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Posts Tagged ‘Water Dispute’

Pakistan will not Compromise on Kashmir and Water Rights!

PKKH Exclusive | Zainulabedin Ameer

As the current Pakistan-India talks proceed, the public on both sides of the border remains optimistic about the outcome. These talks are just a starting point, but they are seen as significant because they can lead to ongoing dialogue for eventual conflict resolution. There are several issues to be discussed, and some of them are key ones that must be handled carefully. Whatever the outcome of this dialogue, it must be remembered Pakistan’s stance will not change on key issues, and India knows this too; there will not be any compromise on Kashmir and Water Rights!

While the Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna was on Pakistani soil, support for the Pakistan-India talks back in India appeared to be confusing, with the BJP opposing this effort in its entirety. Experts in Pakistan, at the same time, have already been skeptical about this whole exercise because it is obvious that the general mood in India indicates a lack of desire to come to a peaceful and progressive resolution of issues.

In view of the general opinion in India regarding talks with Pakistan, the Pakistani people must understand that the water dispute and the Kashmir issue are core issues which India is simply being boarish about and not really willing to talk about. While many of us are caught up in the ‘Aman ki Asha’ smokescreen, it’s time to realize that India is acting like a wolf in sheep’s clothing; they are hell bent upon turning Pakistan into barren land by denying its water rights although they have signed an international accord decades ago to not block any waterways.

As if the blocking of waterways is not enough, the issue of Indian occupied Kashmir has taken a turn for the worse; the atrocities carried out by the Indian army have increased lately, and the people there turn out in large numbers on the streets, a great number of them carrying the Pakistan flag and chanting pro-Pakistan slogans. There is no doubt that the Kashmiris see Pakistan as their custodian; they know that if they are ever to be liberated, it will be Pakistan that will play a major role. These sentiments are actually based on Pakistan’s support for them as well as the efforts of past democratic regimes. However, our present government lacks the necessary aggressive foreign policy required to pursue their liberation.

While we have seen a lot of criticism against the Pakistani government in our own media regarding the way officials have covered up for India’s hyper-adventurism in the past, we have also now witnessed Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi openly expressing his personal opinion regarding the lack of sincerity on the part of Indian External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna. It seems obvious that Mr. Qureshi gets this feeling because back in India, officials do not want to talk about the water dispute and the Kashmir issue. In Pakistan, however, these are apparently the two main points on our agenda; Pakistan is not really interested in talking about the Mumbai 26/11 terrorists because we know it was nothing but a drama planned and executed by India itself. Therefore, we are left with the real issues, the water dispute and the Kashmir issue. Let’s face it, no one is going to resolve these issues for us, and we will not budge from our position! India knows this all too well!

While many expect huge achievements regarding an eventual peace process between Pakistan and India, pragmatically speaking, we can’t expect friendly relations with an already hostile neighbor itching to implement a now well known Cold Start Doctrine. We all know how easily the Indian tone changes when heads get swelled and leaders there believe they can dominate Pakistan. However, Pakistan is at a huge advantage strategically at this point of time as the advantage that India thinks it has (with its presence in Afghanistan and its instigation in Baluchistan and our tribal areas) is at an end with a third super power being buried in Afghanistan, India is left with no role to play. India has to pack up and leave! In their best interest, their focus should now be to resolve the water issue and the Kashmir dispute through sincere diplomacy.

Maoists winning the battle to control India

Friday’s train crash in India has been blamed on “sabotage” by Maoist rebels. It was the latest in a series of rebel attacks after the government launched an offensive against them. The BBC’s Soutik Biswas asks whether the rebels are gaining the upper hand.

It is not surprising that Maoist rebels are being blamed for the derailment of an express train in India’s West Bengal state, in which 71 passengers were killed.

The police claim they have found posters signed by a local Maoist militia claiming responsibility for removing part of the track, which led to the train skidding off and colliding with a freight train coming in the opposite direction.

West Midnapore district, where the incident happened, is the hotbed of Maoist rebellion in West Bengal, one of the states where the rebels have a presence.

Tribespeople dominate the district, especially the forested Junglemahal region bordering Jharkhand state.

They feel ignored and deprived by the Communist government which has been ruling the state since 1977. Most live in abject poverty. The only visible signs of “development” I spotted during a trip to the area some years ago were cheap liquor shops.

Strong support

Fed up with the state of affairs, Junglemahal’s tribespeople even agitated for a separate state.

When neighbouring Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state, their alienation grew and they were quick to welcome the Maoists, who wield most influence in areas which are poor and dominated by tribespeople.

