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    48 MP, MLAs have declared cases of crime against women: ADR

    48 MP, MLAs have declared cases of crime against women: ADR

    New Delhi, April 19

    At least 48 MPs and MLAs have declared cases related to crime against women, with BJP having the highest number of such politicans at 12,  a report said on Thursday amid a nation-wide outrage over rape incidents, including in UP’s Unnao where a ruling party lawmaker is an accused.

    “Out of 1,580 (33 per cent) MPs/MLAs analysed with declared criminal cases, 48 have declared cases related to crime against women,” as per the report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

    This includes 45 MLAs and 3 MPs, who have declared cases of crime against women such as charges related to assault of woman with intent to outrage her modesty, kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her to marriage, rape, domestic violence and trafficking, the Delhi-based think-tank said.

     Giving party-wise details, the report said that BJP has the highest number of MPs and MLAs i.e. 12, followed by Shiv Sena (7) and Trinamool Congress (6) who have declared cases related to crime against women.

     The report is based on an analysis of 4,845 out of 4,896 election affidavits of current MPs and MLAs. This includes 768 out of 776 affidavits of MPs and 4,077 out of 4,120 MLAs across the country.

    “All major political parties give tickets to candidates with cases of crime against women especially rape and therefore hindering the safety and dignity of women as citizens.

    “These are serious cases where charges have been framed and cognisance have been taken by the courts. Hence, political parties have been in a way abetting to circumstances that lead to such events that they so easily but vehemently condemn in Parliament,” the report said.

    Among states, Maharashtra has the highest number of MPs and MLAs (12), followed by West Bengal (11), Odisha and Andhra Pradesh each with five MPs and MLAs who have declared cases related to crime against women.

    ADR and National Election Watch (NEW) have recommended that candidates with serious criminal background should be debarred from contesting elections. Also, political parties should disclose the criteria on which candidates are given tickets and that cases against MPs and MLAs should be fast-tracked and decided upon in a time-bound manner, they added.

    According to the report, in the last five years, recognised parties have given tickets to 26 candidates who had declared cases related to rape. During this period,  14 independent candidates with declared cases related to rape have contested for Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state assembly elections.

    As per the analysis, 327 candidates who had declared cases related to crime against women were given tickets by recognised political parties. Also, 118 independent candidates with declared cases related to crime against women had contested for Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state assembly elections in the last five years.

    Among major parties, in the last five years, 47 candidates with declared cases related to crime against women were given tickets by BJP. As many as 35 such candidates were given tickets by BSP, followed by 24 from Congress. The candidates had contested in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state assembly polls.

    The report also noted that among states, in the last five  years, Maharashtra had the highest number of such candidates at 65, followed by Bihar (62) and West Bengal (52) (including independents).

    The analysis comes at a time when there are rising rape incidents, including those reported from Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, Unnao and Surat in Gujarat. PTI


    Army man joins Hizbul Mujahideen: JK police officials

    Army man joins Hizbul Mujahideen: JK police officials

    Srinagar, April 16

    An Army man who had gone missing from south Kashmir earlier this month has joined the Hizbul Mujahideen terror group, police officials said on Monday.Idrees Mir, who was posted in the Army’s Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) unit, joined the group yesterday, a police official said. The official said Mir had gone missing from Shopian. He joined the group along with two locals who had also been missing.The Army maintains that he is “missing” and has no confirmation about his joining the terror outfit.According to the police, Mir was posted to Jharkhand and was unhappy about the move.  — PTI


    Commuted Pension – A Money Minting Business of the Government

    Startled? Bitter but true. It is a harsh reality that the Government has made a profitable business out of the apparently innocuous ‘welfare measure’ called “Commutation of Pension”. Calculations show that the Government recovers much more than the amount it extends ostensibly as a welfare measure to the retiring personnel. The main reason projected by the Government for excess recovery is the ‘mortality risk factor’ as the balance recovery is waived in case of death. The hard fact remains that commuted pension is like any other advance/ loan on which the Government charges interest (currently 8%) at market rate! The Government keeps on chewing on the pension for 15 years though it recovers the full amount with interest in 10 years and 10 months (in case of post-1.9.08 retirees). In the case of earlier retirees, it fully recovers in less than 13 years. 

    As per extant rules [Central Civil Services (Commutation of Pension) Rules, 1981], commuted pension is restored 15 years after the date of drawal of the commuted amount. This period of 15 years is arbitrarily fixed, without any legal or mathematical basis. This amounts to an unjust and immoral enrichment of the Government at the cost of the pensioners/ senior citizens. This affects all the services, irrespective of the rank/ level of the pensioner. What right/ justification has the Government got to overcharge the pensioners and recover even a penny more than what it has paid? The Government is behaving like a typical rural money lender and is knowingly milking the pensioners.

