Tag Archive | "Pakistan"

Critical Analysis: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – Unmanned with Unknown Targets

Targets: Yemen.  Pakistan.  Somalia.  Afghanistan.  Libya.  Iraq.  Niger. International laws protect the right to life and drone strikes may well be breaking such laws by killing countless civilians.  There is a “near-certainty” standard that civilians will not become casualties but various sources indicate drone strikes occurring when the target was not in sight and when targets were traveling in close proximity to civilian vehicles.

Since 2002, the U.S. has launched 108 drone strikes in Yemen killing between 775-1,018 people.  Of those, 81-87 were civilians and 31-50 were unknown.  In December 2013, a drone strike in Yemen struck a wedding, killing 12 militants – but, once again, conflicting reports suggest the victims were civilians. The last drone strike occurred on April 21, 2014 killing 55, not counting strikes over this past weekend which hit a civilian vehicle.

Image Source: Western Journalism

US drone strikes overseas has caused many civilian casualties but the uncertainty surrounding the attacks is unsettling. Image Source: Western Journalism

On an even larger scale, since 2004, 307 drone strikes in Pakistan killed between 2,040 and 3,428 people.  Of the thousands, 258-307 civilians were killed and 199-334 “unknowns” were killed.  In Pakistan, drone strikes ceased on Christmas Day 2013 to allow peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

While the “unknown” and civilian casualty rate has decreased during the use of drones, the sheer indefiniteness of the numbers remains disturbing.  Not only is it unclear if drone strikes were involved or if it was the U.S. or another country ordering the attack, we cannot seem to tell whom we are killing.  The U.S.’s policy of secrecy prevents any source from gathering enough information to make accurate statements and leads to a great deal of “best guesses.”  Many demand the U.S. take accountability for its military actions and many demand greater transparency.

The new Amnesty International Annual Report urges the U.S. to conduct a “thorough, impartial and independent investigation” to determine if CIA personnel have violated international law by committing “arbitrary” and “extrajudicial executions.”  A guest columnist to JURIST (a non-profit organization providing objective legal news) suggests some killings appearing unlawful are in fact lawful because of self-defense or under the laws of war because they would not be arbitrary killings.  Furthermore, the columnist suggests lawful targetings can be extrajudicial and not executions because of their targeted nature.  However, one must point out, these targeted killings are killing a great many individuals who are not targeted.

During President Obama’s two terms, there have been at least 397 drone strikes.  President Bush’s term had fewer strikes but more casualties per strike on average.  A new bill that sits before the House of Representatives would force the White House to publish information on covert U.S. drone strike casualties.  The co-sponsored bill would require an annual report that would “provide a modest, but important, measure of transparency and oversight regarding the use of drones.”  The report would disclose injuries and casualties and if casualties are militants, civilians, or others.  The White House would also have to disclose how it defines militants and civilians, which would provide a great deal of insight into the statistics.

While the bill may have a negligible chance of success, the push for greater transparency is clear.  Hopefully as the demand for answers increases, the government’s accountability will increase – or at least the government will give us enough information to make informed decisions about the use of UAVs.

 

Lindsey Weber is a 2L at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and the Projects & Production Editor of the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy.

 

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Critical Analysis: Drone Strikes in Pakistan Surge in the Summer

Though the news media is seemingly all eyes on the Olympics this week, drones have been making magazine covers and headlines as attacks on militants in Pakistan have escalated during the summer and days before a visit to Washington by Pakistan’s intelligence chief.

Drones over Pakistan
(South Asian Tribune)

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are what their proper name implies: aircraft without a human pilot on board. The machines are either controlled autonomously through computers or under the remote control of a pilot on the ground. Although U.S. drone operations in Pakistan have been ongoing since 2004, drones have become an especially popular tool of the U.S. military during the Obama Administration. This summer in particular has seen a markedly sharp increase in U.S. drone operations in Pakistan. Following the failure to strike a deal to end a six-month blockade on convoys transporting supplies to coalition forces in Afghanistan at the Chicago Nation Summit in May, not a week goes by that there isn’t some report of a drone attack on a militant compound. In July alone, U.S. drone operations killed more than 20 militants.

