Pakistan PM warns of war with India over disputed Kashmir

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Kahn speaks during a news conference held on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 24, 2019. (REUTERS/Yana Paskova)
Updated 25 September 2019

Pakistan PM warns of war with India over disputed Kashmir

  • The nuclear-armed rivals, which have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, have been locked in a worsening standoff since August 5
  • Khan, who raised Kashmir with world leaders this week, expressed no interest in meeting with Indian PM Modi

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned in blunt terms Tuesday of possible war between Pakistan and India over what he called a brutal Indian crackdown in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The nuclear-armed rivals, which have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, have been locked in a worsening standoff since August 5, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who Khan called a “racist,” stripped the portion of Kashmir that India controls of its limited autonomy. Indian authorities imposed a sweeping military curfew and cut off residents from all communications and the Internet.
“For 50 days, the people of Kashmir have been locked down by 900,000 soldiers,” Khan said, describing mass arrests, non-functioning hospitals and “a total news blackout” in the region.
“Eight million people in an open jail is unprecedented in this day and age,” Khan said. “The biggest worry is what happens once the curfew is lifted? We fear with 900,000 soldiers there, there will be a massacre.”
India and Pakistan’s conflict over Kashmir dates to the late 1940s when they won independence from Britain. The region is one of the most heavily militarized in the world, patrolled by soldiers and paramilitary police. Most Kashmiris resent the Indian troop presence. Modi has defended the Kashmir changes as freeing the territory from separatism, and his supporters welcomed the move.
US President Donald Trump said after an earlier meeting with Khan that it would be great if Modi and Khan can resolve their standoff over Kashmir.
But while Khan said he has raised Kashmir with world leaders this week, he expressed no interest in meeting with Modi.
“Unfortunately India today is governed by a racist, a Hindu supremacist,” Khan said. “They do not consider Muslims as equal citizens“
Indian UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin indicated in a recent interview that a meeting between Modi and Khan was unlikely: “There has to be an enabling environment before leaders meet.”
“Today the talk that is emanating from Pakistan in certainly not conducive to that enabling environment,” he said.
Khan also addressed claims by India’s army chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, that Pakistan has reactivated militant camps in Pakistan-held Kashmir and about 500 militants are waiting to infiltrate India. He didn’t provide any evidence to back his claims.
Khan called the claims “nonsense.”
“What possible benefit is Pakistan going to have now sending in terrorists when there are 900,000 security forces there? All that would happen is that there would be more oppression on the people of Kashmir,” he said.
Khan also said that he had begun, at the request of the US president, to mediate between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over a nuclear standoff. He provided no other details but said he had spoken to Rouhani on Monday after Trump asked Khan to “deescalate the situation.”
“We are trying our best,” he said.

 

 


Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

Updated 29 May 2020

Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

  • Intelligence, immigration officials investigating illegal facilities that catered mostly to foreigners

MANILA: The Philippines has intensified its crackdown on uncertified medical facilities offering treatment to people, particularly foreigners, with COVID-19 symptoms.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to help the Philippine National Police (PNP) track down foreign nationals behind the illegal clinics.
“It seems that clandestine medical clinics catering mostly to foreign nationals have sprouted and have been operating without proper authority,” Guevarra told reporters.
He said the facilities could have compromised the health of those who had undergone treatment.
“I’ll therefore ask the NBI and the BI to help the police in locating other similar underground clinics and the people running them, and if warranted, to file the appropriate charges against them,” he added.
Guevarra issued the order following a raid on Tuesday on an illegal clinic catering to Chinese patients in Makati City. Arrested in the operation were Chinese nationals Dr. David Lai, 49, and Liao Bruce, 41.
The clinic was reportedly operating without a permit, while the arrested did not have a license to practice medicine in the country.
Seized from the site were swab sticks, vials, syringes and boxes of medicine with Chinese labels — believed to be unregistered with the Food and Drug Administration.
Last week, law enforcers also swooped on a makeshift hospital for Chinese patients in the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga province.
The raid came after police received information that a COVID-19 patient was “undergoing medical attention” in a Fontana villa.
Arrested during the raid were Chinese nationals Liu Wei, who reportedly supervised the facility, and Hu Shiling, allegedly a pharmacist. Both were released on the same day without charge.
Immigration officials on Thursday said the duo had been placed on their watch list to prevent them from leaving the country while an investigation is underway.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said intelligence operatives will trace four of the patients, and are looking into the case of the Chinese nationals arrested in Makati.
“I’ve instructed our intelligence division to investigate if these alleged Chinese doctors are legally staying in the country,” he said.
“Should we find they violated our immigration laws, they’ll be charged with deportation cases before our law and investigation division,” he added.
“Even if no criminal charges were filed against them, they can be charged for immigration law violations if we can establish that they violated the conditions of their stay in the country.”
If criminal charges are filed, however, the BI will only deport them after their cases have been resolved or they have served their sentences, if convicted.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for the “immediate deportation and blacklisting” of the Chinese nationals because of their “blatant disregard of our laws.”
She added that while the Philippines is working hard to protect its people from the virus, “these criminals freely roam and pose a danger to public health.”