    In the succeeding paragraphs, I will mathematically and legally prove how the pensioners are being fleeced. The calculations, made on the basis of one particular pay, are only illustrative but the principle/ method applies equally to all the ranks, leading to exactly similar results.

    Retirees between 1986 and 1995

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    The age of retirement during this period was 58 years. Such retirees have all completed the prescribed period of 15 years for restoration of pension. Since 1.3.1971 and until 1.9.2008, the Commutation Factor (CF) was 10.46 and the rate of interest was 4.75% p.a. Commutation allowed was 1/3rd of the basic pay. The basic pension of those who superannuated between 1.1.86 and 31.12.95 at the top of their pay scale (Rs.8,000), was fixed at Rs.4,000 and they got commuted pension of Rs.1,67,318 with a deduction of Rs.1,333 per month. The principal amount of Rs.1,67,318 was fully recovered in 10.46 years.

    • Considering the simple interest rate of 4.75% p.a., the total interest works out to Rs.36,250. This was fully recovered in 2.27 years [36250/1333 = 27.2 months or ~2.27 years]. Thus, total recovery period of the commuted amount works out to 10.46 + 2.27 = ~12.73 years. But the pensioner was made to pay for additional 15 – 12.73 = 2.27 years, amounting to Rs.36,250.

     

    Retirees between 1996 and 2005

    The age of retirement was raised to 60 years w.e.f. 1.5.98 after the 5th Central Pay Commission (CPC) report. Permissible commutation was also raised from one third to 40% of the basic pay w.e.f. 1.1.96. The Commutation Factor (CF) came down to 9.81 from 10.46. The rate of interest was 4.75% p.a. Those who superannuated between 1.1.96 and 30.4.98 at the age of 58 years at the top of their pay scale (Rs.26,000) got the commuted amount of Rs.6,52,704 with a deduction of Rs.5,200 p.m. Those who retired between 1.5.98 and 31.3.04 at the top of their pay scale (Rs.26,000) got the commuted amount of Rs.6,12,144 with a deduction of Rs.5,200 p.m. Those who retired on or after 1.4.04 after the merger of 50% DA with basic pay got Rs.9,18,216 with a deduction of Rs.7,800 per month.

    • Retirees between 1.1.96 and 30.4.98:- The principal amount of Rs.6,52,704 was fully recovered in 10.46 years. Considering the simple interest rate of 4.75% p.a., the total interest worked out to Rs.1,50,779. This was recovered in 2.42 years [150779/5200 = 29 months or 2.42 years]. Thus, total recovery period of the commuted amount works out to 10.46 + 2.42 = 12.88 years. But the pensioner kept on paying for further 15 – 12.88 = 2.12 years. Excess recovery was Rs.1,32,517.
    • Retirees between 1.5.98 and 31.3.04:- The principal amount of Rs.6,12,144 was fully recovered in 9.81 years. With interest rate of 4.75% p.a., the total interest works out to Rs.1,41,409. This is recoverable in 2.27 years [141409/5200 = 27.2 months or 2.27 years]. Thus, total recovery period of the commuted amount works out to 9.81 + 2.27 = ~12.08 years. But the pensioner kept/ keeps on paying for further 15 – 12.08 = ~2.92 years. Excess recovery = Rs.1,82,447.
    • Retirees between 1.4.04 and 31.12.05:- The principal amount of Rs.9,18,216 has already been fully recovered in 9.81 years. With the simple interest rate of 4.75% p.a., the total interest works out to Rs.2,12,114. This is recoverable in 2.27 years [212114/7800 = 27.2 months or 2.27 years]. Thus, total recovery period of the commuted amount works out to 9.81 + 2.27 = ~12.08 years. But the pensioner will keep on paying for further 15 – 12.08 = ~2.92 years. Excess recovery = Rs.2,73,670.

    Retirees from 1.1.2006 to 1.9.2008

    Since 1.3.1971 and until 1.9.2008, the Commutation Table remained unchanged. The Commutation Factor (CF) in 2006-2008 was 9.81 and the rate of interest was 4.75% p.a. The basic pension of those who superannuated between 1.1.06 and 1.9.08 at the top of their pay scale (Rs.80,000), was fixed at Rs.40,000. Their commuted pension amount was Rs.18,83,520 with a deduction of Rs.16,000 per month. The principal amount is fully recovered in 9.81 years.

