Sunday, December 31, 2017

http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/421465-CPEC-to-open-new-avenues-for-development:-Achakzai


  Last Updated On 01 January,2018 10:18 am

He stated that we should continue efforts to make the country stronger.

KARACHI (APP):The Governor of Balochistan, Muhammad Khan Achakzai, has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) will open up new avenues of the development in the country.

He was talking to media after visiting the mausoleum of Founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah here on Sunday.

The Governor laid wreath at the mausoleum of the Quaid, offered Fateha and recorded his impressions in the Visitors’ Book.

He said that Quaid-i-Azam gave the Muslims of the sub- continent a separate homeland so that they could lead their lives with freedom.

Achakzai said that it is incumbent upon all to make concerted efforts to make Pakistan strong and prosperous as desired by the founder of the country.

He stated that the CPCE will open up new avenues for the development for Pakistan as well as the countries of the region and that no one could harm this mega project as the machinations of the enemies would be frustrated.

Governor Balochistan said that Pakistan of today is strong as compared for the past many years.

He stated that we should continue efforts to make the country stronger.

Achakzai also visited the graves of Shaheed-i-Millat Khan Liaquat Ali Khan, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Begum Raana Liaquat and Sardar Abdul Rab Nishter. He laid floral wreaths and offered Fateha

Extension of CPEC into a Tripartite Partnership or nowhere?

https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2017/12/31/extension-cpec-tripartite-partnership-nowhere/

 December 31, 2017

By

 Hikmatullah 



Authors: Hikmatullah& Wang Li

December 26, 2017, when jointly meeting the press with Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani of Afghanistan and Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif of Pakistan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed that China and Pakistan are willing to, together with Afghanistan, actively discuss extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan in a proper manner under the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results. China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue aims to enhance political mutual trust through this platform, eventually, to jointly deal with development and security challenges in the region.

In view of bilateral relations, Beijing regards Afghanistan as a key land-corridor of building the “BRI”, and determines to, together with the Afghan side, enhance the docking of development strategies. Accordingly, China adheres to the principle of the “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned”, that means “leaving Afghanistan to realize its broad and inclusive political reconciliation at an early date.” In response, Afghan FM Salahuddin Rabbani regards China as a permanent and reliable partner. Since Beijing has provided precious aid and support for Afghanistan in various fields, Afghanistan stands ready to actively participate in the “BRI” proposed by China. He then added, China is a mutual friend of Afghanistan and Pakistan as well, Afghanistan appreciates the efforts made by China to advance the improvement of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Likewise, Pakistan FM Asif appreciates China’s proposition of holding the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in light of the guidelines for promoting harmony and friendship among the three sides.

At the conclusion of their first tripartite meeting, eight major consensus were reached, which include political mutual trust and reconciliation, development cooperation and connectivity, and security cooperation and counter-terrorism as three main topics to actively push forward trilateral cooperation in line with the principles of mutual respect, equal consultation, mutual benefit and win-win results. China promises that the tripartite sides commit themselves to realizing the following four goals: supporting Afghanistan’s peaceful reconstruction and reconciliation process, helping Afghanistan and Pakistan to improve and develop relations, promoting common security in the three countries and the region, as well as pushing forward regional connectivity and international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. China supports the Afghan government in carrying out peace talks with the Taliban, and will continuously offer convenience to this end.

Nonetheless, when the news was released, it immediately aroused two concerns: what will India respond to this proposalsince it has suspected China and Pakistan geopolitically; and how the presence of US permanent military bases in Afghanistan and thefragile security situation of Afghanistan allows the successful realization of this scheme? The following inquiry is where China would be able to move towards along with its two neighboring countries.

As a strategically important neighbor of China and Pakistan, Afghanistan has an urgent desire to develop its economy and improve people’s livelihood, and it is willing to integrate itself into the process of regional connectivity. China stand ready to discuss extending the CPEC to Afghanistan in a proper manner under the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results not only to help Afghanistan develop its economy and people’s livelihood but also to gradually connect CPEC with the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor through Afghanistan in the long run. Through, the Three parties have shown willingness to jointly promote more extensive connectivity under the framework of the “Belt & Road Initiative” with a view to make feasible contributions to development and prosperity of the region. True, it is still difficult to predicate the results.Security is possibly the most important challenge to CPEC’s successthus, unless peace is restored in Afghanistanit hard to imagine the successful development of this vital initiative.

Afghanistan security: A volatile Afghanistan and the worsen Pak-Afghan relation is not only not in the interest of China but no more tolerable for the rise of China.Thus, China through the 1st China, Afghanistan and Pakistan tripartite ministerial dialogue can best be described as an honest broker in the bilateral relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan and ostensibly the possible solution for ending the decades long Afghan security turmoil. Pakistan, all along meddled in Afghanistan and continue to do so to gain what is often termed the ‘Strategic Depth’. This is to secure their own backyard by keeping off anti-Pakistan forces especially India out of Afghanistan and to block any pro-Indian regime in Kabul and ensure a pro-Pakistan regime in control of Kabul in order not to be encircled by enemies from two sides. Since then Pakistan is supporting various militant groups in Afghanistan to represent their interest. The rise of Taliban was in part of direct support from ISI of Pakistan. ISI interest with the Taliban was determined predominantly not out of a common Islamic ideology but slightly on ISI’s intentions that it need to sustain influence in Afghanistan to develop strategic depth. Thus, the post-Taliban armed-conflict and revival of Taliban as insurgent group is due to Pakistan’s hazardous double game. It has in the process destabilized Afghanistan beyond any easy recovery and created huge problems for itself as reflected in the worsening internal security of Pakistan. India continues to have significant influence in Afghanistan and Pakistan is burning more resources than possibly it should be.Therefore, it is expected that, China that has historically maintained good and friendly relations with Afghanistan, at the same time has good influence on Pakistan, can persuade Pakistan to stop meddling in Afghanistan and leave its policy of gaining strategic depth in Afghanistan. Bringing an end to Pakistan’s proxy warfare is necessary for the stability of Afghanistan. Peace and stability in Afghanistan would bring success to the implementation of such vital initiatives as CPEC. Economically Pakistan could enormously gain from the reconstruction process of Afghanistan and would be able to reintegrate itself into the resource rich Central Asian republics by offering its shortest route to the sea. India may maintain its hostility indefinitely but with much less influence.

U.S. permanent military bases: US permanent militarily bases at the backyard of rising China, also Russia and Iran, are the other barrier for the success ofthis initiative. On October the 7th 2001 US waged war on Afghanistan not only to chase away the Taliban and the Al-Qaida whom they considered the attackers of 9/11, they came to Afghanistan in the name of liberating the nation out of the misery and devastation it was in due to the Taliban regime. Nevertheless, time proved, it was all propaganda and their just war had little except their need to have a say on this piece of strategic geography. The US invasion on Afghanistan and its involvement in Afghan armed-conflict is less concerned about countering terrorism but rather its more about US national interest in securing permanent military bases in this strategic piece of land to dominate the entire region such as Middle East, Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and/or to make sure that nobody else dominates this region and do not allow any pair competitor to be arise in the region. For the rising China when the permanent US military bases comes into play it can/is pose [ing] a threat to its national security interest and jeopardize its very survival. Thus, it is essential that China must be clearly aware of what is happening in its backyard. China and all the regional countries needs to work together and makea well detailed proposal with a defined timetable for the withdrawalof US and all other foreign troops from Afghanistan at the earliest which is essential for the peace of Afghanistan and the region.

