Tag Archive: Pakistan


There are credible intelligence reports that Pakistani team visiting India for the World Cup 2011 cricket matches will be the target of terrorists. Nobody has made any specific threat but veiled threats were announced by Shiv Sena against Pakistan squad reaching the final to be held in Mumbai. This organization is a known terrorist group of India targeting Pakistan’s interests and Pakistani team will be exposed to the risk of terrorist attack by these terrorists in case they win Mohali semi-finals. As opposed to these terrorists, the public is excited about the clash and there has not been the slightest inkling of political trouble throughout the tournament. Mob violence generally, which never disappears entirely in India, appears to have taken a holiday during the World Cup, except for the occasional lathi charge by police on unsuspecting fans wanting tickets for various matches involving the home side.

Having credible information on a possible terrorist attack, Indian government has made elaborate security arrangements for the visiting team. It was about two years ago that some terrorists, having a clear agenda of moving World Cup venue from Pakistan attacked the Sri Lankan team bus taking the players to the third day of a Test match in Lahore. Seven policemen were killed, four cricketers were injured. The objective was achieved as no international cricket has been played in Pakistan since and the World Cup matches that they were supposed to be hosting were removed. Cricket was suddenly under the eye of the madmen. The nervousness surrounding Mohali match is perhaps natural: what could be a more obvious target for extremists?

Pakistani players have put up a brave face and have rejected Shiv Sena threats. Pakistani coach said last month they were not bothered by these threats. If nothing else, these threats are enough to put the players under pressure. According to a report which appeared in The Independent, the players themselves are deeply aware of the significance of the occasion, not least because the political frisson had made encounters rare once more. There have been only two in the past 17 months, both on neutral territory in multi-team tournaments; whereas there had been 31 one-day matches between them from 2004 to 2008. They were becoming two-a-penny affairs, which at least had the by-product of dissipating passions.

India are the favorites, says the report, but the fact that they have won all four previous World Cup matches between them, including a quarter-final in Bangalore in 1996, means nothing. Pakistan, a motley travelling band who have spent two years crossing the cricket world in search of a game, are peaking at the right time. To say that they are not universally popular might be an understatement considering the nefarious activities in which they have too often been involved, but there remains something constantly alluring about them. All that anybody can ask now is for the cricket to be at the centre of the stage.

Related link:

Hindu terrorist announces veiled threats to Pakistan squad against reaching World Cup Final

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The upheaval in North Africa and Middle East may not actually travel to other countries but its adverse affects have already reached every nook and corner of the world. It is going to hit hard every economy but will be nightmarish for poorer economies and poor segments of all societies. Pakistan’s fragile economy will be hit even harder where political compulsions keep the government from taking difficult decisions. The surge in oil prices will push the prices upward which will life of ordinary citizen even more difficult. As predicted in these page, the Libyan turmoil has finally started showing its teeth and taking its toll; the world economies are at the brink of yet another crisis as oil surges to almost $120 a barrel and the safe-haven Swiss franc hit a record high on Thursday on fears that turmoil in Libya could spread.US equity markets also hovered near break-even after this week’s sharp slide. Analysts said it was too soon to say a long-expected sell-off on Wall Street was over with unrest in North Africa and the Middle East still alive. The escalating violence in Libya, home to Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, lifted benchmark Brent crude oil to its highest level since August 2008 and kindled concerns of an inflationary spike that might stall global recovery.

This week’s relentless surge in oil prices stung the US dollar against major currencies. The Swiss franc benefited from the turmoil in North Africa while the euro extended gains against the dollar on expectations interest rates in the euro zone will rise earlier than those in the United States. The dollar fell to a record low of 0.9240 of a Swiss franc on electronic trading platform EBS.

Copper, considered a harbinger of economic sentiment, firmed after better than expected US jobless data, but it remained under pressure on concerns that higher oil prices driven by violence in Libya could slow economic growth. Brent crude futures for April delivery spiked to $119.79 a barrel before easing to $114.55, up $3.30 on the day. US light sweet crude oil also rose but remained under the $100 mark it touched on Wednesday for the first time since October 2008. Spot gold prices rose slightly to $1,412.00 an ounce, up just $2.05.