    • Considering the simple interest rate of 4.75% p.a., the total interest works out to Rs.4,35,106. This is recoverable in 2.27 years [435106/16000 = 27.2 months or 2.27 years]. Thus, total recovery period of the commuted amount works out to 9.81 + 2.27 = 12.08 years. But the pensioner will keep on paying for further 15 – 12.08 = 2.92 years. Excess recovery = 2.92 x 12 x 16000 = Rs.5,60,640.

    Retirees with effect from 2.9.2008

    This category of pensioners is the worst affected. They suffered a triple jeopardy: (i) 16.5% lower commuted amount (ii) 68% higher interest and (iii) status quo in recovery tenure. The persecution is explained below.

    A new Commutation Table was introduced from 2.9.08 which reduced the commuted amount drastically without reducing the recovery tenure. Despite a sharp rise in life expectancy, the Commutation Factor (CF) was downgraded from 9.81 to 8.194, thereby reducing the commuted amount by a whopping 16.5% !!! To add insult to injury, the rate of interest was enhanced from 4.75% to 8% p.a., an astronomical jump of 68% even in this low interest regime !!! This category of pensioners suffered the costliest advance/ loan called the ‘commuted pension’.

    The basic pension of those who superannuated on or after 2.9.08 at the top of their pay scale (Rs.80,000) was fixed at Rs.40,000. Their commuted pension amount is Rs.15,73,248 with a deduction of Rs.16,000 per month. Had the Commutation Table not been revised, they would have got a higher commuted sum of Rs.18,83,520 as per the old CF of 9.81. Thus, they were/ are put to the first shock loss of Rs.3,10,272(-16.5%) at the outset, even before the recovery started/ starts !!!

    • Coming to the recovery part, the principal amount of Rs.15,73,248 will be fully recovered in 8.194 years. With interest @8% p.a., the total interest works out to Rs.5,10,417. This is recoverable in 2.66 years [510417/16000 = 31.9 months or 2.66 years]. Thus, total recovery period of the commuted amount is = 8.194 + 2.66 = 10.85 years. But the pensioner will keep on paying for further 15 – 10.85 = 4.15 years. Excess recovery = 4.15 x 12 x 16000 = Rs.7,96,800.

    The following tables summarise the comparative position:-

    Sl.

    Retirement Period & Age

    Commutation Factor

    Interest

    (% p.a.)

    Basic Pension

    Commuted Amount

    Monthly Recovery

    1986 to1995;

    58 years

    10.46

    4.75

    4,000

    1,67,318

    1,333

    1.1.96 to 30.4.98;

    58 years

    10.46

    4.75

    13,000

    6,52,704

    5,200

    1.5.98 to 31.3.04;

    60 years

    9.81

    4.75

    13,000

    6,12,144

    5,200

    1.4.04 to 31.12.05

    60 years

    9.81

    4.75

    13,000

    9,18,216

    7,800

    1.1.06 to 1.9.08;

    60 years

    9.81

    4.75

    40,000

    18,83,520

    16,000

    2.9.08 onwards;

    60 years

    8.194

    8

    40,000

    15,73,248

    16,000

    Sl.

    Retirement Period

    Commuted Amount + Interest (Rs.)

    Recoverable in

    Actual Recovery in 15 years

    Excess Recovery (Rs.)

    1986 to1995

    2,03,568

    12.73 years

    2,39,940

    36,250

    1.1.96 to 30.4.98

    8,03,483

    12.88 years

    9,36,000

    1,32,517

    1.5.98 to 31.3.04

    7,53,553

    12.08 years

    9,36,000

    1,82,447

    1.4.04 to 31.12.05

    11,30,330

    12.08 years

    14,04,000

    2,73,670

    1.1.06 to 1.9.08

    23,18,626

    12.08 years

    28,80,000

    5,60,640

    2.9.08 onwards

    20,83,665

    10.85 years

    28,80,000

    7,96,800

    In a nutshell, the commuted pension is fully recovered with interest in:-

    • 12.73 years in case of those who retired between 1986 and 1995;
    • 12.88 years in case of those who retired between 1.1.96 and 30.4.98;
    • 12.08 years in case of those who retired between 1.5.98 and 1.9.08;
    • 10.85 years in case of those who retired on or after 2.9.08.

