No case registered against Hafiz Saeed ‘sahab’ in Pakistan, says Pak PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

The Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that there is no case registered in Islamabad against 26/11 terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and no action could be instigated against the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief. “There is no case against Hafiz Saeed sahab in Pakistan, if there were a case, action would have been taken. Action is taken when there is a case registered [against someone],” Pakistan PM Abbasi said in an interview with Pakistan’s Geo TV.

India, again and again, has asked Islamabad to take action against Saeed who is alleged to be the mastermind of 26/11 attack in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed. The US has described Hafiz Saeed as a global terrorist and has also put a bounty of $10 million on his head. As  Saeed’s name on the UN terror list, he has also recently petitioned the global body asking removal of his name since none of the allegations against him – either related to terrorism or otherwise – has been proved in the Pakistan courts.

Following Saeed’s release on November 24, the LeT founder had confirmed that JuD would contest the 2018 general elections in Pakistan beneath the banner of Milli Muslim League (MML), which is still to be registered with the Election Commission. Currently, the Pakistan government banned Saeed’s JuD and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) from collecting donations.

Army kills 7 Pakistani soldiers in ‘Retaliatory action’, injures 4 along LoC

In a strong retaliation attack, Indian Army killed today seven Pakistani soldiers and wounded four in areas along the Line of Control (LoC) for the killing of an Indian soldier in Pakistan firing on Saturday. The Army’s act took place in the leading areas along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district. The reply came following an Indian soldier was killed in Pakistani firing along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Saturday.

On the other hand, the Pakistan army said in a statement that four of its soldiers were killed along the LoC in the Jandrot, Kohli sector. The army, on the other side, killed six Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) terrorists. The Jammu and Kashmir DGP SP Vaid said that “We have recovered five bodies from the spot. I think six have died, one body is being searched. They belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed and information was that they are suicide attackers”. “Since past few days, we were getting inputs about possible attempts to infiltrate from Uri sector. So, ambushes were laid out in that area by Army, J&K police & CRPF. In the morning, exchange of fire took place in one of the ambushes,” added Vaid.

While addressing Army members at an event of the 70th Army Day, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat cautioned Pakistan not to force India to step up its military attacking. “Pakistan Army has been continuously trying to help terrorists sneak into India along LoC in J&K. We are using our might to teach them a lesson. If we are forced, then we may resort to other action by stepping up military offensive,” Rawat said. General Rawat also talked about Pakistan’s continuous ceasefire violations. He said that “Ceasefire violations by Pakistan happen frequently, to which we respond effectively. We will take even stronger steps against our enemies if we are compelled to do so”. Rawat added that anti-India activities will not be allowed.

As per the data compiled by the Union Home ministry, Pakistani forces have violated ceasefire 724 times along the IB and the LoC till October in comparison to 449 times in 2016. “We will call their bluff. If given the task, we will not say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons,” said General Rawat. He also added that quarrels along Line of Actual Control in the nation’s northern border with China are continuing, with steady transgressions happening. The Army chief said terrorism has been limited in the Eastern front. “Our intelligence based and people-friendly operations in the north-east have managed to limit terrorism to a large extent,” the Army chief said.

We would like Pakistan to come to the table and help us in fight against terrorism, US tells Pakistan

In between the reports that Pakistan has suspended its military and intelligence cooperation with America, the US has expressed hope that Islamabad would “come to the table” and demonstrate a willingness to “aggressively” fight terrorist groups that operate from its territory. As per the media reports, Pakistan’s decision to suspend military and intelligence cooperation with America took place following President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and suspended security help to it.

When US Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein was asked to comment on Pakistan’s reported move, he said that “We’re hopeful for future cooperation from Pakistan”. “We stand ready to work with Pakistan in combating all terrorists without distinction, and we hope to be able to renew and deepen our bilateral security relationship when Pakistan demonstrates its willingness to aggressively confront the Taliban network, the Haqqani Network, and other terrorist and militant groups that operate from its territory,” Goldstein said. He added that the US has been clear on this issue to Pakistan. Saying the suspension of security help is not a cutoff and no funds have been reprogrammed, Goldstein said that “We would like Pakistan to come to the table and assist us in this effort”.

On Thursday, the US announced that it would not provide military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan. A Pentagon spokesperson said on Monday that the US had conveyed to Islamabad to take “concrete steps” against terror groups to earn hundreds of millions of dollars in help. Goldstein said, “The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism, and its security forces have been effective in combating the groups that target Pakistan’s interest. So, it’s to their benefit to join with us in helping resolve this matter.” “We always look at that; but again, it’s a suspension and not a cutoff. We haven’t reprogrammed the funds. We’re hopeful that Pakistan will come back to the table and do what they told us that they would do,” he added.

The US and others have long criticized that Pakistan offered safe shelter to the Afghan Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani Network, letting them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. However, Pakistan denies the allegations habitually.

Pakistan releases another Kulbhushan Jadhav’s video, he’d given statement on his mother’s visit

On Thursday, Pakistan released a new video of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national who has been sentenced to death on charges of spying, showed him saying that he had not been harmed in custody. The issue picked fire recently when India complained about the treatment of the family of death row convict Jadhav in Islamabad.

The 47-year-old Jadhav was permitted to meet his mother Avanti and wife Chentankul through a glass partition in Islamabad, which Pakistan claimed was an evidence of its humanitarianism and generosity. However, India accused Pakistan of harassing Jadhav’s family, claiming their meeting was held in an “atmosphere of coercion”. The Pakistan newspaper Dawn reported on the video released by the Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday where Jadhav was seen saying that he “saw fear”  in the eyes of his mother and wife when he met them. As per the report, Jadhav further said that an Indian diplomat accompanying them was “yelling at them”.