However, Pakistan has not responded in kind to the attacks. Just days before the most recent strike, Pakistan’s U.S. ambassador officially called for the end of U.S. drone strikes, citing diminishing returns. Instead, Pakistan would like the U.S. to feed intelligence fathered by the drones to Pakistani forces, so that they can target militants.

The turn to drones by the U.S. comes from what U.S. officials perceive as the incapability or unwillingness of Pakistan to target militants; providing shelter to Taliban groups in both Pakistan’s tribal areas and attack troops in nearby Afghanistan. Pakistan’s ambassador called such claims “outrageous,” citing the fact that Pakistan reported 53 times to NATO in recent months when militants were spotted crossing into Afghan territory.  Nevertheless, in the wake of these opposing stances as to Pakistan’s fulfillment of its state responsibilities, little is expected to come out of this week’s  closed door discussions between head of Pakistan’s ISI spy agency and CIA director David Petraeus.

Beyond the flood of privacy concerns and humanitarian interests drowning much of the discussion on drones in the media, questions of state sovereignty and state responsibility are at the heart of the U.S.-Pakistan drone dispute.  On one hand, the U.S. drone operations may be seen as a violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan, what with the U.S. attacking militants on Pakistan’s soil without the consent of the country. Meanwhile, the U.S. claims to be applying drones in the name of self-defense after the failure of Pakistan to uphold its obligations under U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2625 (XXV), which establishes state responsibility to refrain from supporting acts of terrorism.  At the same time, the U.S. must still adhere to Article 51 of the U.N. Charter when invoking  the right to self-defense under the doctrine of state responsibility. Seeing as the CIA is operating the drone operations, and not a traditional military branch of the U.S. Government, the legitimacy of the U.S. actions are called into question. With Russia and other countries now stockpiling drones, the U.S.-Pakistan drone dispute may very well set precedent for the future of all drone operations.

Cassandra Kirsch is a rising third year law student and a Staff Editor on The View From Above.

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Critical Analysis: Pakistani Doctor Gets 33 Years for Involvement in bin Laden Killing

The Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA locate Osama bin Laden will face 33 years in prison for what the Pakistani government calls involvement with an Islamic militant group. Shakil Afridi was tried in Pakistan’s tribal court system for colluding with an Islamist warlord to whom he allegedly donated more than $22,000.

Afridi was recruited by the CIA to run a vaccination program in early 2011 as a cover for an operation meant to verify whether bin Laden was living in a compound in Abbotabad. Shortly after the Navy SEALs raided the compound and killed bin Laden, Afridi was picked up by Pakistani intelligence and news began to spread that he would be charged for treason in a regular court in Pakistan. His case was then moved to Khyber Agency in a tribal court system, where he would have to face a draconian council of tribal elders without a lawyer.

Afridi is currently being held in Peshawar, where Pakistani Taliban and other extremists are also incarcerated. Officials with the provincial government have asked the federal government to move Afridi because they fear he could be attacked by other prisoners due to his involvement in the death of bin Laden. The U.S. has expressed concerns over Afridi’s safety, but it is uncertain whether the Pakistani government and military will comply with the transfer requests.

Adding to the already tense relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, after news broke of Afridi’s conviction lawmakers in Washington voted to cut $33 million in American aid to Pakistan, $1 million for each year of Afridi’s sentence. It is assumed that the U.S. will try to reach a deal with Pakistan to free Afridi and resettle him and his family in the United States. However, it could be years before the U.S. is in a position to negotiate with Pakistan for Afridi’s freedom.

In the meantime, officials for an anti-extremist advocacy group maintain that Afridi is innocent of the charges and are arranging legal aid to assist him in the appeals process.