    Supreme Court Order of 1986

    All the time, the Government is harping upon the Supreme Court Judgement of 9.12.86 in Common Cause Vs. UOI in Writ Petitions No. 3958-61 of 1983 under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The justification given by the Government for excess recovery is two fold: (i) convenience of lump sum payment to pensioners and (ii) mortality risk factor. It is almost 29 years since the SC judgement was delivered while much water has flown down the Ganges since then. Several factors and circumstances, which were relied upon by the Apex Court, have undergone a sea change as elaborated in the analysis below:-

    1)    As per an official release, the life expectancy in India currently is 67.3 years for males and 69.6 years for females. The average comes to 68.5 years. In 1986, when the Supreme Court judgement was delivered, life expectancy in India was only 57 years while the retirement age was higher than this (58 years). In 29 years after the judgement, there is a sharp upsurge in life expectancy by 11.5 years while the retirement age (60 years) is 8.5 years lower than the life expectancy of 68.5 years! This has reduced the projected risk factor (of non-recovery and waiver due to premature mortality) to almost zero. This factor alone demolishes the Government’s constant bogey of mortality risk factor.

    2)    Even if a pensioner dies at the average life expectancy age of 68.5 years and the unrecovered commuted amount stands waived off, the Government is not a loser at all. The reason is that the family pension, which remains 100% only up to 7 years after retirement, i.e. up to the deceased’s presumed age of 67 years, is reduced thereafter by 40% after the death of the pensioner. This drop is exactly the same as the current commuted portion which is 40% of the basic pension. Thus, in the changed scenario, virtually no risk factor exists.

    3)    When the age of retirement was raised from 58 to 60 years after the 5th CPC in 1996, the Commutation Factor (CF) came down to 9.81 from 10.46, thus lowering the financial liability of the Govt by 6.2% (though this drop was almost offset by the increase in the commuted value from 33-1/3% to 40% effected after the 5th CPC).

    4)    As mentioned earlier, with effect from 2.9.08, a new Commutation Table was introduced which drastically reduced the commuted amount by as much as 16.5% because of the reduction in the CF from 9.81 to 8.194. Though the Government’s financial liability towards the commuted amount came down by 16.5%, the period of recovery was not reduced though it should also have been brought down proportionately by 16.5%, i.e. by 2.5 years. Thus, logically, even if we ignore other factors, the recovery period should have been brought down to 15 – 2.5 = 12.5 years.

    5)    Apart from revising the Commutation Table, the rate of interest was raised w.e.f. 2.9.08 from 4.75% to the market rate of 8% which is almost double the previous figure. Thus, calling the commuted pension a concessional dole and a welfare measure is no more valid. The Government is claiming its full pound of flesh even in this low interest regime. In such a situation, why should the Government recover more than what it has advanced?

    6)    A relevant portion of the SC judgement of 1986 is cited below:-

    “In dealing with a matter of this nature, it is not appropriate to be guided by the example of Life Insurance; equally unjust it would be to adopt the interest basis. On the other hand, the conclusion should be evolved by relating it to the ‘years of purchase’ basis. An addition of two years to the period necessary for the recovery on the basis of years of purchase justifies the adoption of the 15 years rule. That is more or less the basis which appears to be equitable”.

    This has two inferences:-

    a)    No link of the concept of commutation can be made to life insurance. This demolishes the official stand that an element of insurance/ risk is made into the concept of commutation.

    b)    The period of recovery for interest cannot exceed 2 years after the recovery of the principal amounton the basis of years of purchase. This leads to the following recovery periods for different retirees:-

    Sl.

    Retirees Between

    Principal Amount is Recovered in

    (Years of Purchase)

    Total Recovery Period after Adding 2 Years for Interest Recovery

    1986 to1995 and up to 30.4.98

    10.46 years

    12.46 years

    1.5.98 to 1.9.08

    9.81 years

    11.81 years

    2.9.08 onwards

    8.194 years

    10.194 years

    7)    The Government’s argument that the period of 15 years was “fixed” by the Supreme Court is fallacious and misleading. A plain perusal of the judgement shows that this period was proposed by the Government itself during the pendency of the Writ Petition (as an offer of compromise) and the figure was simply accepted by the Court. No calculation chart was ostensibly submitted either by the Government or by the Petitioner to justify the proposal of 15 years but it was welcomed by all because till then, the recovery period was life long.

    8)    A perusal of the judgement shows that 15 years is the upper limit while there is no lower threshold fixed. No bar has been placed by the Court on its reduction which can always be done in view of the changed circumstances like higher life expectancy, lower risk factor, revised commutation table, reduced commutation factor, increased interest rate, higher age of retirement and the changed scenario after the 4th, 5th and 6th Central Pay Commissions.

