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SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 15, No. 11, September 12, 2016

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal


ASSESSMENT

PAKISTAN
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Media under Siege
Ambreen Agha
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

My family has been falsely implicated in drug racket. It is distressing to see that my family is suffering because of my profession. It is difficult to be a journalist in Pakistan and that too in tribal areas. You are punished for bringing out stories that do not sit well with the military establishment, which is ubiquitous here. We see Taliban commanders visiting military quarters in the tribal belt. What happens inside is not for us to know. We are caught between the military and the terrorists. Being a journalist has cost me my family, who disowned me after the slapping of false charges. And now I am without money, looking for alternative means of sustenance.
------An unnamed journalist from an unspecified location in tribal areas to SAIR .

Media in Pakistan, particular in the tribal regions, is under siege. Working under constant threat to life and livelihood, media personnel have faced a backlash from both state and anti-state elements. These include the warring political parties, military intelligence agencies and terrorist formations operating across the country.

As freedom becomes increasingly elusive for media personnel in the country, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report, released on February 3, 2016, noted that Pakistan runs fourth on the list of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists, recording a total of 115 killings since 1990. According to partial data compiled by Institute for Conflict Management (ICM), a total of 57 journalists have been killed in targeted attacks since 1994 (data till September 11, 2016). Meanwhile, the World Press Freedom Index – 2016, published by Reporters without Borders (RWB), ranked Pakistan at 147 out of 180 countries. The RWB Report on Pakistan, “Targeted on all Sides”, states,
Journalists are targeted by extremist groups, Islamist organizations and Pakistan's feared intelligence organizations, all of which are on RSF's [Reporters Sans Frontičres] list of predators of press freedom. Although at war with each other, they are all always ready to denounce acts of "sacrilege" by the media. Inevitably, self-censorship is widely practiced within news organizations…

In a recent incident on August 22, 2016, a group of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers attacked the office of ARY News Channel, killing one person and injuring several others, near Zainab Market in the Saddar Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. A day earlier, another group of infuriated MQM protestors had damaged the Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) van of the Samaa TV channel in the Liaquatabad Town of Karachi. The protestors involved in both these attacks had alleged lack of “due media coverage” of MQM workers, who had been protesting since August 18, 2016, against the random disappearances and arrest of party workers by the paramilitary Rangers ever since the beginning of the ongoing ‘Targeted Action’ against terrorists and criminals in the commercial capital. During a meeting of the Sindh Apex Committee headed by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on August 31, 2016, Rangers Director General Major General Bilal Akbar informed the participants that 848 ‘target killers’ involved in 7,224 cases have been arrested since September 4, 2013, in Karachi, of which 654 suspects were affiliated with MQM. The MQM suspects have allegedly confessed to being involved in 5,863 incidents of target killings.

In the past, religious-political parties have also brazenly attacked the media. Following the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, an Elite Force commando convicted of killing former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, angry protesters attacked media houses and facilities in Sindh and Punjab on March 1, 2016, leaving over half a dozen media people injured, and equipment burnt or destroyed. Qadri was executed on February 29, 2016, at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi District of Punjab. The most violent attack occurred in the Hyderabad District of Sindh, where a demonstration was staged by several religious parties against Qadri’s execution. The collective call for protest outside the Hyderabad Press Club was given by different religious organizations and parties, including, Milli Yakjehti Council, Jama’at-e-Ulema Pakistan (JuP) and Pakistan Sunni Tehreek (PST). Apart from burning tyres and blocking roads, the enraged mobs burned a counter at the Hyderabad Press Club, injuring four journalists and a Press Club employee. They also beat up journalists en route to Karachi. Two journalists, who were travelling to cover the protest in Karachi’s Malir Town were pulled out of the car and beaten up. The cameraman was also dragged out of the van. The infuriated protestors damaged the camera and the vehicle.

