BAN THE GUN

ON March 1, a burst of gunfire snuffed out the life of a gentle soul in Washington D.C. He was a social worker helping the mentally challenged and drug addicts. He was Jawaid Bhutto, a teacher of philosophy and a progressive scholar in Pakistan before he moved to the US. I knew him as my friend and the husband of a former colleague Nafisa Hoodbhoy. Bhutto’s death grieved us immensely.

The irony didn’t escape me on this occasion. Here was a man who was known to be an ardent advocate of peace and love as well as gun control laws being killed by someone who was not entitled to be carrying a gun, given his mental state, so it was reported.

Such are the ways of America where the gun is god. I would also say this was a murder committed not by just one man — it was a killing by the entire gun lobby in America which has now globalised its reach. I still remember the pain in Barack Obama’s voice when he said in a television interview that “failure to tackle gun control has been the greatest frustration of my presidency”. It was horrifying to learn that Bhutto’s killing was the 50th case of homicide in D.C. alone since the start of the year. According to New York Times column writer Nicholas Kristof, the US has suffered more gun deaths (1.45 million) since 1970 than have occurred in all the wars that America has fought in the same period.

A fortnight after his killing, the world was shaken by the mosques shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, that took the lives of 50 worshippers as the country’s gun control laws were lax and a white supremacist could buy guns and shoot at will. The prime minister of New Zealand, Ms Jacinda Ardern, reacted with compassion, immediately promising, “Our gun laws will change”. And they did within a week.

It was a murder committed not by a single man but by the entire gun lobby.

These gunshot incidents are horrifying. Yet we in Pakistan react differently. I can count people known to me personally who were shot dead in Karachi — Perween Rahman, Abdul Waheed Khan, Zara Hussain and Sabeen Mahmud. Thousands have been targeted but these deaths didn’t stir our leadership the way similar killings moved Obama (who actually cried in public) and Ms Ardern.

Glance at some of the data to know where we stand and why we need the compassion of Obama and Ardern in our macho leadership. Guns in Pakistan have more than doubled in the last decade — 1.8m in 2007 and 4.39m licensed (with another 30m illicit ones) in 2017, says Naeem Sadiq of Citizens against Weapons, the sole civil society group in the country demanding a ban on guns.

Why is the government so unresponsive? True the laws are weak and inadequate. Sadiq says they allow too much discretion to the licensing authorities. They are discriminatory and licences are given to the rich and powerful as a bribe or political favour. Surely the government can change this. It doesn’t because it uses guns as a political tool. The excuse given is that guns are ostensibly needed for the security of the citizens. This is an incongruous excuse in a country where the state is bound to protect the lives of all its citizens and where the Constitution bans private armies (Article 256). Given this attitude, it is not surprising that no strict background checks are carried out by the licensing authorities.

For the last several years, CaW’s has been the single voice in Pakistan, demanding unequivocally a de-weaponisation programme that includes the surrender of all illicit weapons and buyback of all licensed arms. CaW has cited Australia and Britain as models for this process.

CaW also wants “the government to explicitly declare that all categories of weapons lie only in the domain of the state and no citizen, group or gang will be allowed to possess, carry or display any weapon — licensed or otherwise”.

It is time each of us who value human life should demand the same. Pakistan is at a watershed point. It is a do-or-die moment for the country. The choice is between surviving by cracking down on the militant extremists who thrive on terrorism or perishing by allowing a free rein to those who believe their path to paradise is awash with the blood of victims of terror attacks. They should have been disbanded a long time ago under the National Action Plan.

NAP could never have succeeded even if the government was serious because it had no provision for de-weaponisation. Today, there is much that is being said about mainstreaming the terrorist lashkars, but again, the issue of de-weaponisation does not figure in the picture. It would be horrifying to visualise hordes of fully armed bloodthirsty brutes being let loose in the name of mainstreaming.

There is a need to look at the gun control issue more closely and wisely.

www.zubeidamustafa.com

Scholar Jawaid Bhutto’s murder termed great loss for Sindh

HYDERABAD: Speakers at a condolence reference paid rich tribute to philos­opher and scholar Jawaid Bhutto, who was gunned down in Washington on March 2, and called him a great asset of Sindh.

They were speaking at the programme organised by Progressive Writers Associa­tion and Awami Workers Party at Sindhi Language Authority on Friday.