 

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Solving Kashmir: On an Application of Reason

This article has its origins in a paper “Towards an Economic Solution for Kashmir” which circulated in Washington DC in 1992-1995, including at the Indian and Pakistani embassies and the Carnegie Endowment, and was given as an invited lecture at the Heritage Foundation on June 23 1998. It was first published in The Statesman, in three parts, on Dec. 1-3, 2005.

I. Give Indian `Green Cards’ to the Hurriyat et al
India, being a liberal democracy in its constitutional law, cannot do in Jammu & Kashmir what Czechoslovakia did to the “Sudeten Germans” after World War II. On June 18 1945 the new Czechoslovakia announced those Germans and Magyars within their borders who could not prove they had been actively anti-fascist before or during the War would be expelled — the burden of proof was placed on the individual, not the State. Czechoslovakia “transferring” this population was approved by the Heads of the USA, UK and USSR Governments at Potsdam on August 2 1945. By the end of 1946, upto two million Sudeten Germans were forced to flee their homes; thousands may have died by massacre or otherwise; 165,000 remained who were absorbed as Czechoslovak citizens. Among those expelled were doubtless many who had supported Germany and many others who had not — the latter to this day seek justice or even an apology in vain. Czechoslovakia punished none of its nationals for atrocities, saying it had been revenge for Hitler’s evil (“badla” in Bollywood terms) and the post Cold War Czech Government too has declined to render an apology. Revenge is a wild kind of justice (while justice may be a civilised kind of revenge).

Kashmir & Jammu

India cannot follow this savage precedent in international law. Yet we must recognise there are several hundred and up to several hundred thousand persons on our side of the boundary in the State of Jammu & Kashmir who do not wish to be Indian nationals. These people are presently our nationals ius soli, having been born in territory of the Indian Republic, and/or ius sanguinis, having been born of parents who are Indian nationals; or they may be “stateless” whom we must treat in accordance with the 1954 Convention on Stateless Persons. The fact is they may not wish to carry Indian passports or be Indian nationals.

In this respect their juridical persons resemble the few million “elite” Indians who have in the last few decades freely placed their hands on their hearts and solemnly renounced their Indian nationality, declaring instead their individual fidelity to other nation-states — becoming American, Canadian or Australian citizens, or British subjects or nationals of other countries. Such people include tens of thousands of the adult children of India’s metropolitan “elite”, who are annually visited abroad in the hot summer months by their Indian parents and relatives. They are daughters and sons of New Delhi’s Government and Opposition, of retired generals, air marshals, admirals, ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, public sector bureaucrats, private sector businessmen, university professors, journalists, doctors and many others. India’s most popular film-actress exemplified this “elite” capital-flight when, after a tireless search, she chose a foreign husband and moved to California.

The difference in Jammu & Kashmir would be that those wishing to renounce Indian nationality do not wish to move to any other place but to stay as and where they are, which is in Kashmir Valley or Jammu. Furthermore, they may wish, for whatever reason, to adopt, if they are eligible to do so, the nationality of e.g. the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan or the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

They may believe themselves descended from Ahmad Shah Abdali whose Afghans ruled or mis-ruled Kashmir Valley before being defeated by Ranjit Singh’s Sikhs in 1819. Or they may believe themselves of Iranian descent as, for example, are the Kashmiri cousins of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. Or they may simply have wished to be, or are descended from persons who had wished to be on October 26 1947, citizens of the then-new British Dominion of Pakistan — but who came to be prevented from properly expressing such a desire because of the war-like conditions that have prevailed ever since between India and Pakistan. There may be even a few persons in Laddakh who are today Indian nationals but who wish to be considered Tibetans instead; there is, however, no Tibetan Republic and it does not appear there is going to be one.