The media has been targeted by the country’s proliferation of terrorist formations. On May 7, 2016, unidentified terrorists killed two people, including Shia religious scholar and rights activist Syed Khurram Zaki and his journalist friend Rao Khalid, in North Karachi Town. While Khalid was currently working as a journalist, Zaki was a former journalist. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

On November 22, 2015, unidentified armed assailants shot dead TV journalist Hafeez ur Rehman (42), on the outskirts of the Kohat District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Though terrorist outfits, primarily the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have claimed responsibility for these attacks, the media has been directed by the Pakistan Army not to report.

The unnamed journalist from tribal area, in a conversation with this writer, stated,
Since the launch of the NAP [National Action Plan (NAP), media's coverage of the conflict in Pakistan and more specifically in the tribal area is dictated by the Army. There is a clear instruction to all journalists, independent or affiliated, working in the tribal belt to not report claims of responsibility by terrorist outfits. The military has drawn the line for the journalists working on the ground. There are claims made by the Pakistani Taliban [TTP] after every attack that we are categorically told to ignore. Reporting a terror claim is a crime now. In the tribal areas, reporters risk it all to deliver the news independently and objectively. Instead, it is the Army's media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), which has increased its activities in the last few years.

The 20-point NAP came as a counter-terrorism measure on December 24, 2014, after the gruesome December 16, 2015, Peshawar Army Public School massacre .

Corroborating this claim, the last attack on the media claimed by TTP was on January 17, 2014, when at least three Express News workers, identified as driver Khalid, technician Waqas and security guard Ashraf, were shot dead after TTP terrorists ambushed a stationary DSNG van near Matric Board Office in the North Nazimabad Town of Karachi. In a live telephone call from Afghanistan TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan declared,
We accept responsibility. I would like to present some of its reasons: At present, Pakistani media is playing the role of (enemies and spread) venomous propaganda against Tehreek-e-Taliban. They have assumed the (role of) opposition. We had intimated the media earlier and warn it once again that (they must) side with us in this venomous propaganda (sic)."

Five days later, on January 23, 2014, TTP issued a 29-page fatwa (edict) against the media, declaring it a “party to the conflict” in the country. Since TTP’s creation in 2007, this was the first ever fatwa issued by the terrorist organization against the media, drawing up a hit-list of journalists and publishers across the country. The fatwa accuses media of siding with “disbelievers” against Muslims in the “war on Islam”. It alleged that the media was inciting people against mujahidin (holy warriors) through propaganda, and was propagating promiscuity and secularism. One of the author’s of the fatwa, Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, 'deputy chief' of TTP, separated journalists into three categories – murjif, muqatil and Sa’ee bil fasad. Explaining the terms further in the fatwa, Haqqani stated,

Murjif is someone who engages in propaganda against Muslims during a war between Islam and disbelief. Muqatil is someone who incites disbelievers and their allies to act against Muslims, while the third category (Sa'ee bil fasad) includes those who allegedly corrupt Muslim society through steps like replacing Islamic ideology with secular beliefs.

While sending the fatwa to Dawn, the outfit’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan warned, “Media could mend its ways and become a neutral entity. Otherwise, the media should not feel secure. A few barriers and security escorts will not help. If we can get inside military installations, media offices should not be too much of a challenge.”

Indeed, at least 13 attacks with nine fatalities have been recorded since the declaration of the fatwa on January 23, 2014.   

The military establishment has played a malicious role in this enduring wave of intolerance against the media. During the 139th Corps Commanders Conference held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) on June 9, 2011, the then Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, warned critics to stop trying to deliberately run down the Armed Forces and the Army as an institution, and to put an end to “any effort to create divisions between important institutions of the country.” The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other Pakistani intelligence agencies have a long history of intimidation, abduction and secret killings of those who challenge or expose them.

One prominent incident in this category was the abduction, torture and brutal murder of Asia Times Online Pakistan Bureau Chief, Syed Saleem Shahzad, on June 1, 2011, in the Mandi Bahauddin District of Punjab Province. Shehzad was abducted on May 29, 2011, by the ISI just one day after he exposed links between al Qaeda, a group of naval personnel and the ISI, in the deadly attack on the Pakistan Naval Station (PNS) Mehran within the Faisal Naval Airbase in Karachi on May 22, 2011. 10 Security Force (SF) personnel were killed in the attack. Shahzad’s killing was a deliberate and planned targeted killing that sent shock waves through Pakistan’s journalist fraternity and civil society.