The Financial Times quoted an unnamed official as saying Saudi Arabia was in active talks with European refiners who may be hit by a disruption in Libyan exports. Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi launched a counter-attack but rebels threatened the Libyan leader’s grip on power by seizing important towns close to the capital and bringing the tide of rebellion ever closer to his power base. Disruption to Libya’s output has cut at least 400,000 of the country’s 1.6 million barrels per day production, Reuters calculations show. Italian oil company, ENI said the decline was greater, estimating 1.2 million barrels of oil had been removed from the market.

Pakistan stock market also lost hope in domestic political stability amid rumors of Punjab government split and Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) on Friday tumbled by more than 3.5 percent on foreign selling and political uncertainty. There was panic selling in the market. As reported by Business Recorder. Foreign investors sold because of the global sell-off, political un-certainty and the rise in international oil prices. KSE benchmark 100-share index was 3.59 percent, or 405.24 points, lower at 11,134.02 on turnover of 104.86 million shares by 3:32 p.m.

Who is this guy whose real name we have yet to find out and who has been given the name of Mr. Raymond Davis? Why is the US administration of President Obama ready to go to any extent to secure his release, even if it means abandoning of a strategic ally like Pakistan, sacrificing its core values and further tarnishing the US image as a bully and a bulldozer of the process of law? We are told that his real identity is being concealed which means that he was sent to Pakistan and the diplomatic status to him, if at all it was granted, was granted on a fake identity. Is it how the entire diplomatic staff is posted to the US posts around the globe or was it a special gesture shown for a country which made tremendous sacrifices to keep the West safe from terrorists? These questions are very intriguing and sometimes it sounds as if the man in question is a top US official whose release has become a matter of life and death for the US.

Pakistan and the US have been close allies in difficult times. US has always bailed Pakistan out in the times of economic crises and Pakistan is fighting a bloody war on its Western front so that US citizens could sleep tight without the fear of devastating attacks like the 9/11. But ignoring all this, the US is pressurizing Pakistan to free him at all costs. This pressure has divided the Pakistani society and those who always thought US to be a society respecting the rule of law are forced to review their love for Uncle Sam. The US pressure is being exerted in many forms. According to a report in the Financial Times, the US has postponed a meeting with Pakistani officials in Washington amid an escalating dispute over the fate of Raymond Davis, an American embassy official who shot dead two men. The Obama administration is placing mounting pressure on Pakistan to free Mr Davis, on the grounds that embassy staff are entitled to diplomatic immunity. Pakistan’s government has said the courts must decide his status.

According to the report, this stand-off has chilled relations at a time when the US is seeking to win broader co-operation from Pakistan’s military in its campaign in Afghanistan. The US State Department said at the weekend that it was postponing a February 23-24 meeting of senior officials from the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan. P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, said the decision had been taken “in light of political changes in Pakistan” and after discussions with Afghan and Pakistani officials in Washington.

The postponement of the meeting has been interpreted in Pakistan as a snub designed to underline Washington’s growing impatience with the government of  Pakistan. The case places Pakistan’s leadership in an acute dilemma. Pakistan is the second biggest recipient of US economic aid and its government is rightly and justifiably reluctant to antagonize Washington. But the prospect that Mr Davis could escape punishment for the shooting, which occurred last month in the eastern city of Lahore, has crystallized widespread anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The government fears unleashing popular anger if he is repatriated.

“It will be extremely counterproductive if one incident or one person … destroys a relationship of 60 years. It is simply unthinkable,” Reuters quoted senior Pakistani official as saying.

The case has raised questions over what Mr Davis, a former US Army Special Forces soldier, was doing in Pakistan. The US embassy has described him as a member of its “administrative and technical staff.” Unanswered questions over why he was armed and his precise role have fuelled speculation in Pakistan’s media that he may have been involved in some form of intelligence gathering.

