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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Sarah Palin calls Newsweek cover ‘sexist’

Why Hemant Karkare's wife is upset

Kavita Karkare, wife of Hemant Karkare, slammed the state government and the police department on Tuesday. At a function in Mumbai to commemorate the 26/11 attacks, she said she is yet to get a concrete answer about how her husband died. Almost a year has passed since Karkare's death.
'"I have repeatedly met senior police officer to find out how my husband died but no one has given me any answer. I have been told that I will never know how he died," Kavita said.
"Even his bulletproof vest has gone missing  - the vest's procurement file marks it missing. I always suspected they would say that the jacket has gone missing," she said adding that policemen were giving out wrong details about the circumstances surrounding her husband's death.

Karkare, a 1982 batch IPS officer, was killed in an ambush near Cama Hospital, along with another IPS officer Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar during the November 26 terror attacks last year.

Despite wearing bullet-proof jackets, the officer received three fatal bullet-injuries in chest which raised question mark over the efficacy of these jackets in the wake of such terror attacks.
"It is being said that my husband, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salskar got killed as they went into the operation blindly but the truth is they kept asking for reinforcements and help for 40 minutes which they never got. For 40 minutes, their bodies were there on the road while the terrorists bodies were rushed to the hospital. They have spent Rs 22 crore on preserving the bodies of the nine terrorists. But they couldn't be careful enough to preserve my husband's bulletproof jacket," she said.
Former Deputy Commissioner of police Y P Singh, who organised the function, said he would ensure that the matter is taken to its logical conclusion.

India, China and Maoist Uprising

By Sajjad Shaukat

Instead of addressing the root causes of the Maoist uprising, Indian government has started a blame game against China, alleging for supplying arms to these insurgents.

Recently, Home Secretary of the Indian Union, G.K. Pillai accused that China was “a big supplier of small arms to the Maoists…the Chinese are big smugglers.”

In fact, Maoist uprising which has taken the form of armed struggle is indigenous. It has become an unending insurgency due to the injustices and state terrorism perpetrated by the rich Hindus and Indian security forces.

Maoist movement initially started  by its leader, Mupala Luxman Rao in 1969 in the form of peasant uprising in West Bengal, protesting against big Hindu landlords who left no stone unturned in molesting the poor people through their mal-treatment such as forced labour, minimum wages, maximum work, unlawful torture and even killings�the evils one could note prior to the Frech Revolution of 1789 when fedual lords had practised similar injustices on the farmers.

However, instead of redressing the grievances of the peasants and workers, Indian security forces in connivance with the rich-dominated society used the forces of state terrorism in crushing the Maoist movement. The Maoists had no choice, but to launch an armed struggle for their genuine rights.

The Naxalite-Maoists, as they call themselves, are, the liberators, representing landless farmers and the downtrodden masses who have been entangled into vicious circle of poverty, misery and deprivation. The Indian indiscriminate social order treats them resentfully, setting aside human dignity and self-respect. It is owing to the continued inequalities that Maoists have appealed to the sentments of the helpless poor, who found their future dark under the susequent regimes led by so-called democratic forces of India. According to a report, “Out of total 1.17 billion populations, over 39% of dispossessed Indians, living below poverty line are hopeful that Maoists would bring a change in their wretched lives.”

Ideologically, the Naxalites are against the current Indian state. They believe that Indians have yet need freedom from hunger and deprivation, and from the exploitation of the poor by the rich classes of landlords, industrialists and traders who control the means of production. Due to these reasons, Maoists target all representatives of the state like politicians, the police and other officials. At local level, they target village functionaries and landlords.

Having its voice unheard, Maoist movement which has been raging in West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, has expanded to Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Now, it is a popular movement which has massive support of people for its ideology.

In the recent months, Maoist insurgency has intensified enveloping new areas. An Indian government assessment admits that the Naxalite influence has extended over a third of the country.

