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

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.


Rafale deal row: Why procedure should be seen as no less crucial than price

Both CAG and Parliament should closely examine the processes of decision-making; should they fail in this regard, it would be open to public-spirited citizens to file a petition in the courts

Bharat Bhushan

The Rafale fighter jet deal controversy is unlikely to die down in the run up to the general elections. The Opposition has already questioned the price of the deal and the secrecy clause, and made charges of crony capitalism. There is an oblique suggestion of kickbacks involved.

Normally such allegations would be par for the course in any lively democracy. So would the privilege motion moved in the Lok Sabha by the Congress party against the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence. However, the defence minister’s over-the-top reaction during the no-confidence debate prompted …


Army officer’s affidavit claims his unit behind fake encounters, extortion

Army fake encounters: Lieutenant Colonel Dharamvir Singh submitted the affidavit, a copy of which is with indianexpress.com, in connection with a Habeas Corpus petition filed by his wife Ranju Singh claiming her husband had been wrongfully detained.

A Lieutenant Colonel of the Indian Army’s 3 Corps Intelligence Unit has in an affidavit filed in the High Court of Manipur alleged that an army team perpetrated extortion and killing of innocent people in the state. Lieutenant Colonel Dharamvir Singh submitted the affidavit, a copy of which is with indianexpress.com, in connection with a Habeas Corpus petition filed by his wife Ranju Singh claiming her husband had been wrongfully detained. The High Court has directed the Army to file their counter affidavit before August 1.

The affidavit alleged that Singh was taken away from his quarters in Imphal by armed jawans led by Lieutenant Colonel Nanda and Major Rathore on July 1 morning and kept under house arrest till the court directed his release five days later. The Army had refuted the claims as baseless and said the officer was sent for posting. Singh is currently on leave and staying with his family in Imphal.

In the affidavit, Singh alleged that he was the victim of an organised campaign by some senior officers who turned vindictive after he reported their wrongdoings. The affidavit claimed that on September 9, 2016, Singh wrote a complaint against the extortion and fake encounter killings of innocent boys from Manipur who were picked up from Dimapur in Nagaland and murdered in the nearby Rangapahar Cantonment. However, the affidavit alleged, he withdrew the letter following pressure from top and after assurances that suitable action will be taken against the erring personnel.

Singh, in the affidavit, also claimed a serious threat to him and family.

The affidavit alleges three alleged fake encounters and an extortion case perpetrated by a single team of the 3 Corps Intelligence Unit between 2010 and 2011. Singh also sought the court’s permission to submit the 13-page official letter he had prepared on September 9, 2016.

Singh’s affidavit alleged that on March 10, 2010, three Manipuri youth — identified as Phijam Naobi, RK Ronel and Th. Prem — were abducted from a rented house in Dimapur by 3 Corps Intelligence Unit and killed behind the Mess. As per media reports, bodies were found in the Lakhijan area under Bokajan police station in Karbi Anglong of Assam on March 17, 2010, it said.

A case is pending in Gauhati High Court and Major T. Ravi Kiran was the first one who wrote a letter to the then General Officer Commanding (GOC) on March 12, 2010, stating that three Manipur youths were abducted by the Army’s intelligence surveillance wing and shot dead after torture.

In a similar incident, the affidavit claimed, ST Dominic College student Satish from Manipur and his friend were picked up from Shillong by the same team on February 5, 2010 and both were killed in the jungles of Masimpur. Satish’s parents lodged a formal missing complaint to DGP Manipur on February 23, but till now no efforts have been made, the affidavit claimed.

On August 18, the affidavit alleged, PLA militant G Jiteshwar Sharma alias Gypsy and a friend were picked up from a rented room near SM College in Dimapur and killed. The bodies of both were buried behind the unit mess and few unit persons know the exact location, the affidavit claimed.

The affidavit also alleged that the same unit was behind the kidnapping of a woman and her child from Dimapur and released them after taking a ransom of Rs 1 crore from her family.

The local Army PRO said he was not authorised to comment as the matter was sub judice.

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Defence ministry clears decks for buying 111 choppers for navy at Rs 217 bn

Indian Navy

he on Monday announced it had approved ‘implementation guidelines for the strategic partnership model’.

The ‘strategic partner’ (SP) model of defence procurement, which was promulgated in outline in May 2017, provides a policy framework for

Indian firms to manufacture specified defence platforms in India based on technology transferred by a selected foreign vendor.

The SP policy initially aims at building four categories of weaponry — fighters, helicopters, submarines, and armoured vehicles.

