There Is A Video War Being Played Out In Kashmir

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

Video vs Video: The other war playing out in Kashmir

INDIA Updated: Apr 17, 2017 07:39 IST

Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kashmir unrest

Protesters clash with police and paramilitary soldiers during a protest after Friday prayers in Srinagar.(Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

A grainy short video shot with a cellphone shows Wali Mohammed Bhat, a supporter of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), apologising profusely and shouting anti-India slogans at gunpoint.The petrified Kashmiri man is heard saying he has long quit all political activities.

In another similar video, a group of security men are seen pinning a youth in a red vest to the ground. His hands are tied behind his back, and the men are beating his legs with sticks.

He screams: “Paani … maafi (water… mercy).”

Read more

The two clips were uploaded on social media on Sunday and quickly became the most shared, watched and commented items online in militancy-riddled Jammu and Kashmir as well as the rest of India.

These are from a long line of videos showing the two stark realities of Kashmir — alleged atrocities of a hardnosed establishment trying to bulldoze the insurgency, and the threats, brickbats and stones that people on the non-separatist side of the political divide face in the Valley.

This is Unacceptable ! Cant do this to our CRPF jawaans .This rot has to stop. Badtameezi ki hadd hai.

The troubled region’s pro- and anti-separatist battle is fought through videos — a quick-reaction psychological weapon that is exploding on social networks more often lately, especially after the protest-blighted by-elections to the Srinagar parliamentary seat on April 9.

At least eight people died in the unrest and hundreds were wounded as security forces fired at and caned crowds that tried to disrupt the bypoll in response to a separatist call to boycott the democratic process.

The video of an armed CRPF trooper being kicked and booed by a group of youth when he was returning from bypoll duty with his colleagues became a nationwide television debate.

Another Socking & Outrageous Video from occupied . Indian Brutality & oppression on its peak

The men in uniform do nothing to the hecklers. They walk on. Their action is peddled on the loop in national television as an epitome of restraint shown by the armed forces.

Read more

The tide turns on April 13 as another explosive clip surfaced. It shows security forces firing at a group, mostly children, throwing stones. The soldiers are seen moving behind a wall, bending, locating the position of the stone-throwers, and firing at a boy. Netizens called it targeted killing.

A day later, a video showed a Kashmiri youth tied to the bonnet of a military jeep as a human shield against stone-throwers. The background audio warns people that “this will be the fate of stone-pelters”.

Here’s the video as well. A warning can be heard saying stone pelters will meet this fate. This requires an urgent inquiry & follow up NOW!!

The video was supposedly shot in Budgam district on April 9 during the bypoll.

Another clip emerged, showing Kashmiri youth protecting a security man who allegedly fell behind from the rest of his troop.

It rained videos last Saturday. One of them shows a child screaming his lungs out as four men in army fatigues beat him mercilessly with sticks. Another one has three Kashmiri youth shouting “Pakistan Murdabad”, allegedly at the behest of a security man, half-visible in the video.

Hindustan Times could not authenticate where and when these videos were shot. But these are having an effect.

Kashmir: 8 Killed During Voting Violence

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

8 killed in Kashmir bypoll violence, Srinagar registers poor voter turnout of 7.14%

INDIA Updated: Apr 10, 2017 08:29 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bypolls

Srinagar: Youths throw stones on Security forces during clashes in Srinagar on Sunday. Four civilians where killed and more than two dozens were injured during the clashes. (PTI Photo)

At least eight people were killed in clashes with security forces during Sunday’s by-election to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, which recorded a poor voter turnout of 7.14%. (HIGHLIGHTS)Violence marred polling in Ater assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh too, where police firing was reported from two places after villagers allegedly threw stones at Congress candidate Hemant Katare’s car. Six vehicles, including police cars, were damaged, sources said.The biggest bloodshed was recorded in Srinagar, where the by-poll was held along with 10 assembly constituencies in eight states, including New Delhi’s Rajouri Garden.

