Sanjha Morcha

Guard against Imran’s political reverse swings Bhopinder Singh

The road to spirituality and prime ministership was coincidentally also marked by his third marriage to the scholarly-austere-mystic Bushra Maneka.

Pakistani politician Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, speaks to media after casting his vote at a polling station for parliamentary elections in Islamabad. (Photo: AP)

Pakistani politician Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, speaks to media after casting his vote at a polling station for parliamentary elections in Islamabad. (Photo: AP)

The man from the dustbowl district of Mianwali, Pakistan, who has feathered his illustrious hat as a former cricketer, commentator, philanthropist and politician, is now poised for the biggest “captaincy” of his 66 years as Prime Minister of Pakistan. The flamboyant Pathan of the Niazi-Burki stock has come a long way since forming his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI (Pakistan Movement for Justice) in 1996, and then winning the solitary seat by himself in the 2002 general election with 0.8 per cent of the national vote to now emerging as the biggest party in the 2018 general election.

Reminiscent of his cricketing life accusations of “ball-tampering” to deliver his lethal reverse swings, the political road to the PMO was paved with eerily similar murmurs of “friendly rigging” to take his political fortunes to its nadir. The PTI has finally emerged as the third major political force as it has bettered its 2014 performance, where it came third with 35 seats, even though it had garnered the second highest numbers of the popular vote (16.92 per cent, to Pakistan People Party’s 15.32 per cent, with 42 seats). The second successive transition of democracy from the PPP to PML(N) in 2013, and now from the beleaguered PML(N) to PTI is potentially the longest run for participative democracy in Pakistani history, and for the portents of the oft-quoted “Naya Pakistan” (New Pakistan)!

New Delhi watched the political hustings silently and without preferences in the quiet knowledge that irrespective of the individual in the Prime Minister’s position, the shadow of the “establishment” (read Pakistani military) will always loom and prevail in the background. Mr Khan has been consistently accused of being the “ladla” (favoured one) of the Pakistani “establishment”, and both the outgoing PML(N) and reduced-to-provincial-role PPP have already started rejecting the verdict “due to manifest and massive irregularities”. Whispers of the “establishment’s” preference for Mr Khan over the others first came out during the crippling azadi march of 2014, when the followers of Mr Khan’s PTI and those of moderate Islamic cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri were said to have been given the silent nudge by the military to organise the “sit-in” against the ostensible electoral frauds by the PML(N). Since then, while the Sharif brothers and the Bhutto-Zardari clans have been mired under multiple cases of corruption — the essential narrative of “King Khan” as the proverbial messiah of Pakistan’s economic slide and ignominy of corruption has been allowed to form.

Since his cricketing days, Mr Khan has developed a personality that has been larger-than-life and replete with instances of self-confessed misdemeanours that have ironically added to his persona. These traits of successful appropriations, selective ambivalences and “economies-of-truths” have come handy to evolve and mature the quintessential politician. Basking under the popular perception as the discoverer of the famed art of “reverse swing”, the real credit actually goes to the lesser-known Sarfraz Nawaz or even earlier Mr Khan’s clansman Farrakh Khan. Neither a tearaway pacer like Shoaib Akhtar nor as talented as Wasim Akram — the relatively more disciplined (only on the cricket ground) Mr Khan still emerged as the greatest Pakistani cricketer and captain of all time. His off-field exploits have been legendary on both sides of the LoC, as also in the West, only to rediscover his Islamic moorings and contemplative identity after meeting his mentor Mian Bashir. The supposed transformation from the playboy-socialite Imran Khan to the serious politician has since overcome all subsequent accusations of moral dalliances and infidelities, as exposed recently in the autobiography by his former wife Reham Khan. The road to spirituality and prime ministership was coincidentally also marked by his third marriage to the scholarly-austere-mystic Bushra Maneka.

While welcoming his opening spell of “you take one step forward, we will take two”, India must guard against the political reverse swings that are inevitable. His political, moral and personal malleability has earned him contradictory monikers like “Taliban Khan” and “Teflon Khan” alike. While frequently invoking and alluding to Jinnah and Iqbal’s vision of Pakistan as his lodestar, he was also in the forefront of submitting adjournment notice against the ban on Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Sensing the popular mood he has dovetailed and postured his perceived angst against the US as a fierce critic of drone attacks, even though they target terrorists who have made Pakistan bleed. He carefully avoids the contentious root cause by saying incredulously: “In Pakistan, the main problem is not extremism”, and adds naively that it is one of “governance failure” — the implied context of which means different things to different people, yet offending none. His seesaw relationship with the military has also been opportunistic, with him either lambasting the generals or quietly acquiescing to their ways, like in recent times. The innate populism couched in his overtly political statement that he would not stay in the Prime Minister’s mansion as he would be “embarrassed” by its opulence militates against the reality of his own 40 acre hilltop mansion in Islamabad.