Conclusion. The extension of CPEC to Afghanistan opens a new chapter for peace and stability for the land-locked but resource-rich and geo-strategically important Afghanistan that has been for decades under foreign invasions and wars. Meanwhile, it has been proved that in order to cope with Afghan fragile security situation, hard power is not a realistic option anymore.The world community particularly China and Pakistan needs to begin work with the Afghan government and Afghan society through humanitarian assistance to strengthen the Afghan government and the civil society. The extension CPEC to Afghanistan is the greatest ever initiative for the peace and stabilization of Afghanistan. From a peaceful and stable Afghanistan China could feel more safe and would be free to implement and promote more extensive connectivity under the framework of itsambitious “Belt & Road Initiative” with a view to make feasible contributions to the development and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region as a whole

Balochistan 2017: An Overview of Human Rights Situation

http://hakkpaan.org/balochistan-2017-an-overview-of-human-rights-situation/


 

 by hakkpaan ,  December 31, 2017

Forward:

Pakistan is a signatory to many treaties and conventions that assign the state the responsibility of protecting the citizens of any illegal detention, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.

To name a few most important, Pakistan has signed the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights on 17 April 2008 and ratified them on 23rd June 2010; signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights on 3rd November 2004 and ratified it on 17 April 2008; signed the Convention on the Rights of Child on 20 September 1990 and ratified it on 12 November 1990.

The government of Pakistan has formed a National Commission for Human Rights, claiming to independently investigate the cases and enforce the laws state has introduced in its legislation covering and protecting the articles of the above-mentioned conventions and covenants.

The cases of enforced disappearances of Baloch activists and their family members have multiplied in number in the recent months. The National Commission of Human Rights seems to have failed to make any difference. It has helped cover up the role of security agencies in the enforced disappearances in the name of national security.

Almost all the political activists in Balochistan, who had an opposite view of the government’s projects, have been abducted and forcibly disappeared and/or extra judicially killed by security forces.

Most of the cases went unnoticed, as the media and human rights organizations are not given access to Balochistan and most of the reporters in Balochistan are killed and/or abducted and forcibly disappeared.

Enforced Disappearances:

Baloch Human Rights Organization, a Balochistan based human rights group issued the initial details of 1,225 persons, forcibly disappeared from January to end of November 2017, while the group claims that 287 persons have been extra judicially killed by security forces in this period of time.

Our sources from Balochistan have confirmed the initial reports of 1,091 cases in which security forces victimized the civilians of enforced disappearance.

Some of the recent cases are:

1. Nawaz Atta

Born in 1995 in the small town of Gichk in district Panjgur of Balochistan, Nawaz Atta had long dreamt of becoming a poet and a fiction writer. Therefore, after completing his primary education from his home village, he moved to the metropolitan Karachi city to live up his dreams.

But he was more of a social worker by nature than a poet. He developed this strong urge to help bring his fellow villagers to Karachi for better education opportunities. He kept a list of education institutions and their upcoming admission schedules. He would text this list to any willing youngster from his village.

When someone becomes a victim of enforced disappearance in Balochistan, his/her relatives have little options to press personnel of security forces to release their loved ones. What they usually do is to sit outside the Karachi Press Club in protest so that the media people highlight their case. Nawaz took care of many such families. That is how he became the central information secretary of the Baloch Human Rights Organization.

He was abducted by paramilitary Rangers personnel in Karachi on 28th of October 2017. He is still missing along with eight other students from Balochistan, all abducted from Karachi.

2. Aftab

9 years old Aftab does not remember his biological mother. He was 40 days old when she, Jamal Khatoon, died of Hepatitis B and C in 2007, the year Aftab was born.

He was then adopted by his father’s sister, Sabira Rahim. Aftab now calls her mother. Aftab attended Pak Islamic Public School in Khuzdar till grade three. At the end of 2015, the family shifted to Karachi to escape any possible fallout of the ongoing conflict between Baloch separatists and Pakistan’s military. They were living in the Gulshan-e-Hadid area of Karachi and Aftab was a student of grade 5 at the Rising Star School.

His mother, Sabira, a 35 years old schoolteacher, is the wife of Rahim Baloch, a known Baloch nationalist leader. He served as Chairman of the Baloch Students Organization and the founding Secretary General of the Baloch National Movement. This very fact made Aftab qualified enough to become another Baloch missing person.

The Sindh Rangers raided their house in Gulshan-e-Hadid at around 02:30 am on 28th of October 2017. They whisked away Aftab along with his two cousins: 24-year-old Rawat and 25-year-old Arif.

3. Ulfat

11 years old Ulfat Altaf is a resident of Awaran Balochistan and a student of grade five in school.

Many of his family members have been abducted by security forces and later killed. His mother, Zubaida thought to shift to Karachi for two purposes, safety and the education of her children.

They rented an apartment in Gulshan-e-Hadid colony phase 1, at Double road street Karachi.

The Sindh rangers and personnel of intelligence agencies of Pakistan raided their house on 28 October 2017 and took Mr. Ulfat along with three of his cousins, Abid, Sajjad and Farhad.

4. Sanaullah

25 years old Sanaullah Mohammad Ismail, alias Ezzat Baloch is a student and Secretary General of Baloch Student Organization-Azad (BSO-Azad).

He is a native of Mashkay, Awaran Balochistan.

Like thousands of other Baloch students, he was also compelled to leave his studies and home and stay anonymous under a pseudonym, Ezzat Baloch, since the “Kill and Dump” policy of Pakistani security forces against Baloch activists was accelerated in 2009.

He was in Karachi and visiting his colleague, Naseer Ahmed, at Naseer Ahmed’s house near Rufi Mall in Mosmiat area of Karachi, along with Hassam and Rafeeq Baloch, two close friends and colleagues.

Sindh Rangers and personnel of intelligence agencies raided the house on 15 November 2017 at around 21:00 and abducted Sanaullah, Naseer, Hassam and Rafeeq Baloch. They are forcibly disappeared since then.

5. Hassam

Hassam Baloch is a poet, born in 1995 in Mand, a town in Balochistan bordering Iran. He completed his basic education from his village, intermediate from Atta Shad degree college Turbat and then shifted to Karachi for higher education.

He used to write poems in Balochi as well as Urdu. Sometimes, he wrote prose, but his poetic writings have been more appreciated than the prose.

In Turbat and Karachi, he mostly wanted to live alone. With the books and pen only. He studies literature, art, philosophy and history. But he was possessed by literature too much.

He is a member of central committee of Baloch Students Organization-Azad.

Hassam Ghulam Mohammad was abducted along with Sanaullah, Naseer and Rafeeq Baloch on 15 November 2017, from a house in Karachi by Sindh Rangers and personnel of intelligence agencies.

6. Rafeeq Ahmed:

25 years old Rafeeq Ahmed Rahim Bakhsh is a resident of kanari village of Mashkay district Awaran Balochistan. He was once wounded in indiscriminate shelling of military’s helicopters on his village during a military operation in 2010. He could not see properly, could not walk properly and needed constant medical assistance.

Mr. Rafeeq and his family had left their village and lived in Karachi.

Sindh Rangers and personnel of intelligence agencies raided their house on 15 November 2017 and abducted Rafeeq Ahmed, Sanaullah, Naseer and Hassam.

They were all forcibly disappeared after abduction. His wife and children recorded their testimony as eyewitness of the incident. The families started a sit-in protest camp in front of Karachi press club to raise their voice. Human rights groups, political parties condemned the incident and held many protests around the world for safe recovery of the abductees. But, the government of Pakistan did not reply to all the appeals and kept quiet.

7. Naseer Ahmed:

Naseer Ahmed Swali is a 26 years old student and a resident of Lal bazar kohárhó village of Jahl Jhao, Awaran Balochistan.

They had migrated to Karachi due to constant military operations. His village in Jahl Jhao, Awaran Balochistan was forcefully evacuated by the forces and the villagers were left, without any help whatsoever, scattered across different parts of Balochistan and Sindh.

Naseer Ahmed was living a life of IDP, but he continued his studies.

On 15 November 2017, Sindh Rangers and personnel of intelligence agencies raided their house and abducted Naseer Ahmed along with Sanaullah, Hassam and Rafeeeq.

The families launched a campaign of protests, started a sit-in camp in front of Karachi press club to highlight the case.