“I said ‘don’t worry mummy. They (Pakistan) are taking care of me, they have not touched me’. She believed me once she saw me personally. But I have to say one very important thing to the Indian public and the Indian government, and for people in Navy that my Commission has not gone, I am a commissioned officer of Indian Navy,” Jadhav was seen saying in the newly released video. Pakistan’s military said that Jadhav appealed to Pakistan’s powerful army chief to spare his life in June last year, two months after he was sentenced to death on charges of spying.

The ISPR of Pakistan claimed that Jadhav has allegedly confessed to his involvement in spying, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan, and expressed regret at the resultant loss of innocent lives and broad damage to property due to his actions. India, however, says that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the navy.

Here’s what Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Pakistan’s Army Gen Bajwa’s remarks

On Friday, the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said peace talks can only happen if Pakistan stops supporting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Commenting on the actions of Pakistan, the Army chief said that it doesn’t seem that Pakistan really wants peace. Rawat was in the western sector, which is close to the India-Pakistan border to observe the ‘Hamesha Vijayee’ exercise led by the Southern Command in Thar desert.

He added that Pakistan should stop supporting terrorists. “We also want relations should be better but given what kind of actions there are (from their side) and terrorism is spreading in Jammu and Kashmir, it doesn’t appear that they really want peace. Only then can we say that peace talks should take place,” Rawat told reporters in the exercise area near Barmer. He added that the army, paramilitary forces and Jammu and Kashmir police have been taking action against militants in Jammu and Kashmir effectively and action will carry on. His comments came just a day after Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India would like good relations with Pakistan provided Islamabad takes action against terror groups.

“It is important for Pakistan to understand our core concern, which is terrorism. We have time and again asked them to take action against terrorists who are operating from their soil. This is something they (Pakistan) will have to handle if they are serious in cultivating this friendship,” Kumar said. The positive statement follows Pakistan’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa assuring his support for better ties. As per the media reports, Bajwa has said that he will support any initiative of the civilian government to resolve issues with India through talks.

Pakistan army chief urges government to improve relations with India

In the rarest gesture, the Pakistan army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa urged the country’s lawmakers to develop relations with India, affirming them that their efforts would be backed by the Army. Bajwa words came following backdrop of continued American stress to Pakistani leadership on mending ties with India. At the Senate committee of the whole House during his first appearance before a Parliamentarian forum on Tuesday, Bajwa told lawmakers that “The military is ready to back political leadership’s initiative for normalization of relations with India”.

The general was invited by Senate chairman Raza Rabbani and also attended by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Naveed Mukhtar. Top military officers such as Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and Major General Asim Munir were also present. The session went on for almost four-and-a-half hours. Citing senators, the prominent Pakistan daily Dawn said Gen Bajwa said to the legislatures that he wants to normalize relations with all neighbors and urged politicians to try to improve relations with India. He also ensured that their efforts would be purely supported by the army.

The army chief’s offer was mainly important because a common perception has been made that the army was against peace efforts with India. Gen Bajwa, on the other hand, also added that a large part of Indian military deployments was mainly against Pakistan. Bajwa alleged India of provoking instability and terrorism in Pakistan, saying that New Delhi had developed a powerful nexus with Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security.

I’m Lashkar’s biggest supporter and know they like me, says Pervez Musharraf

The former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf has said this week that he likes Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed and is the “biggest supporter” of the Lashkar-e-Taiba as it involved in targeting the Indian Army in Kashmir. The former military dictator, who is currently living in self-exile in Dubai since leaving Pakistan following being charged with sedition, made the comments during the time he was appearing on a TV talk show late on Tuesday night.

While replying to a question on how the man who had once followed the policy of “enlightened moderation” was associating with hardline Islamic groups, Musharraf said that “I’m the biggest supporter of Lashkar-e-Taiba and I know the LeT and JuD people like me”. When he was asked that if he likes the founder of LeT Saeed, Musharraf said, “Yes, I have met him, even recently…I have always been in favor of action in Kashmir, and I’ve always been in their favor, that in Kashmir we must pressure the Indian Army and this (LeT) is the biggest force.” He also added that the LeT “was not involved” in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The attack on India’s financial hub was carried by a LeT team of 10 people, and later the Pakistan officially accepted the conspiracy behind the attacks was planned in its country in 2009 and arrested seven people for the same, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. “It is the requirement of the day, you must do everything in light of the reality of Pakistan. I am liberal and moderate, these are my thoughts but that doesn’t mean I’m against all religious people,” he added. Weeks after a terror attack on the Indian Parliament, the Musharraf’s government had banned the LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed in January 2002.

The former President claimed India and the US got the LeT “declared terrorists”. “Yes, they are involved in Kashmir and in Kashmir, it is between we and India,” he added. “The situation was different at that time. My vision was that we were moving towards peace, they (India) were moving toward my four-point agenda (for resolving the Kashmir issue), let us reduce mujahideen and increase political…” Musharraf said when asked about why he had banned the LeT in 2002. The former President also expressed a recent White House statement calling on Pakistan to arrest Saeed and act against him as “offensive”.

“This is very offensive language and an insult to Pakistan’s sovereignty. I would never accept this language and I would have said, ‘Please don’t dictate to us. We are in charge here, we decide on who is the LeT head, whether he has to be tried, whether he has to be punished. It is our decision,” Musharraf claimed.