India, being a free and self-confident country, should allow, in a systematic lawful manner, all such persons to fulfil their desires, and furthermore, should ensure they are not penalised for having expressed such “anti-national” desires or for having acted upon them. Sir Mark Tully, the British journalist, is an example of someone who has been a foreign national who has chosen to reside permanently in the Republic of India — indeed he has been an exemplary permanent resident of our country. There are many others like him. There is no logical reason why all those persons in Jammu & Kashmir who do wish not to be Indians by nationality cannot receive the same legal status from the Indian Republic as has been granted to Sir Mark Tully. There are already thousands of Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Nepalese nationals who are lawful permanent residents in the Indian Republic, and who travel back and forth between India and their home countries. There is no logical reason why the same could not be extended to several hundred or numerous thousand people in Jammu & Kashmir who may wish to not accept or to renounce their Indian nationality (for whatever personal reason) and instead become nationals, if they are so eligible, of the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran or Pakistan, or, for that matter, to remain stateless. On the one hand, their renunciation of Indian nationality is logically equivalent to the renunciation of Indian nationality by the adult children of India’s “elite” settled in North America and Western Europe. On the other hand, their wish to adopt, if they are eligible, a foreign nationality, such as that of Afghanistan, Iran or Pakistan, and yet remain domiciled in Indian territory is logically equivalent to that of many foreign nationals domiciled in India already like Sir Mark Tully.

Now if you are a permanent resident of some country, you may legally have many, perhaps most, but certainly not all the rights and duties of nationals of that country. e.g., though you will have to pay all the same taxes, you may not be allowed to (or be required to) vote in national or provincial elections but you may in local municipal elections. At the same time, permanently residing foreign nationals are supposed to be equal under the law and have equal access to all processes of civil and criminal justice. (As may be expected though from human frailty, even the federal courts of the USA can be notorious in their injustice and racism towards “Green Card” holders relative to “full” American citizens.) Then again, as a permanently resident foreigner, while you will be free to work in any lawful trade or profession, you may not be allowed to work in some or perhaps any Government agencies, certainly not the armed forces or the police. Many Indians in the USA were engineering graduates, and because many engineering jobs or contracts in the USA are related to the US armed forces and require US citizens only, it is commonplace for Indian engineers to renounce their Indian nationality and become Americans because of this. Many Indian-American families have one member who is American, another Indian, a third maybe Canadian, a fourth Fijian or British etc.

The same can happen in the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir if it evolves peacefully and correctly in the future. It is quite possible to imagine a productive family in a peaceful Kashmir Valley of the future where one brother is an officer in the Indian Armed Forces, another brother a civil servant and a sister a police officer of the J&K State Government, another sister being a Pakistani doctor, while cousins are Afghan or Iranian or “stateless” businessmen. Each family-member would have made his/her choice of nationality as an individual given the circumstances of his/her life, his/her personal comprehension of the facts of history, his/her personal political and/or religious persuasions, and similar deeply private considerations. All would have their children going to Indian schools and being Indian citizens ius soli and/or ius sanguinis. When the children grow up, they would be free to join, if they wished, the existing capital flight of other Indian adult children abroad and there renounce their Indian nationality as many have come to do.

II Revealing Choices Privately with Full Information
For India to implement such a proposal would be to provide an opportunity for all those domiciled in Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Laddakh to express freely and privately as individuals their deepest wishes about their own identities, in a confidential manner, citizen by citizen, case by case. This would thereby solve the fundamental democratic problem that has been faced ever since the Pakistani attack on the original State of Jammu & Kashmir commenced on October 22 1947, which came to be followed by the Rape of Baramulla — causing the formal accession of the State to the then-new Dominion of India on October 26 1947.

A period of, say, 30 months may be announced by the Government of India during which full information would be provided to all citizens affected by this change, i.e. all those presently governed by Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The condition of full information may include, for example, easy access to Afghan, Iranian and Pakistani newspapers in addition to access to Indian media. Each such person wishing to either remain with Indian nationality (by explicitly requesting an Indian passport if he/she does not have one already — and such passports can be printed in Kashmiri and Urdu too), or to renounce Indian nationality and either remain stateless or adopt, if he/she is so eligible, the nationality of e.g. Afghanistan, Iran, or Pakistan, should be administratively assisted by the Government of India to make that choice.

