Bangladesh and Pakistan

By Prof. Dr. Sajid Khakwani

Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma (Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. The capital (and largest city) is Dhaka, which is the hub of all cultural, political and religious affairs. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal.

It is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the D-8 and BIMSTEC(Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sector Technical and Economic Cooperation), and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Bangladesh is a unitary state (governed as one single unit ) and parliamentary democracy. Direct elections in which all citizens, aged 18 or over, can vote are held every five years for the unicameral parliament. Currently the parliament has 345 members including 45 reserved seats for women, elected from single-member constituencies. The Prime Minister, as the head of government, forms the cabinet and runs the day-to-day affairs of state. While the Prime Minister is formally appointed by the President, he or she must be an MP who commands the confidence of the majority of parliament. The President is the head of state but mainly a ceremonial post elected by the parliament. The Constitution of Bangladesh was drafted in 1972 and has undergone 14 amendments. The highest judicial body is the Supreme Court. Judges are appointed by the President.

Bangladesh pursues a moderate foreign policy that places heavy reliance on multinational diplomacy, especially at the United Nations. In 1974 Bangladesh joined both the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations and has since been elected to serve two terms on the Security Council in 19781979 and 20002001. In the 1980s, Bangladesh played a lead role in founding the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in order to expand relations with other South Asian states. Since the founding of SAARC 1985, a Bangladeshi has held the post of Secretary General on two occasions.

Bangladesh enjoys relatively warm ties with the People’s Republic of China which has, particularly in the past decade, increased economic cooperation with the South Asian nation. Between 2006 and 2007, trade between the two nations rose by 28.5% and there have been agreements to grant various Bangladeshi commodities tariff-free access to the Chinese market. Cooperation between the Military of Bangladesh and the People’s Liberation Army is also increasing, with joint military agreements signed and Bangladesh procuring Chinese arms which range from small arms to large naval surface combatants such as the Chinese Type 053H1 Missile Frigate.

A major source of tension between Bangladesh and India is the Farakka Dam. In 1975, India constructed a dam on the Ganges River 18 km from the Bangladeshi border. Bangladesh alleges that the dam diverts much needed water from Bangladesh and adds a man-made disaster to the country already plagued by natural disasters. The dam has had terrible ecological consequences. There are so many other sources of tension between the nations. India has voiced concerns about anti-Indian separatists and Islamic militants. The same two factors are bone of content in between Pakistan and India. India has ever disliked country for all the neighboring countries.

Bangladesh is among the countries most prone to natural floods, tornados and cyclones. Also, there is evidence that earthquakes pose a threat to the country. Evidence shows that tectonics have caused rivers to shift course suddenly and dramatically. It has been shown that rainy-season flooding in Bangladesh, on the worlds largest river delta, can push the underlying crust down by as much as 6 centimeters. Bangladesh is now widely recognized to be one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Natural hazards that come from increased rainfall, rising sea levels, and tropical cyclones are expected to increase as climate changes, each seriously affecting agriculture, water & food security, human health and shelter. It is believed that in the coming decades the rising sea level alone will create more than 20 million climate refugees. Bangladeshi water is contaminated with arsenic frequently because of the high arsenic contents in the soil.

Being members of OIC Pakistan & Bangladesh are two brother countries. The people of both of the countries are one nation and have very strong bonds of Muslim brother hood. Pakistan and Bangladesh are part of Sub-Continent; due to this territorial relativity both of the countries have almost same interests to meet and same challenges to face. Especially Pakistan & Bangladesh are not in the good books of India. In several times India has given tuff times to the both of the brother countries and these two countries have very good and ideal relations with China. So with the same interests and same challenges, same enemy and same friend are some of the so many common matters of friend ship between Pakistan and Bangladesh.


UN-Habitat & Coca-Cola launch Water, Sanitation project in Rawalpindi and Islamabad

Rawalpindi, MTT News Desk: United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has initiated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for Schools and Ground Water Recharge in Rawalpindi and Islamabad project with the collaboration of Federal Ministry of Climate Change, Federal Directorate of education Islamabad and District Education office Rawalpindi and with generous support from Coca-Cola foundation.

While addressing the occasion of the launching Workshop today in Islamabad, Mr. Javed Ali Khan, Director General, Ministry of the Climate Change, highlighted need of the water, sanitation and hygiene promotion intervention in the twin cities informing hazards associated with the use of contaminated drinking water and unsafe sanitation. Most water borne diseases related to children spread through schools and we should focus our attention for the provision of safe drinking water along with good sanitation services to our school children, he further said.

Ministry of Climate Change will continue support to all the departments and international organizations for the WASH interventions including ground water recharge across the country and the contribution of Coca Cola Pakistan and UN-Habitat is highly commendable, he added.

Ms. Bella Evidente, Officer In-Charge, UN-Habitat Pakistan welcomed the participants and thanked Ministry of Climate Change, Federal Directorate of education Islamabad and District Education office Rawalpindi for their keen interest in this project which aims to evolve behavior change through schools.