Late Jawaid’s widow and writer Nafisa Hoodbhoy recalled that her husband had always loved such gatherings and was a regular in them. The man who mur­dered her husband was a mentally sick person, she said.

She said she badly missed Jawaid today. His murder was mysterious and she failed to reconcile with the fact that her husband had been killed and was no more with her, wondering why that man killed an innocent person like Jawaid.

Sindh United Party presi­dent Syed Jalal Meh­mood Shah said that Jawaid was a nice and humble man who had always felt people’s pain. In such incidents one paid the price for the mis­takes committed by others. He had had several meetings with Jawaid but philosophy was never discussed between them, he said.

Rahat Saeed observed that one must discuss as to why Jawaid left Sindh. Perhaps he had thought that he was talking to walls and there was no one to listen to him. Such conditions always caused despondency among people but his love for Sindh always brought him back to his land and people, he said.

She said that Jawaid believed that philosophy of Karl Marx ensured eman­cipation of humanity and he never gave up being compa­ssionate to people. This was something that led him to mysticism.

Awami Workers Party president Dr Bakhshal Tha­lho recalled that he had first witnessed Jawaid talking to students on philosophy in Sindh University in the ’90s and he could never forget that moment. Jawaid was a free-thinking soul and he always believed in moulding opinion but he never compromised over truth, he said.

He said that Jawaid was a teacher of philosophy and his death was a great loss for Sindh. “There are many poets and artists today but we do not find philosophers in our society and since Jawaid was a teacher of this subject he had command over every subject. Jawaid was not a conventional socialist or communist but he was a man who believed in ground realities,” he said.

Imdad Chandio said that Jawaid always remained in search of truth and redis­covering everything. The late scholar had defined an intellectual as a person who could challenge establish­ment and stand for uprig­htness and truth, he said. He said that today Sindh needed people like Jawaid who had the art of explaining different concepts and ideas. He was a great asset of Sindh, he added.

Writer Amar Sindhu cal­l­ed for redefining progre­ssi­vism in Sindh and said that only people like Jawaid could interpret real progressivism. If anyone was able to redefine progressivism for the educa­ted lot of Sindh it would be a great achievement.

https://www.dawn.com/news/print/1471258

Glowing Tributes Paid to Jawaid Bhutto in Karachi

The gathering in Karachi Arts Council was as untraditional as Jawaid Bhutto’s life had been. The portrait of him looking down on the gathering was the face of a thinker, a philosopher who reflected in the most intense way on the meaning of life.

But Jawaid was no hardnosed intellectual. Instead, he was a `peoples person,’ loving the human spirit through his clear prism of love and humility.

Ever effervescent Ayub Shaikh, who was master of ceremonies, started with a minute of silence for Bhutto. It echoed the celebration of his life that had been held in Washington DC a week ago. There, again Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus and secular admirers… spoke of the man who radiated pure love… his spirit rising far above the hate filled bullets of a deranged tenant who lived below us and whose dark past had been kept a secret from us.

Jawaid’s nephew Ranwal recalled the amazing uncle he lost, senior journalist Mazhar Abbas remembered Jawaid’s friendship from his days in Karachi University; Niranjan Rajwani his days in Bulgaria; Rafiq Chandio, Amar Sindhu and Arfana Mallah his inspirational teaching years in Sindh University; Afrasiab Khattak recalled the comrade whose vision of a tolerant society will continue to inspire; Moonis Ayaz his generous friendship; Qaiser Bengali the gentleman like qualities of the man; Nuzhat Kidwai how his beloved sister, Fauzia Bhutto’s murder had taken him on the path to seek justice. And Mir Mazhar Talpur about how Jawaid had taken a stand on pot smoking in the gentlest way before he was gunned down.

Tribute to Jawaid Bhutto at Arts Council Karachi

Posted by Aziz Ahmed on Saturday, March 16, 2019

Voice of Sindh, London carried the following report on Youtube

Pakistani philosopher killed by suspect with history of violence, mental illness

The Southeast D.C. man charged with first-degree murder for the shooting of his neighbor, Jawaid Bhutto, 64 — prominent Pakistani philosopher and scholar — was found not guilty by reason of insanity for a previous homicide in 1998.

Court documents reveal that Hilman Jordan, 45, who is currently being held without bond for the murder of Bhutto, was indicted by a grand jury 21 years ago for shooting and killing his cousin.