Human rights organizations and political parties held protests in Karachi, Quetta and different cities of western countries. UN working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances sent communications to the government of Pakistan. But, the government has not replied to any appeals and did not produce him in any court of law.

8. Sagheer Ahmed:

Sagheer Ahmed Ghulam Qadir is 22 years old, student of Political Science in Karachi University and a resident of Tirtéj village Mashkay, district Awaran Balochistan.

He did his basic schooling in Tirtéj, Awaran and did his inter from Inter College Mashkay in 2015. He has left his home village, Tirtéj, Awaran and shifted to Karachi for his studies.

His exams were going on at the university. He was sitting at canteen with his friends after he finished his exam. 10/12 persons, dressed in plain clothes entered the Visual Studies canteen of Karachi University at around 5-6:00 PM and took Sagheer Ahmed with them after checking the Identity cards of all.

His sister, Hameeda joined the sit-in protest camp in front of Karachi press club, which was held by the family members of previously adducted and forcibly disappeared students of Balochistan from Karachi.

Many human rights groups, student organizations and political parties held protests in many cities around the world and requested Pakistan government to produce him in a court of law, if he is accused of any illegal activity, but he is still missing. Government of Pakistan did not reply to the communication of UN’s working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances on the communication regarding forcible disappearance of Sagheer Ahmed.

9. Hafeez Baloch

On September 8, 2017, Pakistani security forces abducted a teacher Hafeez Baloch from Government High School in Tirtéj district Awaran, Balochistan.

Security forces cordoned the area during the teaching (working) hours and raided on the school and abducted the only science teacher of the school.

The family members and students of Hafeez say, “He is a caring, devoted and honest teacher who always teaches in a productive way and encourage students towards the betterment of education”.

10. Shah Nawaz Jalal

 

On 20 Oct 2017, two teenagers, Qadir Bakhsh Khair Muhammed and Shah Nawaz Jalal Khan, residents of Shólid, Dasht were abducted during a house to house search operation in Bilal Mosque area of district Gwadar.

 

 

 

See appendix 01 of pdf, for details of the victims of Enforced Disappearance in 2017.

 

Extra judicial killings:

There was hardly a week, where the security forces haven’t claimed to kill some ‘terrorist’ in Balochistan. However, the main targets remained the civilians, specially educated youth. It shows that the security forces were either not able to differentiate the civilians from armed persons, or did it with any other reason.

There were dozens of cases in which security forces killed the person who were in their custody, threw their dead bodies and claimed encounter.

Some are listed here, which our own sources have confirmed:

 1. Baitullah, the Master:

Master (The Schoolteacher) Baitullah, was a schoolteacher and resident of Dázen village of tehsil Tump, district Kech Balochistan. He was abducted by security forces from main bazar of Dázen, Tump in front of all the people, on 17 June 2015. An Urdu language newspaper quoted security forces saying in a statement that “In a combined operation of Frontier Corps and the Secret Agencies, a (militant) commander is arrested along with four persons”. The news further mentions that the name of the commander is Baitullah and ‘arms and literature was found from them”. It says, ‘Baitullah, the commander had a very important role in organizing terror attacks in the region.’”

On 27 April 2017, the local levies force received a phone call from the Frontier Corps, saying they (FC) has killed five terrorists in a battle and their dead bodies are lying in nearby streamside. The English languae newspaper, Dawn, published the news without any further investigation.

One of the alleged terrorists killed in this battle, was Baitulla, the schoolteacher. The other four dead bodies were of another four persons previously abducted and forcibly disappeared by security forces and unknown gunmen from Balochistan and Karachi city of Sindh.

2. Sabir Ghulam

Sabir Ghulam Hussain was abducted by Frontier Corps on 16 November 2016, from his house in Góbord village of Mand district Kech Balochistan. All of his family and the neighbors witnessed his abduction.

He was forcibly disappeared till 27 April 2017. He was one in five alleged terrorists along with Master Baitullah, FC claimed to kill in a battle.

 

 

3. Asif Anwar Ali

Asif Anwar was a tailor master, a resident of district Kech Balochistan. He was whisked away by civil dressed, unknown gunmen from Karachi, Sindh on 1stof December 2016 and was forcibly disappeared.

The five persons, FC claimed to kill in an encounter during a battle on 27 April 2017 in Mand Balochistan, were including Asif Anwar Ali.

4. Jasim Raheem 

Jasim Raheem was a resident of tehsil Tump district Kech Balochistan. He was on his duty in a grocery shop when the personnel of Frontier Corps picked him up on 4 January 2017. They came in vehicles, uniformed and armed. More than a dozen persons of the village witnessed his abduction.

He remained disappeared till 27 April 2017. His dead body was found along with Baitullah and others, who FC claimed to kill in an encounter during a battle.

 

5. Majid Majeed

22 years old Majid son of Majeed resident of district Kech Balochistan was whisked away by unknown gunmen from Gulshan-e-Mazdur, Karachi Sindh on 2nd of February 2017.

No one claimed his arrest. He remained disappeared till his dead body was found dumped along with master Baitullah and others, who FC claimed to kill during a battle in Mand on 27 April 2017.

 

6. Shams Khatoon

17 years old Miss Shams Khatoon, daughter of Yousuf, was busy with making food in the kitchen of her house in Kilkaor village of district Panjgur Balochistan, when the military helicopters started shelling on their house.

She was killed on the scene on 17 August 2017.

 

 

7. Habibullah

Habibullah a young footballer, resident of Ward no. 6 area of Pasni district Gwadar was abducted when his family and relatives were busy in preparations for his wedding. On 8 April 2014, Frontier Corps and Intelligence agencies raided his house and took him away.

He remained ‘missing’ for three years. Neither his family was informed about his whereabouts, nor was he produced in a court of law. Finally, on 30th of April 2017, his dead body was found, bearing torture marks.

Security forces claimed he was a militant who was killed during a gun battle between ‘terrorists’ and the security forces.

8. Siraj Fazal

On 13 May 2017, Pakistani security forces opened fire and willfully killed Siraj Fazal in Ganda-Kour, Kólwá district Awaran, Balochistan.

Siraj Fazal, also known as Saud Baloch, was a nineteen years old student of 9th Grade and a resident of Mehshód, Bazdád district Awaran. He recently passed his exams of 8th Grade from Government Middle School Lad, Bazdád district Awaran. He was a Political activist and was rendering his services as a zonal organizer of Baloch Student Organization – Azad (BSO-A) Awaran Zone.

9. Ali Bakhsh

On 07 August 2017, Dead body of Ali Bakhsh Pir Mohammad, resident of Main Bazar, Hósháp district Kech, Balochistan was found dumped in Hósháp area of district Kech, Balochistan.

Ali Bakhsh was abducted by security forces from his house before three days.

10.Sattar Dr. Mohammad 

On 01 August 2017, early in the morning, Pakistani security forces started a military operation in Nezarábád and Malekábád areas of Tump district Kech, Balochistan.

During the house-to-house search operation in Nezarábád, forces looted the valuables of the locals and beaten up the women and children. At the same time, forces also started indiscriminate firing on the villagers which resulted in the death of Sattar s/o Dr. Mohammad, a resident of Koddán, Dasht district Kech, Balochistan.

11. Amjid Gwahram

On 20 September, two persons of the same family, Abdullah Sher Muhammad aka Said and Amjid Gwahram were abducted by Frontier Corps during a raid on their house in Ródbon area of tehsil Tump, district Kech Balochistan.

They were found dead in a nearly riverside after a few hours.

12. Abdullah Sher Mohammad 

Abdullah Sher Muhammad aka Said and Amjid Gwahram were abducted by Frontier Corps from their house in Ródbon area of tehsil Tump district Kech on 20 September 2017.

The whole family witnessed their abduction.

Their dead bodies were found dumped on a nearby riverside after a few hours of their abduction.