Ms. Bella said, UN‑Habitat Pakistan has been instrumental in addressing issues that cater to improve access of basic services in schools around urban slums. Besides many other projects related to Water and sanitation improvement, UN-Habitat has recently implemented two specialized projects related to safe drinking water and sanitation improvements through gender mainstreaming.

The overall purpose of this particular project is to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in poor urban schools to reduce vulnerability of these communities from water borne diseases and impact of climate change, she concluded with thanking note to Coca-Cola for providing close support for this intervention.

Mr. Qazi Zahoor ul haq EDO education district Rawalpindi said that school children will be the primary beneficiaries of this project and government schools administration acknowledges efforts of UN-Habitat for implementing this project.

Tension in nuclear powers of South Asia

By Zaheerul Hassan

On 16 January 2012, Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of Pakistan and India established contact with each other on hotline and decided to tone down the tension between the deployed troops on Line of Communication (LoC). Meanwhile Hina Rabbani Kher, Foreign Minister of Pakistan has also spoken to her Indian counterpart to play his positive role for reduction of tension on Kashmir front. There have been three deliberate violations by Indian troops within the five days, which has given a waft to the ceasefire of 2003 along the 740 Km LoC.

In fact, concerning aspect of increasing hostility is that, if not tamed then it might lead to global disaster since both the states are holding more than 100 nuclear arsenals each. Moreover, they have also fought four major and minor wars. Similar kind of concern has also been shown by the world community and super powers. On 17 January U.S. foreign office and its ambassador at Islamabad also emphasised that India and Pakistan should avoid border confrontation and resolve the issues bilaterally. Now question arises that whether the establishment of peace between India and Pakistan will be possible without resolving the real bone of contention i.e. Kashmir.

Past history reveals that New Delhi has been stressing to strengthen the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) with Islamabad to normalise the relations between two capitals, but she always shown reluctance in discussing the Kashmir and water problems as major issues between two capitals. She has never given any positive signal of taking a step forward for settling the Kashmir conflict rather preferred to put it aside on the name of continuation of peace process. .

Anyhow, the recent tension escalated when Indian soldiers crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir on January 6, this year and attacked a Pakistani check post in Haji Pir setor, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. Besides, Indian troops shot dead another Pakistani soldier at Hotspring on the LoC on January 10.

On 16 January, Indian troops again resorted to cease fire violation and carried out unprovoked firing last evening at Line of Control in Hot Spring and Jandrot sectors from 2200 to 2300 Hours. Resultantly Naik Ashraf embraced Shahadat at Kundi Post. It may be mentioned that Naik Ashraf is survived by a wife and three daughters. He was the fifth soldier reported killed in Kashmir in recent weeks but politicians on both sides have said the skirmishes should not derail a bilateral peace process.

In this respect, the Pakistani Foreign Office summoned the Indian High Commissioner and lodged a strong protest on the repeated, unacceptable and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers by the Indian army. The Pakistani foreign secretary reiterated the offer to hold an independent inquiry through the UN Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). However, India has rejected Pakistani offer of independent investigation through third party. Her Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne stated on January 12 in threatening tone that India will be forced to consider other options, if ceasefire violations continue from the Pakistan side across the LoC.

In the same context, on January 14, Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh threatened to hit back Pakistan for the alleged killing of two soldiers in fighting near the border of the disputed region of Kashmir, saying he had asked his commanders there to be aggressive in the face of provocation.

On the same day, senior leader Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rajnath Singh asked the Manmohan Singh-led government to stop all dialogue and CBMs with Pakistan due to the brutal beheadings of Indian soldiers and recall its High Commissioner in Islamabad in wake of entire nation being angry over the alleged ceasefire violations. Moreover, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also demonstrated unjustified annoyance towards Pakistan at different forums while discussing the ongoing violations at LoC.

It is also added here that as anger in India continues to rise, Pakistani singers have canceled concerts in Delhi and Mumbai, Pakistani field hockey players scheduled to participate in a private league have been sent back to the country and a question mark looms over the participation of the Pakistani women’s cricket team in a tournament in India later this month. Delhi has also postponed implementation of the decision of easing the visa restrictions on elderly citizens.

While in order to justify its open belligerence; India concocted a story of accusing Pakistan of killing and beheading its two soldiers. In this regard the Former President and General retired Pervez Mushrraf while giving an interview to Indian channel rejected Indian allegations and categorically said that Pakistani Army cannot carry out such a ruthless act of brutality since the army is a disciplined force and cannot act like an African Army. He also stressed that Indian media is in the habit of crafting groundless stories against Pakistan He very rightly said that Pakistan has the capability to give prompt and timely response against any sort of aggressions.

Pakistans civil and army spokesmen have too denied Indian baseless allegations. In short, Indian top officials, the opposition party and media have repeatedly been launching a blame game to distort the image of Pak Army and Pakistan. In the meantime, while referring to the recent breakthroughs in bilateral ties Hina Rabbani Khar has pointed out in wake of Indian propaganda that she did not see the recent violations of the LoC ceasefire derailing or setting back the peace process with India, explaining that the government and people of Pakistan were committed to normalising relations with India including steps to normalise trade relations and a new visa agreement.