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) float in a river after protesters attack on polling station at Kanihamma in Srinagar on Sunday. More then 20 people were injured during the clashes. (PTI Photo)

“There were more than 200 incidents of violence, mostly in Budgam district, which included stone-pelting, petrol bomb attacks, setting ablaze of a polling station, some vehicles and attempt to burn another two polling booths,” Jammu and Kashmir chief electoral officer Shantmanu said.

“It was not a good day for us.” And he admitted that the by-poll in Anantnag on April 12 would be a bigger challenge.

Internet services in the Valley have been suspended till Wednesday.

The violence in Kashmir followed a separatist call to boycott the by-election, saying the situation is not right to hold a democratic exercise after last year’s unprecedented public unrest triggered by the killing of popular militant commander Burhan Wani.

People took to the streets to enforce the boycott across the constituency straddling Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts.

Read more

Polling staff abandoned almost 70% of booths in Budgam district because of the violent protests. Army was called out to help security forces quell mobs throwing stones and petrol bombs at polling stations in Ganderbal district.

Security teams fired bullets as well as the controversial pellet guns to disperse mobs. Pellet guns — a so-called non-lethal weapon — have killed, maimed and blinded hundreds of people during the 2016 unrest.

On Sunday, at least one man died of pellet wounds, director general of police SP Vaid said.

A senior doctor at Budgam district hospital confirmed that the majority of patients were being treated for pellet wounds.

Most of the dead were young men, including a 15-year-old Faizaan Ahmad Rather and Amir Manzoor, who was 17.

Protesters throwing stones at a burning polling staff bus after they attacked a polling station at Kanihama in Srinagar on Sunday. (PTI)

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said she was pained that most of them were teenagers. “I am distressed … they were yet to understand the intricacies of the issues,” she said.

Former chief minister and opposition National Conference working president Omar Abdullah, whose father Farooq Abdullah is contesting the by-poll, said he had never seen this level of violence in elections in Kashmir.

“I am talking about having fought my first election in 1998 at the peak of militancy. Even then the environment for campaigning and voting was not as bad as it is today. That may itself tell you just how mismanaged this state is under Mehbooba Mufti,” he said.

Repolling could be ordered in “anywhere around 50 or 100 polling stations or more” because of the violence, according to state poll panel chief Shantmanu.

“The tentative voter turnout is 6.5%,” he said.

That’s much lower than the 2014 parliamentary polls, which recorded 26%.

In the 1989 elections, National Conference’s Mohammad Shafi Bhat won the seat uncontested. The previous lowest turnout in the prestigious seat was 11.93% in 1999 when Omar Abdullah had defeated Mehbooba Mufti in a straight contest.

Police firing was also reported in Madhya Pradesh’s Ater seat after Congress and BJP workers clashed. Polls in the state were preceded by controversies related to electronic voting machines.

People damaged the Congress candidate Katara’s car at Sankri polling booth, where he had gone to check reports of booth capturing by BJP candidate Arvind Bhadoria’s followers.

But the state election commission dismissed reports of booth capturing.

By-elections in another assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh, two in Karnataka, one each in West Bengal, Assam, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and New Delhi ended peacefully.

Read more

In all, by-elections were held in nine assembly constituencies in six states, besides the Srinagar parliamentary seat.

Rajouri Garden assembly seat in west Delhi recorded a poor turnout of 47%. The by-election is seen as the trailer to the municipal polls this month. The seat was held by the Aam Aadmi Party’s Jarnail Singh before he resigned to contest the Punjab assembly polls this February.

In Jharkhand’s Littipara assembly by-poll, about 72% turnout was recorded till evening.

The by-poll is viewed as a prestige issue for the ruling BJP and the opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in the state. The BJP is trying to capture a seat that the JMM has held for 40 years.

Polling was peaceful and around 52% votes were cast in six hours in the Kanthi Dakshin assembly by-poll in West Bengal. The ruling Trinamool Congress has nominated former minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacharya as its candidate.

Bhattacharya had lost from Dum Dum (North) in last year’s assembly polls.