In another such attack, Hamid Mir, the anchor on Geo News, was shot at and injured by four unidentified armed pillion riders on April 19, 2014, in Sharah-e-Faisal Town of Karachi. Before the attack, Mir had told his colleagues and friends that if he was attacked, Pakistan's ISI, “and its chief Lieutenant General Zaheer-ul-Islam will be responsible”. On the day of the attack, Geo News disclosed that Mir had also sent a recorded video to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) implicating the ISI in any possible attempt on his life. Mir had claimed that the Agency had been infuriated by his Capital Talk programmes that criticised ISI’s tactics against the separatists in Balochistan, where the military is accused of enforced disappearances and killings.

Persistent efforts by the Army and its agencies to silence the media over decades have diminished the spaces of freedom within Pakistan. There have been serious concerns voiced by activists regarding the “muzzling of free speech” in Pakistan. Expressing concern over the role of the ISPR department on June 15, 2016, Asma Jahangir, former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), appeared before a two-judge Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Ejaz Afzal Khan and Qazi Faez Isa, which was hearing petitions filed by journalists Hamid Mir, Absar Alam and others, seeking a court order abolishing the secret fund being maintained by the Information Ministry. Jahangir asserted that ISPR should also be monitored by regulatory authorities and requested the Court to investigate the law under which the Army's media cell was operating. "We have been talking a lot about the civilian government, but the media cell of the [army] should also be monitored," Jahangir argued.

In the ongoing “war of ideologies”, as TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan called it after the January 17, 2014, attack on Express News, the media has borne the brunt from all the three quarters – political, military and terrorist. An environment of repression has been created, enforced by an unholy alliance of Islamist extremists, radicalized political parties and the omnipresent Army and its agencies, within a culture of enveloping immunity, expanding spaces for future ideological wars.

INDIA
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Chhattisgarh:Bastar Division: Final Maoist Bastion
Deepak Kumar Nayak
Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management

On September 7, 2016, two Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres were killed in an encounter with the Police in the dense forests of Bijapur District. Inspector General of Police (IGP), Bastar Range, SRP Kalluri disclosed, "The encounter took place this afternoon near Telmendri village under Farsegarh PS limits between a joint team of Police personnel and the ultras."

The day before, one Maoist cadre was killed in an exchange of fire with Security Forces (SFs) in the forests of Sukma District. The skirmish took place when a team of the District Reserve Group (DRG), led by Dornapal Station House Officer (SHO) Ajay Sonkar, was out on an anti-Maoist operation in the Dornapal Police Station (PS) area, and a group of Maoists opened indiscriminate fire on the team near Koyabekur village, following which an encounter broke out, Sukma Superintendent of Police (SP), Indira Kalyan Elesela stated. Meda Benjami aka Kukkal Mada, head of a Maoist Janatana Sarkar (‘people’s government’ unit) in the Kerlapal area, was killed in the encounter. Elesela added that the deceased was looking after Naxal [Left Wing Extremism (LWE)] activities in about 10 villages of the region. A muzzle loading gun and some ammunition was recovered from the spot.

Meanwhile, on September 1, 2016, one Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Constable, Sachin Kumar (27), who had been severely injured in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in the Sukma District on August 26, 2016, succumbed to his injuries at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

Four days earlier, on August 28, 2016, a composite squad of the DRG and Special Task Force (STF) killed one Maoist cadre during an encounter in the Chandometa forest of Bastar District.

Earlier, on August 26, 2016, the Maoists killed one of their own supporters after producing him before a jan adalat (people’s court) in the Sukma District. Commenting on the incident, IGP Kalluri stated, “Rathore (Sandeep Kumar Rathore) was this evening shot dead by armed rebels in the forests near Mukram nullah under Chintalnar Police Station limits… As per records, he was a staunch supporter of (the) Maoists but for the last few months he had started distancing himself from the banned outfit. He had joined the mainstream and was leading a normal life.”