Whereas, Indias reaction remained only to make noises with the assistance of its media to foment poisonous propaganda so as to show to the world that Pak Army is involved in violations along the disputed border of Kashmir, and Pakistan intends to derail the CBMs.

Regrettably, our media anchors are so engaged in manipulating other controversial issues that the incident of indiscriminate firing on Pakistani soldiers at LoC could hardly get any coverage on our media. Countries media commentators have totally failed in countering Indian propaganda campaign in this respect.

In fact, Indian setting aside of peaceful negotiations under the title of composite dialogues clearly indicate that Delhi is not serious in settling down the issues like spreading of terrorism in Balochistan, Siachen, Wullar Barrage, water , Kashmir and Sir Creek. Notably, the said issues were touched upon in length between Indias External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Pakistans Foreign Minister Khar on September 2012. Sir Creek which sits in the Rann of Kutch marshlands is the 96 km narrow piece of water between Indias Gujarat state and Pakistans Sindh province is sovereign part of Pakistans territory.

The current Indian unprovoked firing on LoC should also be seen in the light of her covert design against Pakistan. It would not be wrong in saying that India has accelerated covert war because adverse security environment in the region. She is exploiting and fueling the foreign sponsored militancy in Balochistan, Karachi and other parts of Pakistan.

Concluding, I would say that India has adopted an inflexible and dubious approach in resolving the issues with the regional and neighbouting countries. Now it is the time that Pakistan should ask India to resolve the issue of Kashmir on priority. In this context, world community and the global powers should realise that Kashmir is a flash point and real bone of contentions between two countries. Not resolving of Kashmir issue can triggered anytime and lead us to another global nuclear war. Thus the issue of Kashmir be settled through negotiation and mediation immediately so that tension between two South Asian countries be diminished permanently.

The writer can be approached through.

India Complicates the Sir Creek Issue

By Sajjad Shaukat

Renowned Pakistani and Indian media anchors including retired high civil and military officials gathered on December 2, 2012 in New Delhi at a seminar to discuss practical solutions to the bilateral issues like Sir Creek, Siachen, Kashmir dispute etc. under the Aman Ki Asha initiative organised by The Times of India and Pakistans Jang Group. The move was part of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between both the neighbouring countries to narrow down their differences.

At the same time, India decided to erect a floating fence, anchored by submerged metallic meshes, along the disputed Sir Creek border area with Pakistan. According to Indian media reports, top sources disclosed that the two agencies would be the National Buildings Construction Cooperation (NBCC) which will erect the fence of 75 km of the Creek, while the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has already started work in rest of the area. The fence is reported to be a gabion box, which has all-weather concertina wires and poles. It is a regular technology used for flood water control and prevention of rock breaking along coasts by the impact of the saline ocean water.

While showing contradictory statements of New Delhi, an Indian official stated, Sir Creek area is characteristic with shallow and slushy water and these boxes would be the best material to be sunk under water considering the difficulty of the terrain. On the other side, some Indian officials pointed out that the Sir Creek area including a particular stretch called harami nala is vulnerable to infiltration and smuggling by Pakistan, adding, A number of instances of the Border Security Force apprehending Pakistani fishermen and trawlers are reported from the Sir Creek area regularlyhence the border guarding force has raised and deployed a special unit called crocodile commandos in the marshy territory.

However, under this ambivalent strategy, any such attempt made by India would lead to misunderstandings between Islamabad and New Delhi because Pakistans position is that the Sir Creek is sovereign part of its territory.

Sir Creek which opens into the Arabian Sea, and sits in the Rann of Kutch marshlands is the 96 km narrow piece of water between Indias Gujarat state and Pakistans Sindh province. The major dispute between India and Pakistan over Sir Creek is about understanding of the maritime boundary between Kutch and Sindh.

Although India and Pakistan had surveyed the 100-km Sir Creek estuary in 2007, yet Indian delaying tactics frustrated Islamabads attempts to demarcate the maritime boundary between the two countries. This has resulted into the detention of hundreds of Pakistani fishermen, who unintentionally strayed across the poorly-demarcated territorial waters. India illegitimately claims that the Creek boundary which opens up to the Arabian Sea should be in the middle of the estuary, while Islamabad legitimately argues, it should lie on the southeast bank.

Since 1969, many rounds of talks between India and Pakistn were conducted on Sir Creek issue, relating various steps such as allocation, demarcation and administration. But no breakthrough occurred due to Indian tough stand. India has proposed that the maritime boundary could be demarcated first, as per the provisions of Technical Aspects of Law of Sea (TALOS). However, Pakistan has staunchly refused the proposal on the grounds that the dispute should be resolved first. Islamabad has also proposed for international arbitration, which New Delhi has flatly refused.

