Category Archives: ISLAMABAD

Indian troops martyr 17 Kashmiris in September

Srinagar, October 01 : In India illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Indian troops in their unabated acts of state terrorism martyred seventeen (17) Kashmiris in the last month of September.

According to the data issued by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, today, of those martyred ten (10) Kashmiris were killed in fake encounters.

During the month, seven youths were critically injured due to the use of brute force by Indian police and paramilitary personnel in the territory. At least 140 civilians including religious leaders, youth, and social and political activists were arrested and most of them were booked under black laws, Public Safety Act, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The troops also destroyed four residential houses during 162 cordon and search operations in the month.

(Kashmir media service Report)

PKR strengthens by Rs2.62 against dollar in interbank

The PKR was being traded at Rs229.5 per dollar at 11:30am after appreciating 1.12 percent from yesterday’s close of Rs232.12, data shared by the Forex Association of Pakistan (FAP) showed.

Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (Ecap) General Secretary Zafar Paracha said sentiments had changed mainly because of Ishaq Dar’s return as finance minister due to which the rupee was on an uptrend.

“The rupee was weakening earlier despite news of funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank among others. Overall, the sentiment was negative. Now, there is hope for improvement because of Dar’s reputation for keeping the dollar’s value low and managing the economy better.”

Dar, who has served as finance minister three times previously as well, is most famous for strong-arming the central bank to liberally inject foreign exchange into the market to prop up the rupee and keeping the dollar’s value around Rs90.

Read: Daronomics — The fallacy of fixing currency price

Paracha acknowledged that the country’s economic situation was different now because of the conditions of the International Monetary Fund’s ongoing program, under which Pakistan has agreed to a market-based currency exchange regime.

“Dar cannot fix the dollar. He will face difficulties … but it has to be seen what long-term policies he introduces.”

The Escape general secretary said Pakistan’s debt has been reduced by around Rs1 trillion in the last four days because of the rupee’s appreciation. “This uptrend is very welcome and sentiments have changed after a considerable time.

“Anti-state elements such as speculators had benefitted because of the government’s wrong policies. The government will have to ensure that this uptrend does not change because of its policies.”

He pointed out that the country was facing a shortage of foreign exchange in the long run, adding that while Pakistan had to make payments of $30-40 billion this year, arrangements had only been made for $10bn.

The government should reduce imports and increase exports, and revisit the trade and immigration policies with Afghanistan and Iran because they drained the country’s foreign exchange and reserves, he suggested.

Today is the fifth consecutive session that the rupee has recovered after falling close to an all-time low of Rs239.94 on Sept 22. It has been on an uptrend since Friday, with its value improving by Rs7.59 or 3.2pc over the last four sessions

Analysis: Truth or bluff? Why Putin’s nuclear warnings have the West worried

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin’s latest warning that he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia amid the war in Ukraine has made a troubling question much more urgent: Is the former KGB spy bluffing?

Putin cautioned it was no bluff, and Western politicians, diplomats and nuclear weapons experts are divided. Some say he could use one or more smaller, tactical nuclear weapons to try to stave off military defeat, protect his presidency, scare off the West or intimidate Kyiv into capitulation.

Putin’s warning, which was followed by a more specific threat to use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine from an ally, might mean the Kremlin is considering an escalation after Russia annexes four Ukrainian regions which it only partly occupies.

Russia’s parliament is expected to declare the regions part of Russia on Oct. 4. Once that happens the way would be clear, from Moscow’s viewpoint, for a possible defensive strike if it felt the territory was under serious threat.

Breaking the nuclear taboo would be a sign of desperation, however, so whether or not Putin does go nuclear may ultimately depend on how cornered he feels in a conflict which has, thus far, humbled rather than defeated a former superpower.

Putin controls the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, including a new generation of hypersonic weapons and ten times more tactical nuclear weapons than the West, and the United States and the NATO military alliance are taking him seriously.

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“If the choice for Russia is fighting a losing war, and losing badly and Putin falling, or some kind of nuclear demonstration, I wouldn’t bet that they wouldn’t go for the nuclear demonstration,” Tony Brenton, a former British ambassador to Russia, told Reuters in August, before Putin stepped up his warnings.

In his most recent comments, Putin explicitly warned the West that Russia would use all available means to defend Russian territory and accused the West of discussing a potential nuclear attack on Russia.

“This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them,” he said.

Such blunt Kremlin rhetoric is very different to the much more nuanced nuclear signals preferred by late Soviet leaders after Nikita Khrushchev took the world to the brink of nuclear war in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told U.S. TV networks on Sunday that President Joe Biden’s administration was taking Putin’s comments “deadly seriously” and had warned Moscow of specific “catastrophic consequences” if it used nuclear arms.

Washington has not spelled out its likely response, but using a nuclear device could trigger a nuclear escalation, which is why most experts believe a massive conventional attack on Russian military assets would be more likely.

Asked if Putin was moving towards a nuclear attack, CIA Director William Burns told CBS on Tuesday: “We have to take very seriously his kind of threats given everything that’s at stake.”

Burns, though, said U.S. intelligence had no practical evidence that Putin was moving towards using tactical nuclear weapons imminently.

GOING NUCLEAR

If Putin did order a nuclear strike inside Ukraine, it would be the first use of nuclear weapons in battle since the United States unleashed the atomic bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

Shorter-range lower-yield weapons launched by sea, air or land could theoretically be used against Ukrainian military targets, though their effectiveness in such a scenario is a matter of debate among military experts.

Another option, they say, would be for Putin to detonate such a weapon over a remote and unpopulated area or a body of water, like the Black Sea, as a chilling demonstration of intent.

