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.”


PPP, PML-N to challenge ‘anti-people policies’ of government

Updated 16 June 2019
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PPP, PML-N to challenge ‘anti-people policies’ of government

  • Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto hold an important political meeting in Lahore
  • Analysts say their proposed campaign against government can put PTI in difficult situation

LAHORE: Leaders of Pakistan’s two largest opposition parties held a meeting here on Sunday to devise a joint strategy against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government and run a coordinated campaign against its “anti-people policies.”
The gathering was organized by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Sharif who invited Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to jointly review the country’s prevailing political situation.
Together the two young politicians agreed to revive the May 2006 Charter of Democracy, signed by their parents in London, to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Pakistan and challenge the incumbent administration.
“The two parties discussed the current situation of the country and decided to work together to get rid of the anti-people policies [of the PTI government]. In the first phase, a joint strategy will be evolved which will help the two factions work together in parliament. The leaders of the parties will also meet to formulate a strategy to work outside the parliament,” PPP Punjab Secretary General Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, who was present at the meeting, told Arab News.
A senior PML-N politician thought the meeting would prove beneficial for Pakistan’s future politics since the two parties were operating under a young leadership.
“The two young leaders have become successful in convincing their parties regarding their approach and style of politics. Their parents may have a history of friendship and enmity, but these two have no bad blood between them. They share the same woes and want to work together to take the country forward,” Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, another participant of the meeting, said.
Maryam Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto also discussed the fresh wave of the arrests of opposition leaders and thought it was to terrify the opponents of the government.
The PPP chairman said in a media talk after the meeting that the opposition would not be deterred by such political pressure. He also pointed out that no single party could take the country out of the present political and economic situation, adding it would require a collaborative effort.
The two leaders decided they would not let the PTI government pass the national budget, saying it was making life difficult for the people of Pakistan. They also agreed to involve other parliamentary forces to achieve that objective.
The PPP chairman and PML-N vice president demanded the administration to withdraw corruption references filed against their family members and insisted the National Assembly speaker issue production orders of all jailed members of parliament.
While some of the government ministers ridiculed the meeting, independent analysts thought it could create problems for the PTI administration.
“The PTI has pushed the main leaders of the PPP and PML-N against the wall. The proposed joint movement of these opposition faction can put the ruling party in hot water,” Arif Nizami, a senior analyst, told Arab News.