In Karnataka, by-polls to Nanjangud and Gundlupet assembly constituencies were held. Fresh polls had to be called at Nanjanagud as V Srinivas Prasad, the Congress MLA, resigned after he was dropped from the ministry. Prasad is now the BJP candidate.

In Dholpur assembly constituency in Rajasthan, where the BJP is in power, 74% polling was recorded.

Polling was peaceful amid reports of electronic voting machine (EVM) and voter verified paper audit trial (VVPAT) malfunctions at some booths, Rajasthan’s chief electoral officer Ashwini Bhagat said.

(With inputs from HTC Bhopal, Kolkata, Ranchi and agencies)

India Slams Pak Plan To Give Fifth Province Status To Gilgit-Baltistan Region

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

India slams Pak plan to give fifth province status to Gilgit-Baltistan region

INDIA Updated: Mar 16, 2017 22:49 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A committee headed by Pakistan’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz reportedly proposed fifth province status for the strategic region.(AFP File )

India on Friday reacted strongly to an attempt by Pakistan to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering disputed Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), as its fifth province, saying such move is “entirely unacceptable.”There are reports that a committee headed by Pakistan’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz has proposed status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan.Responding to the reports, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said any such step would not be able to hide the illegality of Pakistan’s occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which it must vacate, forthwith.

“The entire state of J&K is an integral part, has been an integral part and will be an integral part of India. No attempt or unilateral attempt or step to change that would have any legal basis, whatsoever, and it will be entirely unacceptable,” the spokesperson said.

The move will not be able to “hide the tremendous, very concerning human rights violations and denial of freedom” that has been going on in parts of J&K controlled by Pakistan for the last 70 years, he said.

Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. It has a regional assembly and an elected chief minister.

Read more

At present, Pakistan has four provinces — Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

It is believed that China’s concerns about the unsettled status of the strategic region prompted Pakistan to explore change in its status.

Asked about Pakistan having expressed concern over acquittal of Assemanand in Ajmer Sharif blast case, Baglay said India completely rejects Pakistan’s “efforts and intention to meddle” in the country’s internal affairs, including in the Indian judicial process.

“We also totally reject the ulterior link which is sought to be established by Pakistan with any other matter under the purview of the Indian courts. A strong Indian democracy and justice system obviously need no self-serving sermons from anybody much less from a country like Pakistan,” he asserted.

The spokesperson also advised Pakistan to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of India and not to deny the reality of terrorism emanating from its soil, which was affecting not only India but the entire neighbourhood and beyond.

Baglay also reiterated India’s demand that Pakistan should dismantle terrorist infrastructure in its own territory or the territory under its control, and bring to justice the terror masterminds who still operate and continue to enjoy freedom on its soil.

Pakistan foreign office had last week summoned India’s deputy high commissioner J P Singh to express its concern over acquittal of right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand in 2007 Ajmer Sharif blast case.

Nepal Government Trying To Curb Alcohol Abuse

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

The Nepal government has approved a stringent policy to regulate the sale of alcohol, including mandatory pictorial health warnings and an age bar for buying liquor, sparking a debate in the country.The National Policy on Regulation and Control of Alcohol 2017, cleared by the cabinet on February 20, will now be sent to Parliament for its endorsement. Under it, Nepal will adopt a zero-tolerance policy against drinking alcohol in public functions, weddings and other social and cultural events.

The policy requires producers to mandatory display a pictorial warning depicting liver cirrhosis and effects on other organs that will have to cover 75% of the packaging of alcoholic beverages.

Nepal will be first country to introduce such a warning for alcohol.

People below the age of 21 and pregnant women will be restricted from purchasing and consuming alcohol. Alcohol will no longer be served at government-sponsored events and it will not be sold at public places such as heritage sites and sports complexes. There will also be a total ban on alcohol advertisements.

The policy will also decrease the availability of alcohol by restricting sales to specially licensed shops for certain hours. Sales will be prohibited from 5 am to 7 pm, and every person will be able to buy only one litre a day.

