Pakistan court rejects bail for ex-PM Nawaz Sharif

KONFRONTASI-A Pakistani court has rejected the bail plea on medical grounds of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is currently serving a seven-year jail term for corruption.

The Islamabad High Court said in its decision in the capital on Monday that Sharif could not be given bail on health grounds as he was already being treated at a hospital.

Sharif, who was sentenced in December for being unable to prove the source of income for the ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia in a string of court cases against him, made the request after multiple complaints of chest and other body pains.

He was recently admitted to a hospital in the eastern city of Lahore for treatment for a heart condition, with a government-appointed medical board assigned to ascertain his medical condition.

Sharif's lawyers argued that he was too frail to be kept in jail and was suffering from multiple problems related to the heart, kidney, hypertension and diabetes.

"None of the reports [about Sharif's condition] suggest that continued incarceration of the petitioner, in any way, would be detrimental to his life," the judges ruled on Monday.

The former prime minister is "receiving the best possible medical treatment available to any individual in Pakistan," the court order added.

Khawaja Asif, a former foreign minister and leader of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, said an appeal would be filed in the Supreme Court against the rejection.

"We don't agree with the decision but will accept it out of respect for the courts," he said.

Konflik Kashmir: Pakistan akan Kerahkan Kekuatan Penuh Jika India Lancarkan Serangan

KONFRONTASI-Pakistan akan menanggapi dengan "kekuatan penuh" jika India melancarkan serangan, kata juru bicara tentara pada Jumat, di tengah-tengah ketegangan yang meningkat antara dua negara bertetangga itu terkait Kashmir.

Mayor Jenderal Asif Ghafoor berbicara sepekan setelah kelompok militan yang berkedudukan di Pakistan mengaku bertanggung jawab atas serangan bom bunuh diri yang menewaskan 40 personel polisi paramiliter India di kawasan Himalaya yang diperselisihkan India dan Pakistan itu.

Tak Terima Dituding Dalangi Serangan di Kashmir, Pakistan Tarik Dubes dari India

KONFRONTASI-India menuding Pakistan di balik serangan teror yang menewaskan 41 anggota CRPF tersebut di Distrik Pulwama, negara bagian Jammu Kashmir pada Jumat (14/2) lalu. Merespon tudingan tersebut, Pemerintah Pakistan pun menarik duta besarnya dari negeri hindustan tersebut.

Juru Bicara Kementerian Luar Negeri Pakistan, Mohammad Faisal mengumumkan Islamabad telah menarik dubesnya di New Delhi untuk berunding di tengah meningkatnya ketegangan dengan India.

What are India's options against Pakistan after Kashmir attack?

KONFRONTASI-With India's general election barely months away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under heavy pressure from his supporters to punish Pakistan for a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy that killed at least 42 soldiers in India-administered Kashmir.

India placed the blame for Thursday's bombing squarely on neighbouring Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting rebels in Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies.

A look at some of the retaliatory steps India is likely to consider:

Diplomatic isolation

India's first public reaction to the attack was to withdraw the most-favoured nation (MFN) trade status given to Pakistan and take all possible diplomatic steps "to ensure the complete isolation from international community of Pakistan".

New Delhi insists "incontrovertible evidence is available of [Pakistan] having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident".

The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that the armed group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), headquartered in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

India's foreign ministry on Friday briefed New Delhi-based diplomats from key countries, including China, which has in the past blocked its proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a "designated terrorist" by the United Nations.

The ministry demanded Pakistan take "immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror".

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua rejected allegations about its involvement in the attack, saying on Saturday that it was part of New Delhi's "known rhetoric and tactics" to divert global attention from human rights violations.

Military attacks

After a 2016 attack on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers, India's army said it carried out a campaign of "surgical strikes" against fighters across the highly militarised frontier that divides the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan dismissed reports that India's military had targeted "terrorist launch pads" inside the Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Islamabad said that two of its soldiers were killed in "unprovoked" firing by India across the border.

Following the latest attack - the worst against Indian government forces in Kashmir's history - Modi warned that those behind it would pay a heavy price and that security forces have been given a free hand to act against violence.