On August 24, 2016, one Maoist cadre was killed in an exchange of fire with SF personnel in the Sukma District. The skirmish took place near Ponga Bhejji village when a joint team of STF and the District Force was out on an anti-Maoist operation in the Dornapal PS area. Giving details about the operation, SP, Elesela noted, "During searches, the body of a male Maoist clad in a 'uniform' was recovered along with one automatic pistol and one muzzle loading gun." However, the identity of the Maoist was not known.

In a separate incident on August 17, 2016, four Maoist cadres including a 'commander-rank' woman cadre were killed, while a trooper was injured in an encounter between SF personnel and the Maoists in the Dantewada District. The skirmish took place in the early hours in the restive Dabba-Kunna Hills when a joint team of CRPF, DRG and STF was out on an anti-Maoist operation.

Again, on August 16, 2016, one hardcore Maoist, who was allegedly involved in blowing up an ambulance killing five CRPF personnel and two civilians during the 2014 Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) Poll in Bastar District, was killed in an encounter in the forests of Chandometa under the Darbha PS limits in the Bastar District. He was identified as People's Militia 'commander' Arjun. He was also a member of the Machhkot Local Organisation Squad (LOS).

These incidents demonstrate that the continuing Maoist entrenchment in the Bastar Division remains a challenge for the State. According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), at least 142 fatalities have so far been registered in the Bastar Division alone in Maoist-linked violence since the beginning of 2016 (data till September 11). The total number of fatalities in such violence across Chhattisgarh in the current year stands at 146 (30 civilians, 26 SF personnel and 90 Maoists). Barring four incidents of killing, (two civilians, one SF personnel and one Maoist) which were recorded in the Mahasamund District (one civilian) and Rajnandgaon District (one civilian, one SF trooper and one Maoist), all other incidents of killing in the State have taken place in the Bastar Division. Out of a total of 30 civilians killed across Chhattisgarh in such violence, 28 were reported from the Division (96.55 per cent); and out of 26 SF fatalities across Chhattisgarh 25 (96.15 per cent) were reported from the Division, which thus accounts for an overwhelming proportion of Maoist linked violence in the State.

Total fatalities in LWE-related violence in Bastar Division: 2010-2016*

Year

Bastar
Bijapur
Dantewada
Kanker
Kondagaon
Narayanpur
Sukma
Chhattisgarh Total
% of fatalities in Seven Districts

2010

3
69
180
13
0
44
0
327
94.49

2011

10
42
81
6
0
19
0
176
89.77

2012

0
47
13
15
4
4
16
108
91.66

2013

14
36
5
5
2
6
56
128
96.87

2014

10
37
10
4
2
7
41
113
98.23

2015

8
37
17
4
5
8
36
120
95.83

2016

8
33
22
16
5
12
46
146
97.26

Total

53
301
328
63
18
100
195
1118
94.63
Source: SATP, * Data till September 11, 2016.

An analysis of fatalities over the last seven years indicates that, since 2011 and up to 2014, there has been a gradual increase and concentration of fatalities in the Bastar Division. Though there was a decline in 2015, the previous trend of increase has been re-established in the current year. The overall violence in the Division contributed to 94.63 per cent of total fatalities in the State between 2010 and 2016 (data till September 11).

Significantly, all major incidents (each involving three or more fatalities) that have occurred in Chhattisgarh this year have occurred in the Bastar Division. A total of 13 major LWE-linked incidents have been reported in 2016, as of September 11.

276 Maoists have already been arrested in the current year, in addition to the 221 arrested through 2015. Another 724 Maoists have surrendered in the current year. 279 Maoists had surrendered in 2015.

The Bastar Division, the core of the residual Maoist problem not only in Chhattisgarh but in the entire so-called ‘Red Corridor’ region, was created in 1999, when the larger Bastar District was divided into the present-day Districts of Bastar, Dantewada, and Kanker. On November 1, 2000, the division became part of the newly created state of Chhattisgarh. The Bastar Division was further subdivided in 2007 and 2012, and currently comprises seven Districts – Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, and Sukma – in the southernmost region in the State. The Division shares its borders with other Maoist-afflicted States, including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Telangana.

