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Tuesday,26-September-2023
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Pakistan’s defence budget increased by 16%

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The Pakistan government has proposed a roughly 16 per cent increase in the defence budget as the country continues to face internal and external security challenges, the media reported.

Interestingly, all three services — Army, Navy, Air Force — were given an equal increase in the budget, although the military takes the major share given its size and the role, The Express Tribune reported.

Pakistan’s defence spending is now 1.7 per cent of its GDP, showing a decline compared to last year.

The defence spending in 2022-23 was around 2 per cent of the country’s GDP, the size of which has grown due to the rebasing of the economy, The Express Tribune reported.

Defence spending has always been the subject of discussions with some seeking greater transparency and open debate about the military’s budget.

In recent years, the government provides more details about the defence budget.

However, there has never been open debate within the parliament on the subject.

Observers believe that the increase in the defence budget is justified given the impending external and internal security challenges, The Express Tribune reported.

Despite the US troops withdrawal from neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan still deploys thousands of troops along the western border as well as in the erstwhile tribal areas to deal with the threat of terrorism.

The budget document shows that defence outlay for 2023-24 would be 1,804 billion PKR compared to the revised defence spending of 1,591 billion PKR earmarked for the outgoing fiscal year.

International News

Indian Woman Anju Celebrates Pakistan’s Independence Day With Husband Nasrullah, Cuts Cake

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Indian woman Anju, who went to Pakistan to meet her Facebook friend Nasrullah, was seen celebrating Pakistan’s independence day on Monday (August 14). Pakistan marks its independence day on August 14 every year, a day ahead of India’s Independence Day. In a video shared on social media, Anju can be seen during the cake cutting along with Nasrullah to celebrate Pakistan’s independence day.

Anju’s story made headlines

Anju, a married woman with children, got to know Nasrullah of Pakistan on Facebook. As friendship grew between the two, Anju tried to get a visa for close to two years in India, said reports. Anju recently went to Pakistan after getting the visa. Reports claimed that she converted to Islam in Pakistan and also got married to Nasrullah. However, she denied the claims in a video she released and said she wanted to return to India.

Anju’s father disowns her

Recently, Anju’s father, fed up of constant media presence at this house had castigated Anju for her decision to cross borders for love and marrying Nasrullah, as reports claimed. Anju’s father had said that he wished for her daughter not to return and said, ‘Let her die there’.

Anju’s husband in India was shocked when he learnt about Anju having gone to Pakistan to meet her Facebook friend Nasrullah. The husband had said that Anju had told her she was going to Jaipur and that she would return back in a few days. However, he was shocked when police came calling after reports that Anju had gone to Pakistan went viral.

Anju and Seema Haider, tale of two women

Anju’s story emerged even as news about Pakistani woman Seema Haider’s dramatic and suspicious entry into India along with her four children dominated news space. Seema Haider, a Pakistani woman, had entered India from Nepal and an investigation was carried out in the case. She married Sachin Meena who lives in Greater Noida.

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Crime

Asains found guilty of smuggling migrants to UK

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A 38-year-old Asian-origin man has been found guilty of being part of an organised crime group linked to the prolific smuggling of migrants, including minors, to the UK.

Najib Khan, 38, from Ilford was identified as being part of the network by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), following the arrest of his co-conspirator Waqas Ikram, 40, in March 2021.

Ikram, who was caught red-handed attempting to break into a heavy goods vehicle to put migrants inside, worked for a people smuggling organised crime group headed by Mokter Hossain.

An iPhone belonging to Ikram, seized following his arrest, contained numerous conversations with Khan outlining their involvement in a separate people smuggling network, charging migrants up to 7,000 pounds a head to bring them to the UK, the NCA said in a statement.

Phone evidence showed that Khan and Ikram had been involved in a successful crossing involving five migrants being transported into Harwich in March 2019, and two other attempts that had been foiled by border agents.

The first of these was in May 2019, when 15 Vietnamese and one Afghan migrant were found in a lorry at the Hook of Holland as it prepared to board a ferry to Harwich.

In the same year in August, 16 migrants including 11 minors, were rescued from a purpose built concealment in a lorry carrying 2,000 loose tyres.

The lorry was preparing to board a ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven, and officers reported the heat and the nature of the concealment made breathing difficult.

The lorry drivers involved in both would later be jailed in the Netherlands and France, but the NCA was able to prove Ikram’s crime group had been involved in both attempts.