But while the policy framework had been drawn up, and retrospectively included as a chapter in the Procedure of 2016 (DPP 2016), there was a need for separate selection criteria for each of the four equipment categories.

ALSO READ: Defence ministry plans standard price lists for public sector undertakings

“In an endeavour to convert policy into implementable directions and to kick-start the process, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) also approved platform-specific guidelines for procurement of naval utility helicopters,” said a release on Monday.

That clears the decks for initiating the Rs 217.38 billion procurement of 111 helicopters for the navy.

“The amplifying guidelines lay emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content. Global majors who in collaboration with Indian partners are ready to make India a regional/global manufacturing hub for the platform will also be incentivised,” said the release.

ALSO READ: The real defence scandal lies in massive delay in making military purchases

“All procurements under the SP model would be executed by specially constituted to provide focused attention and ensure timely execution,” stated the ministry.

In the SP pipeline are 110 medium fighters for the air force, 123 naval multi-role helicopters, 111 naval utility helicopters, and six conventional submarines under Project 75-I.

The also accorded approval on Monday for buying eight for the Coast Guard under the ‘Buy lndian – lndian Designed Developed and Manufactured’ category for approximately Rs 8 billion. “These vessels will be indigenously designed and manufactured and would strengthen maritime security by undertaking day/night patrolling and policing of (India’s maritime zones),” said the defence ministry.


Imran Khan can be a game changer for Indo-Pak ties

He may want friendly relations with India, but would find himself hemmed in by the give­and­take of negotiations

Having set course for the prime minister house, Imran Khan lowered his voice at one point during a televised address — almost appearing hurt — to say he was troubled that over the past several days Indian TV channels were painting him as some sort of a “Bollywood villain”. This, he said, despite the fact that he had many friends in India due to his cricketing ties. He later said that India and Pakistan need to improve their relations, benefit from trade opportunities, and address a common curse: poverty. There was one caveat: the peaceful resolution of the “core” issue of Kashmir first.

AP■ Tehreek­e­Insaf founder Imran Khan. When he tries to implement his agenda in a Pakistan facing a resource crunch, there may be friction with provincial governments

As opposition parties, which lost the election, were protesting against Khan’s victory and attributing it to rigging that, they alleged, happened mostly during the counting of ballots and results tabulation, the PTI leader was making his first address to the nation.

He looked prime ministerial. His tone was so measured that few were familiar with it, at least given his language and mannerism since he refused to accept the 2013 election results, which gave the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) a huge win.

When eventually the Panama Papers weakened Sharif and his troubles compounded after falling out with the military reportedly over differences about national security policy priorities, Khan’s petition to the Supreme Court to inquire how the PM’s family came to own undeclared properties in London’s expensive Mayfair district acquired greater significance.

It was this petition that resulted in the former PM’s disqualification from holding office last April followed by his and daughter Maryam Nawaz’s sentencing to prison terms by an Islamabad court earlier this month. The court tried both under the Supreme Court’s supervision. Having promised to construct five million low-cost homes for the poor and provide 10 million jobs during his term in office, he will assume office carrying a burden of expectation at a time when higher oil prices, a trade and current account deficit, dwindling forex reserves and a fast-depreciating currency will test his economic team’s skills.

He may want friendly relations with India and may be well-placed to start a dialogue, given that he will enjoy the military’s support, with the hardliners in Delhi, but may find himself cramped in the give-and-take that must happen in any negotiations.

Also, when he tries to implement his agenda in a Pakistan facing a resource crunch, there may be friction with provincial governments (to whom the bulk of the resources were devolved after a Constitutional amendment in 2010) and with State institutions that get a share of the Centre’s budget.


CM urges NCC to help check drug abuse

CM urges NCC to help check drug abuse

CM Jai Ram Thakur interacts with Additional Director General, NCC Directorate, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, Maj General RS Maan, in Shimla on Monday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 30

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur urged NCC officers to join hands with the state government in checking drug abuse, afforestation programme and making the state polythene-free. Efforts will be made to ensure that there are NCC teachers in all schools and colleges having the NCC wing, he added.Interacting with Additional Director General, NCC directorate of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, Major General RS Maan, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was giving special thrust on expanding and strengthening the NCC activities in the country.He said at present, there were 16 lakh NCC cadets in the country and efforts were being made to increase their number to 19 lakh. He said Himachal had 23,000 NCC cadets.Major General RS Maan apprised him of various activities being undertaken by the NCC in the state. He also urged the Chief Minister for enhancing the budget for the NCC.