The Division spans over 40,000 square kilometers, and the Maoists have effectively forced the SFs to restrain their movements. The Maoists also claim to have formed Janatana Sarkars in as many as 300 panchayat (village level local self-government institution) areas in the Bastar Division, and to have established 20 guerrilla bases. If the Maoists are to be believed, nearly 2,000 villages are being ‘administered’ by these Janatana Sarkars.

The region is afflicted with relatively low standards on all human development indicators, including widespread absence and worsening access to healthcare, education, drinking water, sanitation and food. Availability of State functionaries responsible for delivering these basic services in the conflict-affected areas is very low. Independent reports suggest, rather, an absence of all ‘governance’, and the continuing disruptive dominance of the Maoists across much of the region.

A joint survey conducted by the US-India Policy Institute and the New Delhi based Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy (CRDDP) found that, among 599 Districts across India (under purview of the survey) the Districts of the Bastar Division were ranked towards the bottom: Bastar, 578th; Bijapur, 372nd; Dantewada, 418th; and Kanker, 469th. While Kondagaon (separated from Bastar District on 24 January 2012), Narayanpur (created on May 11, 2007, being carved out from the erstwhile Bastar District) and Sukma (carved out of Dantewada as a separate District on January 16, 2012) faced a similar situation as their parent Districts. 

Significantly, on July 18, 2016, Chief Minister Raman Singh informed the Chhattisgarh Assembly that there were 619 un-electrified villages in Bastar Division. 

Meanwhile, contributing significantly to the fight against the Maoists, personnel of the DRG are used exclusively for anti-Maoist operational duties in the Bastar Division. Dubbed the “sons of the soil” because DRG personnel are recruited among the local Koya (tribal) youth and surrendered Maoists, DRG attracted a lot of attention for its effective strikes in Maoist ‘heartland’ areas, including Abujhmaad in Narayanpur District and south Sukma, the Maoist ‘heartland’. In May 2015, the Raman Singh Government sanctioned 600 posts for DRG. There are now 1,748 DRG personnel spread across eight Districts of Chhattisgarh — seven in Bastar Division and one in Rajnandgaon. Of these DRG personnel, 957 have undergone specialised training courses at the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare School in Vairengte, Mizoram, while another 350 are about to be sent there.

Further, on July 1, 2016, Chief Minister Singh suggested raising a ‘Dandakaranya Battalion’ in the Armed Forces, on the lines of the Naga Regiment of the Indian Army, to facilitate the entry of tribal youth from the Maoist-hit Bastar Division. Meanwhile, to augment the State’s capacity to counter the Maoists, the Centre has approved the setting up of the ‘Bastariya Battalion’ of CRPF, which is likely to be established by 2017, recruiting youth mostly from the Bastar region.

While paying a visit to Shri Saibaba Temple (Maharashtra) on January 2, 2016, Chief Minister Singh claimed that Surguja District has been made Naxal-free, and that the same would soon be the case in the Bastar Division. 

Though Maoist violence in terms of fatalities has seen a tremendous decline in the State in particular and India at large, the Maoists continue to retain significant operational capacities. Any lackadaisical approach on the part of the ruling establishment will not only undermine the sacrifices made by SFs, but would also open windows of opportunity for a Maoist resurgence. 


NEWS BRIEFS

Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
September 5-11, 2016

 

Civilians

Security Force Personnel

Terrorists/Insurgents

Total

INDIA

 

Assam

0
0
1
1

Jammu and Kashmir

0
1
7
8

Meghalaya

3
0
1
4

Left-Wing Extremism

 

Chhattisgarh

1
0
3
4

Jharkhand

1
0
3
4

Total (INDIA)

5
1
15
21

PAKISTAN

 

Balochistan

2
3
3
8

FATA

2
0
9
11

KP

1
2
2
5

Punjab

0
1
8
9

Sindh

3
0
3
6

Total (PAKISTAN)

8
6
25
39
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


BANGLADESH

BNP-JeI is instigating militancy to create turmoil and instability, says Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury’: Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury while distributing rice among the distressed people before the Eid-ul-Azha at her Nalitabari-Nakla constituency on September 8 said that Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) is instigating militancy to create turmoil and instability when the country is progressing ahead as a dignified nation. She said "The people of the country are peace loving and religious. They have rejected the politics instigated by the BNP-Jammat." Daily Observer, September 9, 2016.

