Pakistan warns India against arms race in region

Dr Mohammad Faisal, Spokesperson for Foreign Office. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 11 October 2018

Pakistan warns India against arms race in region

  • Follows New Delhi’s signing of $5bn with Russia to acquire missile system
  • Analysts say Islamabad and Beijing can manufacture weapons to counter S-400

ISLAMABAD: Nearly a week after India signed a massive defense deal with Russia, Pakistan has warned the world of an impending arms race in the neighborhood while accusing its archrival and nuclear neighbor of skewing the balance of power in the region. 

“We have always said that we don’t want to get ourselves involved in any arms race,” Dr Mohammad Faisal, Spokesperson for Foreign Office, said during his weekly briefing on Thursday. 

His comments were in response to a question about New Delhi’s recent $5 billion deal with Russia to acquire the S-400 air defense missile system that offers one of the most sophisticated surface-to-air capabilities in the world. The S-400 has a range of 400 kilometers and can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously, by launching two missiles at each target.

“The countries that are providing these weapons to India should be mindful that this will destabilize the balance of power in the region,” Faisal said, adding that Pakistan was fully prepared to defend itself and “India should not be under any illusion” about that. 

He said that Pakistan wanted to initiate a dialogue with New Delhi to resolve all outstanding issues and Prime Minister Imran Khan had also written a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for this purpose. However, India turned down the offer after first accepting it. 

Lt Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib, a security analyst, told Arab News that India’s purchase of the S-400 air defense missile system from Russia would boost its defense capabilities and give it an edge over Pakistan’s defense system. “This system surely endangers not only the security of Pakistan but also other countries in the region, too,” he said. 

Shoaib said that India would get the possession of the air defense system from Russia after two years, adding that “we can utilize this period to come up with a more sophisticated technology to counter it”. 

He added that Pakistan was buying high-end armed drones from China to counter India’s defense capabilities. “China is also purchasing S-400 defense system from Russia … Pakistan and China both can study it and manufacture another indigenous sophisticated weapon of their own,” he said.


Coronavirus takes further toll on Pakistani media 

Updated 28 May 2020

Coronavirus takes further toll on Pakistani media 

  • Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) calls on media organizations to enforce stricter safety rules
  • More than 150 journalists are known to have tested positive for COVID-19

KARACHI: Three Pakistani media staff lost their battle with the coronavirus on Thursday, as pressure is mounting on news organizations to protect their workers.
Two Radio Pakistan employees, Urdu newscaster Huma Zafar and senior broadcast engineer Muhammad Ashfaq died of COVID-19 on Thursday morning, the radio confirmed in a statement.
Also in the morning, 92 News senior reporter Fakhruddin Syed succumbed to the disease.
“Fakhruddin Syed is the first journalist from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who lost his life due to this pandemic. He was one of the pioneers from 92 News HD channel,” 92 News said in an obituary on its website.
Last week, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) appealed to media organizations to enforce stricter safety rules, as more journalists have been sent into the field since the country lifted the remaining restrictions imposed on businesses to slow the pandemic.
The PFUJ’s COVID-19 committee head, Zulfiqar Ali Mehto, told Arab News on May 21 that the majority of the infected were reporters, cameramen and photojournalists, which implies that they had contracted the virus during field coverage.
Newsrooms are not safe either, according to PFUJ.
“We have rigorously worked on collecting data and have analyzed each case, which tells us that protective measures are not being taken seriously. If a single person is infected, given almost zero space between workstations, the virus may spread across the whole office,” Mehto said, adding that few media organizations provided hand sanitizers, face masks and gloves to their staff.
More than 150 journalists are known to have tested positive for the virus, according to PFUJ’s last week’s report. 
With Thursday’s victims, at least six Pakistani media workers have died of the disease.