SANDNet Weekly Update, August 09, 2002

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CONTENTS
August 09, 2002
Volume 3, #26

Nuclear Issues

1. Related News and Analysis

Afghanistan

1. Current Situation

India-Pakistan Tensions

1. News

Pakistan

1. Pakistan: Domestic Situation
2. Daniel Pearl case

India

1. India: Domestic Situation
2. US-India Relations

Kashmir

1. Internal Situation


Nuclear Issues

1. Related News and Analysis
M.V. Ramana (Daily Times, Pakistan) argues that India’s proposed purchase of the Israeli Arrow ballistic missile defense system is counter productive since the system “could be defeated through simple countermeasures, increases tensions, destabilizes the region and lowers security.” Another essay in the same newspaper argues that the acquisition of US command and control technology by India and Pakistan could “provide [Pakistan and India] the confidence to deploy the weapons, and in a crisis adopt more threatening and dangerous postures.” According to Izhar ul Haq, a retired Pakistani Navel officer, “if peace does not prevail [between India and Pakistan] and we cannot ensure the viability of our strategic stockpile, our nuclear ‘assets’ will become a millstone round our neck – unless we develop the second-strike capability through an SSBN force.”

An Indian movie producer is planning to make Humphrey Hawksley’s fictional account of a nuclear war involving India, Pakistan and China into a motion picture.


Afghanistan

1. Current Situation
At least 15 people were reportedly killed in a shootout near Kabul between Afghan police and an alleged gang of Arabs and Pakistanis. US Special Forces soldiers operating in eastern Afghanistan killed four men who allegedly “showed hostile intent.” A Special Forces base in southeastern Afghanistan was reportedly attacked. The capture of a man in Kabul who has admitted to being on a suicide-bombing mission to kill President Hamid Karzai has raised security concerns for Kabul. A daily Frontier Post report speculates on the link between amphetamines use by pilots and the incidents of ‘friendly fire’ that has killed both Canadian soldiers and Afghani civilians.

The conflict between Padsha Khan Zadran, a warlord who has his power base in the eastern city of Khost, and President Karzai’s government in Kabul has reportedly escalated. There have also been reports of tensions between President Karzai and Mohammad Fahim, Afghanistan defense minister. Attempts are reportedly being made to end the stand off in Mazar-e-Sharif between rival warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammad.

Eric Margolis (Dawn, Pakistan) writes about his “old friend and benefactor” Haji Abdul Qadir, the recently assassinated deputy president of Afghanistan.
“The murder of Haji Qadir”

The Afghanistan government’s attempt to collect weapons from “Afghans not attached to a recognizable branch of the national army” has reportedly been a failure.


India-Pakistan Tensions

1. News
According to India’s Defense Minister George Fernandes, “de-escalation is something which is a very big issue” and is unlikely to happen anytime soon. According to a daily Telegraph (India) report that quotes unnamed ‘senior foreign ministry official’, ‘India has made it clear that even if infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir comes to a complete end, it should not be seen as the end of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.’


Pakistan

1. Pakistan: Domestic Situation
Six persons, all Pakistani, were killed and four others injured when terrorists attacked a Christian school near Islamabad. According to the Pakistan police, the alleged attackers later blew themselves up. In a separate incident, four Pakistanis, including three nurses, died in a grenade attack on a Christian missionary hospital. These attacks were strongly condemned by Pakistani newspapers. Amid growing security concerns, the US has closed down its consulate in Karachi, while Australia has urged its citizens to leave the country. The Pakistan government, meanwhile, is reportedly considering the creation of a new force to guard foreign diplomats. The daily News reports that the federal government has also directed the provincial governments to accelerate the process of issuing arms licenses to foreign diplomats.
“Australians advised to leave Pakistan”

Imtiaz Alam (News, Pakistan) examines the complex political maneuverings by the government and various political parties in the run-up to October general elections. Sheikh Manzoor Ahmed (Dawn, Pakistan) writes that constitutional amendments proposed by President Musharraf are “the very antithesis of all norms of democracy, parliamentary or presidential.” Farhan Bokhari (News, Pakistan) examines the implications of the expected return of Shahbaz Sharif – the newly elected President of Pakistan Muslim League and currently residing in Saudi Arabia – to Pakistan.