Notably, Maoist movement has become a violent struggle because of the use of undue force by the Indian security forces. In this regard, on October 31, The New York Times wrote,  “India’s Maoist rebels are now present in 20 states and have evolved into a potent insurgency. In the last four years, the Maoists have killed more than 900 Indian security officers…violence erupts almost daily.” The Times explained, “If the Maoists were once dismissed as a ragtag band of outdated ideologies, Indian leaders are now preparing to deploy nearly 70,000 paramilitary officers for a prolonged counterinsurgency campaign to hunt down the guerrillas in some of the country’s most rugged terrain…the Maoists represent the dispossessed of Indian society, particularly the indigenous tribal groups, who suffer some of the country’s highest rates of poverty, illiteracy and infant mortality…India’s rapid economic growth has made it an emerging global power but also deepened stark inequalities in society. Maoists accuse the government of trying to push tribal groups off their land to gain access to raw materials and have sabotaged roads, bridges and even an energy pipeline.”

BBC had reported on September 22, 2009, the rebels surrounded an office belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Midnapore …rebel leader Kishenji told the BBC that the Communist supporters had hoarded a large number of weapons at the party office in order to carry out attacks against villagers who supported the Maoists…the party supporters were harassing local women, so thousands of villagers led by our fighters encircled the party office.” On October 12, BBC indicated that in response to the atrocities of the Indian police, Maoist rebels had blown up culverts and cut electricity to railways in various regions during two-day strike.

Naxalite insurgency known as Red Corridor has become so popular that India is actively considering shifting 23 battalions of para-military forces from occupied Kashmir to the Maoist affected areas.

Surprisingly, in the recent past, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted in a meeting of police chiefs saying: “his country is losing the battle against Maoist rebels…violence is increasing” and “Maoists have growing appeal among a large section of Indian society including tribal communities, the rural poor and the intelligentsia.”

While on the one hand, Indian rulers realise the real causes of Maoist uprising,  but still accuse China of backing the Maoist guerrilla warfare. They have started a series of allegaion against Beijing in this regard. Some Indian high officials misperceive that China supplies armes and ammuniton to Maoists in neighbouring Nepal where Chinese command strong influence. According to some recent Indian accusation, New Delhi believe that Nepali Maoists and Indian Maoists have formed a nexus duly supported by Beijing. With the covert support of Indian secret agency, RAW, Indians also propagate that there are secret training camps in China, which teach tactics of guerrilla warfare to the Maoists, and then they are being despatched to India.

As regards Nepal, in 2006, Indian backed monarchy was overthrown by the majority of Maoists whose genuine struggle had been named as insurgency by the Indians. The leader of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Prachanda was elected prime minister in August 2008. The result of elections had exposed the false blames of India against Chinese interference in Nepal.

Nevertheless, Prachanda had to resign when the President, Ram Baran Yadav, overruled his firing of the chief of the army, Gen. Rookmangud Katawal. Maoist leaders have charged that the general defied a United Nations-backed peace accord by refusing to integrate about 20,000 former guerrilla fighters, most of them are jobless and are living in United Nations camps under the Nepalese military. In fact, Indian RAW has been trying to subdue the majority opinion of the Maoists in Nepal through various clandestine techniques.

There is no doubt that Maoists of India are fighting for the basic rights of lower and middle classes, which have been usurped by the upper classes supported by the Indian government. Just as we have noted in case of some other states of India, especially in the occupied Kashmir where struggle of liberation continues in one or the other way�when people take to arms, there is going to be all kinds of violence by the freedom fighters and the revolutionaries. So Indian so-called democratic system is responsible for the drastic situation it has created.

Moreover, Maoist guerrilla commanders have been providing basic military training to local youths in West Bengal. They use weapons which they have snatched from the installations of Indian security forces. Since their struggle, they have kidnapped a number of personnel of the armed forces. Some poor persons, serving in the Indian forces have also provided them with arms and ammunition.