The radioactive fallout from a small Russian tactical weapon could be limited to around a kilometre (half a mile), but the psychological and geopolitical impact would be felt across the world.

“Putin is playing a high-stakes game of chicken,” said Richard K. Betts, professor of war and peace studies at Columbia University. “If I had to bet money, I would probably bet 3:2 that he would not go nuclear even if he feels desperate, but those are not good odds.”

TRACKING

In a sign Washington is closely monitoring Russia’s nuclear arsenal, flight tracking data on Saturday showed the United States had deployed at least two RS-135s Cobra Ball spy planes, used to track ballistic missile activity, near the Russian border.

Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, said there was no evidence Moscow was gearing up for such a nuclear strike at the moment and that Washington would know “pretty quickly” if it was.

He said it would be a mistake to be complacent about Putin’s nuclear warnings, but that he did not think it would make sense for Putin to go nuclear to defend newly-annexed territory.

“To start a nuclear war to break this taboo that has lasted since August 1945 for such small gains when the Ukrainians have said they won’t stop fighting anyway, and even if the battle stopped he’d find these territories impossible to pacify, would seem like a very odd thing to do,” said Freedman.

Given the irrational nature of using a nuclear weapon in the circumstances, taking the threat seriously entailed assuming it would be an emotional act of desperation from Putin in a situation where he felt threatened, he added.

Betts of Columbia University said: “You can see the pressures he is under and the rationales in his mind about how the use of a small nuclear weapon might work for his purposes to reverse the situation, frighten the West, and get him out of the bind he is in.”

‘EXISTENTIAL STRUGGLE’

Putin says Russia is now fighting for its existence in Ukraine after years of humiliation at the hands of an arrogant West which wants to destroy the former superpower.

“In its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the West has crossed every line,” Putin said in his Sept. 21 warning.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed tens of thousands, fuelled global inflation and triggered the worst confrontation with the West since the height of the Cold War.

Seven months on, Putin’s forces are facing a fierce counteroffensive from Ukrainian forces armed and trained by Western countries. The better it goes for Ukraine on the battlefield, the higher the chance that Putin might go nuclear, said Betts.

Russia’s nuclear doctrine allows for a nuclear strike after “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened”.

Kremlin hawks say the West is trying to topple Putin, who has held power in Russia since 1999.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in March that Putin “cannot remain in power” in comments the White House said were meant to prepare the world’s democracies for an extended conflict over Ukraine, not back regime change in Russia.

And in May, Biden said he was trying to work out what to do about the fact that Putin did not appear to have a way out of the war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had previously dismissed the Russian warnings, but told CBS on Sunday that Putin could now be serious.

“Look, maybe yesterday, it was bluff. Now it could be a reality.”

Sopore Mandi lost Rs 500 Cr due to halted fruit trucks on Sgr-Jmu highway

In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, fruit growers staged a peaceful protest demonstrated, in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district against the halting of fruit-laden trucks along the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Notably, fruit growers and buyers across the Kashmir valley are continuously protesting time to time over the halting of trucks along the national highway, but despite protests nothing happened

Scores of fruit growers assembled inside fruit mandi Sopore and demanded smooth transportation of fruit-laden trucks along the highway.

The president of Fruit Mandi Sopore, Fayaz Ahmed Malik, talking to the media maintained that they have already suffered heavy losses during the last several years due to natural calamities and continued blockage of the Srinagar-Jammu highway and now unnecessarily stopping of fruit-laden trucks are compounding to their miseries. He said the authorities are unnecessarily stopping trucks and it seems they deliberately want the fruit growers to suffer.

Fruit growers in occupied Jammu and Kashmir have called for opening of trade routes via Azad Jammu and Kashmir for the apple and other businesses with the outside world.

President buyers association, Fruit Mandi Sopore Mudasir Ahmed Bhat told a local news agency, that the halting of trucks along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway leads to a loss of around 500 crore rupees to the growers, buyers, and dealers in the month of September only.

He said, that a buyer suffers a loss of 4-5 lac rupees per truck as the authorities are unnecessarily stopping trucks and it seems they deliberately want them to suffer. “Who is going to pay the losses?” asked Mudasir.

the fruit growers, on Monday, closed the fruit market in protest against Modi government’s unannounced economic blockade by halting thousands of trucks laden with apples on the Srinagar-Jammu highway for past 20 days.

Iranian army says it will ‘confront the enemies’ as protests rage

Iran’s army warned on Friday that it would “confront the enemies” to ensure security and peace in the country, according to a statement, as protests rage over the death of a woman in the morality police’s custody.

Iranians have staged nationwide demonstrations over the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested for wearing “unsuitable attire”.

The army said “these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime”.

Pro-government protests were planned for Friday, Iranian media said.

Meanwhile, a New York-based human rights group has said that at least 36 people have been killed in an Iranian crackdown on protests.

The official death toll rose to at least 17 on Thursday, including five security personnel, but the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said its sources put the figure much higher.

“On the 7th day of #IranProtest, officials admit to at least 17 deaths w/ independent sources say 36,” the CHRI said in a Twitter post late Thursday.

“Expect the number to rise. World leaders must press Iranian officials to allow protest without lethal force.”

“The government has responded with live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas, according to videos shared on social media that have also shown protesters bleeding profusely,” CHRI said in a statement.

Unprecedented images have shown protesters defacing or burning images of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and late Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani.

In response, security forces have fired at crowds with birdshot and metal pellets, and deployed tear gas and water cannon, said Amnesty International and other human rights groups.

Demonstrators have hurled stones at them, set fire to police cars and chanted anti-government slogans, the official IRNA news agency said.

Protesters in Tehran and other cities have torched police stations and vehicles as outrage over Amini’s death showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces coming under attack.

Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran — including strict dress codes for women and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history.