    5th CPC Recommendation Rejected by the Government

    The 5th Central Pay Commission, in Chapter 136, had specifically recommended reduction of the period of recovery to 12 years. The Commission had observed that the commuted value of pension receivable currently by an employee retiring at the normal age of 58 years was equal to 10.46 years’ purchase. It was, however, separately recommended that the age of superannuation be raised from 58 years to 60 years. Consequently, the commutation value in respect of employees superannuating at the age of 60 years and commuting a portion of pension within a period of one year would be equal to 9.81 years’ purchase. After adding thereto a further period of 2 years for recovery of interest in terms of the observation of the Supreme court, it was felt reasonable to recommend restoration of the commuted pension after 12 years. The Government rejected this recommendation summarily, without citing any plausible reason despite the Commission having given sound reasons for the same. 

    Summary

    Keeping in view all the factors and mathematical calculations, the exact period of restoration of commuted pension works out as under:-

    a)    1st category of retirees (who retired between 1986 and 1995): They repaid the entire amount with interest in 12.73 years. The Government should refund the excess recovery made for 2.27 years with interest.

    b)    2nd category of retirees (who retired between 1.1.96 and 30.4.98): They repaid the entire amount with interest in 12.88 years. Excess amount recovered for 2.12 years should be refunded with interest.

    c)    3rd category of retirees (who retired between 1.5.98 and 1.9.08): Their repayment completes in 12.08 years. Therefore, their full pension should be restored thereafter. Excess amount recovered should be refunded with interest.

    d)    4th category of retirees who retired on or after 2.9.08: Their repayment completes in 10.85 years. Their full pension should be restored thereafter.

    The Forum of Retired IPS Officers (FORIPSO) gave a Power Point Presentation before the 7th Central Pay Commission last year and was able to convince it. These facts were also brought to the attention of the Government but these fell on deaf ears, forcing FORIPSO to file a PIL in Delhi High Court where it is pending.

    About J.K. Khanna

    J.K. KhannaJ.K. Khanna is a retired IPS Officer of Bihar Cadre, 1974-batch. He retired in the rank of D.G.Police in 2011. He is the Secretary of the Forum of Retired IPS Officers (FORIPSO) which is an all India body, representing 23 States.


    ‘Bajwa Doctrine’ spells Army raj without coup by Lt Gen Bhopinder Singh

    As Gen. Qamar Bajwa slowly but surely consolidates his power and legitimises his angst in the popular imagination

    Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has had an ominous relationship with all six Chiefs of Army Staff that he has tenured with, including the four that he “handpicked” by superseding senior officers. In 1993, his choice of Gen. Waheed Kakar was instrumental in pressuring Mr Sharif to resign as Prime Minister. The next chief in Nawaz’s tenure was the choice of the previous government, Gen. Jehangir Karamat, who was forced into premature resignation by Mr Sharif. The third was the “safe” mohajir, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who packed off Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia in a bloodless coup. Later, Nawaz Sharif, in his third innings as Prime Minister, had to deal with the outgoing dictator Pervez Musharraf’s choice, the highly unpredictable Gen. Pervez Kayani, who unilaterally extended his stay at the Army House. During his third stint as Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif had punted on Gen. Raheel Sharif, who ultimately turned out to be his own man and gave Nawaz Sharif sleepless nights with the rumours of a “takeover”, only to pick yet another supposedly “pro-democracy” and low key officer as his successor, Gen. Qamar Bajwa, who silently allowed Mr Sharif to get disqualified and has more recently upped the ante against Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (N) government.

    From a Pervez Musharraf to a Raheel Sharif, it has typically taken just over a year for the incumbent Chief of Army Staff to run into an uncomfortable equation and power tussle with Nawaz Sharif. Given that Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa assumed office on November 29, 2016, his restiveness with the political establishment and the accompanying portents of the power struggle were overdue as per previous trends and traditions. The buildup to the fractious relationship normally assumes the pattern of the military establishment expressing concerns on matters that are beyond the domain of security — such as the economy, federalism, intra-party feuds, etc. The contours of expression were established by Gen. Ayub Khan in 1958, then Chief of the Pakistani Army, who noted: “I am receiving very depressing reports of economic distress and maladministration through political interference, frustration and complete lack of faith by the people in political leaders… The general belief is that none of these men have the honesty of purpose, integrity and patriotism to root out the evils of the country, which will require drastic action.” Much later, in 1999, Gen. Musharraf echoed the same line with: “There is despondency and hopelessness surrounding us with no light visible anywhere around… we have reached a stage where our economy has crumbled, our credibility is lost, state institutions lie demolished.”