We cannot see Indian delaying tactics regarding the solution of Sir Creek dispute in isolation because it has always remained part of other related issues between India and Pakistan. In this regard, India suspended the composite dialogue in 2008 under the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks which were in fact, arranged by its secret agency RAW in connivance with Indian home-grown terrorists.

India and Pakistan resumed the new phase of parleys in March, 2009. But every time, prime ministers and foreign ministers of both the countries have ended their meetings with issuance of positive notes, and vowed for the solution of all issues, but the same failed without producing tangible results.

Nevertheless, on April 8, Pakistans President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who met in New Delhi also remarked that the two countries are willing to find pragmatic solutions to various issues like terrorism, Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, water etc. In the recent past, both the leaders also met in Tehran and agreed to settle all the outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India.

Meanwhile, while addressing rallies in Kutch and North Gujarat, Chief Minister of Gujrat Narendra sharpened his attack on Prime Minister Singh on December 13, alleging that he had agreed with Pakistans president to resolve the issue of Sir Creek which would be given to Pakistan, but, Prime Ministers Office termed these allegations as baseless.

In fact, India is emphasising more on CBMs than to pay attention for the settlement of real issues which also include Sir Creek and particularly thorny dispute of Kashmir. It is only interested in promotion of trade, friendly exchanges, tourism, relaxation of visas etc. Implementation of these agreements has started. In this context, Islamabad also signed a number of trade agreemens with New Delhi, which allowed India exports of mutltiple items across the Wagah border. It also granted India Most Favoured Nation status, which permits trade in almost everything.

It is notable that a meeting in relation to military to military CBMs held in Lahore from 23-25 September 2012 in which top retired officials of Indian and Pakistani armed forces participated. They gave positive suggestions for the settlement of all issues between both the countries including Sir Creek dispute.

Besides, at conference in Islamabad, organised by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) with India Pakistan Soldiers Initiative for Peace (IPSIP), former vice chief of the Indian Army, Lt. Gen. Moti Dhar, remarked on November 22, While the Kashmir issue is very complicated, I am confident that the other three issues: Siachen, Sir Creek and water issues will be resolved soon.

But all these CBMs and agreements cannot succeed in future owing to Indian duplicity and shrewd diplomacy. Notably, on November 10, 2011, the then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed in Maldives to improve their bilateral relations by resolving all issues. Quite contrarily, two days after that meeting, Singh stated, I left Gilani in no doubt that if public opinion in India is not satisfied that justice is being done to those responsible to the barbarous attack of Mumbai, it would not be possible to move forward with the peace process. On the other side, Pakistans Interior Minister Rehman Malik said about Pakistans position that Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the 26/11 terror-incident is a non-state actorshould be hanged, so should perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blast.

During his visit to Islamabad, Indias External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in September, 2012, also showed great optimism regarding the solution of all major issues with Pakistan. But like Singh, quite contrarily, he warned that in case of Mumbai-like incident; relations between the two countries could lapse.

Notably, Indian adamant stand during Pak-India dialogue is not without some sinister designs. It has only been employing delaying tactics to settle any real issues with Pakistan. Therefore, New Delhi has rejected a number of positive suggestions of Islamabad about the solution various disputes like Kashmir, Wullar Barrage, water, demilitarisation of Siachen Glacier and demarcation of Sir Creek. It is only fulfilling formality through the new phase of talks, especially by showing to the US-led international community that it seeks to resolve all issues with Islamabad.

In this context, keeping in mind anti-Pakistan designs, Indian rulers have always tried to make the longstanding issues, intricate and complex, as they wanted to discuss only selective issues like trade and CMBs.

At this juncture, while both the countries have accelerated confidence-building measures in accordance with the wishes of New Delhi, Indian decision to erect a floating fence, along the disputed border of Sir Creek as part of its double game will further complicate this issue.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

Indian tactics entrap Bangladesh

By Sajjad Shaukat

Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid came into power, India has been employing various tactics to entrap Bangladesh by manipulating her pro-Indian tilt to fulfill its strategic interests.

In this regard, Indian daily, The Hindu, pointed out that government of Bangladesh seeks to arrange the 4th phase of ceremony on 15 December 2012 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre to award foreign friends who supported the 1971 war of independence. Earlier, in the first phase, the Bangladesh Freedom Honour was given to ex-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 25 July 2011. While in the second ceremony, 83 external supporters and organisations were awarded on 27 March 2012. Similarly, 61 foreign entities were honoured in the third ceremony on 20 October 2012.

Now, on the secret insistence of India, Bangladesh which will especially celebrate 1971 liberation war is inviting 150 foreign friends who include various institutions, media anchors and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

The names of 15 Pakistani intellectuals and media persons who favoured the so-called Bangladeshs liberation war against their own country have also been invited. Some of them are also expected to receive the rewards. Notably, US, India and some western elements have launched a deliberate propaganda and blame game against Pakistan, its army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Their aim is to denuclearise or dismember Pakistan as CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have regularly been conducting subversisve acts in our country through their affilitated militants. Some Pakistans media commentators including so-called human rights groups are speaking in the tone of these foreign enemies in distorting the image of Pakistan and its security agencies. Thus, they misguide the general masses by benefitting the external elements.

