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PAF raises a new multirole squadron

F.P. Report

QUETTA: Pakistan Air Force achieved another milestone, as a new multirole squadron, equipped with Pakistan’s Pride JF-17 Thunder, was raised at PAF Base Samungli (Quetta) on Wednesday. A grand ceremony was held at the base to mark this historic event. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the Chief Guest at the occasion.

The Air Chief reviewed a smartly turned out guard of honour by the personnel of the Base. He awarded the squadron emblem to Wing Commander Amir Imran Cheema, Officer Commanding No 28 Multirole Squadron. To make this event memorable, a four ship formation of JF-17 Thunders presented a fly past over the venue.

Addressing at the occasion, the Air Chief said, “We totally understand the kind of conspiracies the enemies of Pakistan continue to hatch but our resolve is very firm and response very clear. We are peace loving nation but we do not want anybody to interfere into our airspace and territory. We have done whatever is humanly possible on fighting the menace of terrorism and Allah has rewarded our efforts by restoring peace in the country. Reversal is not an option for us”.

The Air Chief further said, “From now on, No 28 MR Squadron, equipped with Pakistan’s Pride JF-17, has the responsibility of providing day and night aerial defense of the country especially along the western borders of Pakistan. I am confident that No 28 Sqn would create the desired strategic balance in a most befitting manner. We want to maintain peace with honour in the region, especially during these uncertain and challenging times. I want to assure the nation that despite all odds, our resolve shall remain unshakable and we shall defend our motherland against any aerial aggression.” He further added, “Baluchistan is a great province and has significant value for all of us. Its people are friendly, loyal to the country and have always given their best for the development of this country. The development of CPEC is a milestone and will turn In Sha Allah not only the history and face of Baluchistan but the entire country. I am very glad that No 28 Squadron takes its birth today in Baluchistan.”

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Police arrest 444 suspects

Shafi Ullah

MINGORA: Police arrested 444 suspected persons including 12 proclaimed offenders during 77 search operations conducted in Swat in one month.

District Police Officer (DPO) Captain (Rtd) Wahid Mehmood informed media persons that police conducted 77 search and strike operations in one month and arrested 444 suspected persons including 12 proclaimed offenders.

He added that police also recovered two SMG gun, 11 rifles, eight shot guns, 48 pistols, 1000 bullets, 83 kilograms hashish, three kilogram heroin, 100 gram ice and 166 liters of liquors from the possession of the arrested persons. DPO further added that DSP Saidu Sharif Akbar Hayat Khan was awarded cash prize and appreciation certificate for his performance. He urged the people to assist the police force as it is very important for the elimination of criminals from the area.

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Protest held against doctors: PPP activist and district councilor sent to lock up

F.P. Report

TIMERGARA: The Pakistan People Party (PPP) Lower Dir secretary information and district councilor advocate Alam Zeb was sent to lock up for one day judicial remand after the court of additional district and session judge Liaquat Ali on Wednesday cancelled his bail before arrest application.

The PPP activist had attained BBA after the Timergara police registered a case on doctors’ demand on the charges of harassing and interfering in their duties. Mr. Zeb had led an enraged mob against doctors after the death of an eight-month child at DHQ hospital Timergara emergency on Feb, 16.

The protesters had blocked the Timergara-Chitral road in front of the hospital for several hours. They were alleging that the child had died due to doctors’ negligence. The hospital’ staff also had observed three days strike against the PPP activist for insulting them and inciting the locals to agitate on the matter. The court on Wednesday did not confirm his BBA and handed him over to Timergara police for one day remand.

Meanwhile the PPP Lower Dir announced to hold protest rallies against the arrest of Mr Zeb in parts of the district on Thursday (today). Talking to local journalists the arrested activist said he had done no fault but raised voice for an innocent child who died due to doctors’ negligence at the Timergara hospital.


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Clearing agents’ agitation continues in Landikotal

Ahmad Nabi

LANDI KOTAL: All export and import clearing process was suspended at Torkham border for the third consecutive day as agitation of Torkham clearing agents’ association against imposition of WeBOC system was in progress here on Wednesday.

In this connection a massive protest rally was organized in Landi Kotal Bazaar that was attended by hundreds of clearing workers along with large numbers of volunteers of Khyber Political Alliance and local tribesmen. The agitators were holding banners inscribed with slogans in favor of their demands and chanted full-throat slogans, like “WeBOC is unacceptable, ” “go NLC go” etc, marched from Hospital Square to Bacha Chawk where it turned into a public gathering.