Nonetheless, India must stop its baseless blame game against a peace-loving country like China in connection with Maoist Uprising.

Sajjad Shaukat writers on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs. Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

Pakistan Shows Off K-8 Trainer for Export

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) showed off its K-8 Karakorum two-seat intermediate jet trainer and light attack aircraft at the Dubai Airshow along with models of its newest fighter, the JF-17 Thunder, currently under production.
PAC hopes to expand exports of the K-8 in the region, said Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, PAC chairman.  The aircraft are already serving in the Egyptian Air Force and the K-8 is a cost-effective trainer solution.  “We do joint sales and marketing with our Chinese partners.”
The K-8 is a joint Chinese Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) and PAC program, as is the JF-17, he said.  The Chinese variant of the trainer is the JL-8 and the fighter is the FC-1.
He confirmed reports Pakistan will procure the Chinese-built Chengdu FC-20 fighter, an export version of the J-10 fighter.  However, PAC will not be participating in the co-production of the FC-20 program, Farhat Hussain said.
PAC began series production of the JF-17 this year and expects to roll out its first aircraft by the end of this month.
“We have an initial order from the Pakistan Air Force for 150, but we expect it to go to upwards of 250 JF-17s,” he said.  After that, PAC hopes to begin exporting the fighter.
The JF-17 is a multi-role combat supersonic fighter equipped with both a beyond-visual-range and within-visual-range dog fighting capability.  Besides supersonic, it has sub-transonic maneuverability.
It is equipped with a state-of-the-art digital glass cockpit with three large, full color Multi-Function Displays (MFD), digital moving map, Helmet Mounted Display, hands-on approach and a wide angle Smart Heads-Up Display (SHUD).
The primary sensor of the target acquisition and weapon aiming system is the multi-mode pulse Doppler radar.  It also offers look-down performance and electronic counter-counter measures capability.
Despite media reports the JF-17 has suffered setbacks trying to resolve the acquisition of an engine for the aircraft the Russian-built RD-93 engines have been outfitted on the aircraft without problems, Farhat Hussain said.  “The media created the issue, it was not true.”
PAC has no plans to develop an indigenous engine or avionics system for the aircraft at this time, he said.  “We have no desire of becoming engine producers,” he said.
The aircraft has a maximum speed of 1.6 mach with a service ceiling of 16,700 meters and a ferry range with drop tanks of 3,000 kilometers.  The weapon systems are a mix of Chinese and Pakistan systems.

Pakistan's first JF-17 fighter to roll out next week

The first JF-17 Thunder built at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) at Kamra will roll out on November 23, ushering in a new era in Pakistan-China ties and the local aviation industry, official sources said on Tuesday.

They said China and the Pakistan Air Force attached great importance to the project, which was materialising after almost a decade.

The PAC has utilised all its capabilities in producing the aircraft, besides materialising orders received from abroad.

The JF-17 Thunder – a lightweight, multi-role fighter aircraft with glass cockpit, hands-on throttle-and-stick controls and efficient man-machine interface – would ensure minimum workload for the pilots.

It has a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 and a high thrust-to-weight ratio enables it to perform well in air defence roles. An ability to carry short and long-range air-to-air missiles provides the aircraft first-strike capability.

The aircraft would replace the ageing fleets of A-5s, F-7Ps and the mirages in the PAF inventory. app