However, Hasina Wajid refused to participate in the recently-held D-8 conference in Islamabad unless the latter tendered apology for the genocide of Bengalis in 1971.

Here, question arises that after 40 years of its independence, as to why special ceremony will be held in Bangladesh with full jubilation. In fact, India is employing overt and covert tactics to malign Pak Army by making Bangladeshi prime minister as a tool.

In this respect, recently a book titled, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: The Unfinished Memoirs written by the Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as his autobiography has been simultaneously released in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. The book left no stone unturned in distorting Pakistans history.

The publication described, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is a villain for many Pakistanis. One-sided history books tell us that Mujib was a traitor who broke up Pakistan with the help of India. While indicating that Mujibur Rehaman was not opposing Pakistan, the autobiography reveals, Mujib who joined the Muslim League, was actually an active worker of the Pakistan movementhe wrote the truth about himself in his memoirs.

Without grasping reality, The Unfinished Memoirs, explained that it was not Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bengalis who wanted to break up Pakistan, but actually created Pakistan. In fact, the political intrigues and blunders of military dictators broke up PakistanMajib was arrested and a military operation started in East Pakistan. Bengalis were massacred and their women were raped.

While speaking in line of the book, and concealing the real facts, senior media anchor of Geo News, Hamid Mir who reproduced its contents in his article, Mujibs Memoirs, published in daily, The News on November 24 praised Mujibur Ranman and implicated Pak Army. He wrote, Its time now to apologise officially to the people of Bangladesh.

Notably, a renowned Bengali journalist Sarmila Bose authored a book, Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War after thorough investigation. Her book was published in 2011. While countering exaggerations of the Indian and Bengali Journalists, Bose argues that the number of Bengalis killed in 1971 was not three million, but around 50,000 while Bengalis were equally involved in the bloodshed of non-Bengalis.

In fact, before the 1971 war, Mujibur Rahman had announced a separate national flag for East Pakistan. His six points created prejudice among Bengali people especially against West Pakistan. The famous slogan, during his addresses and rallies was, Punjabi dogs go back. It was due to Mujibs instigation that besides Punjabis, Bengalis had also tortured and killed Biharis, Pashtoons and Balochis, while their women were raped.

Majib was already in connivance with India for separation of East Pakistan. Therefore, when East Pakistan was occupied by Indian Army in 1971, he stated with pleasure that his 24 years old dream of an independent Bangladesh had been fulfilled. He had earlier developed his contacts with Indian rulers and training camps of Mukti Bahini, established by Indian army and RAW which also funded Mujibur Rehmans general elections in 1970. Meanwhile, India welcomed the refugees from East Pakistan, and provoked them against West Pakistan.

Just like Sheikh Majibur Rahman, New Delhi has been playing a double game with Bangladesh. In this regard, on June 29, 2011, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated, with Bangladesh, our relations are quite good. But we must reckon that 25 percent of Bangladeshs population swears by the Jamiat-e-Islami is very anti-Indianas to why these terrorist elements have a hold on Bangladesh.

During her visit to Bangladesh, last year, Prime Minister Hasina assured Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari that she would not allow Bangladeshi territory to be used for terrorist activities against India.

On the other side, Indian cross-border terrorism in Bangladesh has continued unabated. In this context, Brad Adams wrote in the Guardian, Over the past 10 years, Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has killed almost 1,000 people in the border area between India and Bangladesh, turning it into south Asian killing fieldsso far, no one has been prosecuted for any of these killings, in spite of evidence in many cases.

Despite the fact, New Delhi built a 2,000 km fence along the border of Bangladesh, but BSF has continued a shoot-to-kill policy, even against unarmed local villagers.

It is mentionable that India constructed the Farakka dam on its side of the Ganges River to stop flow of water to Bangladesh. In that respect, Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) met many a time to settle the dispute, but could not produce any results as India has deliberately been stopping water flow to Bangladesh. Now, New Delhis plan for the construction of Tipaimukh Dam on the river Barak will further harm Bangladeshs genuine interests.

Reliable sources indicate that Ms. Hasina has directed her staff to close the chapter of water and border conflicts with India. Besides, the Awami League has given transit trade facilities to Bharata move which has been resisted by the Bangladeshi patriots for the past several decades. In this context, a writer has rightly said, Hasina Wajid again started Honey Moon Period of relationship with India.

By setting aside public protests and strikes by students and Islamic parties, while establishing close ties with New Delhi, P.M. Hasina Wajid is again giving secular orientation to the country by purging the society from religious touch. She has issued instructions for the removal of some Islamic books from academic courses.

In this connection, a survey conducted by a local agency pointed out that 98% Bangladeshis are not ready to leave Islamic culture. They also hate undue interference of India in Bangladeshs affairs. They are quite aware that, New Delhi wants to make Bangladesh its colony. In the recent past, RAW conducted a number of subversive activities in Bangladesh like bomb blasts.