87 accused and convicts are still absconding, say ICT Officials: Officials of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) expressing dissatisfaction with law enforcers' failure to arrest the fugitives in the war crimes cases on September 8 said that 87 accused and convicts are still absconding. The officials said that at least 87 accused and convicts are on the run after two war crimes tribunals issued arrest warrants for them since the beginning of the trial in March 2010. Of them, 22 are convicts. The Daily Star, September 9, 2016.

Those who do not believe in Liberation War may leave country, observes RAB DG Benazir Ahmed: Director General (DG) of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) Benazir Ahmed on September 5 observed that those who do not believe in the Liberation War may leave the country."We'll be fine without you. We don't need shameless people," he said. Noting that the country's 16 crore people cannot be defeated with a few local weapons and bombs, the RAB chief urged the militants, who chose this path either willingly or unwillingly, to return to their mothers' laps. New Age, September 6, 2016.


INDIA

Zakir Naik's NGO IRF put under prior permission list: Controversial televangelist Zakir Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), has been put under prior permission category list by the Union Home Ministry. The order bars IRF from receiving foreign funds directly and henceforth the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will inform the Home Ministry about all funds coming to the NGO and permission would be taken from the Ministry before releasing them to the IRF. DNA, September 10, 2016.

Call intercept reveals D-Company round-tripping money for Bollywood superstar and some unidentified white-collar people of India: Telephonic intercepts show that D-Company is round-tripping money for a top Bollywood superstar and some unidentified white-collar people of India. Bade Hazrat is the new code name being used for Dawood Ibrahim by his operatives during their conversations. What is even more interesting is that one of Dawood's operative has siphoned off a part of the black money of white-collar persons meant to be sent to Panama and Canada. India Today, September 10, 2016.

"This is your last warning", JeM tells pro-India Kashmiris: Terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) released a video issuing threat against mainstream politicians and Kashmiri 'informers' working for the Security Forces (SFs) in the valley. In a seven-minute video, a masked man, standing against a wall banner inscribed with Quranic verses in Arabic and an AK-47 hanging by his side, described Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) 'commander' Burhan Wani - whose killing by the SFs two months ago triggered massive violence in the valley - as 'Shaheed-e-millat' (martyr of the community). Times of India, September 10, 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks strongest action against state sponsors of terror: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 8 said that strongest action should be reserved for those states that use terrorism as an instrument of state policy while outlining India's principled stand on the South China Sea issue. "We need to target not only the terrorists, but also their entire supporting ecosystem...And, our strongest action should be reserved for those state actors who employ terrorism as an instrument of state policy," he said. Hindustan Times, September 9, 2016.

US asks Pakistan to speed up 26/11 hearing, says report: On September 7, US had asked Pakistan to speed up hearing in 26/11 (November 26, 2008) Mumbai terrorist attacks in which 166 people, including six Americans were killed. More than six years have passed since the hearing for 2008 attacks began in Pakistan. The mastermind of the attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) 'operations commander' Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, lives at an undisclosed location after being granted bail over a year ago. The other six suspects are in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, Punjab. DD News, September 9, 2016.

Joint mechanism mooted to check illegal activities across borders, says Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju: Expressing concern at the unabated illegal migration, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on September 7 underlined the need for formal agreements and creation of joint mechanisms between India and its neighbours to ensure elimination of illegal crossovers, drug trafficking and infiltration. "Unless India's neighbours are made to realise that it was in the interest of both countries to stop infiltration and incursions, the security of countries will remain at stake," he said while delivering the keynote address at FICCI-India Foundation convention on 'Homeland Security-2016: Smart Borders Management' in New Delhi. The Assam Tribune, September 8, 2016.

Terrorists getting public support in parts of India, states NSG report: Terrorists and insurgents are getting "public support" in some parts of the country and unless this is stopped, India will continue to get hit by acts of terrorism, a report prepared by National Security Guard (NSG) has said. The analytical report on recent bombing incidents in the country, compiled with data from all states for the period between April and June 2016, also raised concern over the possible leakage and use of ordnance factory-made explosives by terror outfits. Zee News, September 6, 2016.