    The last six months have seen the relatively reclusive Gen. Qamar Bajwa asserting his institutional presence, defying governmental preferences and openly holding court with his holistic vision for Pakistan that has grandiosely been described as the “Bajwa Doctrine”. From stamping his own martial signature with his Operation Radd-ud-Fasaad (his predecessor had undertaken Operation Zarb-e-Azb), to ignoring government orders to disperse protesters and instead undermining the civilian government by mediating with Islamist protesters, to delivering his views on wholly civilian matters like the 18th Amendment of the Pakistan Constitution that devolves powers to the states, to becoming the first high-ranking foreign dignitary to visit the Maldives, has all the makings and optics of the Pakistani Army’s restless institutional overreach and thunderous grand-standing. Another crucial aspect attributed to the “Bajwa Doctrine” is the blunt counter to US President Donald Trump’s accusation that Pakistan’s track record on terror had, “given the United States nothing but lies and deceit” — the “Bajwa Doctrine” seeks to bluntly refute the US President’s perception, and instead posits an alternative assertion that suggests that the US needs to do more, and for Pakistan to not get intimidated by the US pressure. As part of its logical extension, it seeks to invest in a new set of replacement allies that host inherently anti-US governments — such as China, Russia, Iran and Turkey. The sovereign humiliation accompanying the US military aid cuts to Pakistan is essentially getting repackaged and replayed back as a sign of national pride and dignity, as Pakistani military spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor insists: “Pakistan never fought for money but for peace.”

    Whether the “Bajwa Doctrine” is a hardbound set of fleshed-out policies and actions, or is a just a creative interpretation of the Pakistani military’s fidgetiness is still unclear — however, there are lurking signs of “military control” as the largest television channel, Geo TV, gets forced off the cable networks owing to its reportage of the Pakistani military machinations. Gen. Qamar Bajwa has also not shied away from sharing his opinion on civilian ministerial colleagues by commenting on former finance minister Ishaq Dar: “It is a shame that out of 210 million people, only 1.2 million pay taxes… He (Ishaq Dar) was a total disaster for this country.” In the cloak and dagger style of Pakistan’s intra-institutional intrigues, the Pakistani military has tactically joined hands with the judiciary to retain the pressure on the beleaguered and cornered civilian government by suggesting that “destabilising the judiciary or ridiculing its verdicts could land us in political disarray. Anyone who is indignant with the Supreme Court decisions (should) not be allowed to humiliate the judiciary or raise question marks on the integrity of the honourable judges”.

    As Gen. Qamar Bajwa slowly but surely consolidates his power and legitimises his angst in the popular imagination, he continues paying lip service to the principle of civilian democracy — “salvation lies in protecting and preserving the integrity of all state institutions (Parliament, judiciary and military) as much as in upholding the rule of law on the way to free and fair elections”. With Pakistan’s general election due to be held in July this year, the emergence of the ghost of the “Bajwa Doctrine” has made the run-up and the possible outcomes more unpredictable. Sensing the direction of the wind, Opposition leader Imran Khan has unabashedly confessed: “I have more praise for Gen. Bajwa than Gen. Raheel Sharif”, signalling the importance of the Baloch Regiment officer who is expectedly stepping out of the shadows of the Rawalpindi barracks.

    Tags: general qamar javed bajwanawaz sharifgeneral raheel sharif

    Pak army chief backs talks to resolve disputes

    Pak army chief backs talks to resolve disputes

    Pak Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — File

    Islamabad, April 15

    The peaceful resolution of India-Pakistan disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir, can be found through a comprehensive and meaningful dialogue, Pakistan army chief Gen  Qamar Javed Bajwa has said.His remarks came during his speech at the passing-out parade of cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul on Saturday.“While such a dialogue is no favour to any party, it remains the inevitable precursor to peace. Pakistan remains committed to such a dialogue, but only on the basis of sovereign equality, dignity and honour,” he said. PTI


    Army captain held for molesting woman professor in Kanpur

    Army captain held for molesting woman professor in Kanpur

    Kanpur, April 16

    An Army captain and a hostel warden have been arrested for allegedly stalking and molesting a woman professor here, the police said on Monday.  An FIR was registered against the duo under relevant sections of the IPC at Bithoor police station, SSP (Kanpur) Akhilesh Kumar said.The Army official, who is a doctor, had come to the city to attend a medicos’ meet on Friday where he met the professor, also a doctor, he said.According to a complaint filed by the professor, the official, who was in an inebriated condition, misbehaved with her and tried to pull her away from her car when she was returning to her hostel.She also alleged that the captain, accompanied by the hostel warden, followed her to her college hostel in Bithoor, and started knocking at her door. PTI


    India’s inclusion in NSG will boost global export control system: Germany

    India’s inclusion in NSG will boost global export control system: Germany

    New Delhi, April 16

    Strongly pitching for India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Germany on Monday said the global export control system will benefit a lot from New Delhi’s participation in all its four regimes.

    Out of the four export control regimes that work to keep proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in check, India is a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.