The documents say Jordan shot and killed his cousin, Kenneth Luke, on August 7, 1998. He was indicted later that month on charges of first-degree murder while armed, possession of a firearm during a violent crime and carrying a pistol without a license.

Jordan was committed to Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital on October 1, 1999. In 2003, the court began to order his gradual conditional release, including visits to his mother’s house on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jordan violated the conditions of his gradual release in 2005 when he obtained a gun from his family home and carried it to St. Elizabeth’s with the intent to kill a peer.

That violation sparked his transfer to a maximum security ward, where he remained for the next five years.

In January 2015, the government consented to a court order providing Jordan with an expanded conditional release, including overnight visits with family, unaccompanied community travel and eventual full convalescent leave.

The hospital told the court he had “sufficiently recovered from his mental illness to be granted an expansion of his conditional release privileges without posing a danger to himself or others.”

The terms of the January 2015 order prohibited Jordan from possessing firearms, or consuming alcohol or illegal drugs.

Jordan fatally shot Bhutto on Friday, March 1 around 11 a.m. in the parking lot of 2610 Wade Road S.E. — the apartment building where Bhutto resided with his wife, journalist Nafisa Hoodbhoy.

Jordan lived on the second floor of the building. Hoodbhoy told NBC Washington her husband had complained about the odor of Jordan’s smoking wafting into his residence and disturbing his sleep.

Police say they have been able to observe the entire shooting from beginning to end thanks to surveillance video. Charging documents say the video shows Jordan approaching Bhutto and firing a handgun as Bhutto exited his car in the parking lot.

Police say a search warrant of Jordan’s apartment uncovered, among other things, a 9 mm handgun and a marijuana cigarette. He was taken into custody on the balcony of his apartment.

Family members of Bhutto say his death is being widely mourned in his home region of Sindh, Pakistan. He was chairman of the philosophy department at Sindh University.

Jordan is being held without bond and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in D.C. Superior Court on March 12.

Gathering in memory of Jawaid Bhutto

Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi has arranged a sitting in memory of Jawaid Bhutto, a man of values, a progressive intellectual who lost his life in Washington DC on March 1, 2019 at the hands of a deranged killer.

Friends will pay tribute to the man whose life was filled with love for his fellow beings, regardless of race, ethnicity, color or religion. A sufi at heart, Bhutto’s life was devoted to upliftment of humanity especially the long suffering people of Sindh.

Please join us on 16th March 2019, 3:00pm at New Auditorium, Arts Council of Pakistan

President & the Governing Body Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi

SU VC pays glowing tribute to Javed Bhutto

Javed Bhutto was Socrates of Sindh. It was Sindh’s ambassador of love and peace to the world. People like Javed Bhutto stay immortal in the hearts of people on account of their intellectual contribution to society. Javed Bhutto’s death has created a void which will be hard to fill.

This was stated by VC-SU Prof. Dr. Fateh Muhammad Burfat while he addressed the condolence reference organized by SU Department of Philosophy to pay tribute to legendary lover and practitioner of philosophy, former chairman Department of Philosophy, University of Sindh Javed Ahmed Bhutto.

Dr. Burfat also reminisced fondly the days he spent with Bhutto as his batch mate at Karachi University and the pleasant memories of Bhutto’s visit to SU and his subsequent interaction with him at the eve of his lecture at Shaikh Ayaz auditorium last year.

Secretary SUTA and Javed Bhutto’s close associate Prof. Dr. Arfana Begum Mallah said she was one of those blessed individuals who profited hugely from Bhutto’s erudite company. Dr. Mallah, terming Bhutto a modest mystic, opined that Bhutto loved men regardless of their social status. She declared him essentially “a peoples’ person”.

Philosopher Jawaid Bhutto laid to rest in ancestral burial ground

HYDERABAD: Amid elegies sung by pall-bearers, the 64-year old intellectual and philosopher Jawaid Bhutto, who was shot dead in Washington DC on March 2, was laid to rest in a graveyard in Shikarpur district on Sunday. His funeral prayers were offered earlier at Faisal Mosque in Bath Island, Karachi, on Saturday night.

Writers, poets, intellectuals and civil society activists, including men and women, attended the burial rites at Chirangi graveyard which is the ancestral burial place of Bhutto. His wife Nafisa Hoodbhoy, who arrived in Pakistan along with his body on Saturday, also attended the rare burial event in which women also went to the graveyard.