The Times of India newspaper reported on Saturday that the military options - short of two nuclear-armed rivals going to war - could range from "shallow ground-based attacks and occupation of some heights along the Line of Control [ceasefire line] to restricted but precision air strikes against non-state targets in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir".

G Parthasarthy, India's former high commissioner to Pakistan, said a possible military response can't be discussed in public.

"We have said that Pakistan will pay a price," he said. "For obvious reasons, we are not going to spell out how that cost would be imposed."

Paul Staniland, a political science professor and South Asia expert at the University of Chicago, said Pakistan's army is assuming it will be attacked and that Indian forces are preparing for a serious incursion of some sort.

Domestic pressure

Indian analysts say political parties will be watching public reaction closely ahead of India's election. Already, protesters have chanted "attack Pakistan" and fiery debates on television channels demanded retaliation.

"I think the situation is extremely tense," said Amitabh Mattoo, professor of international studies at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"The mood in the country is extremely angry at what has happened. And moreover, there are elections in the offing. No party could afford to neglect public opinion."

Staniland said the stakes are too high for India to do nothing at all.

"Modi is in a tricky position," he said. "Indian forces are quite capable, but it's not obvious what kinds of strikes would accomplish the core goal. Kashmir and Pakistan are among the few foreign policy topics that have real electoral resonance."

The general election is scheduled to be held in less than two months.

US response

The United States singled out Pakistan in a statement condemning the attack and said it had strengthened US resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with India.

To improve India's military capabilities, the US has offered to sell it unarmed Guardian surveillance drones, aircraft carrier technologies and F-18 and F-16 fighter aircraft.

There are sticking points, however, including the purchase by India of Iranian oil and the Russian S-400 ground-to-air missile system, which could trigger US sanctions on India.

Tersangka Pelaku Mutilasi WNI di Malaysia Berasal dari Pakistan

Konfrontasi - Kepolisian Diraja Malaysia dengan tuduhan melakukan pembunuhan terhadap dua Warga Negara Indonesia (WNI). Sementara itu, satu tersangka masih dalam pencarian.

“Sudah diidentifikasi bahwa tersangka adalah warga negara Pakistan. Untuk motif pembunuhan, masih didalami oleh Kepolisian Malaysia,” kata juru bicara Kementerian Luar Negeri RI Arrmanatha Nasir di Jakarta, Jumat 15 Februari 2019.

Taliban announce surprise talks with US in Pakistan capital

KONFRONTASI-The Taliban said it will meet envoys from the United States for talks next week in Pakistan even as another round of negotiations is scheduled in Qatar by the end of this month.

The unexpected announcement, not yet confirmed by Washington or Islamabad, came as US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad tours the globe, shoring up support for a peace process to end America's longest war.

Kemenag: Jemaah Umrah Indonesia Terbanyak Kedua di Dunia

Konfrontasi - Indonesia menjadi negara dengan jumlah jemaah umrah terbanyak kedua di dunia. Peringkat pertama terbanyak ialah Pakistan, sedangkan India menempati urutan ketiga.

Hal ini disampaikan Dirjen Penyelenggaraan Haji dan Umrah Kementerian Agama Nizar Ali saat memberikan laporan pada Penandatangan Nota Kesepahaman tentang Pencegahan, Pengawasan, dan Penanganan Permasalahan Penyelenggaraan Ibadah Umrah di Jakarta.

Lindsey Graham urges Trump to meet Pakistan PM Khan

KONFRONTASI-Senior US Senator Lindsey Graham has urged President Donald Trump to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as intense contacts between the two countries continue over negotiations to end the 17-year war with the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Graham spoke to reporters in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Sunday, capping off days of meetings that saw the top US envoy on Afghan reconciliation and its commander of military forces in the region also visit the South Asian country.

"I've seen things change here and all in a positive direction," said Graham, a senior member of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee who has visited Pakistan dozens of times in recent years.

Khan, who came to power after a general election last year, has long stated his support for a peace agreement in Afghanistan to end hostilities there.

Trump would be "far more enthusiastic about the region than he is today" if he met Khan, said Graham, who held talks with the prime minister earlier on Sunday.

"With Prime Minister Khan we have a unique opportunity to change our relationship," he said.

The relationship, he said, was previously "transactional", but should be replaced with a "strategic partnership".