In remarks that will complicate the government’s position even further, Pakistan’s former foreign minister said that the foreign ministry had no record of Mr. Davis being registered in Pakistan as a diplomat. Police arrested Mr. Davis after the January 27 incident in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, but he has yet to be formally charged in connection with the deaths of the two men. A passer-by was killed when a US vehicle rushed to the scene.

If Mr. Davis is in a position to alter the relationship between two country, then he is simply not an intelligence operative or even a diplomat. The anxiety of US administration to secure his release at all costs shows that he is a very important person or was on a very important assignment.

It was in 2006 that the most irresponsible act of blasphemy was committed by a religious person like Pope Benedict XVI when he made certain uncalled for and objectionable remarks against the person of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH). Although he had to cut a sorry figure after condemnation of his remarks, he has now again thrown caution to the wind and tried to provoke the sentiments of Muslims by demanding to scrap the law. According to media reports, Pope Benedict XVI on Monday called on Pakistan to scrap a blasphemy law after the murder of the governor of Punjab, saying the legislation was a pretext for “acts of injustice and violence”.

The Pope did not realize that all the rational people in Pakistan are mindful of the implications of the law but no one is demanding its outright repeal, all of them are peacefully struggling to improve the law and the procedure so that the extremists are deprived of the space to misuse it to target hapless minorities. In the present charged atmosphere, the demand of the Pope is like showing a red rag to the bull. It is also like adding fuel to fire and he has done disservice to the millions of Christians living in Pakistan’s society now sharply divided on religion.

The pope, who was speaking at a traditional New Year‘s meeting with foreign ambassadors to the Vatican, said the anti-blasphemy legislation was an example of “norms prejudicing the right to religious freedom.”

More than 50,000 people rallied in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi on Sunday against the controversial reform of the blasphemy law that was behind the shooting of Punjab governor Salman Taseer last week.

Taseer had called for reform of the blasphemy law that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death. But his outspoken liberal stance offended the country’s increasingly powerful conservative religious base.

Controversy over the law flared when former information minister Sherry Rehman tabled a bill in November calling for an end the death penalty for blasphemy, after Christian mother-of-five Asia Bibi was sentenced to hang.

Pakistan is on the path of international economic isolation. The serious analysts are in a state of shock with their fingers crossed. They are not ready to believe what is now unfolding before their eyes. A decision taken today in national interest is reversed the next day under pressure, again in the national interest. The ruling party of Pakistan has finally decided to sacrifice economy and the well being of the common man along with it, at the altar of power. The price for staying in power was huge but who cares as long as someone else (read: common man) is paying the price.

The government was relying on imposition of RGST for sailing through the economic problems but all the mainstream political parties have opposed it tooth and nail, for their own reasons which include safeguarding the interests of the elite and putting the government in a difficult situation. Ironically those who opposed this new levy had no alternative strategy except the vague rhetoric of minimizing the institutional corruption in the tax machinery. It seems that the government will work overtime to print notes during the remaining two years. Incidentally, governor of the central bank has already warned against the devastating implications of deficit financing.

Has the government decided to abandon the economic reforms? The instant reaction of US and IMF to reversion of increase in the petroleum prices confirms it.  The government has embarked on the path of economic isolation internationally simply to remain in power. These are short-cut methods and will badly affect the life of common man.

According to Financial Times, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, announced the deferral of an IMF-backed tax reform on Friday. The reformed general sales tax, which Pakistan has been discussing with the IMF for more than a year, was supposed to be introduced in July last year to boost tax revenues.

“We will not go forward [with the RGST] until consensus is evolved,” said Mr Gilani during a visit to the southern port city of Karachi, where he visited the headquarters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

Mr Gilani reversed a plan to increase oil prices on Thursday to win back the support of MQM, after the party withdrew from the ruling coalition in a move that denied the government parliamentary majority. MQM confirmed on Friday that it would rejoin the coalition.

Analysts warned that the decision to delay the RGST would further intensify concerns over the government’s ability to reform Pakistan’s troubled economy.