 

See appendix 02 in pdf, for the details of the persons extra judicially killed in year 2017 in Balochistan.

Burning the villages as collective punishment:

During the military operations in Balochistan, Frontier Corps would burn the houses and harvest of the villagers, reports say. We have investigated many cases of this kind, despite very little access to the villages and found that the security forces are forcefully evacuating the villages by burning the houses.

Here are some cases;

1. Shólig Dasht, district Kech:

On 22 May 2017, Frontier Corps and other security forces started a military operation in Shólig village of Dasht district Kech, Balochistan. During the operation, residents of Shólig village were all assembled in one place and Tahir Allah Bakhsh was whisked away by the forces. Four houses were bulldozed and several Huts were set ablaze.

2. Phollábád Tump district Kech:

On 13 June 2017, Pakistani security forces started a military operation in Phollábád area of Tump district Kech Balochistan. During the operation, security forces bulldozed Bilal Murad’s house and demolished Dr. Hameed’s house to the ground. Local villagers were assembled in one line and were subjected to torture. Several houses were burnt to ashes, many abducted and one was critically injured in indiscriminate firing of security forces.

3. Lóp and Názok areas of Grésha, Nál, district Khuzdar:

On 06 June 2017 Pakistani Army, along with Intelligence Agency personnel, conducted a military operation in Lóp and Názok areas of Grésha, Nál, Balochistan and burned down many houses to ashes.

4. Morád Ján bázár of Pirándar district Awaran:

On 23 March 2017, Pakistan military forcefully evacuated Morád Ján bázár of Pirándar district Awaran, Balochistan. Security forces ordered the local residents of Morád Ján bázár and Kocch villages of Awaran to immediately evacuate their houses. The locals resisted the forceful evacuation, but the forces threatened to abduct all the women and children, if their orders are refused. In order to save the women and children, the local residents of Morád Ján bázár and Kocch villages helplessly evacuated their houses.

5. Málár, Macchi village in Mashkay district Awaran:

On 08 March 2017, Dozens of houses and live-stock of civilians were burned down during a military operation in Málár and Macchi villages of Mashkay district Awaran Balochistan.

Protests in Gilgit-Baltistan against illegal taxations

https://www.efsas.org/commentaries/protests-in-gilgit-baltistan-against-illegal-taxations/

31-12-2017

On the 21st of December 2017, a large number of traders, transporters and thousands of common residents of Gilgit-Baltistan launched protests, demanding the withdrawal of imposition of taxes by the federal Government under the Tax Adaption Act 2012. The imposition of taxes was also opposed by the Bar Associations of the Supreme Court and High Court. After 7 days of shutter-strikes and two-month long protests, the Government bowed down and withdrew all impositions of taxes in the region. As agreed, the protesters will end their march toward Gilgit after being presented with a notification concerning the withdrawal of taxes from the Gilgit-Baltistan Council, the Governing body tasked with implementing taxes in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan was granted limited autonomy in 2009, and the imposition of these taxes on residents by the Government was opposed as Gilgit-Baltistan’s constitutional status has not yet be determined within Pakistan. It remains a disputed territory under administration of Pakistan, while simultaneously claimed by India. Effectively, the indigenous people of Gilgit-Baltistan have little power or control over their region, as majority of the decision-making powers are under the direct control of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council, which is headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Gilgit-Baltistan, thus in 2009, gained a de-facto province-like status without constitutionally becoming part of Pakistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan Administration Action Committee leader Maulana Sultan Raees said: “Gilgit-Baltistan was a disputed territory and imposition of taxes on its citizens was unlawful and unconstitutional. When the government wants to collect taxes from GB people they are declared citizens of the country and when they demand equal rights it is said that the region is a disputed territory. The government is trying to blackout media coverage of the protest”.`

Discrimination and violation of basic rights is not new to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan; While the megaproject China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) goes through the disputed territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Federal Government of Pakistan has never invited officials of Gilgit to any national meeting regarding the construction of this corridor. Dissenting voices are harshly choked as in the case of Baba Jan, who along with 11 other political activists, was sentenced to a 40-year prison-term in a case based on fabricated charges of terrorism last year by the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan, as he demanded impartial investigations into the killings of Afzal Baig and his father, Sher Ullah Baig during peaceful protests in 2011, to demand compensation and rehabilitation for the victims of the landslide in 2010, which created the Attabad Lake in Hunza area of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Pertinent to mention that the Anti-Terrorism Act, under which Baba Jan and his associates were sentenced, has no jurisdiction in Gilgit-Baltistan according to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. 

Gilgit-Baltistan has never been formally and legally integrated into the Pakistani State and does not participate in Pakistan's constitutional political affairs as subsequent Pakistani administrations have argued that the Pakistani State cannot officially integrate Gilgit-Baltistan in line with its claimed position that a referendum should be carried out across the whole of the region and any such step would prejudice its international obligations with regard to the Jammu & Kashmir conflict. Internationally, Pakistan has always insisted, yet not practiced, as is evident from its attempts of imposing federal taxes in Gilgit-Baltistan, that the parts of Jammu & Kashmir (including Gilgit-Baltistan) it controls, are semi-autonomous.

Article 257 of Pakistan’s Constitution, a provision related to the State of Jammu & Kashmir defining the relation between the State of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan states: “When, the people of the State of Jammu & Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State”.

Any unilateral alteration, without that possible accession, has to be examined in the backdrop of this constitutional provision stated in Pakistan’s own Constitution, which by definition makes the abrogation of the State Subject Rule in Gilgit-Baltistan in 1974, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order in 2009, endeavours by the Pakistani Government of transforming Gilgit-Baltistan into a province of Pakistan – in order to provide legal cover to the construction of the CPEC – and the latest attempts of imposing federal taxes, illegal.

Paradoxically, the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan are declared ‘Pakistanis’ whenever the region proves to be useful for Islamabad, yet when the people of Gilgit-Baltistan ask for equal rights and shares, it is bestowed the epithet of a ‘disputed territory’.

The Pakistani Government has its hands full in the restive province of Balochistan while Gilgit-Baltistan is witnessing a prolonged period of protests in which residents have raised demands for basic human rights and civil liberties. Whereas, considerable portions of the CPEC pass through these two resource-rich territories, such protests and unrest could prove to be detrimental to the friendship of China and Pakistan.

Neither the Civil and nor the Military Administrations are in a position to upset China. The decision to succumb to protests in Gilgit-Baltistan is not born from magnanimity or realization; It is a purely strategic one

Meddling in South China Sea deepens Australia's strategic plight

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1082765.shtml

By Zhang Ye Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/31 10:00:18

0

During the tenures of former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, Australia saw the South China Sea issue as a dispute between China and related Southeast Asian countries, and adopted a relatively neutral and balanced policy. However, in recent years, with conflicts in the region growing, especially after the US conducted so-called freedom of navigation operations, Australia has changed its policy considerably. Its bigoted actions have jeopardized not only China's national interests, but also Australian long-term interests, bringing Canberra's structural contradictions and strategic dilemma to a worse level.

Kissing up to the US has led to an imbalance in Australian strategy and squeezed its strategic space. For the smaller medium countries sandwiched between major powers, it is proper and rational to balance their relationships between major powers to serve their own interests. But over the South China Sea issue, Australia always follows the US and challenges China's maritime sovereignty and interests. This will poison its relations with China, shake up foundation for its strategic balance between China and the US and reduce its independence of foreign policy. Once Sino-US relations are strained, Australia will have to choose between the two countries and fall into a deeper strategic plight.

Besides, excessive involvement in the South China Sea has increased Canberra's strategic burden, widened the gap between its limited prowess and its goal to become a middle power. Australia has held this goal for a long time and wants to have its position in international affairs. However, due to its small population and limited strength, Canberra hasn't stood out in global geopolitics.