The health ministry said it was forced to impose such restrictions because of health problems caused by excessive drinking, but there have been calls that the social and religious aspects of consuming alcohol should not be overlooked.

Selling alcohol is not perceived as a mere business in Nepal, as liquor forms an intrinsic part of religious functions for many ethnic communities.

Though the policy has been cautiously welcomed by various stakeholders, some have questioned how it will be implemented, given the country’s weak administrative structure, and how the market will respond. Others have noted the policy is silent on controlling moonshine, the sale of which is rampant in the countryside.

The health ministry has proposed a new mechanism to monitor the policy’s implementation and to take legal action against violators.

The multi-billion rupee liquor industry is in a dilemma as it cannot be seen as opposing a “noble cause” taken up by the government, a senior industrialist told Hindustan Times. The industry will wait till the policy is fully implemented before coming up a reaction, he said.

The tourism industry will back the move, said Biplav Poudel, who runs luxury hotels in Pokhara and Chitwan. He told Hindustan Times that the measures would not affect tourism as almost all tourists drink inside their hotels and not in public places.

The policy also includes income generation programmes and alternative employment opportunities to discourage the production and sale of domestic liquor.

But Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, a prominent rights activist, gave the example of Andhra Pradesh in India, which lifted a ban on alcohol in 1997 after enforcing prohibition for two years. “Such measures are not successful due to leakages within the state and from across borders and this is a lesson for Nepal,” he said.

Unlike in India, selling and consuming alcohol is not restricted in Nepal and experts say this has contributed to health problems. A WHO report of 2014 said around 50 people die of alcohol abuse in Nepal, while the health ministry has estimated 17.8% of the population of nearly 27 million drink every day.

Nepal banned drink-driving in 2012 to reduce road accidents and the move was widely successful.

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India’s Defence Minister Gives Military Commanders Full Freedom To Combat Jihadists

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday that military commanders had “full freedom” to decide on how to conduct their operations against insurgents and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.Parrikar’s remarks come in the backdrop of a debate over army chief Bipin Rawat’s comments that those who hinder counter-insurgency operations or display flags of Pakistan and the Islamic State in Kashmir will be considered as “anti-national”, and soldiers will not hesitate to use their weapons.

The comments have evoked sharp reactions from opposition politicians and Kashmiri separatists alike, most of who said such an attitude will only further alienate the military among Kashmiris and help fuel insurgency.

But Parrikar defended his army chief.

Read: General Rawat, hold your fire. All Kashmiri youth are not aides of jihadis

“Our aim is to neutralise as many Pakistani terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir (as possible) and demoralise the militant ranks before the snow starts melting in the high mountain passes next month,” Parrikar told Hindustan Times.

The defence minister also referred to a shootout between militants and the army in which a major was among four soldiers killed in Handwara on Tuesday. He said an investigation was on to see if any operational intelligence was leaked to the militants.

“The February 14 counter-terrorist operation… was based on specific source intelligence inputs,” he said.

“Our suspicion is that this intelligence got leaked to militants in advance. We are checking the facts. In these circumstances, I have given strict instructions of allowing full operational freedom to the commander on the spot. It is his final call.”

Kashmir remained on the boil for months after government forces killed militant commander Burhan Wani last July. More than 100 people were killed, most of them in police firing, during months-long street protests against Wani’s killing.

Although those protests have tapered, this winter has been one of the most violent in Kashmir with at least two major attacks on army barracks in Uri and Nagrota as well as several fatal shootouts between militants and soldiers. There has also been a spike in militants trying to cross over into India from Pakistan.

Government figures indicate that there are at least 300 “foreign terrorists” in the Valley, with Lashkar-e-Taiba accounting for over 90% of them.

Cross-border “infiltration” bids also stood at about 100 last year, official figures show, but top security officials said the number could be three times higher going by a rise in the number of unknown militants killed this year.