Further conversations between Khan and Ikram showed they were using GPS trackers to follow lorries that they had arranged to be broken into without drivers’ knowledge to stow migrants.

One of the trackers was found at Khan’s house when he was arrested by the NCA. In 2020, Khan and Ikram purchased a rigid hull inflatable boat for the purpose of smuggling migrants, and Ikram attended a course for piloting powerboats that June, the NCA said.

In July, the pair were encountered by Border Force off the coast of Suffolk in their RHIB.

They told officers they were scouting for scuba diving sites, and returned to Walton-on-the-Naze.

“Ikram and Khan had no regard for the safety and security of those they were transporting, they were only interested in making money from them,” NCA branch commander Andy Noyes said in a statement.

“In at least one case it was only the fact that the migrants were discovered by border agents that prevented them being left in what could have been an incredibly dangerous, and potential fatal, situation,” Noyes added.

Ikram was arrested by the NCA in 2021, charged with people smuggling offences and released on bail by the court. Both he and Khan were detained in connection with further offences by the NCA in July 2022 and charged with three counts of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration.

While Ikram pleaded guilty to the charge, Khan went to trial, following which a jury at Reading Crown Court on Friday found him guilty on all three counts.

They will be sentenced on October 30.

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International News

Pakistan Drones Dropping Drugs In Punjab, Admits PM Shehbaz Sharif’s Close Aide On TV Show

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A senior official in the Pakistan government has admitted that Pakistani smugglers are using drones to smuggle illicit drugs, mostly heroin into Indian territory. Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, the Special Assistant on Defence to Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made these remarks to Hamid Mir, a journalist associated with Pakistan’s News.

Mir has posted a video on his Twitter handle of the interview with Khan, who is also the Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) representing Kasur city, which borders the state of Punjab in India.

The Pakistani journalist tweeted on July 17, captioned as, “Big disclosure by PM’s advisor Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan. Smugglers using drones in the flood-affected areas of Kasur near Pakistan-India border to transport heroin. He demanded a special package for the rehabilitation of the flood victims otherwise victims will join smugglers.”

Malik Khan Admits About Cross-Border Smuggling

In the video clip of the interview posted by the Pakistani journalist, Malik Khan is heard saying, “This (Kasur near LOC) is a rangers area. Due to some border regulations, there is some sensitivity.” When the journalist asks the special advisor to Pakistan PM about the issue of cross-border smuggling of narcotics in Kasur he affirms the development. “Sure, it (smuggling via drone) is happening and it is very unfortunate. Recently there have been two incidents where 10 kg of heroin was tied to each drone and thrown across. Agencies are working on it.” Indian security forces have brought down a number of drones in recent times carrying contraband.

Drug Smuggling Incidents In Border Areas This Year

In April this year, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said that security forces have taken many counter-measures to tackle incidents of dropping of weapons and drugs by drones sent by Pakistan.

Earlier this month, on July 21, BSF and Punjab Police troops recovered a drone in broken condition from the farming field near Mastgarh village in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district.

On specific information, BSF and Punjab Police launched a search operation and recovered the Pakistani drone from the outskirts of Mastgarh village. “The recovered drone belongs to Quadcopter, DJI Matrice 300 RTK model,” officials said.

Multiple Drones Shot Down, Contrabands Seized

Earlier, the Border Security Force (BSF) foiled the nefarious design of smugglers by seizing 2.35 kg of heroin dropped by a Pakistani drone near the International Border in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district.

During the detailed search, the BSF troops recovered one packet of narcotics suspected to be heroin weighing 2.35 kg wrapped with yellow adhesive tape from the farming field ahead of border fencing.

On June 29, BSF troops recovered approximately 5.120 kg of suspected heroin dropped by a Pakistani drone near the International Border in farming fields of Village- Khalra in Tarn Taran district.

Earlier, on June 24, the troops of the BSF shot down a Pakistani drone that had intruded into the Indian airspace in Punjab’s Tarn Taran sector. Also, the BSF shot and brought down a Pakistani drone in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district.

On June 22, the BSF in Punajb’s Fazilka recovered a drone originating from the Pakistan side and two packets of suspected narcotics near the Abohar border.

“On specific information, alert BSF troops recovered a Pakistani drone (DJI Matrice 300 RTK) on June 22, during morning hours along with 2 kg (appx) suspected heroin near the international border in Jodhawala village of Fazilka district,” BSF Punjab Frontier said.

BSF personnel in Rajasthan’s Bikaner recovered a drone originating from the Pakistan side and two packets of suspected narcotics near the Rawla border.

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