“This is a near fatal blow to the reform process,” warned Sakib Sherani, a former adviser to the finance ministry. “The RGST was meant to finally begin documenting the vast informal economy in a country with an alarmingly low tax to GDP ratio.”

Mr Gilani’s decision will only cause more problems with the IMF. Pakistan does not have much to show in the form of successful reforms being undertaken currently. The RGST is a key part of Pakistan’s agreement with the IMF and its postponement could put the $11bn loan package in jeopardy. The IMF said that raising the ratio of government revenue to national income was essential to returning Pakistan’s public finances towards sustainability and the sales tax was an indispensable component in this effort.

It is widely believed that Salman Taseer was killed to punish him for raising voice against injustices meted out to members of hapless strata of the society, both Muslims and non-Muslims. Similar punishments were awarded previously to members of legal fraternity for representing blasphemy suspects. The problem with the offense of blasphemy in Pakistan is that the accused is convicted by the accuser and the society before the court passes any judgment. Then no judge can dare to acquit the accused.  With Taseer murder, Aasia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy has lost all the hopes of getting any justice from the courts or clemency from the President. According to media reports, she broke down in her prison cell and wept inconsolably when she learnt of the assassination of Salman Taseer, the liberal politician who had visited her in jail and demanded that she be pardoned.

“She kept crying throughout the day. She kept saying. ‘That man came here and he sacrificed his life for me’,” The Independent quoted a prison source, as saying.

“She said: ‘I know that everything that has happened is because of me. I know in my heart of hearts, that person came here for me and what I feel now, no one else can feel’,” the source added.

Aasia’s husband, Ashiq Masih, who is living in hiding, fearful for his life, echoed her grief, saying: “[When Salmaan Taseer visited], both of us felt very happy after the meeting and we were hopeful that she was going to be set free.”

“Now, the [Punjab] Governor has given his life. It’s a huge sacrifice,” he added.

Since she was first accused of blasphemy in 2009, Aasia has been held in an isolation unit within Sheikhpura prison. But after Taseer’s own bodyguard killed him on Tuesday, and Aasia’s case was subsequently thrust ever deeper into the public consciousness, a guard has been placed directly outside her 8ft by 10ft cell to provide additional, round-the-clock protection, the report said.
She is allowed out of cell No 2 for two hours a day to exercise, but is prevented from meeting or speaking with other prisoners, purportedly for her own well-being, it added.

“We just try and treat her like any other prisoner,” said prison superintendent, Khalid Sheikh.

Aasia’s husband, who has three other children from an earlier marriage, has supported his wife since her incarceration, moving his family to a single-room house located at little more than a mile from the jail. But within hours of Taseer’s assassination, and amid mounting concerns from other Christians about their own safety, Masih was forced to flee and go into hiding and use an assumed identity.

Speaking on mobile phone, he said that even if Aasia were cleared by the appeal process, they would no longer feel safe living in Pakistan.

“We are feeling very scared and we feel it will never be safe for us in Pakistan,” said Masih.

“I get my strength from Jesus Christ and I am hopeful that he is going to save my wife. But now the circumstances have changed. We will have to wait and see what happens,” he added. (ANI)

Now things are becoming clearer and more understandable. We should forgive those journalists, TV anchors and political leaders who support or avoid opposing and condemning extremists. They have a very genuine reason to live in hypocrisy. Someone who dared to oppose extremism, had to pay the price with his own life; a price for being forthright, honest, bold and outspoken. In spite of his failings and weaknesses as a human, he went down fighting a menace Pakistan has created itself. Punjab’s slain governor Salman Taseer had refused to accept that Pakistani society is no more a society of rational people; it is a jungle where you have to accept the command of those capable of killing. You must bow down to them or get perished. Period. The world is in shock at the gory incident but it fails to understand the fact that the act is being glorified by those elements who claim to profess a religion of peace. This is the most disgusting thing, more than the murder itself. And look at the attitude of the lawyers, the so-called custodians of “rule of law” who kissed and garlanded the accused when he was brought to the court. These are all very disturbing signs. Even Islam would not condone this attitude of showing disrespect to the due process of law.