“Jawaid can’t die,” she expressed this conviction in her brief comments in the graveyard. “He is as alive in my heart as he was before his death.” She regarded her husband as a truthful and courageous person who wanted justice for all.

“I was drawn towards him due to the truthfulness of his heart,” said Hoodbhoy, who first met Bhutto when she was a journalist working for daily Dawn. “Jawaid’s marriage to me was the luckiest thing to happen to me in my life.”

She said that the couple, who spent over 18 years in the United States of America, had planned on returning to Pakistan and that they had almost completed the preparations. “But then this incident happened.” According to her, the man who killed her husband was a convicted murderer who was released from prison due to his mental health condition.

She told that the local police did not inform the neighbourhood about his past criminal record. “We should have been informed who was living below our apartment.” Recalling the incident, Hoodbhoy said that she had sent her husband to bring things from the car parked on the road when he was shot from behind. “His death is like a bad dream from which you can’t wake up.”

Pakistani philosopher Jawaid Bhutto murdered in US
Pervez Mari, a contemporary, informed that Bhutto received his early education from Shikarpur and Sukkur. He became affiliated with the Maoist party during his college days in Sukkur. He later got enrolled in Bolan Medical College in Quetta during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government but discontinued his medical studies in less than two years and started studying philosophy at University of Karachi.

After completing his doctorate from Sofia University, Bulgaria, he started teaching philosophy as a lecturer at Sindh University. Bhutto came in the limelight when he started struggle to get justice for his sister Fouzia Bhutto who was killed by former Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Rahim Bux Jamali when she was a student of Nawabshah Medical College.

“We weren’t expecting Jawaid’s sudden death,” said Zahid Mangi. “He always supported Sindhi and Balochi movements for their rights.”

The life and death of Jawaid Bhutto

It was Sunday morning on March 3, 2019. The last day of the KLF was about to start when Dr Ayoub Shaikh posted on Facebook a most devastating piece of news for the friends and students of Jawaid Bhutto. He had been killed in broad daylight in the capital of the most advanced and powerful country of the world. Washington DC is not an unlikely place to get killed in the US. Somebody can murder you there, as they can do in Chicago or New York. But for Jawaid Bhutto it was an unlikely place.

This column is not an obituary, nor is it a lamentation of American law and order. Obituaries are normally written of people who are famous, notorious, or rich. Jawaid was none of these, but to his dozens of friends and hundreds of students he meant a lot. His life was a lesson for many, right from his decision to quit medical studies to his opting for philosophy as his vocation, and from socialism to Sufism as his preferred mode of thinking, Jawaid Bhutto carried a torch for many. A look at his life gives us a reflection of the past four decades both in and out of Pakistan.

In the early 1980s, Pakistan was under General Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship. Five of the 11 years of his repressive rule had already seen a prime minister going to the gallows, and not hundreds but thousands of activists, democrats, journalists, intellectuals, and political leaders arrested, sentenced to imprisonment, or lashed in full public view. It was a reign of terror unleashed by General Ziaul Haq against all those who wanted to see Pakistan return to civilian rule and strived to make it a democratic and welfare state rather than a state based on religious and sectarian strife.

The Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) was in full swing but it was mostly confined to Sindh. Punjab, which had supported Z A Bhutto for at least 10 years and had seen PPP workers immolate themselves in protest against the death sentence to him, was now relatively calm. The press was in chains and under siege as described by Zamir Niazi, a journalist and writer who documented the establishment’s onslaught against freedom of expression. While the MRD struggle raged across Sindh, the rest of Pakistan was relatively calm with a graveyard silence imposed on it.

It is in this background that I met Jawaid Bhutto in Karachi in the early 1980s. He belonged to Shikarpur, went to Bolan Medical College to study medicine, soon got tired of it, and moved to Karachi University to study philosophy. I was still a teenager studying at the Government College of Technology (formerly Karachi Polytechnic Institute) near Sher Shah. Student politics in Karachi was dynamic and vibrant, with the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) supported by General Zia on the one side, and some liberal, left-wing and progressive student unions on the other. It was not a level playing field.

Jawaid Bhutto and I belonged to the Democratic Student Federation (DSF). This new DSF was sort of a reincarnation of the old DSF that was active in the 1950s and was led by progressive student leaders such as Dr Adeebul Hasan Rizvi, Dr Haroon Ahmed, Dr Muhammad Sarwar (father of journalist Beena Sarwar), Dr Rehman Hashmi and many others. This new DSF, in which Jawaid Bhutto and I met, was a nursery of progressive ideas for many of us. Jawaid Bhutto was almost ten years older than me and he served as a guide and mentor for countless young students.

