Death toll climbs from India’s monsoon floods
Death toll climbs from India’s monsoon floods
Heavy rain in Gujarat has claimed 11 lives since Saturday as the monsoon intensified across the western state.
“Seven of these died in the last 24 hours and at least four others are still missing,” Pankaj Kumar, a Gujarat government official, told AFP.
Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India’s northeast have been the hardest-hit, while pockets of the eastern states of Odisha and Bihar have also been affected.
In the hilly state of Assam 60 people have been killed and a state-wide emergency relief operation has been underway since the wet season arrived in April.
“One person died in the last 24 hours. Thousands have been rescued and are now in 118 relief camps set up by the government across 21 affected districts,” said Rajib Prakash Barua, a senior official with the state’s Disaster Management Authority.
Rains had eased in some parts of the state but five major rivers were still at danger levels, he added.
Rescue teams have also delivered grass and other feed to animals stranded in flooded sections of Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, home to India’s famed one-horned rhinos and other native species.
Power supply and rail and road services have been disrupted in the five worst-hit states.
Parts of Arunachal Pradesh have endured some of their worst floods and landslides for years amid more than a week of incessant rain.
At least five people were killed by a landslide last week in a remote village along the border with China.
The government has called in the army to help with relief and rescue operations in some parts of the worst-hit states.
I could have done a lot more for Pakistan but was prevented by Musharraf, says Dr. A.Q. Khan
- India and Pakistan could live together in peace and harmony 'if the Kashmir problem is solved amicably,' says Pakistan's top nuclear scientist
- The safety and security system put in place by Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division is 'failsafe'
DUBAI: “All the Western countries are against any Muslim country having a nuclear capacity,” said Pakistan’s former nuclear scientist — popularly known as the ‘father’ of Pakistan’s atomic bomb — in an exclusive interview with Arab News.
“Never do you hear a word said about Israel’s nuclear program,” he said.
International community keeps raising concerns over the safety of the country’s nuclear arsenal.
“The safety and security system which has been put in place by the SPD (Strategic Plans Division) is failsafe,” said Dr. Khan, in a reply to questions sent to him by email.
Dr. Khan stressed that Pakistan has “no evil designs against any country” and that the country’s nukes are purely for “self-defense” and deterrence, adding that in case of an aggression “there will be no concessions from Pakistan.”
Advocating Pakistan’s nuclear ambition, Dr. Khan said, “It has definitely protected Pakistan, not only from an aggressive India, but also from (foreign) adventurists.”
“We all know what happened to non-nuclear Pakistan in 1971. Since the early 1980s the world was aware that we had a nuclear program and neither India nor any other country has dared to touch us ... I gave Pakistan the capability of hitting back if it was attacked making any misadventure on the part of India fatal for both countries,” he said.
The two countries could live together in peace and harmony “if the Kashmir problem is solved amicably,” he said.
As Pakistan heads toward the general election next month (July 25), Dr. Khan said that he has no political plans.
Dr. Khan dissolved his political party, Tahreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Pakistan (Movement for the Protection of Pakistan), after the 2013 election. “The formation of that party was at the insistence of many people and I gave them the opportunity to try. However, there were no good results.”
“Politics in Pakistan requires rolling banknotes,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan made public the assets of main electoral candidates in the 2018 elections, figures that have shown rich political leaders living lavish lifestyle.
Pakistan problems are caused by the “corrupt system and political inabilities” where leaders had most of their wealth stashed abroad and “little interest in safeguarding national interests,” Dr. Khan said.
“See how Gen. Musharraf, a military dictator, sold this country’s sovereignty to the West at a simple phone call from the US. For that, we have paid, and are still paying, a very heavy price.”
Dr. Khan alleged that he was sacked by Musharraf on a US whim at a time when he could have done much more for Pakistan.
“… Read what Chaudhry Shujaat Husain has said about that episode in his autobiography.” He said Musharraf “neutralized” him (Dr. A.Q. Khan) because President Bush wanted him to do so. “The country suffered because of it.”
In January 2004, Dr. Khan was summoned by the government for a debriefing on his alleged role in nuclear weapons technology proliferation after the US shared evidence with Pakistan. He confessed to the charges a month later and was put under official house arrest. He was released as a free man on Feb. 6, 2009, by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
“I could have done a lot more for Pakistan in the years after my retirement but was prevented from doing so by him (Musharraf). Now he himself is in disgrace while the nation still honors me,” said the 83-year old former nuclear physicist, recalling his sacking.
Dr. Khan, who visited North Korea before under a missile program mission by Pakistan, believes that the recent Trump-Kim summit in Singapore will not definitely lead to Pyongyang’s denuclearization. “North Koreans are very pragmatic,” he said.
“As long as US troops are in Japan and South Korea, North Korea will not freeze or abandon its nuclear program.”
Both the US and North Korea are trying to get the best out of the situation — President Trump looking for a Nobel Prize for Peace and the North Korean President recognition as a world leader, he said.