In particular, he/she should be individually, confidentially, and without fear or favour assured and informed of his/her new rights and responsibilities. For example, a resident of Kashmir Valley who chooses to become a Pakistani citizen, such as Mr Geelani, would now enjoy the same rights and responsibilities in the Indian Republic that Mr Tully enjoys, and at the same time no longer require a visa to visit Pakistan just as Mr Tully needs no visa to enter Britain. In case individual participants in the Hurriyat choose to renounce Indian nationality and adopt some other, they would no longer be able to legally participate in Indian national elections or J&K’s State elections. That is something which they say they do not wish to do in any case. Those members of the Hurriyat who chose e.g. Pakistani nationality while still residing in Jammu & Kashmir, would be free to send postal ballots or cross the border and vote in Pakistan’s elections if and when these occur. There are many Canadians who live permanently in the USA who cross home to Canada in order to cast a ballot.

After the period of 30 months, every person presently under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution would have received a full and fair opportunity to privately and confidentially reveal his/her preference or choice under conditions of full information. “Partition”, “Plebiscite”, and “Military Decision” have been the three alternatives under discussion ever since the National Conference of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and his then-loyal Deputy, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, helped the Indian Army and Air Force in 1947-1948 fight off the savage attack against Jammu & Kashmir State that had commenced from Pakistan on October 22 1947. When, during the Pakistani attack, the Sheikh and Bakshi agreed to the Muslim Conference’s demand for a plebiscite among the people, the Pakistanis balked — the Sheikh and Bakshi then withdrew their offer and decisively and irrevocably chose to accede to the Indian Union. The people of Jammu & Kashmir, like any other, are now bound by the sovereign political commitments made by their forebears. Even so, given the painful mortal facts of the several decades since, the solution here proposed if properly implemented would be an incomparably more thorough democratic exercise than any conceivable plebiscite could ever have been.

Furthermore, regardless of the outcome, it would not entail any further “Partition” or population “transfer” which inevitably would degenerate into a savage balkanization, and has been ruled out as an unacceptable “deal-breaker” by the Indian Republic. Instead, every individual person would have been required, in a private and confidential decision-making process, to have chosen a nationality or to remain stateless — resulting in a multitude of cosmopolitan families in Jammu & Kashmir. But that is something commonplace in the modern world. Properly understood and properly implemented, we shall have resolved the great mortal problem we have faced for more than half a century, and Jammu & Kashmir can finally settle into a period of peace and prosperity. The boundary between India and Pakistan would have been settled by the third alternative mentioned at the time, namely, “Military Decision”.

III. Of Flags and Consulates in Srinagar and Gilgit
Pakistan has demanded its flag fly in Srinagar. This too can happen though not in the way Pakistan has been wishing to see it happen. A Pakistan flag might fly in the Valley just as might an Afghan and Iranian flag as well. Pakistan has wished its flag to fly as the sovereign over Jammu & Kashmir. That is not possible. The best and most just outcome is for the Pakistani flag to fly over a recognised Pakistani consular or visa office in Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. In diplomatic exchange, the Indian tricolour would have to fly over a recognised Indian consular or visa office in Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and Skardu.

Pakistan also may have to act equivalently with respect to the original inhabitants of the territory of Jammu & Kashmir that it has been controlling — allowing those people to become Indian nationals if they so chose to do in free private decisions under conditions of full information. In other words, the “Military Decision” that defines the present boundary between sovereign states must be recognised by Pakistan sincerely and permanently in a Treaty relationship with India — and all of Pakistan’s official and unofficial protégés like the Hurriyat and the “United Jehad Council” would have to do the same. Without such a sovereign commitment from the Government of Pakistan, as shown by decisive actions of lack of aggressive intent (e.g. as came to be implemented between the USA and USSR), the Government of India has no need to involve the Government of Pakistan in implementing the solution of enhancing free individual choice of nationality with regard to all persons on our side of the boundary.

The “Military Decision” regarding the sovereign boundary in Jammu & Kashmir will be so recognised by all only if it is the universally just outcome in international law. And that in fact is what it is.