Recently Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, "Australian people stand up." He emphasized the independence of Australia's national interests and diplomacy, and advocated the Indo-Pacific concept, trying to show Australia's important role in shaping regional security order. However, the huge gap between ideal and reality has produced many setbacks for Australia in implementing its foreign strategy. Australia uses the South China Sea issue to show its influence as a middle power, but too much interference in the waters will cost it enormous economic, diplomatic and military resources.

First, China won't allow Australia to take a free ride and meanwhile make provocations. Such provocations in the South China Sea may prompt China to adopt strong countermeasures which will seriously impact Australian economic development.

Increasing input in the South China Sea issue adds to the burden of Australia, exhausts its strength and derails its efforts to reach the goal of becoming a middle power.

Australia's actions that disturb the stability of the South China Sea and undermine regional countries' long-term interests will make the country more confused about whether it belongs to the East or the West.

About the South China Sea issue, Southeast Asian countries have contradictory attitudes to the nations outside the region including Australia. On the one hand, they want to use the power from outside the region to balance China. On the other, they are alert to the excessive presence of these nations that may threaten ASEAN's dominance. If Australian does not stop interfering in the South China Sea, it will undermine the peace and stability of the region and invite aversion from regional countries, making Australia more separate from Asian countries.

Fourth, Australia adopts a double standard on international arbitration and damages its national image on the international stage. Australia identifies itself as the protector of the world order, but it supported the Philippines in the so-called "South China Sea Arbitration." However, when Australia dealt with its own conflict with Timor-Leste over a sea border, it took a totally contrary stance and claimed all the results of the arbitration were meaningless and unacceptable.

Actually there is no conflict between Australia's goal and China's peaceful rise. Australia should realize changes in the current international strategic landscape and properly deal with China's development, not letting the South China Sea issue damage bilateral relations or become a tool for foreign forces to undermine regional stability. Australia has its own special position connecting the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, its culture integrating East and West and its role bridging communication between China and the US. It should take advantage of these characters to do more for the peace and stability of the South China Sea and the development of its relationship with China.

The author is a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute in Beijing. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

China-Finland innovation cooperation boasts huge potential: Finnish business leader

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-12/31/c_136862820.htm

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-31 12:53:35|

HELSINKI, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Huge potential lies in the innovation cooperation between Finland and China especially in the coming years, said Petri Vuorio, director for international trade of the Confederation of Finnish Industries.

Finland is one of the world's leading innovation economies, and China is striving to achieve economic growth based on innovation and is already a forerunner in many fields, so "there are a lot of opportunities to combine our expertise and reach good results," Vuorio told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China and Finland launched a committee for innovative business this June, two months after Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the northern European country.

"We at the business community are very satisfied with the development of the economic relations," said Vuorio. The trend gained momentum especially during Xi's visit, and one example was to bring up the China-Finland Committee for Innovative Business cooperation. "We have high expectations regarding the future cooperation on the innovation sector," noted Vuorio.

The committee concluded a second general meeting early December, and decided to set up several working groups focusing on energy, maritime logistics, industrial innovations, clean air and clean tech and forest industry.

"I was very happy that we had over 50 guests from China visiting Finland" at the committee meeting, and "we also see a lot of room for further cooperation," said Vuorio.

Taking the energy sector for example, Vuorio said "we have a lot of opportunities for win-win cooperation between China and Finland." The most hopeful projects will concern clean and renewable energy solutions, such as flexible smart grids, certain district heating and cooling solutions, he added.

Another example is the working group on maritime logistics, which "is close to the opportunities of the Belt and Road Initiative," said Vuorio. "We can combine our expertise in cooperation projects in third countries with the need of technologies there when it comes to the harbors."

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which calls for better economic connectivity, political coordination and cultural exchanges among countries and regions, has won positive reaction in Finland.

Praising the initiative, Vuorio said the opportunities for better cooperation lie in areas such as transportation, technology, energy and infrastructure, "where the demand and Finnish technological solutions meet almost perfectly," he said.

A cargo train packed with Nordic produced electronics, clothes and pulp and paper left Kouvola, eastern Finland for Xi'an, central China in November, opening the first railway link between the Nordics and China. Crossing Russiaand central Asia, the 9,000-km land route shortens the travel time by 30 days compared with normal sea freight.

Meanwhile, the construction of a digital sea cable linking the Nordics and East Asia via the Arctic Ocean is under review, and more projects such as the Arctic Railway and the tunnel linking Helsinki and Tallinn, among others, has also been put on table.

Vuorio believed the two-year chairmanship of Finland in the Arctic Council, which started in May 2017, bears more opportunities "that we have with China to further develop the cooperation in the Arctic areas when it comes to the northern sea routes and data cable related issues and many other Arctic cooperation opportunities."

Some 400 Finnish companies are investing in China, and many of them either have production facilities or research and development centers there. "We are not only exporting products and services to China, but China is very important home market for many Finnish companies," Vuorio underlined.

Finnish economy is highly export driven, and China has been Finland's biggest business partner in Asia for a long time. Finnish businessmen have closely followed the 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China in October. They are interested in "how the economic policy of China will develop within the following five years and what kind of impact it has on the openness of the market and regulation and economic development," said Vuorio.

"We both support free trade and see globalization trend of China positively. This is very promising and I believe that decisions made in the congress are supporting the future activities of Finnish companies in China

China uses film to sell its massive One Belt, One Road ­initiative

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/china-uses-film-to-sell-its-massive-one-belt-one-road-initiative/news-story/5776cbb029315c77b3bbec0a0567c5aa

Actress Xu Dabao wears a Chinese flag dress at Cannes in May. Photo: Getty Images.

ERICH SCHWARTZELThe Australian12:00AM January 1, 2018

For hundreds of years, China used the Silk Road to ship porcelain, tea and other goods around the world. Now the nation is using a new ­incarnation of the old trading network to export a signature product of 21st-century China: movies.

The One Belt, One Road ­initiative, announced in 2013, will reconfigure global trading if it succeeds and place Chinese ­invest­ments including railways and power grids in at least 69 countries that mirror the ­ancient Silk Road, including parts of Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. The program provides a natural export market for China’s growing film industry.

Through co-productions with other countries and nationalist on-screen narratives, China’s growing film industry is treating One Belt, One Road — also known as the Belt & Road Initiative — as a major test of its ability to export Chinese culture. A Chinese actress, Xu Dabao, even wore a dress designed like a Chinese flag at last year’s Cannes film festival and explained it was to show support for the initiative.

“A lot of people have never been to China but they get to see how the lives are like in movies,” says Ren Zhonglun, president of Shanghai Film Corp. “They get to see how the people look and live their lives through watching films, so in today’s modern era, film is one of the most valuable cultural forms.”

The Belt & Road Initiative, named for a pair of land and sea trading routes, is potentially creating a global entertainment landscape that isn’t as dominated by Hollywood as it is today.

Beijing-based Shinework Media has an entire Belt & Road slate of productions planned with producers from countries along the route. It includes a comedy with Iran, a sports drama with Brazil and a disaster epic with ­Indonesia.

The film projects come as China makes other One Belt, One Road investments, including high-speed rail and oil pipelines, in those and neighbouring countries.

Shinework is finishing filming on Composer, the first co-­production between China and Kazakhstan, and the clearest ­example yet of a production targeting Belt & Road goals.

Composer will portray Xian Xinghai, a 20th-century Chinese composer who worked in Kazakhstan, as a sign of the countries’ ­history of trade and co-operation. The film was inspired by a speech delivered by Chinese President Xi Jinping that mentioned the ­musician. “I was touched by President Xi’s account. It was then that I felt obliged to shoot the movie,” Jonathan Shen, a Beijing-based producer of Composer, told state media.

Chinese producers are heeding the call of Chinese officials, who in 2015 cited movies as a crucial piece of One Belt, One Road in a memo outlining the “visions and actions” of the program, which is expected to invest roughly $1 trillion in various projects through 2049. Establishing a “people-to-people bond” through film festivals and film production in the route’s countries was listed alongside goals such as “policy co-ordination” and “financial integration”.

