Pakistan test fires ballistic Shaheen-II missile

Pakistan on Thursday conducted “successful” training launch of surface-to-surface ballistic missile Shaheen-II. (Photo courtesy: ISPR)
Updated 23 May 2019
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Pakistan test fires ballistic Shaheen-II missile

  • Surface-to-surface missile capable of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons at range of up to 1,500 miles
  • Latest test follows heightened tensions between nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday conducted a “successful” training launch of the surface-to-surface ballistic Shaheen-II, the army’s media wing said, a missile capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads up to a range of 1,500 kilometers (932 miles).
“Shaheen II is a highly capable missile which fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards maintenance of deterrence stability in the region,” Pakistan’s military said in a statement.
The training launch, whose impact point was in the Arabian Sea, is aimed at ensuring the operational readiness of the army’s strategic forces command, the statement added.
The latest missile test follows heightened tensions between nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India who came close to war in February over the disputed region of Kashmir, which both sides have claimed since independence from Britain in 1947.
Following a suicide attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian paramilitary troopers in February, Indian jets launched a raid inside Pakistan, striking what New Delhi said was a training camp of Jaish-e Mohammed, the militant group that claimed the Kashmir attack.
Pakistan denies a militant camp was hit and conducted a retaliatory strike of its own. Following this, jets from the two countries fought a dogfight in the skies over Kashmir during which an Indian pilot was shot down and captured. Pakistan returned the pilot and there were no further strikes but tensions have remained high, with regular exchanges of artillery fire from both sides in Kashmir.
Pakistan has also kept part of its airspace closed to international air traffic, disrupting flights to India and other parts of the region.
On Wednesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke briefly with his Indian counterpart Shushma Swaraj at the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.
“We never speak bitterly,” Mahmood said after the meeting. “We want to live like good neighbors and settle our outstanding issues through talks.”


‘They have crushed our voices’, Kashmiris on not being allowed to pray

Updated 18 min 1 sec ago
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‘They have crushed our voices’, Kashmiris on not being allowed to pray

  • More than 3,000 people have been arrested from different parts of the valley, media reports
  • Most of the big mosques have been shutdown to avoid people amassing for a large congregation

SRINAGAR, Kashmir: A strange silence engulfs Kashmir valley three weeks after the abrogation of the Article 370 that ensured a special autonomous status for Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian union.
This is the silence enforced by the fear of the gun after arrests of a large number of politicians, activists, lawyers, businessmen, and commoners.
“I have been summoned at least four times by the Indian troops and harassed, barring me from offering my prayers. I requested them, explaining that no one indulges in agitation in this area...” Hafiz Altaf Ahmed Shah, an imam at the local mosque told Arab News.
Media reports suggest that more than 3,000 people have been arrested from different parts of the valley and put in special detention centers in the semi-autonomous state or outside.
For those spared or lucky to avoid arrest, a lurking danger looms if they resist – be it a cleric or a professor, male or female, exercising restraint is the only option left.
In Srinagar and outside, most of the big mosques have been shutdown to avoid people amassing for a large congregation – a potential recipe for resistance.
“Our three story mosque is usually at full capacity but today, only 10 to 12 people offered Friday prayers because of the curfew,” Shah said.
Small and medium-sized mosques are under constant vigil. The clerics of these mosques have been ordered to lie low and not lead prayers in their mosques.
“We are being subjected to injustice by the Indian government and the world is aware. But no one is speaking on these issues. They have shut down our communication. They have silenced and crushed our voices,” Shah said.
Watch this exclusive video by Arab News to get a sense of what’s happening in the area.