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    India biggest threat to our country: Pak Army

    Pakistan Army spokesperson Asim Bajwa said on Thursday that India is the biggest threat to their country which has forced Pakistan to make its defence mechanism ‘India-specific’. Adding that the country was making efforts to hold talks with India, Bajwa said, “However, the long-standing issue of Kashmir is the cause of tensions between the two nations.”
    India is biggest threat to Pakistan: Bajwa

    By – PTI / 23 Jun 2016

    Islamabad, Jun 23 (PTI) India poses the “biggest threat” to Pakistan which has forced the country to make its defence mechanism ‘India-specific’, a top Pakistan army official has said.

    Pakistan Army spokesperson Asim Bajwa said that efforts are going on to engage India.

    However, the long-standing issue of Kashmir is the cause of tensions between the two nations, he said.

    During an interview with Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, he said that the country’s defence mechanism was ‘India-specific’.

    This is “due to the fact that India posed the biggest threat to Pakistan’s security”, he was quoted by Geo TV as saying.

    He also accused the international community of not doing enough for Pakistan.

    “I would say that the international community has not done enough for us,” Bajwa, the Director-General of the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR), said.

    Bajwa also criticised the recent American drone strike which killed former Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Pakistan. He said that it was unfortunate since Pakistan was not informed of the strike despite being an ally of the US and Mansour was part of the Afghan reconciliation process.

    “Mansour entered into Pakistan from another state and then he was traced and attacked. He was a part of the reconciliation process and was required to play his role for peace,” he said. “Pakistan was not informed despite being an ally. This is the issue Pakistan has been protesting,” he added.

    Airlines, flyers to get fare deal now

    CIVIL AVIATION POLICY Rules relaxed for airlines seeking to fly to foreign destinations, fares capped for regional flights

    NEW DELHI: The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved a new civil aviation policy that aims to promote flights to smaller cities as well as to overseas destinations.

    The first goal is to be met by capping fares on regional flights to `2,500 an hour, and giving airlines incentives to fly routes no one does at present. The second will be attained by allowing new airlines to fly overseas immediately if they have at least 20 aircraft or 20% of their seats deployed on domestic routes.

    The catch is that flyers to big cities will have to shell out a little extra for a cess whose collections will compensate airlines for flying regional routes under the `2,500 fare cap. “It will be a very, very small levy,” said civil aviation secretary RN Choubey. The details will be in the regional connectivity scheme whose draft will be put up for public discussion in the next 10 days.

    “The #CivilAviationPolicy approved today… will transform the sector & greatly benefit passengers… (it) gives an impetus to affordability, regional connectivity, safety, infrastructure,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Calling it India’s first ever integrated civil aviation policy, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said it will be a “game-changer for the sector”.

    The changes, to begin with, were visible in the way airlines responded. Tony Fernandes, the head of AirAsia, part-owner of AirAsia India, appeared ecstatic on Twitter, saying: “Almost an end to vested interests. Power to the people. Well done @narendramodi. You kept your word.” Fernandes thinks 20 aircraft is too many for flying international, but that it is still a “big day for Indian aviation”.

    In contrast, the older airlines were subdued. Jet Airways’ spokesperson Ragini Chopra said, “We have not got the details. Let us study it and then we will react.” The public relations agency for IndiGo said there will not be a reaction.

    That is understandable. The so-called 5/20 policy, requiring airlines to fly for at least five years in the country and have 20 aircraft before they could fly abroad, had been a subject of intense lobbying.

    Flying abroad sharply increases the utilisation of airplanes since those that fly only domestic routes lie idle at night. Planes flying abroad can fill their tanks in other countries, most of which have cheaper aviation fuel. And they earn money in precious foreign exchange.

    Naturally, all new airlines — such as the two Tata Group joint ventures, AirAsia India (with AirAsia) and Air Vistara (with Singapore Airlines) — have been keen to fly abroad. But older ones such as IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet, which already had the rights to fly international, opposed a relaxation of the eligibility.

    About the decision to scrap the 5/20 rule, communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “A questionable legacy has been thrown into the dustbin.” The rule is a legacy of the United Progressive Alliance government.

