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US Blocks Aid To Pak, Says Didn’t Take ‘Sufficient Action’ Against Terror – JV

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This move could signal a burgeoning hard line approach by the Trump administration towards Pak


Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has decided that the Pentagon will not give Pakistan the remainder of a key U.S. military reimbursement fund allotted to the country for 2016, a move that could signal a burgeoning hard line approach by the Trump administration toward Islamabad.

The Pentagon announced the move to withhold $50 million in “coalition support funds” in a statement Friday, saying it had determined Pakistan had not taken “sufficient action” against the Haqqani network, the Taliban offshoot responsible for numerous attacks on civilians and military targets in neighboring Afghanistan. Reuters was first to report on the development.

“This decision does not reduce the significance of the sacrifices that the Pakistani military has undertaken over previous years,” said Adam Stump, a Pentagon spokesman, in the statement.

The move comes less than a year after Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter decided to withhold $300 million from the same fund for the same reason: that Pakistan was not going after the Haqqani militants.

For fiscal year 2016, Pakistan was allotted $900 million in coalition support funds, $550 million of which Islamabad has already received. The Pentagon said that $300 million, however, had already been withheld and redistributed, meaning that there are no more of the funds available to Pakistan from its 2016 allotment. The Coalition Support Fund is the main source of military assistance for Pakistan and is considered a reimbursement for Pakistan’s military support for U.S. operations in the region.

In the statement, Stump said the 2016 funds had to be “released or reprogrammed” before their expiration. He added that the decision to withhold the funds does not “prejudge” the White House and Pentagon’s upcoming strategy for Afghanistan and the surrounding region, now known as the “South Asia Strategy.”

“[The Coalition Support Fund] is just one component of the United States’ broad and enduring partnership with Pakistan,” Stump said.

In this year’s budget, Pakistan is authorized another $900 million, $400 million of which could also be withheld for similar reasons again. Pakistan has received more than $14 billion in coalition support funds since 2002, according to the Pentagon.

The Haqqani Network has been blamed for a spate of recent attacks in Afghanistan, including the May suicide bombing that killed more than 100 people in a crowded Kabul intersection and a sophisticated infiltration of an Afghan military base in Mazar-e Sharif that killed or wounded more than 100 Afghan soldiers.

“Pakistan still has time to take action against the Haqqani Network in order to influence the Secretary’s certification decision in,” Stump said.

Mattis recently told lawmakers that the Pentagon’s new approach in Afghanistan would focus more on Pakistan, a country long seen as a problem by U.S. officials because of its lawless border regions where Taliban and Haqqani militants often encamp and regroup before flowing back toward Kabul. Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Washington has often made pledges to put more pressure on Pakistan to help stem the tide of fighters moving back and forth between the two countries. Despite some Pakistani military operations in the region, little progress has been made.

The U.S. relationship with Pakistan has long been considered particularly transactional in nature, and deteriorated after the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after years of him apparently living there, not far from a Pakistani military academy.

In budget documents last year, the Defense Department said that it intended to continue reimbursing the Pakistani government for military operations, calling Pakistan a “key ally” in the counterterrorism campaign since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The documents cited the Pakistani military setting up observation posts along the Afghanistan border, providing logistical support and carrying out maritime patrols in waterways as examples.

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BJP’s JK unit website hacked for brief period; restored

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The website of the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit was today hacked for a brief period with the hackers posting a message demanding justice for an eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered at Kathua in January.

The website was restored after some time.

The hackers, who called themselves “Team Kerala Cyber Warriors”, posted a message accusing the state unit of protecting a “gang of pedophiles” who had aligned with some of the ruling BJP’s office-bearers.

The hackers, who used the colours of the Indian flag in the message, said there should be nothing beyond humanity and “discrimination cannot be tolerated”.

They demanded that rapists be hanged.

BJP’s J&K unit General Secretary Ashok Kaul told PTI that the website was hacked for a brief period and had been “restored now”.

“Yes, we will file a complaint with the police. One should see the message. It seems that someone from north Kerala is responsible for the hacking. After all, the situation in Kerala is not hidden from anyone,” he said.

Kaul said it was yet another attempt to create tension in Jammu, which has been the symbol of nationalism.

The BJP had distanced itself from the Hindu Ekta Manch, which had organised a rally in favour of the eight accused arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir’s Crime Branch in connection with the Kathua rape case.

The party asked two of its ministers Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga to resign from the state cabinet as the two had participated in the rally and dared the Crime Branch to make any further arrests in the case.

The BJP had also removed its state unit secretary who was found having links with the Hindu Ekta Manch.

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Kathua case: Why protest and pelt stones when accused are in jail, asks Naeem Akhtar

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Works Minister and senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Naeem Akhtar on Thursday said that there was no reason for the students in Kashmir to hold protests over Kathua rape-and-murder case when the accused were already behind bars.
“What is the occasion for protests, stonepelting [over Kathua case] when case is solved, accused in jail and trial on? Shouldn’t they be attending classes instead,” Akhtar wrote in reply to a tweet of a journalist.

 

The student protests are refusing to die down despite the government suspending the class work in the colleges and higher secondary schools.
Over a dozen students were injured today in Shopian after they staged protests over Kathua case and clashed with the forces.

Yesterday also, around twenty students had suffered injuries in police action in Anantnag district.

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Amitabh Bachchan reacts to ‘disgusting’ Kathua rape case

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Expressing his disgust at the gruesome Kathua rape case, legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan has said he feels terrible to even talk about it.

Present at the song launch of his upcoming film ‘102 Not Out’, Big B was asked about his views on rapes in the country as an ambassador for ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’.

“Even discussing this issue feels disgusting, don’t bring up this issue. It is terrible to even talk about it,” said the 75-year-old.

On January 17, an eight-year-old girl was allegedly abducted, drugged, raped, tortured and killed Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district.

Earlier, joining the growing outrage, celebrities like Sonam Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kalki Koechlin, Richa Chadha and many others posted messages on their social media demanding justice for the victim.

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