The political pitch awaiting his formal ascendancy will retest his temperamental skills as he will have to navigate the carefully defined contours of governance that could enfeeble, rile and rouse the proud Pathan in the “land of the pure” after the “establishment” has dumped the Sharif-Bhutto “props” who overstepped their mandate. Like all powerful and seemingly decisive Opposition leaders, who brave the streets against the ruling establishments, the change of role and responsibility to that of actual governance is a completely different ballgame. Charm offensives and glib talk have their limits and in countries like Pakistan the real challenge is managing the home turf and the “palace intrigues” within, as opposed to “external” threats (read India) that are strategically postulated as bogies to keep various institutions like the military, clergy and politicians relevant as diversionary tactics.

Historically, lionised individually and often accused of selfishness and lacking team spirit, for example his speech after the 1992 World Cup or by the likes of his contemporaries like Javed Miandad, the next innings has just started. India too therefore needs to take guard.

Tags: imran khanhafiz saeednawaz sharif

These #KargilHeroes Are Indian Army’s Only 2 Serving Param Vir Chakra Awardees!

When a soldier decides to go beyond the call of duty on the battlefield, it is but a split second decision.

Such distinguished acts of valour are recognised by the Param Vir Chakra award of the Indian Army, and Subedar Yogendra Yadav and Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar are the only serving awardees in the Indian Army.

Yadav was only 19 when he received the award. Serving the nation runs in Yadav’s blood—he is the son of a former soldier and was recruited to The Grenadiers, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army when he was only a 16-year-old.

Kumar was a 23-year old jawan, in the 13 JAK Rifles at the time of the Kargil war.

Both these soldiers displayed exemplary bravery in the face of seemingly insurmountable danger, and this is the story of the events as they unfolded amongst the snow-capped mountains and deep valleys.

It was the summer of 1999. Yadav had come home to Bulandshahr on May 5 for his wedding and returned on May 20 to join his battalion in Drass, where the soldiers were given a mission—capture the Tololing Peak, held by Pakistani intruders.

Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav, who won the Param Vir Chakra for exemplary bravery in Kargil. Image Credit:Indian Defence Education
Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav, who won the Param Vir Chakra for exemplary bravery in Kargil. Image Credit:Indian Defence Education

It was a brutal contest, and in 21 days, the Indian Army lost two officers, two junior commissioned officers and 21 jawans.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Yadav says that there was a certain eerie normalcy about death.

Enlisted with 18 Grenadiers, he was part of the ‘Ghatak’ commando platoon, tasked with attacking Pakistani posts from a steep, unused path. Yadav and his fellow soldiers climbed two nights and a day and reached the Pakistani post at the top of the hilltop.

“We had to use ropes to climb the final stretch. Even though we tried to climb soundlessly, some rocks slipped, and the enemy opened fire on us. Only seven of us made it to the top,” Yadav recounts to HT.

In the ensuing battle, the soldiers killed four Pakistani soldiers, and then holed up in their bunker. After enduring five hours of crossfire, the men decided to conserve their ammunition and wait.

The Pakistani soldiers took them for dead and were in for a shock when they came back to check. Yadav and the other soldiers opened fire and killed all enemy soldiers except one, who returned with reinforcements and attacked Yadav and his team.

Only Yadav survived, careful to play dead even as enemy soldiers kept pumping bullets into dead Indian soldiers, and discussed what they would do next.

While a bullet hit Yadav’s chest, it ricocheted after hitting coins in his wallet. He took that as a sign that he would live and be able to warn his comrades. Yadav, with 18 bullets in his body, and a bone jutting out of his left arm, lobbed a grenade at a departing soldier, who fled thinking the Indians had returned. Yadav took this chance to crawl down a nullah, to warn his platoon. He was later hospitalised and took 16 months to recover.

Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar, a soldier in the 13th Battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, volunteered to be the leading scout of the attacking column whose mission was to capture Flat Top of Point 4875 in the Mushkoh Valley on 4 July.

Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar who won the Param Vir Chakra, for his gallantry during the Kargil War. Photo Source
Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar who won the Param Vir Chakra, for his gallantry during the Kargil War. Photo Source: Aditya Kalia

Kumar is a Himachali, and is used to climbing mountains. The team scaled the cliff, and was pinned down by machine gun fire, from an enemy bunker around 150 metres away.

