Canada’s most widely read newspaper bashes India, media bias

Toronto, March 11, 2019 (PPI-OT): The Globe and Mail, Canada’s most widely read newspaper on weekdays and Saturdays, while criticizing the world’s silence over real risk of nuclear war over Kashmir between Pakistan and India has said that the global powers have to stop relying on their historic biases in this conflict and must insist that unproven accusations are not sufficient to justify acts that can lead to war and escalation of the nuclear threat.

The writer, Alison Redford in her article ‘This is not the same old India-Pakistan conflict’ also brushed aside the allegations against Pakistan saying, “For too long, Pakistan’s actions have been unreasonably characterized as aggressive.”

“The primary conflict between India and Pakistan has focused on Kashmir, which continues to exacerbate a dangerous cross-border relationship. Seventy years of animosity have been based on both countries’ claims to the entire territory, a legacy from England’s empire, that illustrates how partition is still the dominant driver of their foreign policy and regional security goals,” writes Alison Redford who studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Alison Redford, who also spent a year as a consultant to the World Bank on energy regulation in Pakistan points out, “On Feb. 26, the Indian Air Force crossed the line of control and attacked civilian targets in Pakistan. In response, the next day, the Pakistan Air Force shot down at least one Indian Air Force plane in Pakistani air space, capturing a pilot who has now been repatriated to India.” She criticized the media bias against Pakistan and said, “In various media outlets this week, Pakistan was characterized as the aggressor in this latest round of military activity.”

“The facts demonstrate a different reality. Indian military jets breached the line of control and launched an attack on civilian targets in Pakistan, (even boasting of civilian deaths), based on an unproven allegation that the insurgents responsible for the Kashmir attack against Indian soldiers were supported by Pakistan. In response, during the next Indian sorties, which appear to have been a second breach, Pakistan, acting in self-defence, shot down at least one Indian military jet in Pakistani airspace.”

“While some might argue that India was justified in its actions, which are questionable under international law, this also assumes that India’s claims of Pakistan’s support for Jaish-e-Mohammad are correct.”

“First, in media reports, India refers to 40 years of terrorist attacks against India by Pakistan without equal mention of terror attacks perpetrated by India on Pakistani soil, as recently as three months ago in Karachi, or India’s support for independence insurgents operating in the Northwest of Pakistan over the past 10 years.”

“Second, although in the past there have been allegations that Jaish-e-Mohammed has been supported by Pakistan, the organization has been banned in Pakistan since 2002 and support for its operations and training activity was withdrawn. Yet, India continues to assert this position, without providing evidence to support it.”

“Third, it is against the fundamental principles of international law to launch a military attack on civilian targets, which can be considered an act of war. In those circumstances, one can argue that Pakistan had the right to defend itself and that its response was both measured and reasonable.”

“On the Kashmiri question, Pakistan has called for United Nations mediation, but India has refused, saying that it is an internal issue, while violently suppressing a growing, and younger, local insurgent movement. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized India for using excessive force in 2017. More than 500 people, including 100 civilians, have been killed in 2018.”

In recent months, India’s tactics have been increasingly violent, leading to more international criticism of its conduct and occupation of Kashmir, including most recently by British parliamentarians, and two resolutions at the OIC this past weekend condemning its violent actions in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also faces criticism domestically from Indian opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, for manipulating these events to bolster Mr. Modi’s political support in an election year.”

The writer concludes her article with following words: “There have been times when both countries have been accused of being involved in unwarranted actions against the other and the international community is quick to ignore the complicated dynamics in the region and rely on history. Instead, each incident should be assessed on its own merits to avoid dangerous rivalries from being perpetuated. With a real nuclear risk, we cannot afford to be complacent.”

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