Srinagar, Apr 10: Amid heightened security, Baramulla and Jammu Lok Sabha constituencies in J&K will go for parliamentary elections in the first phase on Thursday.
The poll campaigning by the political parties ended on Tuesday in both the constituencies and the Jammu and Kashmir Election Commission has deputed its officials in all the polling stations along with polling material.
The north Kashmir’s Baramulla parliamentary constituency has 15 Assembly segments in Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora districts with over 13 lakh voters spread over 1,749 polling stations.
Baramulla district has the highest 6,36,450 electorates, followed by Kupwara (4,38,285) and Bandipora (2,33,797).
The Assembly segments of the constituency include Karnah, Kupwara, Lolab, Handwara and Langate in district Kupwara; Uri, Rafiabad, Sopore, Sangrama, Baramulla, Gulmarg and Pattan in Baramulla District; and Gurez, Bandipora and Sonawari in Bandipora district.
An assessment by election commission has revealed that 70 percent of the polling stations in the constituency fall in “hypersensitive” category while the remaining 30 per-cent have been declared “sensitive”.
Police said a three-tier security was already in place, adding advanced security measures have been taken for dealing with sensitive and hypersensitive polling stations.
“We have intensified night patrolling and vulnerable places in the constituency have been identified. Additional companies of central armed forces have been deployed at polling stations throughout these three districts,” a senior police official said.
He said that heavy deployment of forces has been made along the highway in order to ensure smooth movement of the electorate and the polling officers.
Deputy Inspector General North, Suleman Choudhary told The Kashmir Monitor that the entire security arrangement in these three districts of north Kashmir has been done on the basis of requirement.
“There has been an enhancement of the security forces particularly for the areas where polling booths have been declared sensitive and hyper sensitive,” he said.
Director General Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh said that police and paramilitary contingents have reached polling stations and are in full command of the situation in five police districts of Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency and four police districts of Jammu parliamentary constituency scheduled to go to polls on Thursday.
“The police and paramilitary forces have reached polling stations in five police districts of Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency and four police districts of Jammu Lok Sabha constituency,” adding that “situation is in full command as all security arrangements are in place and besides district SPs, the commandants of armed police battalions have been also engaged with the security arrangements for first phase of parliamentary polls in Baramulla and Jammu parliamentary constituencies.”
The Baramulla Lok Sabha seat is set to witness a triangular contest between Muhammad Akbar Lone of National Conference, Raja Aijaz Ali of Peoples Conference and Abdul Qayoom Wani of the People’s Democratic Party.
Er Rasheed is equally declared as a potential candidate who successfully has attracted large number of people in his rallies during last one month.
As many as nine candidates are in the fray for the constituency including Haji Farooq Ahmad Mir of Congress, Mohammad Maqbool War of BJP, Jahangir Khan of J&KNPP, Abdul Qayoom Wani of PDP, Mohammad Akbar Lone of NC, Raja Aijaz Ali of J&KPC and independents Javid Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Najeeb Shah Naqvi and Engineer Rashid.
The constituency is represented by PDP’s Muzzaffar Baig, who in 2014 defeated NC’s Sharief-Ud-Din Sharik by 29,219 votes.
The constituency previously recorded 39.6 per cent voter turnout in 2014.
While urban areas including Baramulla, Sopore and Pattan towns mostly go with the boycott, the voting is expected to be brisker in frontier district Kupwara and Uri in Baramulla.
Unlike Kashmir, Jammu is likely to witness heavy polling considering people’s participation in the political activities for the last one month.
Jammu regions, which has two Lok Sabha seats has as many as 10,70,014 who will cast their votes at 1,380 polling stations to decide the political fortune of 24 candidates.
The seat which has two constituencies including Jammu and Udhampur has four districts- Samba, Jammu, Poonch and Rajouri. There are 20 voting segments in this Lok Sabha constituency..
Both the seats of the region including Jammu and Udhampur are represented by BJP’s Jugal Kishore and Jitendra Singh, who in 2014 defeated Congress heavyweight Madan Lal Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad, respectively.