The original Jammu & Kashmir State began its existence as an entity in international law long before the present Republics of India and Pakistan ever did. Pakistan commences as an entity on August 14 1947; India commences as an entity of international law with its signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 20 1918. Jammu & Kashmir began as an entity on March 16 1846 — when the Treaty of Amritsar was signed between Gulab Singh Dogra and the British, one week after the Treaty of Lahore between the British and the defeated Sikh regency of the child Daleep Singh.

Liaquat Ali Khan and Zafrullah Khan both formally challenged on Pakistan’s behalf the legitimacy of Dogra rule in Jammu & Kashmir since the Treaty of Amritsar. The Pakistani Mission to the UN does so even today. The Pakistanis were following Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru himself, who too had at one point challenged Dogra legitimacy in the past. But though the form of words of the Pakistan Government and the Nehru-Abdullah position were similar in their attacks on the Treaty of Amritsar, their underlying substantive reasons were as different as chalk from cheese. The Pakistanis attacked the Dogra dynasty for being Dogra — i.e. because they were Hindus and not Muslims governing a Muslim majority. Nehru and Abdullah denounced monarchic autocracy in favour of mass democracy, and so attacked the Dogra dynasty for being a dynasty. All were wrong to think the Treaty of Amritsar anything but a lawful treaty in international law.

Furthermore, in this sombre political game of great mortal consequence, there were also two other parties who were, or appeared to be, in favour of the dynasty: one because the dynasty was non-Muslim, the other, despite it being so. Non-Muslim minorities like many Hindus and Sikhs in the business and governmental classes, saw the Dogra dynasty as their protector against a feared communalist tyranny arising from the Sunni Muslim masses of Srinagar Valley, whom Abdullah’s rhetoric at Friday prayer-meetings had been inciting or at least awakening from slumber. At the same time, the communalists of the Muslim Conference who had broken away from Abdullah’s secular National Conference, sought political advantage over Abdullah by declaring themselves in favour of keeping the dynasty — even elevating it to become an international sovereign, thus flattering the already pretentious potentate that he would be called “His Majesty” instead of merely “His Highness”. The ancestry of today’s Hurriyat’s demands for an independent Jammu & Kashmir may be traced precisely to those May 21-22 1947 declarations of the Muslim Conference leader, Hamidullah Khan.

Into this game stumbled the British with all the mix of cunning, indifference, good will, impatience, arrogance and pomposity that marked their rule in India. At the behest of the so-called “Native Princes”, the 1929 Butler Commission had hinted that the relationship of “Indian India” to the British sovereign was conceptually different from that of “British India” to the British sovereign. This view was adopted in the Cabinet Mission’s 12 May 1946 Memorandum which in turn came to be applied by Attlee and Mountbatten in their unseemly rush to “Divide and Quit” India in the summer of 1947.

It created the pure legal illusion that there was such a thing as “Lapse of Paramountcy” at which Jammu & Kashmir or any other “Native State” of “Indian India” could conceivably, even for a moment, become a sovereign enjoying the comity of nations — contradicting Britain’s own position that only two Dominions, India and Pakistan, could ever be members of the British Commonwealth and hence members of the newly created UN. British pusillanimity towards Jammu & Kashmir’s Ruler had even extended to making him a nominal member of Churchill’s War Cabinet because he had sent troops to fight in Burma. But the legal illusion had come about because of a catastrophic misunderstanding on the part of the British of their own constitutional law.

The only legal scholar who saw this was B R Ambedkar in a lonely and brilliant technical analysis released to the press on June 17 1947. No “Lapse of Paramountcy” over the “Native Princes” of Indian India could occur in constitutional law. Paramountcy over Indian India would be automatically inherited by the successor state of British India at the Transfer of Power. That successor state was the new British Dominion of India as well as (when it came to be finalised by Partition from India) the new British Dominion of Pakistan (Postscript: the deleted words represent a mistake made in the original paper, corrected in “Law, Justice & J&K” in view of the fact the UN  in 1947 deemed  India alone the successor state of British India and Pakistan a new state in the world system). A former “Native Prince” could only choose to which Dominion he would go. No other alternative existed even for a single logical moment. Because the British had catastrophically failed to comprehend this aspect of their own constitutional law, they created a legal vacuum whereby between August 15 and October 22-26 1947, Jammu & Kashmir became a local and temporary sovereign recognised only by the Dominion of Pakistan (until October 22) and the Dominion of India (until October 26). But it was not a globally recognised sovereign and was never going to be such in international law. This was further proved by Attlee refusing to answer the J&K Prime Minister’s October 18 1947 telegram.