    War widows in Mohali accuse govt of neglect

    War widows in Mohali accuse govt of neglect
    Kin of war heroes during a press conference in Mohali on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

    Tribune News Service

    Mohali, June 13

    About 20 war widows today accused the government of neglecting the families of war heroes of the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars.“The government made several promises, including allotment of a minimum 10 acres, rehabilitation and other facilities, to the families but did not keep any of these,” they lamented.The families of the soldiers, who had laid their lives in the wars, has given a 10-day ultimatum to the government to pay heed to their demands. “Otherwise, we would start an agitation,” they said, adding that there were as many as 161 families of martyrs living in Mohali district.


    Relatives of the Indian prisoners of war missing since 1971 holding their older pictures in Amritsar on Monday.

    Kin of 1971 PoWs to hold candle march on June 17


    AMRITSAR: With a hope to bring back their loved ones captivated in Lahore central jail back, the kin of 1971 war prisoners will be holding a candle march on June 17 here. They are also likely to block the Attari-Wagah border on July 23.

    Speaking at a press conference organised by the United Ex-servicemen Front here on Monday for the release of the prisoners of the war (PoW) languishing in Pakistan jails, the kin of the prisoners addressed their concerns and expressed their displeasure over the sequence of events.

    Baljinder Kaur, whose father Sepoy Balwinder Singh of the 10 Sikh Regiment had gone missing in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, said, “This is not the right way. We have written various letters, but we did not receive a satisfactory answer.”

    The front had written to defence minister Manohar Parrikar, seeking release of Balwinder, who according to Surjeet, one of the released PoW is lodged in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.

    Besides Baljinder, relatives of other PoW Havildar Dharampal Singh of the ‘4 Sikh Regiment’ from Bathinda district and Nayak Bir Singh from the 15 Sikh Regiment from a village in Mansa, along with Seepoy Jograj Singh from Bathinda were present.

    Paramjit Kaur, daughter Jograj Singh said, “We came to known about him in 2012 from Surjeet Singh. Since then, I am fighting the battle to get my father back.

    I have a hope and would keep putting efforts till he is back.” Chairman of the front Captain CS Sidhu (retd) said: “The government should step and speed up efforts to ensure release of prisoners of war.

    There is a need to go international court of justice. I will take this matter to Supreme Court. But we are blocking the Wagah border if we don’t get any response from the central government.”

    Think twice before buying those luscious fruits Carcinogenic agents being used to ripen fruits quickly

    Think twice before buying those luscious fruits

    Manav Mander

    Tribune News Service

    Ludhiana, June 10

    Think twice before reaching out to luscious fruits including mangoes, litchis, watermelon and muskmelon as these might be artificially coloured and ripened.Concern has been raised over the artificially ripening and colouring of fruits as carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents are being used to ripen fruits quickly for higher volume of sales.Fruits are artificially ripened with calcium carbide popularly known as “potash” and can cause headache, dizziness, mouth ulcer, diarrhoea, allergic reactions and even severe food poisoning.Despite ban, calcium carbide is easily available in the market and authorities have failed to check its sale. The chemical releases acetylene gas that results in overnight ripening of unripened fruits such as mango, banana and papaya.The casual approach adopted by the Health Department is the main reason why these fruit traders openly indulge in artificial ripening and colouring of fruits.District Health Officer Dr Abnash Kumar said: “The department conducts regular raids at the fruit market and destroys over ripened fruits. We collect samples and take action only after the report arrives. The case is then decided by the court.”Mangoes are plucked before reaching physiological maturity just for making profit. As it is premature, it can’’t ripen naturally. The natural method is simply letting the fruit ripen by itself. Fruits produce ethylene, which hastens ripening. But mangoes being sold now can’’t produce ethylene and vendors use chemicals to ripen it.A majority of the traders ripen fruits artificially with the help of banned chemicals. The fruit market is flooded with varieties of mangoes that are artificially ripened.The chemical is commonly called “masala” and a sachet is available for mere Rs 3-5. It is placed over mangoes which helps in ripening the fruits quickly.“We have been doing this for years. Customers do not buy green mangoes and this ‘masala’ helps in ripening the fruits in a day,” said a worker at the fruit market.Do not let the sugary juicy watermelons and muskmelons and brightly colour litchis allure you. The brighter these are, the more there are chances that they have been artificially coloured.Injecting red food colour and sugar syrup in watermelons with a syringe to give them an inviting red colour and sweet taste is an open secret now. Litchi that looks red from outside is dipped or sprayed with red colour.Wholesalers at the fruit market claimed that all fruits, reach the mandi without chemicals. “We never use any chemical in fruits. However, some roadside vendors use colours and chemicals to make them look attractive and to earn more profits,” said a fruit wholesaler. It may be difficult to resist the temptation, but experts warn that people should be careful about eating them. Dr Deepak Singla, a city-based gastroenterologist, said mangoes are premature and are usually ripened with the help of calcium carbide and can invite a host of ailments. Fruits have fibre and are an essential element in our daily diet. But people should be careful while eating fruits and buy these from reliable sources. 