Displaying unreal bravery, Kumar crawled up the ledge alone, along a flank and charged toward the enemy, facing a hail of automatic fire.

Without a care for his safety, he engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat, and killed three intruders, sustaining severe injuries, which he ignored and charged into the second bunker, shocking the enemy, who beat a hasty retreat.

Despite bleeding profusely, Kumar didn’t want to be evacuated, and that bolstered the courage of his comrades, who wrested the area of Flat Top from the enemy.

You may also like: Sher Shah of Kargil: The Story of Indian Army Legend, Captain Vikram Batra

The Kargil war ended up changing the lives of the two heroes forever. However, despite their immense courage and selflessness in the face of grave danger, they wear their bravery lightly, with Yadav saying that they did what “had to be done.”

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

Operation Pitch Black: IAF SU-30MKI, C-130 aircraft undertake maiden operations in Australi

Operation Pitch Black: IAF SU-30MKI, C-130 aircraft undertake maiden operations in Australi

The Indian contingent in Australia is being led by Group Captain CUV Rao and includes a Garud Team, four SU-30 MKI, one X C-130 and a X C-17 aircrafts.DARWIN (AUSTRALIA): A part of Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent, comprising of SU-30MKI and C-130 aircraft, undertook its maiden operations from Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Darwin, Australia on Monday.

In a tweet, the Indian Air Force said, “#ExPitchBlack18 : Today, IAF SU-30MKI & C-130 aircraft, undertook the Maiden Operations from RAAF base, Darwin, Australia. The Air-Warriors respond swiftly to challenges. They are resilient, flexible in their approach to work & quickly adapt to new environment. Jai Hind!!!”

An IAF contingent is currently at the Darwin Air Force Base in Australia to participate in the multinational air exercise Ex Pitch Black, one of the biggest exercises of its kinds. Officially inaugurated on Friday, the Indian Air Force has been at the centre of the exercise as it looks to build on regional partnerships, improve interoperability between nations and promote regional stability.

More than 140 aircraft and 4000 personnel from several countries are participating in the Operation Pitch Black in Australia.

The Indian contingent in Australia is being led by Group Captain CUV Rao and includes a Garud Team, four SU-30 MKI, one X C-130 and a X C-17 aircraft.

State police set to purchase 50 bullet-resistant bunker vehicles

State police set to purchase 50 bullet-resistant bunker vehicles

Security men come of a bulletproof bunker during an encounter. file photo

Jammu, July 28

Amid a spike in terror attacks on security forces in Kashmir, the police are set to purchase 50 bullet-resistant bunker (BRB) vehicles with a higher level of protection from gunfire.The J&K Police have recently floated tenders for the purchase of the 50 BRB 4X4 vehicles with NIJ-III level protection that would shield them against fire from self-loading rifles (SLRs) and AK-47 rifles.The NIJ-III level is a standard set by the US-based National Institute of Justice (NIJ) for body armour.Hundred militants and 43 security personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the first six months of this year, the government informed the Rajya Sabha recently.Sixteen civilians were also killed during this period, which saw 256 incidents of violence.The police will get 50 bullet-proof bunker vehicles for protection of security personnel against terror attacks in insurgency-hit areas of Kashmir, a senior police official said on Saturday.The BRB vehicles should have specifications to give protection against fire from SLRs and AK-47 rifles on four sides at 90 degree angle of attack from 10 metre and roof at 45 degree of the attack from 10 metre, the official said.The NIJ standard “Ballistic Resistance of Body Armour” is a minimum performance standard developed in collaboration with the Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).The NIJ level-III protection is tested to stop 7.62mm full metal jacket lead core rifle ammunition.The bullet resistant glasses should have the required thickness with finest optical quality minimum distortion to be used as transparent armours, which must be capable of withstanding NIJ level-III protection, he said.The official said the vehicle must give protection against 8 kg of TNT and equivalent and its underbelly shall be protected against blasts of two hand grenades.The vehicle must be able to accommodate 10 people in a bullet-proof single cabin, the official said.As per the specifications, the fuel tanks of the vehicles should also be bullet-proof.When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Jammu and Kashmir last year, he had announced a package of Rs 500 crore for the modernisation of the Jammu and Kashmir Police under the PM Development Programme and that is under procurement.Union Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir recently said in the Rajya Sabha that in 2017, 342 incidents of “violence” were reported in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 213 militants were killed. A total of 80 security personnel and 40 civilians were killed last year, Ahir said. — PTI

Body of soldier killed in 1968 IAF plane crash recovered

Body of soldier killed in 1968 IAF plane crash recovered at Dhaka glacier base cam. Courtesy: ANI news

Uttarakashi, July 21: A body of one of the victims of 1968 Indian Air Force plane crash was found along with some parts of the aircraft at the Dhaka glacier base camp. The plane’s wreckage was found during a cleanliness drive organized by Indian Mountaineering Foundation at the Dhaka glacier base camp on July 1.