All ambiguity came to end with the Pakistani attack of October 22 1947, the Rape of Baramulla, the secession of an “Azad Kashmir”declared by Sardar Ibrahim, and the Pakistani coup détat in Gilgit on October 31 1947 followed by the massacre of Sikh soldiers of the J&K Army at Bunji. With those Pakistani actions, Gulab Singh’s Jammu & Kashmir State, founded on March 16 1846 by the Treaty of Amritsar, ceased to logically exist as an entity in international law and fell into a state of ownerless anarchy. The conflict between Ibrahim’s Muslim communalists backed by the new Dominion of Pakistan and Abdullah’s secularists backed by the new Dominion of India had become a civil war within a larger intra-Commonwealth war that itself was almost a civil war between forces of the same military.

Jammu & Kashmir territory had become ownerless. The Roman Law which is at the root of all municipal and international law in the world today would declare that in the ownership of such an ownerless entity, a “Military Decision” was indeed the just outcome. Sovereignty over the land, waters, forests and other actual and potential resources of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir has become divided by “Military Decision” between the modern Republics of India and Pakistan. By the proposal made herein, the people and their descendants shall have chosen their nationality and their domicile freely across the sovereign boundary that has come to result.

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Sources: CNN, BBC, Dawn.com

News Post: NATO military accident leads to Pakistan’s likely withdrawal from Bonn Conference

Sources: CNN, BBC, Dawn.com

Sources: CNN, BBC, Dawn.com

Over the weekend continued disputes on the Kunar border led to the accidental deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in their military outpost and Pakistan’s boycott of the Bonn conference.  This was not the first of such accidents involving NATO or the United States near Kunar (Afghanistan), which borders Pakistan.  Past incidents include a disputed military action in 2008 where Pakistan claimed that 11 soldiers were killed in a bombing attempt aimed at Taliban insurgents.

This is an area rife with conflict.  Accidents commonly occur due to the lack of available intelligence and the difficulty of surveillance in the mountainous region.  It is occupied by both the Pakistan and Afghan military, but it is also a common spot for Al Qaeda, Haqqani and Hezbi groups to travel between borders.  As one Afghan analyst stated, it is “the perfect storm” for the disputes and military accidents to occur. This complicated structure leading to accidents has increasingly led to issues between NATO, the U.S., Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

These continued attacks have led to Pakistan’s boycott of the Bonn conference and could potentially lead to problems with the withdrawal of American troops from Pakistan beginning next year.  At this time, Pakistan is claiming that the NATO attacks were unprovoked and that NATO’s claims that this was a response to defend troops under fire are untrue.  As a result, Pakistan is protesting the upcoming Bonn Conference and Pakistan’s participation seems unlikely at this time.

However, while Pakistan is currently boycotting the Bonn conference and its leaders are reluctant to attend the Bonn conference, Afghan officials and NATO are urging Pakistan to reconsider.  The Bonn conference is meant to help facilitate and eliminate conflicts such as this. Afghanistan and other nations are hopeful that Pakistan will reconsider the boycott.  However, at this time it appears that Pakistan will not be involved in the Bonn Conference.

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Sources: NY Times, BBc, NPR, Huffington Post

News Post: Admiral Mullen’s Statement Strains U.S.-Pakistan Relationship

Sources: NY Times, BBc, NPR, Huffington Post

Sources: NY Times, BBc, NPR, Huffington Post

Admiral Mike Mullen unleashed a diplomatic firestorm last week with his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee alleging that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), played a direct role in supporting the insurgent’s deadly attack on the American Embassy in Kabul last week. According to Adm. Mullen, the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one of the nation’s top military officers, the insurgents who attacked the Embassy were “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s spy agency.