Rarely does one come across a young man who is so immersed in knowledge of almost all social sciences, especially of philosophy. His room was always full of books in English, Sindhi and Urdu. He was not one of those who pretend to read a lot by displaying books and by dropping names of philosophers and writers. His understanding of political ideas, social theories and philosophical frameworks was immense and he was always ready to impart his knowledge to anyone who came to him and showed a willingness to learn. He was always open and smiling, even at the most stupid of questions.

As the MRD was not visible in Karachi, the students of the DSF and other progressive student outfits decided to stage protests, do wall chalking against the dictatorship, and even hijack and torch buses. Jawaid Bhutto was less of an activist and more of an intellectual with us. He and his brother Shahid Bhutto were also music lovers, composed poetry into songs and recited poetry – from Faiz Ahmed Faiz to Shaikh Ayaz. They were also active with us in the Dastak Theatre Group led by the legendary Aslam Azhar and Mansoor Saeed (father of actress Sania Saeed).

But the might of the dictatorship was not mild for anyone who dared to challenge the narrative of jihad in Afghanistan and promotion of sectarianism in Pakistan under the guise of Islamisation. The goons of the IJT were targeting all liberal and progressive student activists and the DSF was no exception. In these bleak times, many left the country. Some went to Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, India, Libya, Scandinavian countries, Soviet Union, and Syria. When Jawaid Bhutto and I left Pakistan and went to India, we were accompanied by Farhan Azmi, son of comrade Dr Aizaz Nazeer, and Khurram Khalid, son of comrade Saif Khalid.

Fehmida Riaz was already there and had been declared a traitor in Pakistan. The death of Fehmida Riaz last year in Lahore and the way she was paid homage and respect across the country proves that the label of traitor only enhances the public prestige of the victims of state repression and not the other way round. It was in India that Jawaid and I spent months together. His grasp of Indian art and culture, history, philosophy, politics and religions was impressive to say the least. Even there, he was always looking for books and engaged in heated discussions with our hosts, especially with Noor Zaheer, daughter of Sajjad Zaheer.

Ultimately, Jawaid went to Bulgaria, and I landed in Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University in Moscow. Our stay there relieved us of our romantic revolutionary zeal as we saw the socialist system in the full monty, warts and all. The crumbling of the socialist bloc prompted us to rethink the so-called universal applicability of Marxism that was our staple earlier. We came back to Pakistan almost at the same time in the late 1980s. He joined the University of Sindh as a lecturer in philosophy, and I was given a copywriting job in IAL/ Saatchi by Sarmad Ali (now MD of Jang Group).

In 1990, Jawaid had to suffer a major blow within his family when his sister, Fouzia Bhutto was murdered in her medical college hostel in Karachi. The murderer was Rahim Bux Jamali, a political leader who was arrested and spent some years in jail. After almost 20 years, Jamali was also murdered by someone on another account. It was during the murder trial of his sister that Jawaid came to know journalist Nafisa Hoodbhoy, sister of Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhoy. They got married in the mid-1990s. Jawaid continued to teach and enlighten his philosophy students for almost a decade.

Jawaid and Nafisa decided to move to the US in the late 1990s and settled in Washington DC. Jawaid kept reading and working in a rehab centre where he helped many drug addicts, mostly African-Americans. But he himself became a victim of a drug addict. Jawaid had complained of the rowdy behaviour of his neighbour; this enraged the man who shot Jawaid dead at 11am on March 2. Rest in peace Jawaid; you were needed in Pakistan more than in the US. Your dream for a democratic, progressive and secular Pakistan lives on.

The writer holds a PhD from the
University of Birmingham, UK and works in Islamabad.
Email: mnazir1964@yahoo.co.uk

If India and Pakistan have a ‘limited’ nuclear war, scientists say it could wreck Earth’s climate and trigger global famine

Deadly tensions between India and Pakistan are boiling over in Kashmir, a disputed territory at the northern border of each country.

A regional conflict is worrisome enough, but climate scientists warn that if either country launches just a portion of its nuclear weapons, the situation might escalate into a global environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.