Addressing on the occasion speakers including Chairman clearing agents association, Torkham Mirajuddin Shinwari, Sectary General Jamiat Ullema-e-Islam, Fazalrehman(JUI-F) Mufti Muhammad Ijaz, naib ameer Jamat-e-Islam (JI) FATA, Zarnoor Afridi, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), FATA Leader Abdurraziq Shinwari, Pakistan People Party (PPP) local leader Altaf Afridi, Awami National Party (ANP) Khyber Agency President Shah Hussain Shinwari, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa transport President Yousaf Afridi, Shakir Afridi, nominated candidate from NA-45 Shermat Khan Afridi and others criticized the authorities for implementation of WeBOC system in custom center Torkham for clearing process and declared economical assassination of the tribal, adding National Logistic Cell(NLC)was the real performer behind the anti-tribesmen policy to take hold of the whole business of Torkham border.

They added that earlier on pretext of security handcarts were banned on the border and then barriers were erected in front of all private business centers in Torkham bazaar left thousands of local tribal jobless and now with introduction of WeBOC system, the lonely functional activity of the tribesmen i.e., goods clearing process would be shut. “Security of job is State responsibility but ironically in tribal region it is upside down as NLC deprive the tribal of their legal works by restricting all privates business in Torkham”, they remarked.

The representatives of the agents association were on the views that NLC threatened them to approve the new system or be ready for dire consequences of it but they vowed that they would not hesitate of any sacrifice. They also asked agent associations of Chaman, Kharlachi, Jamrud and others to join them in their struggle. The speakers complain that relaxation had been granted to trading activities at Wahga border but Torkham had been made no zone that was step mother behavior towards them and adding the tribesmen were awakened and they would not let to anybody to usurp their rights.


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Why Palestinians should focus on a one-state solution

Ahsan I. Butt

Is the idea that Pal-estinians can gain full citizenship rights within Israel any more idealistic or unlikely than Palest-inians managing to force Israel to cede territory?

Recently, Palestinians seem to have become increasingly interested in the idea of a “one-state” solution. Rather than fighting for an independent country, this strategy calls for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to gain citizenship rights in Israel. Despite this position becoming steadily more popular, especially among the young, it is not yet widely accepted; only about one-third of Palestinians support a one-state solution.

There are good reasons for Palestinians to start emphasising a one-state solution, despite its many potential problems. Governments tend be to be very uncompromising with demands for autonomy or statehood if they believe the creation of a new state will hurt their external security. Such security concerns are deeply entrenched in the Israel-Palestine dispute. Though there are other reasons for Israel disallowing an independent Palestine, the criticalness of balance-of-power considerations to the equation means that a Palestinian strategy focused on rights promises better results than one focused on territory.

The centrality of security in separatists conflicts: When states are faced with nationalists’ demands for independence or autonomy on their territory, they have a decision to make: do we resist the movement or concede territory to it?

As I show in my new book, a state’s security concerns, or lack thereof, help determine this choice. To understand why, it helps to see secession, or the slicing of a country’s territory, as a large and rapid loss of power by the state experiencing it.

First, the state loses relative power to the national group, who win the military, economic, demographic, and institutional benefits of statehood.

Second, because of its losses of territory and population, the state becomes weaker relative to existing regional or global rivals. Such an adverse shift in the balance of power is only acceptable to states confident in their future security. Conversely, other states are warier of the security consequences of border changes. They may fear war against its new neighbor, as Ethiopia experienced against Eritrea in the 1990s, or consider themselves vulnerable to predation from already-established states.

Either way, if the state fears future war, it will attempt to forestall such an eventuality by blocking secession. This theory accounts for one of Israel’s main concerns in giving up land to Palestinians: the security implications of a Palestinian state. These fears are based on living in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the world, second only to South Asia in conflict levels, and one where Israel fought several wars against Arab states early in its life. Moreover, Israeli leaders, especially on the right, have subsumed Palestinian nationalism under the rubric of general Arab hostility to the state.

Consequently, Israel fears that a Palestinian state would develop further security problems for it, if not by its leaders then non-state actors located there, or alternately, by existing states taking advantage of new vulnerabilities. This is not to say that domestic factors are unimportant. Consistent with scholarship that highlight the importance of veto points in self-determination disputes, Israel’s rightward turn since the 1970s — accelerated since the mid-1990s — has resulted in religious-nationalist settlers and their supporters fiercely resisting any idea of Palestinian independence.

Nonetheless, external security, and the international environment more generally, remains prominent in any discussion of Israeli policy vis-a-vis a Palestinian state.