Adm. Mullen’s remarks come after heavily armed insurgents wearing suicide vests struck the United States Embassy and the nearby NATO headquarters in the south of Kabul on September 13, 2011. The attack left 11 civilians and at least four police and 10 insurgents dead. An attack just three days prior, which was one of the worst tolls for foreign troops in a single attack since the commencement of the war, left 77 coalition soldiers wounded. In addition to connecting these attacks to the ISI, Mullen stated, “We also have credible intelligence that they were behind the 28 June attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations.”

When asked again about his testimony later in the week on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Mullen decisively affirmed his prior statements, asserting he would not change “a word.” He declared, “I phrased it the way I wanted it to be phrased.” In his interview with Morning Edition host, Steve Inskeep, Mullen explained, “I am losing American soldiers. The Haqqanis are killing American soldiers. And from that perspective, I think it’s got to be addressed, which is the reason I spoke to it.” However, Mullen did make clear that he would not go as far as saying the Haqqanis are acting out the will of the Pakistani government, reiterating that he had only “talked about them supporting it,” not directing it.

Since his testimony the White House and State Department have attempted to temper Mullen’s remarks. For example, when White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked whether the Haqqani network was “a veritable arm” of the ISI, Carney told the press, “It’s not language I would use.” Likewise, two administration officials said Mullen had overstated the precision of evidence linking the ISI to the recent attacks. However, while the White House seemed to shy away from Mullen’s bold language, the Obama Administration, as well as the State Department, have supported the broader claim that “links” exist between the Haqqani network and the ISI. Moreover, there are even those within the White House and Congress who feel that Pakistan was complacent in protecting Osama bin Laden whom was living in plain view in a compound just miles from Islamabad last May. In short, while United States’ officials generally agree that Pakistan’s intelligence agency supports the Haqqani network, Mullen ratcheted up the Pakistan-US tension when he asserted that support extended to the high-profile attacks aimed directly at the United States.

The universal reaction in Pakistan has been one of outrage, with both Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders denying the accusation. In an interview with NPR, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said having “links” to those networks doesn’t mean Pakistan is involved in an attack. Knar pointedly stated, “I can assure you that your intelligence agency would have links with the same people, maybe.” Likewise, Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, denied accusations of ISI involvement in the Afghanistan attacks, stating, “If you say that it is ISI involved in that attack, I categorically deny it.”

While there is a difference of opinions on the events leading up to Mullen’s statement, all sides seem to acknowledge that, rightly or wrongly, his testimony has further strained the already shaky relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan. Mullen himself acknowledged that there is a “huge trust deficit” and that it’s a “difficult relationship.” Shortly after the statements were made, Secretary of State Hilary Rodman Clinton also acknowledged the frayed relationship between the two countries, while some members of Congress suggested that aid to Pakistan be halted. Likewise, BBC correspondent M Ilyas Khan explained, These comments are just the latest and most extreme in a series of statements that will be seen in Pakistan as incendiary.”

However, it seems that there is one thing Mullen and both governments do agree on: that although the relationship between Pakistan and U.S. is strained, it needs to be maintained. This mutual acknowledgment of the requisite to maintain a working relationship is evident through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that “we’re going to continue to work with our Pakistani counterparts to try to root [terrorists] out and prevent them from attacking Pakistanis, Americans, Afghans or anyone else.” Similarly, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, has stated that Washington believes in a long-term collaboration with Pakistan. Consequently, as of October 1, the two countries seem to have pulled back from the brink: a diplomat stated that the two countries had gone the extra mile this week to defuse tension and there has been talk of an All Parties Conference, convened by the Prime Minister to discuss the recent events. Moreover, the incoming Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, will also visit Pakistan in an attempt to repair ties with the Pakistani military leadership.

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