In China’s film industry, government support for a production can mean far more than just financial investment. Movies that ­adhere to officially sanctioned themes typically move easily past government censors and other bureaucratic hurdles.

China has produced countless propaganda films that run on state television but the Belt & Road themes so far have been woven into more commercial productions. A major liability to the ­efforts is China’s record in mixing policy and production; such ­efforts have been seen by audi­ences as pandering and few Chinese titles have resonated in overseas markets so far.

One example is Kung Fu Yoga, a January co-production between China and India about two ­archeologists who join forces to find an ancient Tibetan treasure.

In reality, Indian politicians ­remain sceptical about joining One Belt, One Road, but the film tries making the case for them. In one scene, an Indian ­archeologist sells her Chinese counterpart (Jackie Chan) on the search.

“We could increase the co-­operation in archeological ­research between China and India,” the Indian archeologist says. “It would also be in line with the One Belt, One Road policy.”

“So well said!” a Chinese character responds.

Actor Jackie Chan promotes Kung Fu Yoga in Mumbai. Picture: Getty Images.

More potential collaborations were on display at the fourth ­annual Silk Road International Film Festival last month, an event created to promote co-productions and build a new market for movies catering to Belt & Road regions.

Held in Fuzhou, a port city and centuries-old trading hub, the ­festival featured a giant map of the original trading routes. Chinese film stars autographed it on their way in.

Government support for Belt & Road-themed projects came in handy for Murat Yavuz, a Turkish producer of The Cook and the Princess, a film adaptation of a 13th-century Silk Road fairytale about a Chinese princess who travels with a Turkish cook to Anatolia to warn about invaders.

Yavuz says he had been trying to secure financing for the project for three years before meeting Chinese investors, who lit up when they heard about its Silk Road themes.

When the movie starts shooting in May, he plans to film in China, Turkey and other Silk Road locations.

After production has wrapped, the Belt & Road countries become a natural market for the movie, he says, since countries in the Middle East and Asia want more conservative features than those from Hollywood.

“The productions that come out of Turkey are much more cautious about family values,” Yavuz says.

Within China, several ­nationalist blockbusters fill cinemas featuring characters saving the day along the Belt & Road ­region. In last year’s China Salesman, a Chinese mobile phone specialist triumphs over European carriers for a contract in North ­Africa. Wolf Warrior 2, the highest grossing Chinese title last year, features scenes of Chinese officials coming to the rescue in Africa after US authorities fail.

China Salesman director Tan Bing says the Belt & Road Initiative has boosted interest from overseas buyers of his film. He has sold distribution rights in more than 30 countries along the route.

“My script is focused on sharing, and One Belt, One Road is also focused on sharing, so it just came together,” he says

Year 2017: 20 women murdered in the name of honour in Balochistan

http://dunyanews.tv/en/Crime/421418-Year-2017-20-women-murdered-in-the-name-of-honour-in-Balochistan-

  Last Updated On 31 December,2017 01:26 pm

Twelve women died at the hands of either their fathers, husbands or brothers due to domestic disputes while three women committed suicide unable to curb with the circumstances of their lives. Photo: Dunya News

(Dunya News) – Violence against women in Balochistan has seen a decline in the year 2017.

However, the figures failed to see the same trend when it came to cases of  honour killing . More than 20 women were subjected to the barbaric practice while countless others became victims of domestic violence.

Due to lack of education, families forcefully murder countless women in the name of honour, a custim that still prevails in various parts of the country. In Balochistan, the cases of  honour killing  reached 20 this year where in Naseerabad five women and four in Dera Murad Jamali were killed in the name of honour. Three other were killed in Dera Allah.

In year 2017, countless women in balochistan were victims of domestic violence. Photo: Dunya News

Twelve women died at the hands of either their fathers, husbands or brothers due to domestic disputes while three women committed suicide unable to curb with the circumstances of their lives.

Law officials and civil society believe that violence against women can only be stopped if there is mass awareness raised on the issue, cases against the violence reported and the justice taking its course.

In Balochistan, 51% women are deprived of basic needs.

Experts say that working from within the confinements of their homes, while women do contribute financially not just to their families but also to the society at large, their own lives are still at a huge risk

The elephant in the room... Balochistan

http://www.asianage.com/age-on-sunday/311217/the-elephant-in-the-room-balochistan.html

Ahmar Mustikhan

Veteran Baloch journalist who lives in Washington DC.

Published : Dec 31, 2017, 7:12 am IST

Updated : Dec 31, 2017, 7:15 am IST

Despite Balochistan’s vast riches, majority of Baloch people live in abject poverty.

 The army boys need to realise the insurgency will continue until they take corrective measures instead of barking at India, and sometimes, Afghanistan.

The fairy tale spun by the Deep State in Pakistan, the fifth largest country with the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world, is that the country is set to become an Asian tiger thanks to the $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor. But like in any fairy tale there has to be a villain that is hell bent upon destroying all the goodness: India.

Islamabad accuses New Delhi of fuelling a 12-year-old low level insurgency in France-sized southwestern Balochistan province, citing the case of arrest of Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav. The Deep State, that compromises the army, security and intelligence services and religious clerics, like in the case of Bangladesh in 1971 is in complete self-denial of their wrongs in Balochistan, which continue to fester like a bleeding wound.

A jolt to the Asian tiger dream came last week when Pakistan newspaper Dawn reported that China has stalled funding worth nearly one billion dollars of two key road projects of the CPEC passing through Balochistan.

Frustrated over the Chinese meiyou (no in Chinese), the retribution from the Pakistan army was swift. Pakistan soldiers kidnapped more than five dozen Baloch women including Noor Khatoon and Sher Khatoon, sisters of freedom leader Dr Allah Nazar, chief of the Balochistan Liberation Front. Those abducted by the army, which is spear headed in Balochistan by former spokesman for the Inter Services Public Relations — the army’s spin doctor — Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, include Baloch babies whose ages range from six months to three years.

The Baloch grievances against Islamabad dates back to March 28, 1948 when Balochistan was merged with Pakistan, even though Pakistan founder M.A. Jinnah had recognised Balochistan as a sovereign state.

One of the most glaring examples of killing, coupled with rapacious loot and plunder is Dera Bugti, stronghold of more than half a million Bugti tribesmen. A military operation began there in spring 2005, under orders of former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf; overall 35,000 Baloch civilians have been killed all over Balochistan since then, while the fate of at least 8,000 victims of enforced disappearances is still unknown. The dead among the Bugtis alone number 20,000, including former Balochistan governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti, whose family was not even allowed to attend his last rites. Pakistan courts have absolved Gen Musharraf, one of the main brains  behind giving Gwadar Port to the Chinese, in the Bugti assassination case while Bugti’s successor Brahumdagh Bugti lives in exile in Geneva, though his asylum petition was denied last month.

The heart wrenching story is more than half of the urban Baloch population have no access to gas while giant pipes of a gas transmission system that extends nearly 5,000 miles (7,756 KM) have been taking the gas away from the town of Sui in the Bugti area to Pakistan capital Islamabad, and other Pakistan cities for more than 60 years. To this day 80 per cent of the half million strong Bugti tribesmen in the same area still cook their food by burning wood and animal dung, according to Noor Bugti, a local leader of the Balochistan National Party. The operation of Sui gas supply is controlled from Lahore, capital of Punjab, and Karachi.

The same is true for gold and copper from Balochistan being exploited by a MCC of China in Saindak, located in the same region where Pakistan conducted its nuclear tests —against the wishes of Baloch populace. In the last 15 years of gold and copper exploration, Balochistan got barely 0.0001 per cent of the money, according to former senator Sanaullah Baloch, while the Saindak area does not have a single school or college. “This is called Day-Light Robbery,” the former senator tweeted. Two months ago, the contract to the MCC of China was renewed for another five years, in the backdrop of Baloch protests.