Especially, RAW assisted Ms. Hasina Wajid in coming to power. It engineered a judicial coup which allowed the Awami League to win 14 million voters of the opponent parities which were disenfranchised. Then the Jamaat-e-Islami was banned by Hasina Wajid.

Nevertheless, there are concerns amongst the patriotic people and the opposition parties of the country that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has a strong tilt towards India which has been using various tactics to entrap Bangladesh to obtain its anti-Pakistan designs including those of the US-led some western countries.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

Govt asked to foil Indian designs to turn Pakistan into desert

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday asked the government to move International Court of Arbitration immediately to stop India from constructing illegal hydropower projects which to turn Pakistan into a desert.

It asked the Supreme Court to expose the hidden hand which has been delaying the Pakistans response to Indian violation of Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

Government has been delaying response to the construction of Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project since one year which amounts to facilitating Indian plot against Pakistan, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

India has already constructed many dams including Baglihar and Kishanganga in violation of the IWT and now it has almost completed one of the highest hydropower project in the world on River Indus at Ladakh.

Similarly, India has almost finished construction work on Chuttak hydroelectric project on the River Suru, a tributary of Indus in the Kargil while it has initiated plan to construct nine more dams in Ladakh region.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that India is not only building dams with an amazing speed to destroy Pakistan but also sponsoring some politicians, nationalists, regionalists and pseudo-intellectuals to oppose Kalabagh dam to make Pakistan a failed state.

Amazingly, Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters, officials of the water and power ministry, ministry of environment and foreign affairs have failed to react in time which amounts to colluding with India, he observed.

He said that the water bureaucracy and always let India to complete illegal projects quietly denying Pakistan the option of counter-measures.

These projects would reduce the flow of River Indus which will badly damage masses, industry and agriculture of Pakistan.

The water enmity

By Professor Ali Sukhanver:

The political government of Pakistan has been in a constant effort of establishing friendly relations with the neighbouring countries in spite of a lot of economic problems, continuous unfair international pressures and the ever hovering hostile clouds of enmity along the borders. It is not only the policy of the present government but on the whole the strategy of Pakistan since ever to promote cordial relationship with the neighbouring countries.

Following the same policy of friendship and alliance, a few days back President Asif Ali Zardari confirmed Pakistan’s consent on visa agreement between Pakistan and India which was signed between the two countries on September 8, 2012. The agreement aimed at giving more concessions and simplifying the procedure to grant visa with a view to promoting people-to-people contact.

The objective of this visa agreement between the two countries is to facilitate the travelers of the two countries to visit each other. Under this agreement, besides diplomatic, non-diplomatic and official visas, visitor visas shall be issued to the persons visiting the other country to meet relatives or friends or for any other legitimate purpose. With a validity of six months time period, this visa shall permit a visitor to visit a maximum of five specified places. This agreement would certainly bring the two countries more close to each other and generate a new air of trust and confidence between the two nations with a lot of positive changes but it could have been much better if the two countries had signed another agreement also regarding the decades long water conflicts.

According to the media reports a reduced flow of water at Head Marala has recently been noticed by the Pakistani water management authorities. This reduction in water flow would prove very much harmful and disastrous to the crops on a large area of Pakistan and it may lead to a situation of famine causing whole sale starvation. Snatching water from Pakistan and turning Pakistan into a wasteland has ever been an Indian desire. To fulfill her evergreen desire of changing Pakistan into a dry land, India has been working on different water projects since long. These projects include Kishinganga Project, the Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant, the Wullar Barrage Project and so many others.

The construction of the Wullar Barrage on the River Jhelum would provide India total control over River Jhelum and with the help of this project India would be in a position to deprive Pakistan of water of River Jhelum during winter seasons. This barrage would certainly affect the water of River Neelum also and it is feared that the water of River Neelum diverted towards Wullar Lake would be consumed within Wullar Lake and will not go in River Jhelum. Kishinganga Project is also one of the worst examples in this regard.

The Kishinganga Hydroelectric Project on the River Neelum is located near the Line of Control in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Under the Kishinganga Project, India has diverted the water of Neelum River through a canal system. The River Neelum is called Kishinganga River when it passes through India and the water of the River Kishinganga is reserved for Pakistan’s Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project, work on which started in 1989. The diversion of water in Kishinganga project will decrease water flow at Neelum-Jhelum project and generation capacity of this project will reduce by 20%. Moreover it will adversely affect agriculture in Neelum Valley and Muzaffarabad District of Pakistan.

According to the Indus water Treaty, exclusive rights of the western rivers water are with Pakistan but India has been violating these rights for the last many decades. World Banks arbitration court is also very well aware of the injustice done by India with reference to the construction of dams and barrages on the rivers flowing to Pakistan. The honourable court has recently issued orders allowing a Pakistani delegation to visit and inspect the site of Kishinganga Dam.