    India’s membership to the 48-member NSG is being primarily opposed by China on the pretext that it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    “Germany has strongly supported India in its efforts to become a member of the export control regimes just as we continue to strongly support India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Jasper Wieck, the Deputy Head of the German mission here, said.

    “We are convinced that the global export control system will benefit a lot from India’s participation in all four regimes,” he said while speaking at the inaugural session of India-Wiessbaden Conference 2018, organised jointly by the Ministry of External Affairs in cooperation with Germany and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs.

    Representatives from the government and industry of 39 countries, as well as experts from the UNSC 1540 Committee and UN Office for Disarmament Affairs in New York, are participating at the two-day conference titled  ‘Securing Global Supply Chains through Government-Industry Partnerships towards Effective Implementation of UNSC Resolution 1540’              .

    The UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) establishes legally binding obligations on all states to adopt and enforce appropriate and effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their delivery systems to non-state actors.

    It requires, therefore, that countries implement appropriate and effective measures to prevent non-state actors such as terrorists, from obtaining access to WMDs.

    “We consider this initiative (the conference) as yet another example of India’s engagement with regards to international cooperation in the areas of export controls,” Wieck said. PTI


    China says it wants to stick to ‘right path’ of bilateral ties with India

    China says it wants to stick to ‘right path’ of bilateral ties with India

    Beijing, April 16

    China wants to stick to the “right path” of bilateral ties with India, explore new areas for cooperation and ensure sound and steady development of the relationship, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying’s remarks came during a media briefing as she replied to a question on a series of high-level meetings between the two countries.After last year’s stand-off in Doklam, India and China have stepped up dialogue at various levels to reset the ties.Hua said China’s ties with India had seen new progress and allround cooperation this year.“This year, under the guidance of the two leaders (Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi), China and India relations have been developing with a sound momentum,” Hua said.“China attaches great importance to developing relations with India and we would like to work together to implement the consensus reached by leaders, stick to the right path of the bilateral ties, accumulate more positive energy, explore new areas for cooperation and ensure sound and steady development of bilateral ties,” she said.“We have seen close exchanges at all levels and new progress in allround cooperation,” Hua said without elaborating.On April 13, a meeting was held between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Yang Jiechi, Director of China’s Foreign Affairs Commission and member of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in Shanghai.  Besides the meeting between Yang and Doval, the two countries “successfully” held the 11th Joint Economic Group meeting and the fifth Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), she said.Hua said officials from the two foreign ministries also met. The two sides also held working mechanism meeting on border affairs and cross-border rivers, she said.“These interactions show that China and India share wide range of common interests and our bilateral cooperation holds great potential,” she said.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are also due to visit China on April 24 to take part in the meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).Prime Minister Modi himself is scheduled to visit China in June to take part in the SCO summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao. PTI


    US vs rest of the world by MK Bhadrakumar

    US vs rest of the world

     