The security forces are on the backfoot after a spree of rebel attacks
The Lalgarh area in Junglemahal is the rebels’ most formidable stronghold.
In February, they stormed a police camp in Lalgarh, killing 24 policemen.
Rebels love to describe Lalgarh as a “liberated zone” where the state has withered away – schools and medical centres have closed down because teachers and doctors are afraid to attend, and policemen are confined to the police stations fearing reprisals.

Friday’s incident in West Midnapore demonstrates how the rebels are taking the battle to their enemies ever since the federal government launched an offensive in what is known as India’s “red corridor” earlier this year.

This comprises 223 of India’s 636 districts in 20 states which the government says are “Maoist affected”, up from 55 districts in nine states six years ago.
Ninety of these affected districts, the government says, are experiencing “consistent violence.”

The rebels have been carrying out attacks with impunity in recent months – two major attacks Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state left more than 100 people dead, including 75 paramilitary troops.
But there are also theories that in this case the Maoist script went slightly awry.

Maoists frequently tamper with railway lines and often these lead to minor derailments; a number of such attempts have been caught well in time. There have been hijackings but no major attacks on civilian transport with such a death toll.

In the past year, Maoists have carried out 32 attacks on railways, mainly in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh – but no major casualties have been reported.

Support for the Maoist cause across India generally will be dented by such an attack, just as it was after the assault on troops in Dantewada.

Following the twin Dantewada attacks, the government said it was reviewing its strategy for fighting the rebels, who have refused to respond to repeated government offers for talks.

Analysts say that the strategy of “clearing, holding and developing” rebel-affected areas evidently inspired by the US strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not working.

‘Visible retreat’

One reason, they say, is that the surge of security forces and resources on the ground are not sufficient enough to take on the rebels who are spread over a vast swathe of remote mineral-rich forest lands.

Maoists call Lalgarh a “liberated zone”

The government is now in a “visible retreat” after a spree of rebel attacks, says security analyst Ajai Sahni.
He believes that a lack of adequate forces, training and intelligence is leading to these “disasters”.

“Unless local capacities for intelligence and operations are enormously augmented, this [offensive] can go nowhere, and lot of lives are going to be lost for no useful purpose,” Mr Sahni says.

But the under-equipped local police and intelligence-gathering networks remain Indian security’ s weakest link, and there no visible efforts to bolster them.

The government appears to be confused over how the rebels should be tackled – there are differences in the ruling Congress party itself on whether the state should strike hard against it’s own people.

Recently federal home minister P Chidambaram requested wider powers to deal with the rebels, saying that he had been given a “limited mandate.”
He said the chief ministers of some of the worst affected states have asked for air power to be used against the rebels – a measure that the government has refused to sanction.

Analysts believe that many states are not doing enough to take on the rebels, leading to a “centralisation” of the problem.

The train ‘”sabotage” was one of the biggest attacks launched by the rebels
“The principal responsibility for dealing with the Maoists remain that of the states; the first responders, the local police stations, have to be strengthened and equipped to deal with the task on their own.”

Till that happens, the rebels will be seen to have an upper hand in what promises to be long drawn out and bloody conflict, the like of which India has never seen.

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At least 35 die as Maoists blow up bus in India

RAIPUR: At least 35 people were killed after Maoist rebels blew up a bus carrying police and civilians in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh on Monday, an official said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters in the state capital Raipur that the dead included 11 police personnel.

“Twenty-four civilians and 11 policemen have died and 15 persons including 14 police personnel were injured in the blast,” the chief minister said.

He said an unspecified number of bodies were still trapped in the mangled bus following the mine blast in Dantewada district, a Maoist stronghold where rebels ambushed and killed 75 policemen last month in the bloodiest massacre of security forces by the extremists.

Television footage showed bodies laid out on the road next to the wreckage of the bus. The front portion of the vehicle had been almost completely destroyed by the force of the blast.

“The killing and targeting of innocent civilians travelling on a bus is to be strongly condemned by all right-thinking people,” Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told reporters in New Delhi.

The security men among the dead and injured were special police officers, who are recruited from the civilian population to help security forces in anti-Maoist operations, said S.R. Kalluri, deputy inspector general of police.

The left-wing guerrillas have stepped up attacks in response to a government offensive against them that began late last year in the forests of the so-called “Red Corridor” that stretches across north and eastern India.

The insurgency began in the state of West Bengal in 1967 in the name of defending the rights of tribal groups, but attacks have since spread to 20 of India’s 28 states.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has labelled the insurgency the biggest internal security threat to India.
Tribal groups and many rural areas have been left behind by the country’s economic development, and the poverty and discontent with local government corruption is seen as a major source of Maoist support.

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