Political parties vow to stand by armed forces after Indian airstrike

File photo for main Pakistani opposition parties. On TuesdayPakistan’s political parties vowed to stand by the country’s armed forces and defend the nation following a violation of the country’s airspace by the Indian Air Force. ( AP/File)
Updated 26 February 2019

Political parties vow to stand by armed forces after Indian airstrike

  • Lawmakers pledge to give ‘unified response’ to New Delhi
  • India terms the move a ‘preemptive strike’ based on ‘credible information’ to avoid further terror attacks

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s political parties on Tuesday vowed to stand by the country’s armed forces and defend the nation following a violation of the country’s airspace by the Indian Air Force — a move which has dramatically escalated tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
Pakistan and India have fought two full-fledged wars in 1965 and 1971 over the disputed Kashmir region, but the issue continues to remain unresolved and is a flash-point between the two countries.
India, on Tuesday, said it had carried out air strikes targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) camp in Balakot, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, eliminating a “large number” of terrorists. 
India’s Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale said that a “pre-emptive” strike is carried out on the basis of credible information to prevent further attacks from the JeM group. Pakistan army, however, denies any casualty or damage has taken place.
Hours after the attack, Pakistan’s political parties — at a joint session of the parliament — urged the government and armed forces to give a “befitting response” to India.
Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, Pakistan Peoples Party’s lawmaker Khursheed Shah condemned the Indian aggression and extended full support to the government and the armed forces in this “testing time.”
“We are in a state of war and we should not consider India weak,” he said, adding that “we should hit India first and hit hard to teach it a lesson.”
Expressing full confidence on the preparedness of the armed forces, he said that Pakistan is a peace-loving country but “reserves the right to defend its territorial integrity and dignity.”
“Narendra Modi wants to go to war because of elections,” he said, adding that “if needed, the opposition parties will be at the borders with the armed forces. Pakistan has the ability to dictate India.”
Ties between both the countries have deteriorated after a suicide bombing in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir on February 14 which killed more than 40 paramilitary troops. India has accused Pakistan of being involved in the attack, but Islamabad denies complicity.
Vowing to shun political differences, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz legislator, Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the parliament should give a “unified response” to the Indian aggression.
“It is a matter of life and death for the nation. It is the need of the hour that we show solidarity with the army,” he said, adding that “our country, our sovereignty, and our integrity are being threatened”.
He also urged the government to convene a joint session of the parliament to “express our solidarity and support to our soldiers.”
Meanwhile, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal lawmaker, Asad Mahmood said that India was committing atrocities in Kashmir and it wanted to deflect the attention of the international community by resorting to “cheap tactics” such as violation of Pakistan’s airspace.
“We will keep highlighting Indian brutalities in occupied Kashmir at all international forums,” he said.
In a similar vein, Amir Haider Hoti of the Awami National Party said that India has been trying to “stifle the voice of Kashmiris through oppression,” but it will never succeed in its “nefarious designs”.
“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is playing with fire just to save his politics,” he said, adding that “he (Modi) has put the whole region at risk.”
A lawmaker from the ruling party, Ijaz Ahmad Shah, however, urged the opposition parties “not to fall in the trap of Modi” as he was using these antics to get votes in the upcoming polls.
“We should not get incited by Indian aggression,” he said, adding that “we should formulate a comprehensive and well thought-out strategy to thwart Modi’s nefarious designs.”


Pakistan ranks ninth on CPJ’s 2020 Global Impunity Index 

Updated 29 October 2020

Pakistan ranks ninth on CPJ’s 2020 Global Impunity Index 

  • The annual index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free
  • The ranking is: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Philippines, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, India

ISLAMABAD: The Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked Pakistan number nine on its annual Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free. 

The ranking is: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Philippines, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, India.

Each year the CPJ index includes more stable countries where criminal and political groups, politicians, business leaders, and other powerful actors resort to violence to silence critical and investigative journalists. 

“CPJ has found that corruption, weak institutions, and lack of political will to pursue robust investigations are all factors behind impunity in these countries, which include Pakistan, Mexico, and the Philippines,” the watchdog said on its website. 

In Pakistan, a verdict in the Daniel Pearl case this year showed that “even murder cases that were long thought to be resolved can be upended,” the watchdog said. 

On April 2, the Sindh High Court overturned the murder convictions of four men accused in the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The decision found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had previously been sentenced to death, guilty only of kidnapping Pearl and reduced his sentence to seven years, which he has already served. The Pearl family and the Sindh provincial government appealed, and according to news reports, the four men remained imprisoned at the end of September.

Freeing the men “would be a devastating setback for justice that would also send a dangerous message to Jihadi militants in Pakistan and around the world, who have systematically targeted journalists in the 18 years since Pearl was killed,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Pakistan and the Philippines have been mainstays on the Global Impunity Index since its inception in 2008. The Philippines is the biggest mover in this year’s rankings, improving from the fifth worst country worldwide to the seventh worst.