It is not important that Governor Taseer was a politician and that he was killed at a point in time when his party’s government at the Center was facing worst ever crisis of its survival. The most important thing is that we have come to a pass where you cannot question a menace, particularly the one which was created to please a more dangerous menace, the clergy. The world which was worried about Pakistan’s political crisis is now in shock and unable to think what will happen next. The New York Times says that the assassination of an outspoken secular politician by one of his elite police guards on Tuesday plunged the government deeper into political crisis and highlighted the threat of militant infiltration even within the nation’s security forces.

The killing of Salman Taseer, the prominent governor of Punjab Province, was another grim reminder of the risks that Pakistani leaders take to oppose religious extremists, at a time when the United States is pushing Pakistan for greater cooperation in the war in Afghanistan by cracking down on militant groups like the Taliban.

Mr. Taseer, recently took up a campaign to repeal Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy laws, which were passed under General Zia as a way to promote Islam and unite the country. The laws have been misused to convict minority Pakistanis as the Islamic forces unleashed by the general have gathered strength. The laws prescribe a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

Religious parties staged vigorous demonstrations of thousands of people across the country last weekend to protest the campaign by Mr. Taseer, even burning him in effigy. Mr. Taseer countered in comments on his Twitter account and elsewhere.

“Religious right trying to pressurize from the street their support of blasphemy laws. Point is it must be decided in Parliament not on the road,” he wrote on Dec. 26 in the imperfect shorthand typical of such posts.

“I was under huge pressure to cow down before rightist’s pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I’m the last man standing,” he posted on Dec. 31.

Mr. Taseer’s death will serve as a chilling warning to any politician who speaks out against the religious parties and their agenda and will certainly end immediate attempts to amend the blasphemy laws.

The paper also reports that Obama administration officials worry that even if Pakistan’s government survives the upheaval — which they believe it might, for a while — the turmoil could kill any chance for political and economic reforms. The assassination, one official said, leaves not only the repeal of the blasphemy laws in doubt, but also possible reforms to increase tax collection. Under pressure from Secretary of State and other American officials, the Pakistani government submitted a new tax law in Parliament. But it may abandon the push as a way to lure back coalition partners.

Nobody is sure if Prime Minister Gillani’s government will survive the current political crisis but everyone wishes him well because no one, particularly those sitting in the Parliament can afford an early election. At this critical juncture, the largest opposition party does not want any political instability because for them PPP’s government means “system” and “democracy” and they say they would not derail either the system or the democracy. But there is one gentleman who sees his chance in Gilani’s looming dismissal. He is accused of many crimes including dismissing the heavy mandate and bringing Pakistan’s economy back to stability. According to media reports, former President Pervez Musharraf on Monday said his newly formed party was prepared for possible early elections as the government in Islamabad scrambles to save its ruling coalition. Musharraf, who launched the All Pakistan Muslim League APML in October, said he will return to Pakistan “before the next election”.

“We are ready to contest elections,” Musharraf told reporters at his apartment in Dubai.

“A little more time would be useful, as we are a new party. However, we will definitely try if the elections come early.”

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s government lost its parliamentary majority on Sunday when the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced it would sit on opposition benches over fuel price policies. The opposition has not yet sought a no-confidence vote against Gilani in parliament but analysts say that is the biggest worry for the government.  The next election is not due until 2013.

“For the government to survive, the PML-N or the PML-Q (parties outside the coalition) have to support them. Such support will have a lot of consequences,” Musharraf added.

Musharraf said: “I must return (to Pakistan) well before the next elections, whenever that may be. I strongly believe the real momentum for my party will start once I reach Pakistan. So we are trying to create an environment for me to reach there.”

Musharraf claimed he did not rule out alliances with other political parties in the future.