Ten soldiers killed, several missing after avalanches hit Kashmir’s Gurez sector

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

Ten soldiers killed, several missing after avalanches hit Kashmir’s Gurez sector

INDIA Updated: Jan 26, 2017 20:55 IST

Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar

Highlight Story

Avalanches struck an army camp and a patrol team in Tulail area of Gurez sector in Bandipora district, resulting in multiple casualties.(AP File Photo )

At least 10 soldiers were killed and several colleagues are missing after avalanches hit an army camp and a patrol in north Kashmir’s Bandipora, officials said on Thursday.They are the latest casualties in the Kashmir Valley swamped by heavy snowfall.

The twin incidents happened barely hours after an Army major was killed in Ganderbal district, also in an avalanche.

A military spokesperson said 10 bodies were recovered since an avalanche struck the camp in the Gurez sector on Wednesday night and a patrol team was buried under a separate snowslide earlier.

Police informed that the men belonged to 51 Rashtriya Rifles.

Rescue teams are working to detect at least four missing soldiers, feared trapped under several feet of snow and rock debris. But the progress is slow because of the harsh weather and terrain.

“Search operations helped us rescue a JCO (junior commissioned officer) and six soldiers, while the bodies of three more could be retrieved this morning (Thursday),” said the army spokesman, giving details about the incident at the camp.

From the patrol, only seven bodies have been recovered.

Read | Despite risk to soldiers, Siachen is vital to India’s security

Kashmir has been witnessing one of the severest winters since 2006 and 1992, with heavy snow across the territory and temperature dropping to minus 7 degrees Celsius. But conditions are expected to improve from January 27.

Besides militancy, weather has been a major adversary of armed forces in Kashmir. Avalanches caused a third of the army fatalities between 2007 and 2012 in the Valley.

On February 3 last year, 10 soldiers were killed after an avalanche hit Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest and coldest battlefield.

The latest disaster zone is close to the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border with Pakistan.

The Army did not specify the number of missing soldiers. But superintendent of police S Zulfikar said four men were unaccounted for.

Police said heavy snow damaged 13 houses, three shops and a shrine in Budgam and Ganderbal districts. About 150 people were evacuated on Wednesday from avalanche-prone Khadiyall and Ismarg villages of Gurez.

Since the start of heavy snowfall on Tuesday, at least seven civilians have died in the Valley.

Authorities have issued avalanche warnings, advising residents in mountainous areas not to venture out.

Read | A question about Siachen hero’s death: Why are our soldiers dying

Flaws In India’s Military Equipment Is Putting Their Soldiers At Risk

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

HT Exclusive| Flaws put lives of soldiers at risk, says army report

INDIA Updated: Jan 10, 2017 01:17 IST

Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Highlight Story

A soldier takes position outside a General Reserve Engineer Force camp in Akhnoor sector, near Jammu, where three civilians were killed in a militant attack. (AP Photo)

At a time when military is increasingly coming under attack in Jammu and Kashmir, an army report has pointed out at least 50 gaps — ranging from body armour, night-vision gear to flawed fuel storage — that pose a threat to soldiers’ lives.If the army doesn’t make fuel storage safer at its forward bases, it could risk the lives of thousands of soldiers.

Militant strikes can cause greater damage not because of their sophistication but because tens of thousands of litres of fuel is being stored in make-shift shelters, says the document.

“The enormity of the problem can be gauged from the aftermath of the recent terrorist action on the FOL (fuel, oil and lubricants) dump at Uri,” says the report on Future Core Technologies and Problem Statements.

Nineteen soldiers were killed when suspected Pakistani militants struck at an army base in Uri in September. Fourteen of the troops were burnt alive as their tents were pitched next to a fuel dump.

The attack, one of the worst against the army in the border state, forced a rethink on fuel storage.

The army design bureau (ADB), inaugurated last August, has identified FOL storage in forward bases as one of the 50 problems that need to be resolved swiftly.

An initiative of the Modi government, the ADB has been tasked with promoting research and development and act as a bridge between the force and the private sector to meet the army’s requirements.