There is a stark difference between how the fifth largest army of world, which still calls the political shots, treats Punjabi and Baloch civilians. Pakistan is using gunship helicopters and burying Baloch in mass graves, but when Punjabi Islamists took over capital Islamabad recently, Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa refused to take action saying the army will not hit its “own people.” Instead, those arrested during the protest were rewarded with cash.

“DG Punjab Rangers Maj-Gen Azhar Naveed is seen distributing money to Islamabad sit-in protesters while same forces distribute bullets to Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun. This is the real shape of justice in Pakistan,” Dr Allah Nazar of the BLF tweeted from his mountain hideout in Balochistan, bordering Afghanistan and Iran.

Despite Balochistan’s vast riches, majority of Baloch people live in abject poverty. Hence, the anger against both Islamabad and Beijing. The army boys need to realise the insurgency will continue until they take corrective measures instead of barking at India, and sometimes, Afghanistan

China’s underwater surveillance network puts enemies in focus along maritime Silk Road

http://m.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2126296/chinas-underwater-surveillance-network-puts-enemies



Hi-tech system will help Beijing protect its growing network of interests and investments from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, experts say

Stephen ChenUPDATED : Sunday, 31 Dec 2017, 4:01PM

A new underwater surveillance network is expected to help China’s submarines get a stronger lock on targets while protecting the nation’s interests along the maritime Silk Road, from the Korean peninsula to the east coast of Africa.

The system, which has already been launched, works by gathering information about the underwater environment, particularly water temperature and salinity, which the navy can then use to more accurately track enemy vessels as well as improve navigation and positioning.

The project, led by the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), is part of an unprecedented military expansion fuelled by Beijing’s desire to challenge the United States in the world’s oceans.

Does China’s deep-sea tech upgrade point to submarine signals network under Pacific?

But China still has some way to go before it can compete with the world’s only true superpower.

Yu Yongqiang, a researcher with the Institute of Atmospheric Physics – also under CAS – and a member of the expert panel overseeing China’s underwater surveillance network around the globe, said that while it undoubtedly represented progress in China’s submarine warfare capabilities, it was dwarfed by the systems operated by the US around the world.

“We have made just a small step in a long march,” he said.

Even in the South China Sea, Beijing’s home patch, US submarine commanders probably had a better take on temperature and salinity conditions than their Chinese counterparts because of their decades of research in the area, Yu said.

According to technical briefings posted on oceanology institute’s website, the Chinese system is based on a network of platforms – buoys, surface vessels, satellites and underwater gliders – that gather data from the South China Sea, and the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.

That information is then streamed to three intelligence centres – in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, the southern province of Guangdong, and a joint facility in South Asia – where it is processed and analysed.

For submarines patrolling the sea route, or “road”, element of China’s global trade and infrastructure development plan known as the “Belt and Road Initiative”, the system’s ability to not only measure, but also predict temperature and salinity at any location, any depth and at any time will be invaluable.

Submarines use sonar (sound navigation and ranging) to locate, identify and attack other vessels.

Scientists used abacuses to develop China’s first nuclear submarine

However, the speed and direction sound waves take is greatly affected by the temperature and salinity of the water through which they are travelling. If a commander failed to take these factors into consideration when calculating the position of an enemy vessel, he could be a long way off target, Yu said.

“You definitely don’t want to fire a torpedo at point A when the enemy is coming to you from point B,” he said.

Yu said that as well as improving their targeting ability, the new surveillance system should enable submarines to steer a much safer course through difficult waters.

Salinity and temperature greatly affect water density, and abrupt changes in either can cause submarines to effectively lose control. By pre-empting such changes, the system will help commanders to avoid sailing into trouble.

After years of construction and testing, the new surveillance system was not in the hands of the navy, which reported “good results”, the oceanology institute said in its latest briefing in November.

China’s belt and road plan is designed to boost economic growth in more than 60 countries. Since its launch, huge sums of money, most of it from China, have been spent on dozens of infrastructure projects, from ports to power stations, motorways to mines.

But as the plan has grown, so too has Beijing’s problem of how to protect its investments and interests, especially as until recently China’s military had almost no experience of operating outside its own borders.

For the naval forces charged with guarding the maritime Silk Road, there are many adversaries lurking in often hostile waters, according to a researcher involved in the development of the new surveillance system.

Since the cold war, the US had closely guarded the Western Pacific via “island chains”, the researcher said.

Why Chinese submarines could soon be quieter than US ones

Similarly, the South China Sea was circled by many small, “unfriendly” countries involved in territorial disputes with China; while India was wary of Beijing’s growing influence in the region and was consequently trying to tighten its grip on the Indian Ocean.

“Our system can help tip the balance of power in these regions in China’s favour,” the researcher said.

As well as the surveillance network, Chinese researchers have also developed a powerful on-board forecasting system for use by submarines.

This uses algorithms to predict water conditions even if the vessel’s sensors can gather only tiny amounts of data. This might be the case if the submarine is required to remain “hidden” for weeks or even months at a time, and cannot surface to collect data from satellites or ground-based stations.

According to a study by the Centre for a New American Security and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, by 2030 China will have 260 warships and submarines compared to the US’ 199.

As the battle for the oceans hots up, tools such as the underwater surveillance network could be the difference between winning and losing

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Women are Pak's favourite tool to silence dissidents": Naela Quadri Baloch

http://wap.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/women-are-pak-s-favourite-tool-to-silence-dissidents-117123100083_1.html

ANI | Vancouver [Canada] Dec 31, 2017 08:31 AM IST

The head of the World Baloch Women Forum (WBWF), Prof Naela Quadri Baloch has stated that "Violation of women is Pakistan's favourite tool to silence dissidents at home and "unfortunately, the Baloch story and sufferings are lost in the crevices of geopolitics and grand strategy."

"Over the past seven decades, the Baloch of Pakistan have suffered all imaginable crimes against humanity including the dishonour of women. Baloch women have suffered doubly, running their households in the absence of their menfolk and suffering abduction, torture, rape, and murder at the hands of the Pakistan army," she, wrote in a statement.

"Until 1971, we were not the only targets of Pakistan's army, though. Our Bangladeshi sisters suffered equally, if not more than us. Their story is well-documented and better known in the rest of the world as Bangladesh was fortunate to secede from the genocidal Pakistanis state," she added.

Referring to the ill treatment of the wife and mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav, during the meeting, on December 25 in Pakistan, the Baloch activist, wrote, "Last week the world got a glimpse of what we live through on a daily basis in Pakistan."

Prof Naela expressed that the wife and mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national kidnapped from Iran and falsely accused of spying, came to meet him in Pakistan.

"What happened was perhaps unexpected for Indians and people in other civilised societies, but was nothing out of order for the depraved Pakistani state. Abandoned by the world, perhaps no one knows better than us what it means to suffer indignities at the hands of the authorities in Pakistan," she said.

"The Jadhav family was humiliated at each and every step and their religious and cultural beliefs were trampled upon by the Pakistani government. All this happened despite the fact that the visitors were accompanied by a senior Indian diplomat," she added.

Underscoring that "Baloch mothers and sisters empathise with the Jadhav family" and also "condemn Pakistan's depravity in the strongest possible terms," Prof Naela said, "Pakistan continues to shock civilised societies across the world with its medieval barbarism. But the world community has to understand that abduction, rape, torture, murder, exploitation, and loot is the only mode of interaction between the Pakistani state and people."

"Hopefully, India and the world will wake up after this incident, assuming yet another reminder was needed after all these years, and isolate Pakistan from the international community. The sooner the artificial state of Pakistan is dismantled the better for its people and the whole world. Otherwise Pakistan will continue to blackmail the rest of the world using its nuclear weapons," she added

PROFILE: Nina Swidler

http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2017/05/25/nina-swidler/

May 25, 2017

March 25, 1932–January 4, 2017

Nina Swidlerdied after a brief illness while visiting her family in Los Altos, California from her home in New York City on January 4, 2017. She was 84. Swidler was born in Washington DC. She attended Columbia University, and earned her PhD in 1969, a year after she joined the staff of Fordham University’s College at Lincoln Center. She continued to teach at the College for more than 35 years.