Pakistan ranked 42nd most corrupt country

Pakistan has been ranked as 42nd most corrupt country, among 180 countries ranked by the 'Transparency International Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI) 2009' released here on Tuesday. Pakistan is followed by Bangladesh and India. New Zealand has been ranked as the cleanest country, and Somalia ranked 180th as the most corrupt country.
The CPI 2009 has been described as survey of the surveys that measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians in 180 countries around the world. It focuses on perceptions, and not hard data (latter difficult to obtain and validity questionable, eg by comparing number of prosecutions or court cases). CPI 2009 draws on 13 different polls and surveys, from 10 independent institutions, carried out among experienced observers such as business people and country analysts, including local experts.
"The Government is governing Pakistan without governance, and Pakistan has lost credibility all over the world, due to which the country is facing serious economic threats, poverty, inflation, food and electricity shortages and increase in unemployment, which are direct results of the massive on-going corruption," said Adil Gilani, Chairman of Transparency International (TIP), while releasing the CPI at a press conference here.
In Doha United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) conference, held on November 9-13, 2009, the United Nations had put a price tag on corruption--estimating that up to $1.6 trillion in public assets move across borders each year through networks such as money laundering or into secret holdings.
The 2009 Corruption Perception Index looks at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories and is a composite index that draws on 13 expert opinion surveys. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption.
The vast majority of countries included in the 2009 index score below five on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption). The CPI measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on 13 different expert and business surveys.
The 2009 edition scores 180 countries, the same number as the 2008 CPI. According to the chairperson of Transparency International, Labelle: "Stemming corruption requires strong oversight by parliaments, a well performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti corruption agencies, vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budget, revenue and aid flows, as well as space for independent media and a vibrant civil society."
"The international community," she said, "must find efficient ways to help war-torn countries to develop and sustain their own institutions." Highest scores in the 2009 CPI are New Zealand at 9.4, Denmark at 9.3, Singapore and Sweden tied at 9.2, and Switzerland at 9.0. These scores reflect political stability, long-established conflict of interest regulations and solid functioning public institutions.
Pakistan's 2009 CPI score is 2.4 and, out of 180 countries, its ranking as most corrupt country has slipped five ranks--from 47th in 2008 to 42nd most corrupt country in 2009. It also reveals the effects of corruption in the subcontinent, which is more alarming in Pakistan, as Bangladesh which was the most corrupt country in 2001, 2002 and 2003, has improved in ranking from 38th most corrupt country in 2008 to 42nd most corrupt country in 2009.
Gilani said that Transparency International is of the view that terrorism is the direct result of poverty, resulted only and only due to corruption (defined as "misuse of authority for private gains"), and mainly illegal direct/indirect armed forces rules in Pakistan since 1951 to 2007, fully endorsed by corrupt judiciary. The positive impacts will be visible next year of the few steps of good governance taken during last one year of the restoration of judiciary by the Prime Minister by an executive order on March 16, 2009 (after lawyers' movement supported by opposition parties, civil society and above all media), declaration of judiciary by the Chief Justice to be zero tolerance for corruption and withdrawal of draft NRO bill from national assembly (on strong protest of opposition of parties and civil society, he said.
He said Transparency International congratulates Pakistan Army, which has proved to the world that Pakistan armed forces are the best. The elimination of terrorists in Swat in two months by Pakistan Army is what USA and Nato forces failed to achieve in eight years in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has made Pakistan a proud nation.
Army chief has also taken up seriously violation of Public Procurement Rules by Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and army purchases, and advised to follow the rules, which is a healthy sign and warning for those who are violators of rules. Gilani said that the government must make serious efforts to apply rules and regulations across the board, to achieve the goal of reducing corruption.
In the last 10 years, the economic growth of Bangladesh, and deterioration in Pakistan economy can also be judged from the currency parity rates of Pakistan, Bangladesh vs Dollar in 1999:2009, taka/Pak rupee was 49.65: 51.84 and in 2009 it is taka/Pak rupee 70.39: 83.46.
He said that Pakistan needs immediate enforcement of good governance and transparent administration to counter the acute problems of billions of rupees corruption scams reported in Pakistan Steel, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Employees' Old Age Benefit Institute (EOBI), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), rental power plants, Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), National Insurance Corporation (NIC), National Housing Authority (NHA), Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC), Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), Capital Development Authority (CDA), DP Division, Defence Housing Authorities (DHs), Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), PC, and many other organisations.