On February 14, a suicide bomber killed at least 40 Indian troops in a convoy traveling through Kashmir. A militant group based in Pakistan called Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack. India responded by launching airstrikes against its neighbor — the first in roughly 50 years — and Pakistan has said it shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured one of the pilots.

Both countries possess about 140 to 150 nuclear weapons. Though nuclear conflict is unlikely, Pakistani leaders have said their military is preparing for “all eventualities.” The country has also assembled its group responsible for making decisions on nuclear strikes.

“This is the premier nuclear flashpoint in the world,” Ben Rhodes, a political commentator, said on Wednesday’s episode of the “Pod Save the World” podcast.

For that reason, climate scientists have modeled how an exchange of nuclear weapons between the two countries — what is technically called a limited regional nuclear war — might affect the world.

Though the explosions would be local, the ramifications would be global, that research concluded. The ozone layer could be crippled and Earth’s climate may cool for years, triggering crop and fishery losses that would result in what the researchers called a “global nuclear famine.”

“The danger of nuclear winter has been under-understood — poorly understood — by both policymakers and the public,” Michael Mills, a researcher at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Business Insider. “It has reached a point where we found that nuclear weapons are largely unusable because of the global impacts.”

When a nuclear weapon explodes, its effects extend beyond the structure-toppling blast wave, blinding fireball, and mushroom cloud. Nuclear detonations close to the ground, for example, can spread radioactive debris called fallout for hundreds of miles.

But the most frightening effect is intense heat that can ignite structures for miles around. Those fires, if they occur in industrial areas or densely populated cities, can lead to a frightening phenomenon called a firestorm.
“These firestorms release many times the energy stored in nuclear weapons themselves,” Mills said. “They basically create their own weather and pull things into them, burning all of it.”

Mills helped model the outcome of an India-Pakistan nuclear war in a 2014 study. In that scenario, each country exchanges 50 weapons, less than half of its arsenal. Each of those weapons is capable of triggering a Hiroshima-size explosion, or about 15 kilotons’ worth of TNT.

The model suggested those explosions would release about 5 million tons of smoke into the air, triggering a decades-long nuclear winter.

The effects of this nuclear conflict would eliminate 20% to 50% of the ozone layer over populated areas. Surface temperatures would become colder than they’ve been for at least 1,000 years.

The bombs in the researchers’ scenario are about as powerful as the Little Boy nuclear weapon dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, enough to devastate a city. But that’s far weaker than many weapons that exist today. The latest device North Korea tested was estimated to be about 10 times as powerful as Little Boy. The US and Russia each possess weapons 1,000 times as powerful.

Still, the number of weapons used is more important than strength, according to the calculations in this study.

Most of the smoke in the scenario the researchers considered would come from firestorms that would tear through buildings, vehicles, fuel depots, vegetation, and more. This smoke would rise through the troposphere (the atmospheric zone closest to the ground), and particles would then be deposited in a higher layer called the stratosphere. From there, tiny black-carbon aerosols could spread around the globe.

“The lifetime of a smoke particle in the stratosphere is about five years. In the troposphere, the lifetime is one week,” Alan Robock, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who worked on the study, told Business Insider.

“So in the stratosphere, the lifetime of smoke particles is much longer, which gives it 50 times the impact.”

The fine soot would cause the stratosphere, normally below freezing, to be dozens of degrees warmer than usual for five years. It would take two decades for conditions to return to normal.

This would cause ozone loss “on a scale never observed,” the study said. That ozone damage would consequently allow harmful amounts of ultraviolet radiation from the sun to reach the ground, hurting crops and humans, harming ocean plankton, and affecting vulnerable species all over the planet.

But it gets worse: Earth’s ecosystems would also be threatened by suddenly colder temperatures.

Change in surface temperature (K) for (a) June to August and (b) December to February. Values are five- year seasonal averages.Earth’s Future/Michael J. Mills et al.

The fine black soot in the stratosphere would prevent some sun from reaching the ground. The researchers calculated that average temperatures around the world would drop by about 1.5 degrees Celsius over the five years following the nuclear blasts.

In populated areas of North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, changes could be more extreme (as illustrated in the graphic above). Winters there would be about 2.5 degrees colder and summers between 1 and 4 degrees colder, reducing critical growing seasons by 10 to 40 days. Expanded sea ice would also prolong the cooling process, since ice reflects sunlight away.

“It’d be cold and dark and dry on the ground, and that’d affect plants,” Robock said. “This is something everybody should be concerned about because of the potential global effects.”