On 7 February 1968, an Antonov An-12 twin engine turboprop transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force disappeared while flying to Leh Airport from Chandigarh International Airport. While on approach to Leh the pilot decided to turn back due to inclement weather, the aircraft then went missing with the last radio contact over the Rohtang pass. It was declared missing after the failure to find the wreck. Previous recovery: In 2003 members of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute who were trekking on the South Dakka Glacier came across the remains of a human body. The body was identified as Sepoy Beli Ram, a soldier of the Indian Army who was on the flight. On 9 August 2007 an Indian Army expedition code named Operation Punaruthan-III, recovered three more bodies. From 2003 till 2009 three search expeditions have been carried out with the recovery of four bodies. The crash location lies at a height of about 18,000 ft 0 in (5,486.40 m), at a gradient of 80 degrees. On 21 July 2018 the Times of India reported that a mountaineering team at the Chandrabhaga-13 peak had found a body at the Dhaka glacier base camp.The team has found wreckage of the plane along with the remains of a soldier.

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Hear all states, UTs on power of police to register FIR against Army men: J&K to SC

Hear all states, UTs on power of police to register FIR against Army men: J&K to SC

The Bench said it would take up the matter on July 30. File photo

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 16
At loggerheads with the Centre on the Shopian firing incident, the Jammu and Kashmir Government on Monday requested the Supreme Court to hear all states and union territories to decide whether a state police can register an FIR against an Army man without prior sanction of the central government.In an interim application filed in the Supreme Court, the Jammu and Kashmir Government asserted that in terms of a 2014 Constitution Bench ruling police were obliged to register an FIR in incidents of cognisable nature and Army men could not be exempted from it. “Since the Union of India has taken a stand that is in conflict with the view taken by the Constitution Bench of this court and the Union de facto seeks to exclude the application of the judgment in the case of a specific class of persons (Army personnel in this regard), it is imperative that all State Governments in the Union of India be hard before the matter is decided,” the application filed through its standing counsel M Shoeb Alam stated.Since law and order was a state subject, accepting the Centre’s plea would directly affect the statutory powers of the police in all states across India with regard to registration of FIRs against Army personnel involved in cognisable offences, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra behalf of the state.The Bench said it would take up the matter on July 30.“The CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) mandates compulsory registration of FIR in a case where a cognizable offence is disclosed. No person-specific or class-specific exception is carved out in this principle to exclude any individual or class of persons against whom FIR should not be registered in a case where information of a cognizable offence is prima facie disclosed. The police officer concerned is duty-bound to register the FIR,” the application read.Contradicting New Delhi’s stand on Shopian firing, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has maintained that there was no need for sanction from the central government to register a criminal case against Army personnel.“Even under the AFSPA, The Army Act or under any other law in force, there is no prohibition of registration of FIR against an army personnel”, the Jammu and Kashmir Police had said in its affidavit filed last week. The affidavit was filed in response to a petition by Lt Colonel Karamveer Singh, father of Major Aditya Kumar of 10 Garhwal Rifles, for quashing of an FIR registered against the latter in connection with the death of three civilians in alleged army firing in Shopian on January 27. It had said sanction would be required only at the stage of taking cognisance by a court. Three civilians were killed on January 27 when Army personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob in Ganovpora village in Shopian, prompting the chief minister to order an inquiry into the incident.  An FIR was registered against the personnel of 10, Garhwal unit of the Army, including Major Kumar, under the Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code. The affidavit, however, said the FIR “does not arraign” Major Aditya “as an accused”. Clarifying that “he is also not mentioned in the column of accused persons, it said no specific role had been attributed to Major Aditya in the FIR”.The Supreme Court had earlier stayed all proceedings against Major Aditya and said: “He is an army officer and not an ordinary criminal”.The affidavit was at variance with the stand of the Centre as Attorney General KK Venugopal had in March supported the petitioner and criticised the state of Jammu and Kashmir for registering a criminal case against a serving Army officer without sanction from the central government.