    MK Bhadrakumar

    THE developments over Syria during the past 10 days have been breathtaking. In the eyes of some observers, the cascading tensions between the two superpowers — the US and Russia — harked back to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. But that is a stretch. There is no ideological struggle today; Syria is not Cuba; nor is Russia the Soviet Union or the world bipolar. The leitmotif, if at all, lies in geopolitics.Fundamentally, the precipitate situation has a lot to do with the United States’ unipolar predicament. The failure of the wars in Afghanistan and Syria underscored that the US has lost the capacity to impose its will abroad despite being the biggest military power. The Harvard professor who invented the term “soft power”, Joseph Nye, wrote recently that the US has to relearn the “lessons of using power with others as well as over others.” He added, “In other words, the US will have to use its soft power to create networks and institutions that will allow it to cooperate with China, India, Japan, Europe, and others to deal with transnational problems… that no country can solve unilaterally. That will require overcoming the unilateral policies and attitudes associated with the rise of Trump.”However, the problem is more deep-rooted than the rise of Donald Trump. The American elites, with very few exceptions, are in a denial mode regarding the decline of the US’ influence after nearly a century of global hegemony and over the shift in global power away from the West after a history of five centuries of dominance. Trump accentuates this contradiction because although his support base in the 2016 election roots for “America First”, he actually represents Wall Street interests. And American capitalism is fuelled by wars. The highly contrived Russia-collusion hypothesis worked well so far for the “swamp” to nudge Trump incrementally toward the trodden path of the military-industrial complex and Wall Street. Barack Obama also faced a similar predicament — in Libya and Afghanistan; in proclaiming a “pivot” strategy in Asia; in ramping up NATO as the vehicle for the New American Century project; in the deployment of US missile defence system to Central Europe; and, in piloting the regime change in Ukraine in 2014 — which turned the tide of the West’s relations with Russia. Obama’s master plan to resuscitate the Western alliance system and to re-establish the US’ trans-Atlantic leadership was never in doubt.In fact, the Syrian conflict is Barack Obama’s legacy. The new element that Trump has introduced is his virtual handover of the endgame to the generals. First he began saying he wanted American troops in Syria to return home “where they belong” — and end the US’ wasteful Middle Eastern wars that cost $7 trillion so far. But when his generals objected, pleading there is unfinished business still, he’s swung to the other extreme by seizing a rumoured chemical attack in Douma and ordering the Pentagon to plan an attack on the Syrian regime. And Trump then took a de tour to announce that the attack would be deferred. By Thursday, Trump had tweeted: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”Was he playing a video game, as the former US Deputy of State Nicholas Burns put it? The US domestic politics indeed becomes a moot point where a wave of support is steadily building up for the Democrats in the November elections to the Congress. In the foreign policy arena too, like in a Salvador Dali painting, all this rather becomes the stuff of a surrealist meditation on the collapse of our notions of a fixed world order. The present crisis has morphed into an inflection point. Trump is all but jettisoning his foreign policy instincts and is also opting to play safe. Clearly, a limited US strike on the Syrian government cannot hope to achieve anything significant. The Syrian troops and their allies have quietly evacuated the major air bases and relocated elsewhere. In effect, the Syrian regime has all but won the seven-year conflict. All major cities and main population centres — Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Homs and Hama — are under the regime’s control. These regions spanning the fertile lands along the western coast and the northwest of the country were once dubbed cynically  “useful Syria” by the French colonialists, as distinct from the vast inhospitable deserts and infertile regions to the east and northeast where the US and its Kurdish allies (who form around 10 per cent of Syria’s population) are operating.The only plausible explanation for the ecstatic interest in London and Paris for the US-British-French attack on Syrian regime is their collective frustration and anger that the entire regime-change enterprise has collapsed. The capture of East Ghouta, a set of suburbs of Damascus to the east, by government forces a week ago from Salafi jihadi militia has infuriated the Western intelligence. (Douma, where the alleged chemical attack took place last Sunday, is one of three districts of East Ghouta, and was dominated by the Saudi Arabian proxy, Army of Islam.) Then, there is the overarching Western concern that the resurgence of Russian power on the global stage, especially in the Middle East, needs to be countered before it is too late.Without doubt, Trump’s earlier decision to drawdown the US forces in Syria is fundamentally correct. The point is, a narrow exercise of deterrence — the current “one-time shot, as US Defence Secretary James Mattis described the wave of attacks on Saturday — will not alter the balance of power in Syria. It seems improbable that Trump has any interest, either, to commit resources for “nation-building” in Syria. The futility of reversing the history of political failure in Syria under Obama’s watch is at once apparent — except through a large-scale invasion of Syria. Again, it is already apparent that the European Union is badly divided on the US-UK-French operation. Above all, Trump will come under fire for not seeking Congressional approval and acting without mandate from the UN Security Council, leave alone wait for the chemical investigation team to report back from Syria.Conceivably, a fair amount of “mil-to-mil” US-Russia consultations took place through the most recent days regarding “deconfliction” procedures. From all appearance, Moscow was notified in advance about the US strike on Syria. However, the heart of the matter is that Saturday’s strike is hugely symbolic and cannot be shrugged away as a “stand-alone” event. Moscow will suspect that a pre-designed scenario is being implemented and Russia itself is threatened.The writer is a former ambassador


    Cops on alert after ‘carjacking’ near International border

    Cops on alert after ‘carjacking’ near International border

    Tribune News Service

    Pathankot, April 16

    Police in border districts of Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala are on a high alert after reports of ‘carjacking’ near the International border late Sunday night. IG (Border) Surinder Pal Singh Parmar confirmed the incident and added that a massive manhunt had been launched after the questioning of the car owner Gujjar Maskin Ali. The car owner told the police that two unidentified armed fled with his car after threatening him.Pathankot SSP Vivek Sheel Soni received a call from the control room around 11 pm about the incident. After making initial inquiries from the SHO Narot Jaimal Singh police station, the SSP sensed that the threat was “indeed real” and immediately put his force into action. Within two hours all vital installations in the city, including the road leading to the civil airport, Air Force station, Mamun cantonment and the ammunition dump — considered to be one of the biggest army storage facility in North India — were secured.By the time morning walkers hit the streets, the city had been converted into an impregnable fortress with the cops also establishing a dozen check posts on the strategic Jammu-Pathankot national highway.