The ADB has stressed on the need for smart vests for soldiers with built-in codes for identification, sniper scopes to engage targets with greater precision and robots to carry equipment in high-altitude areas, including Siachen glacier.

The document, published by the CII, says “vintage barrels and jerrycans” used for storage and transportation of fuel are vulnerable, increasing the “scope for collateral damage”.

Make-shift fuel storage facilities are susceptible to enemy shelling and fire hazards, too.

The army has sought the help of academia and the industry to develop alternative mechanisms for storage. “In Uri, the soldiers were sitting ducks and even the terrorists must not have expected to kill so many of them,” a senior officer said.

The army is looking at solutions developed by other countries. These include “pillow tanks” used by Nato forces, collapsible storage containers used by the US marines and “quick tanks” with aluminium frames.

The report suggests use of lighter and fire resistant material for tanks, with capacity to hold more than 50,000 litres of fuel.

School Building Burns In South Kashmir From Another Mysterious Fire

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS PAPER)

A school building was gutted in a mysterious fire in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district late on Saturday night, an addition to the over 25 schools burnt down completely or partially in the last five months of unrest in the Valley.The unabated burning of schools in Kashmir in October had spiralled into a major issue in the Valley’s political discourse and the state high court had stepped in to direct the government to take all necessary steps to protect them.

Fire broke out in Government High School at Larnoo in Kokernag area of Anantnag, police said. Locals said that the rooftop of the single-storey building, comprising four rooms, was the first to catch fire.

Anantnag superintendent of police Zubair Khan told HT the possibility of miscreants setting fire on the school cannot be ruled out. The other possibility, he said, could be that the rooftop caught the fire because a powerful electrical cable passes over it.

He added that further investigation into the cause behind the fire was being investigated. The flames were, however, brought under control by authorities and no one was injured in the incident.

Police have said there has been no common ground found among the arsonists arrested on alleged school burning charges.

In November, international rights body Human Rights Watch (HRW) had said attacks on education sector in Kashmir, including the mysterious burning of schools, should be stopped immediately.

 

Kashmir: Chief Minister Wants J & K To Be A Bridge Of Peace Between India And Pakistan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KASHMIR TIMES NEWS SERVICE)

KT NEWS SERVICE
JAMMU, Dec 1: Peoples Democratic Party president and the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today asserted that the fundamental objective of the party had been to work for making Jammu & Kashmir a bridge of peace between India and Pakistan and build trust between the state and the Centre.

She asked the party cadre to work for achieving the said objectives with all seriousness.

Addressing the General Council meeting of the party here today, Mehbooba said people of Jammu & Kashmir had seen worst of times and PDP, ever since its inception, had been striving for creating a congenial atmosphere to ensure a durable peace, stability and development in the state besides ensuring dignity and honour of its people.

The Chief Minister said the people of the state had been the biggest beneficiaries of peace process between the two countries and unfortunately worst victims of hostility between the two countries. Terming dialogue as the only way forward for minimising hostilities, the Chief Minister said, “We have to go back to the vision and roadmap of late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed which underscores the need for dialogue and discourse for taking Jammu & Kashmir out of the present situation and building a permanent bond of amity between the two neighbouring countries.”

Mehbooba said PDP committed itself to the vision of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and the agenda of peace and dignity set by him for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. She said the party would continue to carry forward his mission for dignified place to the people of J&K living in all its region and ensuring peace, justice, development and reconciliation.

The party president said PDP reiterated its resolve to once again create an atmosphere congenial to the revival of political process to take Jammu & Kashmir out of the present turmoil. She hoped that from the events of the recent past the state would re-emerge with its trademark resilience and would soon be firmly back on the track of economic reconstruction and strengthening of democratic institutions, which the party had always deemed essential for the solution of state’s problems.

The Chief Minister said her party condemned and rejected use of violence in any form as a means of achieving any goals. She said the recent unfortunate happenings not only resulted in the loss of many precious lives and destruction of property but had also given set back to the process of reconciliation and dialogue. The Chief Minister said the party, however, valued maintenance of communal harmony throughout the state even in moments of provocation and termed it as a land mark addition to the state’s history of tolerance and mutual respect.