    Awareness the key

    • Go for seasonal fruits and vegetables
    • Wash fruits thoroughly before consuming
    • Always cut fruit into pieces rather than consuming directly
    • Fruits that have a uniform colour are more likely to have been artificially ripened

    Fact file

    • The colours used in artificial ripening of fruits and vegetables include sudan red, methanol yellow and lead chromate
    • Carbide, which is used to ripen the fruit, is harmful for the liver and kidney, while methanol yellow can cause cancer, stomach ailments and degeneration of the male reproductive organs
    • Lead chromate can cause anaemia, brain damage and blindness
    • Sudan red is also harmful for stomach and digestion

    Two die in gas leak aboard INS Vikramaditya

    Two die in gas leak aboard INS Vikramaditya
    INS Vikramaditya. File photo

    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, June 10

    A sailor and a civilian worker were killed on Friday in a toxic gas leak on board the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.

    The warship was undergoing maintenance work at the Karwar naval base, located just south of Goa, when the incident occurred at 5 pm today.

    The maintenance work was being undertaken in the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) compartment. Due to the inhalation of toxic fumes, four personnel — two sailors and two civilian workers — were evacuated to Naval Hospital at Karwar.

    (Follow The Tribune on Facebook and Twitter @thetribunechd)

    Later, Rakesh Kumar, Shipwright Artificer Class 4 of the Indian Navy, and Mohandas Kolambkar, an employee of Messers Royal Marine, died in the hospital. The next of kin of the deceased have been informed.

    The condition of the other two personnel is stable. The Navy has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Action has been taken to render the compartment and area on the ship safe.

    The Vikramaditya built by Russia had joined the Indian fleet in November 2013.

    Obama asks Pakistan to punish Pathankot attack perpetrators

    Obama asks Pakistan to punish Pathankot attack perpetrators
    US President Barack Obama delivers remarks to reporters after meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US June 7. Reuters photo

    Washington, June 8

    Treating the Pathankot attack on par with 26/11, US President Barack Obama in a clear message asked Pakistan to punish the perpetrators and vowed to stand with India against terror threats emanating from Pakistan-based groups like JeM, LeT and D-company.“They (Obama and Modi) called for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice,” a joint statement issued on Tuesday after the Obama-Modi meeting at the White House said.During the meeting, Modi and Obama acknowledged the continued threat posed to human civilisation by terrorism and condemned the recent terrorist incidents from Paris to Pathankot, from Brussels to Kabul, the statement said.“They resolved to redouble their efforts, bilaterally and with other like-minded countries, to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism anywhere in the world and the infrastructure that supports them,” the statement said.During the meeting, Obama and Modi committed to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from extremist groups, such as “al-Qaeda, Daesh/ISIL, Jaish-e Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, D Company and their affiliates, including through deepened collaboration on UN terrorist designations”.The two leaders directed their officials to identify specific new areas of collaboration at the next meeting of the US–India Counter-terrorism Joint Working Group, the statement said.“Recognising an important milestone in the US-India counter-terrorism partnership, the leaders applauded the finalisation of an arrangement to facilitate the sharing of terrorist screening information,” it said.Modi and Obama also affirmed their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism, the statement said.The two leaders had a “very extensive” and “thoughtful” conversation about the rise of extremism and the need for all countries to work together to address this challenge, a senior Obama administration official said.The two leaders also underlined the need to ensure that the civil society and the minority communities are fully participating in addressing the issue, the official said. PTI

