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Disgraced Pakistani Nuclear Scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan Pleads For Assistance

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Pakistan’s Nuclear father, Abdul Qadeer Khan has told the top court in a handwritten note that he is being “kept prisoner” by government agencies and is not allowed to plead his case for freedom of movement.

In the handwritten note that the 83-year-old man submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday, Abdul Qadeer Khan said –  “I had been kept as a prisoner having no free movement or meeting with anybody.”

Khan mentions he had does not have access to any friend, so much so that his daughter and her children living a few houses away could not meet him, adding that the restrictions were so unlawful that he could not even access the court.

“This act of security authorities is illegal since no such order has been conveyed to me warranting the treatment being meted out to me now”, writes Abdul Qadeer Khan.

In 2004, Abdul Qadeer Khan had confessed to selling nuclear secrets on TV. It was alleged that he supplied designs, hardware and materials to make enriched uranium for atomic bombs to other countries like Iran, Libya and North Korea.

A metallurgist by training, Khan was then accused of espionage by the nuclear fuel company that he had earlier worker for. The NBC News called him an “unapologetic patriot” and wrote that “it had taken a degree of patriotism that only one adjective could adequately describe: fanatical.”

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) chief reportedly said that Abdul Qadeer Khan could not have acted alone “without the awareness of the Pakistan Government”.

With the increasing focus on Pakistan government’s involvement, the pressure from global nuclear giants including the United States was soaring high. Pakistan had to detain the scientist who powered the nuclear program of the country that was ruled under General Pervez Musharraf at that time.

In 2009, Qadeer Khan was freed from his ‘house arrest’ that had lasted no less than 5 years. Khan’s lawyer Ali Zafar had said that “The Court has said as he was not involved in nuclear proliferation or criminal activity, there is no case against him, therefore he is a free citizen.”

Khan even told media the same day that “It’s a nice feeling, the worry is gone. I can lead a normal life now, as a normal citizen. It’s a fine feeling,”

However, his problems seem to see no end as his movements continued to be restricted as he lived in his heavily guarded posh Islamabad neighbourhood. In 2019, the Bhopal born scientist filed a petition that complained that “This act of the security authorities is illegal since no such order has been conveyed to me warranting the treatment being meted out to me now.”

He said that he was in a constant fear of “physical harm”, and could not move freely even though the court had allowed him the freedom of movement under some specific terms. In his handwritten note from Thursday, Qadeer Khan also mentioned that he was being forced to withdraw his petition to that court and take it to a lower court.

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South Asia

Buddhist Sites Defaced In Gilgit Baltistan – India Conveys ‘Serious Concern’ To Pakistan

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The Indian Ministry of External Affairs says they have communicated their concerns to Pakistan over the reported vandalism, defacement and destruction of Buddhist heritage in Gilgit-Baltistan, a region claimed by India and controlled by Pakistan.

Responding to media queries Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson said: “We have conveyed our strong concern at reports of vandalism, defacement and destruction of invaluable Indian Buddhist heritage located in so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ area of the Indian territory under illegal and forcible occupation of Pakistan.”

How Pakistan Annexed Gilgit-Baltistan But Refused To Give Provincial Status: India Today Analysis

MEA spokesperson – Anurag Srivastava said it was a matter of serious concern that the Buddhist symbols are being destroyed and the religious and cultural rights and freedoms are being crushed with impunity in the Indian territories under illegal occupation of Pakistan. He added – “Egregious activities of this nature which display contempt for the ancient civilisational and cultural heritage are highly condemnable.

Gilgit-Baltistan Want To Join India While Kashmir Advocates For Pakistan?

“We have sought immediate access for our experts to the area in order to restore and preserve this invaluable archaeological heritage. “We have once again called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all illegally occupied territories and end the gross violation of the political, economic and cultural rights of people living there.”

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Coronavirus In Tibet: Limited Impact Of COVID-19 In High Altitude Regions Like Tibet?

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Scientists are now investigating the link between COVID-19 and high altitude regions like Tibet after a study published in the journal Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology suggested that there is a decrease in prevalence and impact of COVID-19 in populations living at higher altitudes. 

The study takes into consideration the COVID-19 cases in Tibet and high-altitude regions of Bolivia and Ecuador in comparison to the low lying regions. It suggested that the population in Bolivia, Ecuador and Tibet living above 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) reported significantly lower levels of confirmed infections than their lowland counterparts.

In the plateau region of Tibet, Qinghai and part of Sichuan, with a population of 9 million, there are only 134 confirmed cases which are drastically low in comparison to the number of cases in rest of China.

Ecuador is one of the worst-hit countries by COVID-19 in South America with more than 40,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths. The centre of the virus is the Pacific port of Guayaquil. There are fewer infected cases in the capital Quito, which is about the same size but is 2,800 metres above sea level.

Similarly, Bolivia has over 10,000 positive cases with over 300 deaths. The cases are concentrated in Santa Cruz which is 400 metres above sea level. It is home to about 15% of the population of the country but accounts for two-thirds of the virus cases. Whereas, in La Paz and its surrounding area, which is a highland area in Bolivia, has about 500 positive cases.

The reason explored by the study includes environmental factors including dry mountain air, high levels of UV radiation and the possibility that lower atmospheric pressure reduces the virus’s ability to linger in the air.

