly emerging. The Police advised the people to run for their lives hours before the mob arrived and they ran-the men, the women, the aged and the children all ran for their lives in all directions away from their homes leaving everything behind. Why did the police do this-to facilitate looting and burning, to save lives or because they did not want or could not face down the mob to protect lives and property? If the Police had advance information did this information flow upwards and if it did was it ignored? And if it did not then why not?

There are credible reports that the mob came prepared for their grisly task—with sticks, stones, gasoline cans etc. If so then this was no spontaneous venting of rage. This was a well planned event for which a large number of people had been mustered and prepared. If this was planned then who was behind it?- those who wanted the land on which the colony was built?- or those who had political motives and wanted to undermine the political administration in Punjab or was it a combination of both?. The land mafia would have known the consequences of such an atrocity and it is unlikely that they actually believed that the land would fall in their lap after the pillage. The political motive is more plausible and is also borne out by the fact that after the attack on the Christians some apparently counter attacks were organized on the pride and joy of the Punjab government-the new Metrobus system.

The Punjab government moved quickly to limit the damage and to begin rehabilitation work. An inquiry has also been ordered and arrests made. No doubt that there has been political fall-out but on the positive side people have rallied in support of the Christian community and against the forces of bigotry and intolerance that exist in society. There have been many previous incidents of this kind but never has exemplary punishment been awarded to deter such behavior. In the final analysis the blame must also go to people who are ready to undertake such criminal and reprehensible behavior.

Tacstrat Analysis: The Haqqani question

March 1, 2013

Tacstrat Analysis

Many analysts have taken up various positions on the subject of the United States, Pakistan and the controversial Haqqani Network. Tough calls have demanded that Pakistan be declared a rogue state, all aid suspended to the country and sanctions imposed. Others digress and say sanctions on Pakistan did not really work. Not only did Pakistan successfully test its nuclear capabilities, the economic toll of the sanctions nearly led to the breaking up of the small state. Unemployment rose exponentially, political tensions led to the overthrow of a democratic government and resulted in a military leadership that ruled over the country for another 9 years. Setting aside the age-old debate on whether sanctions really do work, one must accept the fact that sanctions, in Pakistan’s case, are not a pragmatic option.

As recently as March 1, the United States government has flexed its muscle over the Iran-Pakistan pipeline deal and implied, with strong undertones, that Pakistan should avoid any activity that would invite sanctions. Realistically speaking, the United States in unlikely to impose any such sanctions, over Iran OR the Haqqani Network.

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Propaganda: the (blatant) Indian way

February 26, 2013

ZoneAsia-Pk

Indian media can be called many things – free, vibrant, opinionated – but if there is one thing it cannot be called is subtle. The Indian media has had a long history of bias, Pakistan-bashing and a general lack of uniformity on national issues.

When the gang rape story broke in December, there was an intense media debate in India about the consequences of the tragedy on the country. The Indian Express advocated reform and called for a safe environment in the country on its Op-Ed pages. The Hindu, on the other hand, took off on a different tangent and discussed the need for death penalty and castration for rapists. The Times of India chose to remain on the fences, calling for “long term solutions.” The Asian Age focused on the political fall-out of the gang rape. Navbharat Times, on the other hand, filled its Op-Ed pages with a debate on the oppressed classes of the Indian society and raised an entirely existential question. Nai Dunya, went off in a completely different direction, and called for an end to protests since laws could not be “made over night.”

However, this is tame compared to some of the attacks the Indian media has made on its national athletes. And that onslaught is nothing compared to the continuous Pakistan-bashing that occurs every time wind blows from the west. Over the years, the Pakistani establishment has consistently demanded that the Indian media tone down its anti-Pakistan stance for better Indo-Pak relations. Several times over the years, former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf has blasted the Indian media for fabricating stories about Pakistan’s military. Furthermore, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir said in an interview, “Pakistan-bashing has become fashionable in India whenever there is an issue.” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also said several times that she was saddened by the constant barrage of negative comments emanating from the other side of the border.

“Pakistan and India are both important countries of South Asia. It is imperative that they demonstrate requisite responsibility for ensuring peace by addressing all concerns through dialogue. Rhetoric and ratcheting up of tensions is certainly counterproductive. We are saddened and disappointed at the continued negative statements emanating from India both from the media as well as certain Indian leaders. For its part, Pakistan has observed a measured and deliberate self-restraint in our public statements on India. This has been done keeping in view the interest of peace in the region,” said Khar.

The LoC, Pakistan-India cricketing rivalries, political and security debates aside, the latest stunt pulled by the Indian media was worthy of a good laugh.

In the wake of the Hyderabad blasts in India that left 16 dead and 117 injured, the Indian security forces issued a statement that slain Pakistani MQM leader Manzar Imam was the mastermind behind the attack. Within a few hours of this statement, the Indian media men dug out a photograph of Manzar Imam and declared him the chief terrorist behind the incident. Except the fact that Imam had been killed in a targeted attack a few weeks ago. It took them another few hours to realize their mistake and retract their statements.

This incident, again, just goes to prove how the Indian media looks for any outside sources to blame without looking inwards for their own security woes.

The Indian Home Minister Shinde announced in a statement that they had been expecting some form of retaliation after two high-profile hangings – Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab. If it was expected, perhaps the Indian journalists should focus their energies at investigating how there was such a massive security failure in one of their busiest, most populous cities instead of pointing fingers on dead men across the border.

In every journalism course there is a section on media ethics and responsibility. It seems that either the Indian journalists missed those important classes or need to revisit them once more.