Army, police discuss ways to contain militancy in Kashmir High-level meet at Kulgam attended by 15 Corps GOC, DGP

Suhail A Shah

Anantnag, July 17

A high-level meeting of top Army and police officers was held in Kulgam town on Tuesday to “get acquainted with the ground realities” and find ways and means to tackle the rising graph of militancy in south Kashmir.The meeting comes amid a rise in militancy in south Kashmir. As per official figures, a total of 70 youth have picked up gun in the four districts of south Kashmir till June-end.The meeting held at the office of the Superintendent of Police in Kulgam was attended by General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 15 Corps Lt Gen AK Bhatt, Director General of Police SP Vaid and Inspector General of Police SP Pani.Following the meeting, the officers held a brief interaction with mediapersons.Vaid told the media that the meeting was held to get acquainted with the ground realities.“The aim was to meet the officers at the ground level and take stock of and review the ongoing situation. We wanted to assess whatever help was needed from the headquarters to make the situation better in the Kashmir valley,” Vaid said.Asked about the rising militancy and repeated infiltration bids on the Line of Control, Vaid asked Lt General Bhatt to answer the question. “In an ongoing operation, an infiltration bid has been foiled,” Lt General Bhatt said.Asked how the graph of rising militancy could be brought down and the youth who have picked up arms could be brought back to the mainstream, the GOC said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss all these things. “All of us had assembled here to ponder over all these things,” the GOC said.90 youths have picked up gun this yearOf the 90 youths who have picked up arms in the Kashmir valley since January this year, around 70 belong to south Kashmir. Anantnag has the lowest share of militant recruits at 12, while Shopian has the highest at 21. Kulgam district has a total of 16 youths who have picked up arms this year, while 20 youths have joined militant ranks in Pulwama district.



IAF spent Rs 29 cr to ferry currency post-DeMo: RTI

IAF spent Rs 29 cr to ferry currency post-DeMo: RTI

New Delhi, July 8

Over Rs 29.41 crore was spent on using the Indian Air Force’s ultra-modern transport aircraft — the C-17 and the C-130J Super Hercules — to ferry newly issued Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 currency notes post-demonetisation, according to an RTI reply.The move to scrap old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, that saw 86 per cent of the currency being sucked out of the system, needing an urgent operation to replenish it with new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes issued after demonetisation.According to the response provided by the IAF, its frontline transport aircraft, the C-17 and the C-130J Super Hercules, undertook 91 sorties to transport bundles of currency from security printing presses and mints to various destinations across the country after demonetisation.As on November 8, 2016, there were 1,716.5 crore pieces of Rs 500 and 685.8 crore pieces of Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, totalling Rs 15.44 lakh crore, about 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation, according to RBI and government data.In its RTI response to Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), the IAF said it billed the government-owned Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India and the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited to the tune of Rs 29.41 crore for its services.“I am of the opinion that the government should have avoided using defence assets and instead could have easily requisitioned the services of civil transport aircraft,” Batra said.This situation could have been avoided, had the government fully prepared itself before making the announcement to demonetise currency notes, he said.Post-demonetisation, the RBI had spent Rs 7,965 crore in 2016-17 on printing new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes, and those of other denomination, more than double the Rs 3,421 crore it had spent in the previous year.The demonetisation was hailed as a step that would curb black money, corruption and check counterfeit currency, but the RBI, in its annual report for 2017, had said just 7.1 pieces of Rs 500 note per million in circulation and 19.1 pieces of Rs 1,000 notes per million in circulation were found to be fake in its sample survey. — PTI91 sorties undertaken

  • Indian Air Force’s the C-17 and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft were deployed to ferry Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 currency notes after demonetisation
  • The aircraft undertook 91 sorties to transport bundles of currency from security printing presses and mints to various destinations across the country











Lt-Gen GS Dhillon accorded warm farewell

Lt-Gen GS Dhillon accorded warm farewell

Lt-Gen GS Dhillon lays a wreath at the Veer Smriti War Memorial to pay respects to the martyrs at Chandimandir. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30

Lt-Gen GS Dhillon, Chief of Staff, Western Command, was given a warm farewell on Saturday. He retired after putting in a service of 37 years. Before relinquishing charge, he laid a wreath at the Veer Smriti War Memorial in Chandimandir to pay respects to the martyrs.During his tenure as Chief of Staff, Lt-Gen Dhillon was instrumental in bringing improvements in functioning of various army institutions as well as facilities and welfare schemes for ex-servicemen.Commissioned into the Dogra Regiment in 1980, he commanded an infantry battalion in Kargil, a brigade in Manipur, and a mountain division in Arunachal Pradesh. Besides various instructional and staff appointments, he has also served as defence attache in Saudi Arabia.