“Many parties want to be with us. But I want my party to get a simple majority in the next elections so that we do not have to rely on others.” He said he had made “mistakes”, including actions against The judiciary and imposing a state of emergency, but dismissed the possibility of another military takeover, saying he wanted to come to power with “the mandate of the public”.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,300 times in 2010. That’s about 18 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 142 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 79 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 12th with 141 views. The most popular post that day was Did Iran backstab Pakistan to save India?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were pkpolitics.com, mail.yahoo.com, mail.live.com, facebook.com, and tribune.com.pk.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for pia, queen of england, hakeem n salik, hakeem salik, and elizabeth ii.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Did Iran backstab Pakistan to save India? December 2010
2 comments

2

Floods are not the only manifestation of His wrath…. August 2010
9 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

3

Beware taxpayers, your blood is being injected to save PIA yet again….. November 2010

4

Queen of England joins Commoners’ Club…. November 2010

5

Finance majors! Keep the hope alive……. September 2010

There is yet another stamp of India in terrorist activities inside Pakistan; the female suicide bombers which were first introduced by India in Sri Lanka through LTTE or the Tamil Tigers as the Sri Lankan insurgents are known. Probably they have nothing to do with Taliban who have always been accused of condemning the womenfolk to the four-walls of the house. They did not approve of any role for the fair sex in any activity except pleasing the husbands and raising children. It was for this reason that women who dared to come out of their houses during Taliban regime in Afghanistan were forcibly sent back. Even the widows and destitute women were not allowed to work for earning livelihood. But now it seems that Taliban have decided to make use of the special status of the women and the symbols of Muslim culture specific to women. Burqa, for example, which is in Muslim women use can be used as a lethal tool for carrying out terrorist activities. It was a common perception that Taliban still do not approve of any role for women and they only use burqa to disguise the suicide bombers as was done by them in 2007 crisis of Lal Masjid, Islamabad.

But the Long War Journal has reported that Taliban and al Qaeda have established female suicide bombing cells in remote areas of northwestern Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan. The female suicide bombers have struck in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The existence of the cells, which appeared evident after female suicide bombers attacked twice over the past five months in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was confirmed by a 12-year-old Pakistani girl named Meena Gul who said she was trained to be a “human bomb,” and that women suicide bombers were trained for their deadly task in small cells on both sides of the porous border and were dispatched to their missions with a sermon, ‘God will reward you with a place in heaven.

Gul said her cell was led by Zainab, her sister-in-law, who dressed as a man and fought alongside the Taliban against Pakistani troops. Prior to the two attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, there have been no recorded instances of female suicide bombers carrying out attacks in either country. A female suicide bomber struck for the first time in Afghanistan in Kunar province on June 21, 2010. Two US soldiers were killed and two Afghan children were wounded in the attack. Gul claimed her younger sister carried out that attack.

The next female suicide attack took place on Dec. 24, 2010, in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Bajaur. The suicide bomber killed 42 Pakistani civilians in an attack at a World Food Program ration distribution point. The Taliban and al Qaeda cells are under the command of Qari Zia Rahman, the dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda commander who operates on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. Qari Zia claimed credit for the June 2010 suicide attack in Kunar.

Qari Zia is the Taliban’s top regional commander as well as a member of al Qaeda. He operates in Kunar and in neighboring Nuristan province in Afghanistan, and he also operates across the border in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Bajaur. Earlier this year, the Pakistani government claimed they killed Qari Zia in an airstrike, but he later spoke to the media and mocked Pakistan’s interior minister for wrongly reporting his death.

Qari Zia is closely allied with Faqir Mohammed, the Taliban’s leader in Bajaur, as well as with Osama bin Laden. Qari Zia’s fighters are from Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and various Arab nations. He commands a brigade in al Qaeda’s paramilitary Shadow Army, or the Lashkar al Zil, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.

Who are these Taliban? Are they the same breed which brought death and destruction for Afghanistan? If they are the same Afghan Taliban finding excuse for every extremist act in Islam, then they are not followers of Islam, for sure. They are the true followers of Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka who were equipped and funded by India.