'One single nation' spreading terror: Modi indicts Pakistan in G20 Summit: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 5, told leaders of the world's top economies that they must isolate and sanction the "one single nation in South Asia" that is spreading "agents of terror" in the region. Without naming India's nuclear-armed foe- Pakistan, Modi told the concluding session of a G20 summit that his government appreciated the steps to combat the financing of terrorism, which was being used by some nations as an instrument of state policy. Hindustan Times, September 6, 2016.

India is 'substantially free' of homegrown terrorism, asserts President Pranab Mukherjee: President Pranab Mukherjee said on September 5 said India is "substantially free" from the globally witnessed menace of homegrown terrorism because citizens possess "ethnicity in mind and have faith in pluralism". The President said it was India's policy and the acumen of its administration that have kept the country "substantially free" from its tentacles. He asserted, "It is we who are attacked and we are the victims of cross-border attacks... But not so much of homegrown terror," he said, adding this was because of the "ethnicity of mind, belief and faith in pluralism, huge diversity in language, religion, food... Almost in everything". Times of India, September 6, 2016.


NEPAL

Current ruling coalition would remain intact till all three polls at local, provincial and federal level would be over, says Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on September 9 said that the current ruling coalition would remain intact till all three polls at local, provincial and federal level would be over. He said, "We will be staying in the government until all elections will be over. Therefore, we also need to make the party's role more effective." The Himalayan Times, September 10, 2016.

SC issues show cause notice demanding Government to make public its work plan relating to all three levels of elections: The Supreme Court (SC) on September 8 issued a show cause notice on a writ petition filed by four advocates, demanding that the Government make public its work plan relating to all three levels of elections and announcement of election dates. The order was passed by a single bench of Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai. The petition was filed recently by advocates Chandra Kanta Gyawali, Liladhar Upadhyay, Bimal Gyawali and Shashi Karki. The Himalayan Times, September 10, 2016.


PAKISTAN

Religious seminaries being registered to stop sectarian conflicts in PoK, says PoK PM Raja Farooq Haider Khan: The Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) Prime Minister (PM) Raja Farooq Haider Khan on September 9 said that religious seminaries are being registered to stop sectarian conflicts and other extremist practices. He was addressing a briefing by officials of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA) in Muzaffarabad. Raja Farooq Haider Khan expressed satisfaction over the security and law and order situation in the State. Radio Pakistan ,September 10, 2016

Despite successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb threat to peace remains, says CoAS General Raheel Sharif: Speaking during the Defense Day ceremony on September 6, Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Raheel Sharif said that despite the successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, threats to peace persist. He called for the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and wide-ranging legal and governance reforms to sustain the military's achievements against terrorists. Dawn, September 7, 2016.


SRI LANKA

President promises to take swift measures to develop conflict affected North: President Maithripala Sirisena participating in a ceremony held at the Jaffna Central College in Jaffna District on September 9 promised to take swift measures to develop conflict affected North. President Sirisena also said that he will tour in the District in the future to take necessary steps to prevent any delays of the development works and to find out causes for those issues. The present Government has allocated the maximum amount of funds in the history for the development of the education field of the North, he added. Colombo Page, September 10, 2016.

Government is hoping to increase percentage of Tamils in Security Forces, says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe: Prime Minister (PM) Ranil Wickremesinghe responding to a question asked by Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) leader Douglas Devananda in Parliament on September 8 said that the Government is hoping to increase the percentage of Tamils in the Security Forces (SFs). The PM said "Sri Lanka's first Army Commander Anton Muthukumara was a Tamil. There were Tamil-speaking officers in Police Service, but the situation changed after 1978. The LTTE started killing Tamil Police officers and this hindered recruitment because it resulted in Tamils being discouraged from joining the service. Daily Mirror, September 10, 2016.


The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.

SAIR is a project of the Institute for Conflict Management and the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

 
South Asia Intelligence Review [SAIR]

Publisher
K. P. S. Gill

Editor
Dr. Ajai Sahni