The tragedy of separatist politics: The idea that the Palestinians must assure Israel of its security to win a state can appear, in the words of one Palestinian scholar I interviewed, “twisted logic.”

Are the Palestinians not a stateless minority oppressed by a powerful state enjoying a regional nuclear monopoly, as well as the unflinching backing of the world’s only superpower? This seemingly-reasonable viewpoint conflates absolute with relative power. Israel is assuredly more powerful than, and continues to assert dominance over, the Palestinian nation. However, a Palestinian state would make Israel’s security environment more challenging, at least marginally.

Even if the leaders of an independent Palestine were intent on peace with Israel, the thorny question of non-state actors using such a state as a base for attacks would be left unanswered. Consider how Hamas, hardly a friend of Israel’s, is struggling to excavate ISIS from Gaza.

Indeed, the tragedy from the point of view of common Palestinians is that there is only so much they, and their leaders, can do to placate Israel.  Israel’s history of conflict with Arab states in its early years – which Palestinians bear little responsibility for – has left it suspicious of any changes in the regional balance of power.

Even if the Palestinians give up claims to a state military – which they have since Oslo – there are elements of independence that they simply cannot negotiate away, such as the existence of “hard” international borders, which necessarily reduce Israeli security. This, in a nutshell, is the tragedy of separatist politics.

A one-state solution?

When governments disallow an independent state, or even autonomy, they usually encourage the second-best option available to dissatisfied national groups – assimilation. Naturally, this “assimilation” is on the terms of the central state, but at least there is a de jure invitation to full citizenship. Aside from the so-called “1948 Palestinians” – those Palestinians that remained in Israel’s territory after the 1948 war – the assimilation option is not presently available to the Palestinian people.

In addition to being physically impeded by walls, checkpoints, and blocked roads, Palestinians do not enjoy basic rights granted to “problematic” national groups elsewhere.

Kurds can vote in Iraqi elections and Catalans can vote in Spanish elections but Palestinians, at least those living in Gaza and the West Bank, cannot vote in Israeli elections. This disjuncture in rights between “full” citizens and those Palestinians under occupation has led many, both within and outside the country, to express deep fears of an “apartheid” Israel. This, then, is the context for questions within Palestinian society regarding the advisability of a one- or two-state solution.

Winning “assimilation” rights, while an enormous challenge, may be easier than compelling Israel to concede territory, given the security challenges associated with the latter. A bi-national, democratic state where all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religion, language, creed, or sexual orientation enjoy full and equal rights may rightly strike some as a pipe dream. But a one-state solution is no more quixotic than the notion of a relatively powerless national group forcing a change in borders against the most powerful state in the region, backed by the most powerful state in the world.



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Afghan leadership realism

A the opening session of 25 countries Peace Conference in Afghanistan Capital Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani offered recognition of Taliban as  legitimate political group as a part of political process that could lead to talks aimed ending more than 16 years of war. He also showed willingness for opening of Taliban office. It is positive signal from the incumbent Afghan government to help create a platform for meaningful talks to end the conflict and restore peace to the lengthy war torn Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani proposed a ceasefire and release of prisoners and expressed willingness to review the constitution as a part of pact with Taliban, who have so far refused to accept direct talks with the government in Kabul. The comments represents a significant shift on the part of Ashraf Ghani, who in the past called Taliban terrorists and rebels although he offered talks with other resistance groups like  Hizb-e-Islami of Gulbadin Hikmatyar.

The realism shown by the ruling leadership in Afghanistan has kindled a hope for a negotiated settlement of the current Afghan conflict. The history of Afghanistan tells that they can sort-out their disputes in intra party dialogue provided foreign interference stops.  Former Afghan President Dr. Najib Ullah approached the leaders of Afghan Tanzimat in 1992 for transfer of power through UN brokered peace agreement. Had that move been supported by world powers and countries of this region peace and stability would have long been restored to Afghanistan. Even after the end of his rule if the 10 resistance groups, who fought a war against the Soviet occupation forces, were left free to resolve their difference the situation on the ground would have taken a positive turn and ensuing fratricidal war would have been avoided. It was that war which paved the way for the rise of Afghan Talibaan . Back then Afghanistan, which was dumped by the US and other western powers after Geneva Accord, became a paradise for terrorist groups.  The tragedy of 11/9 prompted the US to invade of Afghanistan. President Donald Trump Afghanistan strategy envisages a military solution of this conflict by defeating Taliban on the battle ground. It remains to be seen as to whether the United States lends its support to the realistic initiative of President Ashraf Ghani or not.