The change in ocean temperatures could devastate sea life and fisheries that much of the world relies on for food. Such sudden blows to the food supply and the “ensuing panic” could cause “a global nuclear famine,” according to the study’s authors.

Temperatures wouldn’t return to normal for more than 25 years.

Robock is working on new models of nuclear-winter scenarios; his team was awarded a nearly $3 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project to do so.

“You’d think the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies would fund this research, but they didn’t and had no interest,” he said.

Since his earlier modeling work, Robock said, the potential effects of a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan have gotten worse. That’s because India and Pakistan now have more nuclear weapons, and their cities have grown.

“It’s about five times worse than what we’ve previously calculated,” he said.

Because of his intimate knowledge of the potential consequences, Robock advocates the reduction of nuclear arsenals around the world. He said he thinks Russia and the US — which has nearly 7,000 nuclear weapons — are in a unique position to lead the way.

“Why don’t the US and Russia each get down to 200? That’s a first step,” Robock said.

“If President Trump wants the Nobel Peace Prize, he should get rid of land-based missiles, which are on hair-trigger alert, because we don’t need them,” he added. “That’s how he’ll get a peace prize — not by saying we have more than anyone else.”

Kevin Loria contributed reporting to a previous version of this article. Alex Lockie also contributed to this post.

India bombs targets inside Pakistan. India foreign secretary says jets hit Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Pakistan, but Islamabad denies casualties in air raids.

Islamabad, Pakistan – Indian fighter jets on Tuesday crossed into Pakistani territory, conducting what the foreign ministry in New Delhi termed a “non-military pre-emptive action” against armed group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), dramatically escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours weeks after a suicide attack in the disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistan reported the Indian airspace incursion, with military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor saying its air force jets were scrambling to respond, forcing the Indian aircraft to “release [their] payload in haste while escaping”.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, however, asserted that the jets had hit their target, and that “a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated”.

“The government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism,” he told reporters in New Delhi. “Hence this non-military pre-emptive action was specifically targeted at the Jaish-e-Mohammed camp.”

C Uday Bhaskar, the director of the Society for Policy Studies based in New Delhi, said: “India has sent a very firm signal.”

“The fact that air power has been used for the first time against a terrorist target to my mind signalled to Pakistan that India is demonstrating resolve in terms of using military power, particularly air power,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with his top government officials in New Delhi where he was briefed about the predawn air attack.

Hours later, speaking at an election rally in the western state of Rajasthan, Modi said “the country is in safe hands”, avoiding direct reference to the air raids.

“I pledge on this soil … I will not let the country bend.”

Al Jazeera’s Faiz Jamil, reporting from New Delhi, said that the Indian government has been under a lot of pressure to act in the wake of the Kashmir attack.

“This attack was expected and one of the reasons it was delayed was the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the region,” Jamil said.

“But everyone did expect that this would somehow happen sometime soon, especially with [general] elections coming up in April.”

‘Uncalled-for aggression’

A special meeting of the National Security Committee chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan was held at his office on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by the ministers of foreign affairs, defence and finance, the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee and other civil and military officials.

“Forum strongly rejected Indian claim of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties. Once again, Indian government has resorted to a self-serving, reckless and fictitious claim,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

“Forum concluded that India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing.”

Hassan Akbar, director at the Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute think-tank, termed the attacks “a very provocative and aggressive action by India”.

“They did drop payload in various sectors including in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and this constitutes a serious violation of Pakistan’s airspace and sovereignty.”

Akbar said Pakistan’s response could range from hitting Indian artillery positions along the Line of Control to taking “a more escalatory position” and launching similar airstrikes on Indian military targets.

Sounds of aircraft
Local residents and journalists in Pakistan told Al Jazeera that the sounds of aircraft and an explosion were heard in the Jaba area of Mansehra district, located about 60km from the LoC – the de facto border that divides Indian- and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought three of their four wars over Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of.

The air attacks on Tuesday appear to have taken place outside of Kashmir, at least 10km inside the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan’s military did not confirm the location of the incident, offering conflicting reports that at first placed it near the town of Balakot, about 12km from Jaba, and later claimed it occurred within the confines of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Tensions between the South Asian neighbours have been high since February 14, when a suicide attacker killed at least 42 Indian security personnel in the Indian-administered Kashmir town of Pulwama.