Pakistan, with $800 million in loans, remains the fourth top borrower of the World Bank in the fiscal year 2001-02.

The prime accused in whose house 10 army men were killed by 42 Al Qaeda members in South Waziristan Agency in June has reportedly admitted to having provided shelter to the families of Arab and Chechen fighters. Pakistani authorities are investigating the source of pamphlets discovered in the southwest of the country that threatened to kill “United States’ agents and informers.” Pakistani intelligence officers have arrived in Guantanamo Bay to interrogate terrorist suspects from their country. Rahimullah Yusufzai (News, Pakistan) examines the situation of Pakistani supporters of the Taliban who are being held prisoners by various warlords in Afghanistan.
“Accused says he sheltered Chechens, Arabs”
“Pakistani officials to interrogate Guantanamo prisoners”

2. Daniel Pearl case
The daily Dawn reports that authorities in Pakistan are reluctant to announce the arrest of four suspects who they believe killed Daniel Pearl because they fear that the disclosure at this stage may force the retrial of an earlier case in which four men have already been convicted on charges of kidnapping and murdering journalist Daniel Pearl. A report in the daily Times of India looks at several aspects of the case that “have remained a mystery.”
“Govt fears retrial if 4 suspects’ name made public”


India

1. India: Domestic Situation
The exposure of a major corruption scandal by the daily Indian Express involving the allotment of petrol pumps and agencies for the sale of cooking gas and kerosene to friends and family of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders is causing a political turmoil in India. Inder Malhotra (Hindu) believes that “even the most hardened cynics must have been shocked by the sheer enormity of the petrol pumps scam,” while Shekhar Gupta, the editor of the daily Indian Express, writes that the scam “is about picking up the state’s largesse and giving it away to your own.” A report in the daily Indian Express explains the lucrative business of owing a petrol pump. After the exposure, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ordered the cancellation of 3,158 petrol pumps, LPG agencies and kerosene oil outlets allotted across the country since January 2000. The Congress, however, described the cancellation of petrol pump allotments as a “mere eye-wash” and is demanding an enquiry into the allotments. Both Houses of the Indian Parliament have been unable to function for four consecutive days.
“The mother of all scams”
“How you make money, lots of it, on a petrol pump”
“Parliament deadlocked over petrol pump scam”

Robert Hathaway (Hindu) suggests that “it is probably advisable for the American Government to hold an official inquiry into fund-raising in the U.S. by groups implicated in the Gujarat violence.” A.G. Noorani (Hindustan Times) criticizes the government for not allowing the Amnesty International to send observers to Gujarat and Kashmir.
“Charity… or terrorism?”

India is facing the prospect of the “worst and most widespread drought” in over a decade. The Indian government’s announcement of a Rs 714.20 crore drought relief package was dismissed as “far too inadequate” by the opposition Congress Party. C.P. Chandrasekhar’s essay in Frontline (India) examines some of the potential economic consequences of the drought.

J. Venkatesan’s (Hindu) essay indicates that the ratification of a Bill passed by the Indian Parliament that makes “right to education” a fundamental right remains “a distant dream.”
“Right to education a distant dream?”

2. US-India Relations
J.N. Dixit (Indian Express) urges Indian policy makers to remember “the fundamental reality that foreign policies of countries, particularly of great powers, are primarily structured within the framework of their own perceived interests.” K.P. Nayar’s essay (Telegraph) expresses similar thoughts. A. Madhavan (Deccan Herald) believes that “the US has now clearly moved to a more critical appraisal of India’s Kashmir policy.”


Kashmir

1. Internal Situation
Militants killed nine pilgrims attending the Amarnath Yatra -a religious pilgrimage to the scared Amarnath caves. The government of Pakistan condemned the attack. There were reports of more violence in other parts of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
“NC official shot dead in Valley”

India’s Defense Minister George Fernandes has ruled out the possibility of Governor’s rule in J&K or of allowing foreign observers to monitor the upcoming state elections. A report in the daily Indian Express examines the issue of governor rule in J&K. The ruling National Conference has indicated that it would support demands for imposition of Governor’s rule in J&K if Hurriyat Conference agrees to participate in the upcoming Assembly polls. A five-member mission, led by the Danish ambassador to India, Michael Sternberg, has failed to elicit the participation of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in the elections.


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