Earlier Pakistan had pleaded that illegal construction activity on the Kishinganga Dam was going on despite the stay orders issued by the arbitration court. Same was the case with the construction of The Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant. The Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant is located on River Chenab and its construction plan was communicated by India in 1992. It was commissioned in 2008.

During its initial filling, India again violated the clauses of the Treaty by not filling the dam in stipulated timeframe and by not ensuring requisite inflow at Marala Head Works of Pakistan. Construction of this dam caused huge amount of water losses to Pakistan. The drastic reduction of inflow at Marala resulted in acute scarcity of irrigation water for paddy crops in Marala command Canals area covering over more than 10,000,000 acres of land.

All these actions of India are nothing but simply the violation of the Indus Waters Treaty. The situation demands new water treaties between India and Pakistan otherwise as a result of water scarcity, Pakistan would become a desert land very soon. The government of Pakistan is taking revolutionary steps to minimize the differences and distances between the two countries by introducing new visa policies and trade facilities. But this reality must never be ignored that a wasteland could never be an attractive and profitable market for the traders.

Pakistan India dispute over Kishenganga project

By Zaheerul Hassan: On 1ST September 2012, the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) constituted in the matter of the Indus Waters Kishenganga Arbitration (Pakistan v. India) has concluded a two-week hearing on the merits at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Earlier, in the case of Baglihar Hdro Project, the court has asked India to redesign and carryout necessary amendments for removing three out of four technical objections raised by Pakistan.

Another disputed Kishenganga Hdro-Electric Project (KHEP) is located on Kishenganga River, (Neelum River) near Kanzalwan. 103 M high dam will divert the water of Kishenganga to Wular Lake through a 22 km tunnel. The project would be having electricity generation capacity of 330 MW.

Pakistan and India though concluded a treaty on regulation of rivers of Indus Water Basin in 1960 but India normally shown reluctance in implementation of agreement. The water conflicts awakened again when India started constructing the hydro projects and reservoirs without the consent of Pakistan. India has planned construction of 72 water power projects of different magnitude on rivers/Nullahs of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

In doing so, it is in the process of diverting millions of acre feet of dead and live storage water from IOK to Rajistan, which will also be used to produce hydropower. She has already started of construction of a mega task Interlinking River Project. According to the experts, the undertaking of project would likely to change the ecology of South Asia and would also cause adverse effects on the environment. Recently, Indian Supreme Court has urged that the interlinking of the rivers be accelerated and implemented by 2016. Indian Prime Minister subsequently set up of a Task Force to consider the modalities of implementing the project. Though, the interlinking of rivers has been presented by the Indian Government as a major initiative towards meeting the future water problems but overall would cause devastating effects in rivers delta of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Estimated to cost Rs. 5,60,00,00 million, the project envisages 30 links across Himalayan and peninsular rivers. The idea behind this is based on the fact that an enormous amount of water from rivers flows into the sea. It is envisaged that if this is prevented, and water transferred from rivers to water-deficit areas, there will be adequate supply for everyone in every part of the country.

The estimated cost is about 50 times more than the total allocation for the ongoing water resource development projects in the Tenth Plan. There are talks of opening doors to private investors; in that case traditional rights of people over water resources will be affected. The environmental and human costs of the project are going to be colossal. These will include, disturbance to pristine biodiversity rich areas, disruption of tribal lives, changes in river morphology and water quality, submergence of forests and agricultural lands etc. Connecting the Himalayan Rivers with the peninsular rivers through some 40,000 km long inland waterways will cause massive human displacement. The large network of dams and canals will also alter the natural drainage such that occasional flooding and water logging will inundate millions of hectares of agricultural land, the project may alter the geography of the country significantly. Inter linking of livers may disrupt the entire hydrological cycle by stopping the rivers from performing their ecological function before reaching the oceans. Also, given changing global climate, what seems like surplus water today, may not even be available a few years down the line. There is no provision for any mechanism to deal with matters concerning inter-basin transfers.

Anyhow, regarding Indus Water Basin connecting rivers under inter river linking system and construction of hydro-electric projects constitute a violation of the IWT (Indus Water Treaty) which provides for the generation of hydropower on run-of-the river water only, with no live storage-not even in normal terms. Although Indian government contends that these projects are only on the run of the river, but practically would be having full control over the water storage. In this connection, India has already attained the capability of the controlling and manipulations of water for 28 days of water of River Chennab.

Anyway, focusing on current issue of Kishenganga dispute, it would not be wrong in stating that IWT has resolved the issue of Wullar Barrage but was not able to give any way-out over Kishenganga Conflict. Pakistan had launched a complaint in the court of arbitration that Indian bid to build Kishenganga dam was violation of World Bank brokered IWT of 1960. In this connection, on September 23, 2011 the court issued an interim order, restraining India from going ahead with the controversial hydro power project over river Kishenganga in Gurez Valley of IHK. ICA was in the opinion that structure over River Neelum/Kishenganga that may affect the flow of water downstream. With the ICAs stay order, Pakistan will have the time to expedite the construction of large reservoirs so that India does not claim the right to use water Pakistan is not constructing any dams. However, Indian efforts are to make IWT ineffective and most of Indian scholars believe in re-imagining of water treaty.

