Pakistan army condemns seven ‘hardcore’ militants to death

A statement issued by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) gave few details of the assaults each suspect was convicted of, but said that in total the attacks caused the deaths of 85 people and injured 109 others. (AFP)
Updated 10 February 2018
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Pakistan army condemns seven ‘hardcore’ militants to death

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan military courts have sentenced seven “hardcore” militants to death over various attacks on security forces that left dozens dead, including civilians, the country’s army chief said Friday.
A statement issued by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) gave few details of the assaults each suspect was convicted of, but said that in total the attacks caused the deaths of 85 people and injured 109 others.
Referring to the detainees as “hardcore terrorists,” the statement said they were “involved in heinous offenses related to terrorism, including killing of innocent civilians, attacking Law Enforcement Agencies and Armed Forces of Pakistan.”
It did not specify which organizations the suspects were thought to belong to.
Pakistan’s military courts were established in the wake of a December 2014 Taliban massacre at an army-run school in Peshawar that killed over 150 people, mostly schoolchildren.
Following that attack the government lifted the moratorium on the death penalty. Scores of militants have since been condemned to death.


‘New beginning’: Khan brings hope of stronger ties with India

Updated 18 August 2018
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‘New beginning’: Khan brings hope of stronger ties with India

  • Cautious optimism in India as Imran Khan becomes PM in Pakistan
  • Indian experts say stable government in Pakistan will determine the course of India-Pakistan relations

NEW DELHI: Indian foreign policy experts have expressed cautious optimism about an improvement in the country’s relationship with Pakistan following Imran Khan’s rise to power.

Former India ambassador to Pakistan TCA Raghavan said that if Pakistan’s new prime minister was able to provide stable government internally and address the nation’s numerous domestic issues, it “will create the basis for better relations with India.”

Raghavan, author of “The People Next Door: The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations,” said: “It’s difficult to make predictions about India-Pakistan relations at any time. But in my view the internal situation in Pakistan has a great role to play in determining the course of the relationship.”

Sudheendra Kulkarni, a peace activist and adviser to the former prime minister Atal Behari Vajppayee, described Khan’s leadership as a “new beginning for Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent.”

“The past four years have been a wasted opportunity in taking the India-Pakistan relationship forward,” he said. “Nawaz Sharif was a leader with a thorough commitment to a better relationship with New Delhi, but the Narendra Modi regime could not sustain the initial hopes when it invited the leader of the Islamic republic to a swearing in ceremony in 2014.”

However, Kulkarni cautioned that “we should not expect marked improvement in relations in the next eight to nine months as India is going to have elections early next year.”

Professor Happymon Jacob, of the Center for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: “I am positive about Imran Khan. If the Pakistan army and the political establishment are on board, and there is no difference between the two elites, then it becomes easier for India to navigate.

“Under Nawaz Sharif, both the elites were not on the same page regarding India. The present regime in Delhi will not reach out to Pakistan when elections in India are around the corner. If anything wrong goes so far as peace process is concerned, then it will have electoral ramifications. Any revival of peace talks will happen only after the elections.”

India’s leadership reached out to Khan after his election victory with the Ministry of External Affairs saying: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan and reiterates his vision of peace and development in the entire neighborhood.”

In his victory speech, Khan also said that “Pakistan is ready to improve its ties with India.”

He said that his government hoped the leaders of the two nations can resolve all disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir, through talks.

“If they take one step toward us, we will take two,” he said.

Meanwhile, India cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, a guest at Khan’s swearing in on Saturday, has called for peace on the subcontinent.

“It’s in the interest of both countries that peace prevails. I have come to Pakistan despite all the criticism back home with a message of peace and friendship. We have the same culture, the same way of thinking and, therefore, it is important that we should have a strong bond.”