Raids in Kashmir
Meanwhile, Indian security forces have conducted raids on the houses of four senior Kashmiri separatist leaders, including chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik.

Kashmiri civilians say they have been seeing heavy troop deployment, fuel shortages and frequent Indian security forces raids since the Pulwama attack.

“The cost of war might not be known in the TV studios, but we have already borne the brunt of the long conflict. Now, it seems the only option left for us is quick devastation or slow devastation,” said 65-year-old Bashir Ahmad Pal, a resident of Baramulla, a frontier town in northern Indian-administered Kashmir.

The joint group of separatist leaders have called for a two-day shutdown in Kashmir from February 27 to protest against the raids and “spree of arrests”.

India has threatened Pakistan with military action repeatedly since the February 14 blast, blaming it for “controlling” the attack. Pakistan-based armed group JeM had claimed the attack.

Pakistan denies any role in the attack, and last week Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan asked India for “actionable intelligence” in order to take action against any JeM operatives in Pakistan.

Pakistan has dubbed it an act of aggression.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, speaking after the National Security Committee meeting, told reporters that the Indian incursion into Pakistani airspace lasted three minutes, beginning at 2.55am local time. He said that the aircraft remained near the LoC, and did not enter airspace outside of Kashmir.

“They left from near the LoC, because of our alertness and the alertness of the Pakistan Air force,” he said.
“Escalation is not our aim, nor will it be. We have always spoken of de-esclation and defusion. And repulsing aggression is our right,” he said.

Earlier Qureshi said Pakistan reserved “the right to a reasonable response and the right to self-defence”.
Additional reporting by Rifat Fareed from Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir

Four people, including two children, have been killed and seven others wounded in an exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops in Pakistan-administered Kashmir’s district of Kotli, officials said.

“So far, four people have been killed in the shelling,” Nasrullah Khan, a senior hospital official told Al Jazeera by telephone on Tuesday night.

Khan said the dead included a woman and her two children in Nakyal along the Line of Control (LoC), the heavily-militarised de facto border between India and Pakistan.

“An Indian mortar shell hit a house in Nakyal sector along the Line of Control that killed a mother, daughter and son,” local disaster management authority official Shariq Tariq told AFP news agency.

Another death was reported from Koiratta town in the semi-autonomous region, Khan said.

Pakistan says ‘will respond’ to Indian air raids on its territory

Meanwhile, Indian media reports said at least five of India’s soldiers were also wounded in cross-border firing along the LoC.

The civilian deaths in Pakistan-administered Kashmir came as India earlier on Tuesday said it had launched air raids near Balakot, a town 50km from the LoC inside Pakistan’s territory.

The raids followed a suicide attack earlier this month in India-administered Kashmir, which killed 42 Indian troops when a rebel rammed his explosives-laden car into a paramilitary convoy.

It was the deepest cross-border attack launched by India since the last of its three wars with Pakistan in 1971, when the two nations fought over Bangladesh’s independence.

But there were competing claims about the damage the air strikes caused.

The Indian government, facing a general election in April and May, said the strikes hit a training camp belonging to the armed group, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), which claimed the February 14 suicide attack.

India bombs targets inside Pakistan
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said “a very large number” of JeM rebels were killed, without specifying any number.

“The existence of such training facilities, capable of training hundreds of jihadis, could not have functioned without the knowledge of the Pakistani authorities,” Gokhale said.

Pakistan, which denies harbouring the JeM, also dismissed India’s claim, saying the Indian aircraft had dropped their bombs in a wooded area, causing no damage or casualties.

Islamabad called India’s air raids as “reckless and fictitious” and said it would respond in due course “at a time and place of its choosing”.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan both summoned emergency meetings of top ministers after the attack.

Khan also convened a meeting for Wednesday of the National Command Authority, which oversees command and control of the country’s nuclear arsenal, the military said.

Modi had threatened a “jaw-breaking” response to the February 14 attack.

India vs Pakistan: Military strength and arsenal

But at an election rally on Tuesday, the Hindu nationalist leader did not directly mention the air raids. He paid tribute to the military and said: “I assure the nation that the country is in safe hands.”

The escalation between India and Pakistan has triggered international alarm, with China and the European Union calling for both sides to show restraint.

Kashmir has been divided between Pakistan and India since the end of British colonial rule over the subcontinent in 1947. Both sides claim the territory in full.