“The reason for decreased severity of the global COVID-19 outbreak at high altitude could relate to both environmental and physiological factors,” states the study.

“At sea-level, when people get coronavirus and their lungs get destroyed, it is as if they are climbing Mount Everest in just a couple of days, without oxygen,” said Gustavo Zubieta-Calleja, one of the authors of the study published in the journal Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology. But “the low rate of infection in Bolivia’s high-altitude population is remarkable and clearly does not follow the often exponential infection rates reported in many countries”, concluded the scientists.

However, experts have questioned these factors. “The virus likes people. It doesn’t care about altitude,” says Peter Chin-Hong, who studies infectious diseases at the University of California at San Francisco. “But we’re still learning so much about this disease, and this does provide us with some good clues to try and understand its progression,” he added.

According to Clayton Cowl, a pulmonologist at the Mayo Clinic and a former president of the American College of Chest Physicians, that the trend might be related to acclimatization, the body’s ability to adjust temporarily to altitude, than to DNA.

Just three populations in the world have been found to have genetic adaptations to altitude: Himalayans, Ethiopian highlanders and Andeans. This is why the coronavirus is exploding on Peru’s Pacific coast, particularly Lima, where most residents descend from Andean ancestors, while the country’s mountain communities are thus far not greatly affected by the virus.

Andrew Luks, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said that while the proposed link was “intriguing”, it “by no means establishes that high-altitude residence or high-altitude locations are protective against coronavirus”.

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Amidst India-China Standoff, India-Pakistan ‘Limited War’ Over Kashmir Remains High: Experts

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As India-China standoff in Ladakh grabs worldwide attention, the Indian Army continues to engage – what Delhi terms as ‘Pakistan-backed militants’ in Kashmir with many experts speculating a ‘limited war’ between two nuclear-armed nations.

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Cross-border infiltration and militancy have been on a sudden rise in the along the LoC and Kashmir valley and at the same time, Pakistan has consistently warned the international community of an Indian ‘false flag’ operation.

Despite being heavily involved in the conflict between India and China in Ladakh, the Indian Army remains proactive in Kashmir. The valley has not seen any drop in the engagement level of the Indian armed forces as they continue to batter militants and foil infiltrations bids.

In their latest mission, the security forces eliminated three militants of the Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) in an encounter. An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) expert was also identified amongst the slain militants.

According to sources, a joint contingent of police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Indian Army laid siege around Kangan village of Pulwama district after receiving intelligence reports highlighting the presence of militants in the area.

India-China Conflict: Chinese Army Conducts ‘Surprise Attack’ Drills To Capture Enemy Territory

As the armed forces conducted door to door searches, the militants opened fire and later died in the heavy gun-battle which ensued. Defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said in a statement that the militants were offered an opportunity to surrender but decided not to do so.

The three militants neutralized in Pulwama add to the 13 terrorists that Indian security forces claimed to have eliminated recently. As earlier reported by EurAsian Times, Indian armed forces eliminated three terrorists in the Naushera Sector and an additional 10 heavily-armed terrorists in Mendhar along the Line of Control (LoC).

The armed forces also recovered arms and ammunition including 2 AK assault rifles, a US-made M-16A2 rifle, a 9MM Chinese pistol, a UBGL with 6 grenades, 5 hand grenades and knives. Medicines, Indian currency amounting Rupees 17,000 and food packets were also recovered from encounter sites.

Ever since the dastardly attack in Pulwama in 2019 in which more than 40 CRPF soldiers were killed, the Indian armed forces maintain extra vigilance in Kashmir. Near the end of May, Indian security forces foiled Pulwama 2.0, a plot to recreate the fatal attack of 2019.

False Flag Operation

While the Indian military is busy engaging infiltrators and militants in Kashmir, Pakistan is raising concerns about a ‘false flag’ operation. The concerns are led by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who has on several occasions tweeted about an impending ‘false flag’ operation by India.

The allegations from Khan came at the heels of reported ceasefire violations by India following its counter-insurgency operations.’’I am reiterating again that a false flag operation is imminent from India in order to divert world attention away from its ongoing genocide in India Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoJK),’’ Khan had earlier tweeted.

Khan’s warning of a ‘false flag’ operation was later echoed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Qureshi not only supported Imran Khan but also urged the United Nations to block any military confrontation between New Delhi and Islamabad and offered UN Observer Groups to visit the LoC.

Qureshi also highlighted the intentional targeting of innocent civilians by India during cross-border shelling.

India claims that Pakistan is involved in harbouring terrorists who train militants to infiltrate the LoC and wreak havoc in Kashmir. The Indian army has recognized 15 terrorist launch pads across the LoC which are used for the purposes mentioned above.

Pakistan refutes these allegations and believes that India plans to conduct a ‘false flag’ operation under the disguise of these claims. Qureshi had also rejected the ‘launch pad’ allegations as baseless.

While India and China lock horns in Ladakh, experts at EurAsian Times believe that the international community should keep a close eye on Kashmir. Nitin J Ticku, an expert on Kashmir, says while tensions with Beijing will not escalate into a  war, however, the possibility of a ‘limited’ military conflict with Islamabad remains high.

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