The address is now legal Punjab Cabinet’s yes to regularisation of colonies

The address is now legal

PUNJAB has, once more, come clean and clear on its regularisation policy, with its Cabinet approving the Regularisation of Unauthorised Colony Bill. The contours of the pro-people policy are well defined, having taken into account the concerns of all stakeholders. The draft of the policy came with its own squeeze: property developers dismissed the policy notified in April as impractical, cumbersome and unrealistic, while Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu declared it was ‘pro-coloniser’ and crammed with flaws that would ‘kill planned urban development for next 25 years’.The Group of Ministers did well to take cognizance of the real fears on high licence fee, external development charges and composition fee; and incorporating suggestions forwarded by Navjot Sidhu, including those on road width and resident welfare associations. Under the reworked policy, plot holders applying for regularisation will have to ensure registration within the stipulated three months, while the developer must get 50 per cent plots registered within a year of filing an application. Otherwise, an additional 20 per cent cost would have to be braved. There is also a clause on the abeyance of FIRs against illegal developers if they deposit the mandatory charges. The regularisation charges will be used for providing basic infrastructure to colonies. The SAD-BJP alliance had introduced three such policies. A forklift overhaul was needed, but the short-term seductive narrative was a partial success. Punjab’s official figure of its illegal colonies is 7,000, some located outside the MC limits. Despite the numerous challenges that come with illegal colonies, the problem deserved sympathetic handling. Demolishing lakhs and lakhs of houses, rendering scores of people homeless, was well-nigh unthinkable. But again, the government can’t abdicate its own responsibility to provide affordable, clean living to its citizenry. Its development wings must keep coming up with planned colonies. The newest policy may claim to be sui generis if it can assure that at its non-negotiable core is the welfare of the buyer, struggling to find a decent place, with very basic amenities, she can call home.


15 security men charged with Manipur killings, CBI tells SC

15 security men charged with Manipur killings, CBI tells SC

CBI director Alok Verma arrives at Supreme Court in connection Manipur fake encounter case, in New Delhi, on July 30, 2018. PTI

Satya Prakash

Tribunew News Service

New Delhi, July 30

CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma on Monday told the SC that the agency had filed two chargesheets against 15 security personnel in connection with fake encounter killings and 14 of them had been charged with murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.Verma, who was summoned by the top court to explain the delay in implementing the court’s order, told a Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur that five more chargesheets/final reports would be filed by August-end.The Bench, which also included Justice UU Lalit, grilled him on various aspects of CBI Manual that provides for almost seven layers of scrutiny before a chargesheet is filed in a case. The agency had maintained that it was simply following its Manual and that was one of the major reasons of the delay.To cut short procedural delays, the Bench asked the CBI SIT to have only three-layered scrutiny before filing of final reports/chargesheets as the SIT chief himself was a Joint Director-rank officer.In view of serious allegations, petitioners demanded that the accused be arrested and subjected to custodial interrogation. However, the Bench left it to the discretion of the CBI Director to take the final call and posted the matter for further hearing on August 20. It asked Verma to remain personally present on the next date of hearing as well. Angry over non-compliance of its order to file chargesheets in seven cases relating to Manipur extra-judicial killings, the SC had on July 27 ordered the CBI Director to personally appear before it on Monday.


MoD finally okays key ‘Make in India’ policy

MoD finally okays key ‘Make in India’ policy

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30

Ending 14 months of wait, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Monday okayed the guidelines for operating the ‘strategic partnership model’ policy under which foreign companies can partner Indian companies to produce military equipment locally. Chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Defence Acquisition Council is the highest decision-making body of the Ministry of Defence. The policy on strategic partnerships in defence sector was approved in May 2017 and it was made a part of defence procurement procedure (DPP), the guiding framework of making military equipment in India. To start off, the Defence Acquisition Council approved specific guidelines for procurement of naval utility helicopters. The Navy is looking for 111 such copters that will be based on ship-decks to replace the ageing fleet of Kamov copters.India’s attempt to join the nations producing world-class military equipment hinges on strategic partnership (SP) model. Production of four crucial military items fighter jets (both for the Navy and IAF), submarines, helicopters (for all three services) and new-generation tanks are listed under this model.All these items are cutting-edge equipment needed in a battle. The ‘SP model’ allows an Indian private company to collaborate with a foreign partner and produce military equipment in India.What guidelines say

  • Incentives for foreign companies that transfer niche technology and provide for higher indigenous content
  • All procurements under strategic partnership would be executed by specially constituted Empowered Protect Committees to provide focused attention and ensure timely execution