    Chinese media names LeT in Mumbai attack

    Chinese media names LeT in Mumbai attack

    Beijing, June 7

    In a rare rebuke to its “all weather” ally Pakistan, China’s state-run channels have aired a documentary naming Lashkar-e-Toiba for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and even showed footage containing confessions of Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistan terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 carnage.The footage was first aired by the state-run Shanghai Television weeks ahead of President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit last month and was subsequently shown by another state-run Chinese television channel, officials here said.The documentary containing vivid details of planning and execution of the Mumbai attacks by LeT militants caught Indian officials here by surprise as Chinese state media shows extreme care and caution in airing negative news about ally Pakistan.The state media, however, refrained from allegations that militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from Muslim-majority Xinjiang province had training bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas.“We have to wait and see what the significance of the documentary on LeT on Chinese state television is,” an Indian diplomat, who has seen the programme, told PTI.It was a surprise as China had earlier blocked India’s bid to get a UN ban on LeT operational commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attack. China had put a technical hold when India sought a ban on him after he was released from prison. Officials say the airing of the footage against LeT’s involvement in Mumbai attacks comes at a time when technical holds put in by China in the UN sanctions committee on some of the LeT leaders was set to expire shortly. — PTI

    The significance

    • The shift in China’s stance comes ahead of expiry of Beijing’s decision to place on technical hold the listing of three LeT and JuD militants — Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, Talha Saeed and Hafiz Abdul Rauf — on June 9
    • China had also blocked India’s bid to get UN ban on Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (LeT chief) and Pathankot attack plotter Masood Azhar (JeM chief)

    Maintenance Command chief on 3-day inspection visit to 3BRD

    Maintenance Command chief on 3-day inspection visit to 3BRD
    AOC-in-C, Maintenance Command, Air Marshal Pankaj Aneja (left) being received by Air Cmde PM Puranik, AOC No. 3 Base Repair Depot, on his arrival in Chandigarh on Monday. A Tribune Photograph

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, June 6

    Air Marshal Pankaj Aneja, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, arrived on a three-day inspection visit to No.3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here today. He is accompanied by Asha Aneja, president, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Regional).On landing here, they were received by Air Commodore PM Puranik, Air Officer Commanding, 3 BRD Air Force, and Sanjivni Puranik, president, AFWWA (Local).The Air Marshal was presented a guard of honour and will be assessing the achievements of various divisions of this Depot. He will also inspect the ongoing projects at the 3 BRD.Meanwhile, Asha Aneja, will be visiting various welfare ventures run by the local chapter of the AFWWA and also address the spouses of Air Force personnel posted here.The Maintenance Command chief was commissioned into the IAF’s engineering branch in January 1980 and his key appointments include Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Maintenance Planning) and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Engineering). Prior to assuming his present appointment, he was the Director-General (Systems) at the Air Headquarters.

    Thousands attend martyr’s cremation

    Thousands attend martyr’s cremation
    Martyr Col Ranjeet Singh Pawar’s father Bahadur Singh Pawar, wife Renu and son Robby being consoled by relatives in Haridwar on Thursday. Tribune photo: Rameshwar Gaur

    Tribune News Service

    Haridwar, June 2

    Thousands of residents gathered at Shivalik Nagar residence of martyr Col Ranjeet Singh Pawar and the Kankhal cremation ghat to pay the last respects to the martyr of the Defence Security Corp. Col Ranjeet Singh Pawar had lost his life during an explosion at the Army ammunition depot in Pulgaon of Nagpur district on Tuesday.Army personnel from the Defence Security Corp, Railwala and Roorkee cantonments accompanied the funeral procession of the martyr. Martyr’s father Bahadur Singh Pawar, wife Renu and son Robby were consoled by relatives, neighbours and friends.Ganga Sabha office-bearers Purushottam Sharma Gandhivadi, Ram Kumar Mishra, state Congress president Kishore Upadhyay, city legislators Madan Kaushik and Aadesh Chauhan, city magistrate Jai Bharat Singh, CO City Prakash Singh Dewli, OSD to CM Purushottam Sharma, Congress leaders Sanjay Paliwal, Anshul Shrikunj and OP Chauhan, DPS principal KC Pandey, Mansih Karnwal, along with a large number of people, offered tributes to the martyr.

    Paul pays homage to martyr

    • Dehradun: Governor Dr KK Paul has paid tributes to Lt Col Ranjit Singh, a resident of Haridwar, who was martyred in a fire at the Central Ammunition Depot of the Army in Pulgaon, Maharshatra, on Tuesday. Lt Col Ranjit Singh’s body was brought to Haridwar for last rites. Before his cremation, a floral wreath sent by the Governor was placed on his body.