Pakistan has initiated this arbitration with India under Article IX and Annexure G of the IWT, an international agreement concluded by India and Pakistan in 1960 which regulates the use by the two States of the Indus system of rivers. In these proceedings, Pakistan places two matters for determination by the Court of Arbitration:

First reveals, Whether Indias proposed diversion of the river Kishenganga (Neelum) into another Tributary, i.e. the Bonar Madmati Nallah, being one central element of the Kishenganga Project, breaches Indias legal obligations owed to Pakistan under the Treaty, as interpreted and applied in accordance with international law, including Indias obligations under Article III(2) (let flow all the waters of the Western rivers and not permit any interference with those waters) and Article IV(6) (maintenance of natural channels)?

Second Deliberates: Whether under the Treaty, India may deplete or bring the reservoir level of a run-of-river Plant below Dead Storage Level (DSL) in any circumstances except in the case of an unforeseen emergency?

The primary subject of the arbitration is the Kishenganga Hydro-Electric Project (the KHEP) currently under construction by India on the Kishenganga/Neelum River, a tributary of the Jhelum River. It is also notable here that KHEP would be in operational condition by 2016, whereas Neelum Jhelum Project would start functioning in 2017. completed Pakistan concerns and objections over KHEP are very alarming and serious in nature since completion of KHEP would reduce the flow of water into Pakistan by about 11% in summer and about 27% in winter, which would be contrary to the IWT as the Western rivers and would also damaged already constructed Neelum-Jhelum project. Moreover, Pakistans Neelum Valley is likely to dry up and become a desert. Another issues of would be of the management of sedimentation in the reservoir, India intends to employ drawdown flushing, a technique requiring the depletion of the level in the KHEP reservoir below Dead Storage Level (the Treatys definition of this term is reproduced in the annex to this press release). Pakistan very rightly contended that the KHEPs planned diversion of the waters of the Kishenganga/Neelum, as well as the use of the drawdown flushing technique, both at the KHEP or at other Indian hydro-electric projects that the Treaty regulates, are impermissible under the Indus Waters Treaty. India maintains that both the design and planned mode of operation of the KHEP are fully in conformity with the Treaty.

The dam defiantly will create problems for Pakistan because it will create the shortage in Neelum River. Pakistan has, meanwhile, formalized its objections into six questions, three on the design of the project, two on the diversion of water and one on power houses. Pakistan raised the objection that about the location of the project and insisted that under the Indus Basin Water Treaty India could not divert Kishenganga water to Wuller barrage, on which it was building an 800 MW hydro-power project. India is under obligation to release as much water downstream as it stores. It is also notable here that it is going to affect the Pakistani Project too which is located 70 km downstream from Kishenganga Project.

In fact, India’s premise that it was already contemplating construction of a hydroelectric project on this tributary of Jhelum River at the time of signing of the treaty opens up the question of intention rather than actual plan or capability at the time. Moreover Indian argument that affect on Pakistan’s Neelum-Jhelum project downstream, can be mitigated by constructing other structures seems to be speculative, preventive and requiring huge additional cost and time. Therefore Pakistan should not agreed to Indian argument is as such not agreeable. The sacristy of water (even for domestic use) will result if Indian KHEP (Kishenganga Hydro Electric Project) is allowed to be implemented. This may even of force migration/displacement of population in AJ&K damaging of agro based economy of Pakistan. In short, the amicable solution of water and territorial conflicts (including Kashmir) between two South Asian nuclear countries needs to be resolved on priority if UN, ICA and super powers are interested to save the globe from future nuclear war.

Remembering a Black Day

Intent upon paralyzing the infant state of Pakistan, barely two and a half months old then, the forcible occupation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir by India on 27 Oct 1947, truly marks the birth of a great tragedy.

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Water Terrorism

Pak-India friendship is the most essential and almost inevitable element for a long lasting and deep rooted peace in South Asia. The present warlike scenario along the Pak-India borders can adopt an altogether different look if the two countries put aside all their differences, ignoring the past and simply keeping in view the regional betterment. Some people might call this situation nothing but a day dreaming but dreams are the foundation of reality. The Indian premier Dr. Man Mohan Singh in one of his recent statements has expressed his willingness regarding the friendly relationship between the two neighbouringcountries. He has very strangely given a different colour to his traditional approach towards Pakistan that the investigation process regarding the Mumbai blasts must not hinder the peace process between the two countries. In other words he has supported the stance of Pakistan that the non-state actors should not be allowed to mar the efforts for good relationship between two countries. This change in the behaviour of the Indian prime minister is something very positive and admirable. The people of Pakistan are expecting from him the same gentleness in the solution all other deep rooted conflicts. The river-water issue is one of the most grievous problems which would never let the twocountries come close to each other if not timely and properly taken care of. India is curtailing the down stream water coming towards Pakistan by making dams at various points; and all this is being done in violation of the Indus Water Treaty.

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