She expressed deep concern at the violence along the LoC and the International Border which resulted in tremendous loss to life and property and caused dislocation to large section of the population living in border areas and called for de-escalation on both sides to give peace a chance. She hoped the national leadership, especially the Prime Minister would continue to spearhead the movement for peace and reconciliation started by him in spite of the unfortunate disruptions in the follow-up and attempts to derail it.

The PDP president reiterated her commitment to creation of an atmosphere which would help reconciliation and engagement of all the stake holders of the state and cooperation of all the well wishers of the state including political parties, community leaders, intellectuals and the youth in the larger interests of the state and the region.

Earlier in his welcome address, general secretary, Mohammed Sartaj Madni asked the party cadre to work with zeal for fulfilling the party’s agenda of development and political reconciliation in the state.

In his speech, general secretaries Nizamuddin Bhat and Mehboob Iqbal also addressed the meeting and highlighted the role of the party. The meeting was also addressed by several ministers, legislators, district presidents and zonal presidents.

News Updated at : Friday, December 2, 2016

Trump team clears air on Sharif talks, official says Pakistani account inappropriate

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

Trump team clears air on Sharif talks, official says Pak account inappropriate

WORLD Updated: Dec 01, 2016 22:28 IST

Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times

Highlight Story

In this November 10, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP)

Donald Trump’s transition team on Wednesday issued a bland workman-like readout to counter Pakistan’s gushy account of a conversation between the US president-elect and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which created ripples on social media.The two leaders “had a productive conversation about how the US and Pakistan will have a strong working relationship in the future” and Trump was “looking forward to a lasting and strong personal relationship with” Sharif, the transition team said in a rare readout of the president-elect’s conversation with a foreign leader.

The reason for the rare move, said a Trump adviser, was the “flowery” account of Sharif’s phone call to the president-elect to congratulate him on his election that was released by the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

And also the reaction at home. Questions were raised about Trump’s understanding of the region and his position on Pakistan, about whom he has been brutally critical in the past. He had tweeted in 2012: “Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend.”

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Donald Trump has issued a statement after his talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
  • A Trump transition team official called Pakistan’s account of the conversation “inappropriate”
  • A Trump adviser said Sharif made a customary phone call to the president-elect to congratulate him on his election win

Critics said Trump showed little or no awareness of relations with Pakistan and India. “With one phone call, Donald Trump might have upturned America’s relationship with both Pakistan and India,” said New Republic.

Others described the call “unusual” and “surprising”.

But Pakistan was clearly delighted by the effusive praise it heard from Trump. The foreign ministry said on Thursday it welcomed the fact that Trump called Pakistan “amazing” and its citizens “one of the most intelligent people”.

Though Trump did not mention the Kashmir issue, foreign ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan would welcome his inputs on resolving the matter.

In his call, Trump had offered to play “any role” Pakistan wanted to resolve the country’s outstanding problems. During an interview with Hindustan Times in October, Trump had offered to act as a mediator between India and Pakistan, but only if both sides asked him to. But the Pakistani readout of the conversation seemed to have committed Trump to more than he meant, sources said, prompting the rare counter.

When Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup was asked about the conversation, he said, “As far as the ‘fantastic’ conversation is concerned, I have seen a bit of a rejoinder from US side.”

India, Swarup said, has noted Trump’s willingness to address Pakistan’s outstanding issues. “We believe that the most outstanding of outstanding issues is Pakistan’s support of cross-border terrorism. India would welcome the US having a dialogue with Pakistan on this support for cross-border terrorism,” he added.

The Trump transition team has only released readouts of calls he had received from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, but never to counter their account of the conversations. Pakistan was the first to get a it-wasn’t-so response.

According to the Pakistani readout of the conversation, Trump told Sharif “you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way.”

It quoted Trump as saying: “As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people.

“I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.”

On being invited to visit Pakistan, Trump said he would “love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people”.