During her graduate studies at Columbia Swidler worked with Conrad Arensberg, Margaret Mead, and Morton Fried but it was during Fredrik Barth’s year-long visiting professorship that the direction of her life’s research was set. Barth had done fieldwork in northwest Pakistan and southern Iran, and he was instrumental in Nina and her husband Warren Swidler’s decision to do their doctoral research in Pakistani Balochistan. The Swidlers spent 17 months there in 1963–1965, mostly in a village in the Dulai Valley near Quetta that they called Sharna. At that time Sharna’s residents were transhumant. They spent summers in the Dulai highlands and winters on the lowland Kachhi Plains, and the Swidlers made the 10-day journey through the Bolan Pass with them by camel caravan. In 1995, Swidler returned for a month-long stay in Sharna while she was carrying out research in the provincial and district archives in Quetta.

The Swidlers were among a number of English and North American anthropologists who worked among nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples in southwest Asia in the 1960s and 1970s. While some of these ethnographers focused on ecological and economic issues, her interest was the political economy of “tribal” people at local, regional and national levels. This was to be the focus of her research throughout her career. She published a number of articles on the topic and drew on them as well as material from her fieldwork and extensive work in colonial archives in Quetta, London, and Cambridge University for her 2014 book Remotely Colonial: History and Politics in Balochistan. Published when she was 82, Remotely Colonial uses a critical reading of historical documents and spatial theory to explore the unique location of Balochistan in the British Empire and the legacy this left the people of the region in the post-colonial period. While mainly a historical work, Swidler’s grounding in ethnography means it does not lose sight of the barely visible people in Baloch society (e.g., women and slaves).

It was this concern for others that those who were close to Nina Swidler remember. She was an avid supporter of Fordham’s continuing education and adult studies programs and taught many evening classes for those students. She provided generous hospitality to many at her book-lined apartment in upper Manhattan. And colleagues, friends and family recall intense, wide-ranging conversations with her.

Swidler is survived by her son, Adam Swidler, his wife Jill Xhemali and their two sons, Joshua and Bobby. (Paul Titus)

Cite as: Titus, Paul. 2017. “Nina Swidler.” Anthropology News website, May 25, 2017. doi: 10.1111/AN.461

#FreeBalochistan Campaign is Tejender Bagga New year resolution

Pakistan risks losing EU economic concession

https://dailytimes.com.pk/163965/pakistan-risks-losing-eu-economic-concession

Afnan Khan

DECEMBER 21, 2017

BRUSSELS: European Union might review its economic concessions given to Pakistan over the deteriorating human rights situation, including the wave of abductions of activists reportedly by the security agencies and discriminatory laws against minorities.

European Union has warned Pakistan that there can be no place for enforced disappearances and secret detention in the country and government would have to criminalise the practice while also amending the discriminatory laws against minorities under the international law and commitments.

Global human rights organizations including Amnesty International had protested against the abduction of peace activist Raza Khan, demanding state authorities to produce the abducted activists from across the country.

The rights organizations have also expressed concerns over Pakistani authorities issuing notices to at least 13 International Non Government Organisations (INGOs) to stop their relief work inside the country. EU determines that in 2017 alone, the INGO sector as a whole reached 34 million people in Pakistan with humanitarian relief and development assistance. “The action taken by the Government of Pakistan, if not reversed, would shrink the space of civil society in the country, to the detriment of the whole population. We therefore expect the Government of Pakistan to swiftly review this situation,” the spokesperson added.

Pakistan is given special economic relief by the EU under their Generalised Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+) programme with the promise of improving democracy and good governance in the country.

In an exclusive talk to Daily Times over the recent wave of apparent forced disappearances including of the peace activist Raza Khan from Lahore on December 2, 2017, EU spokesperson stated on Tuesday that The Commission, together with the European External Action Service (EEAS), is continuously monitoring Pakistan’s effective implementation of the core international human rights conventions.

The spokesperson added that EU has already conveyed their concerns about insufficient progress in specific areas, such as the discrimination against minorities and, and called for greater efforts by Pakistan to address such shortcomings during the 8th Generalised Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+) EU-Pakistan Joint Commission held in Brussels on 9-11 October 2017.

During the last GSP+ monitoring mission to Pakistan (30 October to 4 November 2016), the EU had expressed similar concerns over human rights situation in Pakistan too.

“The European Union takes the issue of forced disappearances in Pakistan extremely seriously and raises this with the Pakistani authorities at all levels, including at the regular meeting of the EU-Pakistan Governance and Human Rights format and the EU-Pakistan Joint Commission,” the spokesperson stated, adding that there can be no place for enforced disappearances and secret detention.

The EU spokesperson added that as part of its GSP+ commitments, Pakistan has committed to take concrete actions to ensure progress on the ground in implementing the 27 international conventions, including criminalising enforced disappearances. “We expect these commitments to be followed up by concrete action,” EU spokesperson added.

The spokesperson demanded the government that all allegations of enforced disappearances must be investigated and all perpetrators prosecuted and brought to justice.

The EU also wants Pakistan that in this respect, the authority and the capacity – both financial and in terms of personnel – of the Commission of Inquiry on Forced Disappearances must be strengthened by the Pakistani authorities so that the Commission can function effectively.

“We are aware that 13 INGOs have received letters from the Pakistani authorities rejecting their registration requests. These letters provide no explanation as to why their requests for registration have been rejected. There is also a discrepancy between the time frames to close operations (60 days) and to appeal (90 days)” the spokesperson asserted.

The spokesperson added that the EU is, through its Delegation in Islamabad, in touch both with the INGOs affected and with the Pakistani authorities to ascertain further information and explanations.

“The European Union strongly supports the indispensable work of NGOs and INGOs in Pakistan and around the world as independent voices; contributors to democracy, the rule of law, and human rights; and valuable critics that strengthen societies,” EU spokesperson added.

Published in Daily Times, December 21st 2017

“If Jinnah is secular than Laden is the world’s best democrat”, Ahmar Mustikhan

https://www.newsgram.com/if-jinnah-is-secular-then-laden-is-the-best-democrat-ahmar-mustikhan/amp/


By Vikram Khajuria - December 30, 2017

     

Ahmar Mustikhan has come in for full support of Kulbhushan Yadav and his family

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NEW DELHI: In a recent Facebook video, Ahmar Mustikhan has communicated his views on the recent meeting of Kulbhushan Yadav with his wife Chetna and mother Avanti. Mustikhan is a renowned writer, analyst, and veteran Baloch journalist. He is also the founder of a non-profit organisation known as ’American Friends of Balochistan’. Through this organization, Mustikhan expresses his views on atrocities of Pakistani army been hammered on Baloch people.

Kulbhushan Jadav is an Indian national, who is been sentenced to death by the Pakistani Army court. Wikileaks

Kulbhushan Yadav is an Indian national, who is been sentenced to death by the Pakistani Army court. The recent emotional reunion between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife and mother has garnered enough global attention due to the mental torcher experienced by both the ladies at the Pakistani foreign office. The cold-shouldered response from Pakistan’s side was fiercely condemned by the Indian people and called it a violation of the human rights of the women. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj even called it a “propaganda weapon” used by Pakistan.

MustiKhan in his video referred Pakistan as “Chapal Chor Pakistan” (Slipper thief Pakistan) because Pakistan’s foreign office had confiscated the slippers of Kulbhushan’s wife on the pretext of security concern. The women were even asked to remove their mangalsutra, bindi, and bangles for the same reason. Later on, Pakistani media didn’t let any stone unturned by harassing both the women and calling them murderer’s wife and mother