The BJP for 2019 election repeated its previous candidates, while Congress has changed its face for Jammu Lok Sabha by fielding its senior vice president and former minister Raman Bhalla and grandson of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, Vikramaditya Singh from Udhampur seat.
Security has been tightened around the polling station in the constituency segments particular in Pir Panchal, Chenab regions and Jammu city.
An official said the poll material and staff has been deputed at the polling station a day ahead of the election.
Pak must review death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav: ICJ
The Hague, Jul 17: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday announced its verdict on India’s petition challenging the death sentence given to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.
The court found by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had breached Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna convention on consular relations by not allowing Indian diplomats to visit him in jail.
It said that nothing in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) precludes its applicability to persons accused of espionage.
The provision basically states that when a national of a foreign country is arrested, they must be informed of the right to have their country’s consulate notified and should also have the right to regular consultation with their consulate’s officials during their detention and trial.
Pakistan had argued, unsuccessfully, that Article 36 of the VCCR does not apply to people involved in espionage.
Pakistan has been directed to suspend the execution of the death penalty awarded to Jadhav till it fulfills the new conditions (ensuring consular access and ‘effectively’ reviewing the case).
The ICJ, however, also rejected most of the other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and his return to India. It cited limitations of its jurisdiction in turning down those appeals.
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India
Reading out the verdict, President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.
The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.
India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.
3 Mar: Pakistan claims arresting Jadhav in Balochistan on charges of espionage. India claims he was kidnapped from Iran.
25 Mar: India is formally informed by Pakistan of Jadhav’s arrest. A confessional statement is released by Pakistan in which Jadhav claims to be a serving Indian Navy officer. India responds by moving the first of several requests for custodial access.
6 Sep: Pak files “supplementary” FIR naming 15 individuals as “accomplices and facilitators” of Jadhav, including NSA Ajit Doval, former RAW chief Alok Joshi, his wife Chetankul Jadhav, and mother Avanti Jadhav.
21 Sep: Military court begins hearing Jadhav case.
6 Jan: Pak ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi presents a dossier to the UN chief alleging India’s involvement in cross-border terrorism in Pakistan and Jadhav’s arrest.
23 Jan: Islamabad writes to New Delhi, seeking assistance in investigating the Jadhav case, and saying its request for consular assistance shall be considered “in the light of the Indian side’s response”.
10 Apr: Jadhav is sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan. India deems the death penalty as “pre-meditated murder”.
27 Apr: India writes to Pakistan, asking it for certified copies of the chargesheet, proceedings of the court of enquiry, the summary of evidence in the case, and the judgment itself. No reply is received.
22 Jun: Pakistan states that a military court has rejected Jadhav’s appeal.
8 May: India moves the International Court of Justice, and receives an interim stay on Jadhav’s execution, pending final orders in the case.
26 Oct: Islamabad writes to New Delhi, offering to discuss extraditing him to India should the government accept he is “considered a criminal under the laws of India.”
25 Dec: Jadhav’s mother and wife are allowed to visit him in prison.
Jan 17: Apr 17 and July 17 fixed as deadlines for India’s Reply and Pak’s Rejoinder respectively.
Feb 18-21: India and Pak make two rounds of oral arguments at The Hague.
Jul 4: ICJ announces that the President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, will read the Court’s decision on July 17.
How binding are ICJ judgments?
Srinagar, Jul 17: According to ICJ, judgments delivered by the court (or by one of its chambers) in disputes between states are binding upon the parties concerned. Article 94 of the United Nations Charter provides that “each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of [the court] in any case to which it is a party”. Judgments are final and without appeal.
If there is a dispute about the meaning or scope of a judgment, the only possibility is for one of the parties to make a request to the court for an interpretation. In the event of the discovery of a fact hitherto unknown to the court which might be a decisive factor, either party may apply for revision of the judgment.
However, there have been instances when the ICJ’s rulings have not been followed. The most famous one was in 1986, when the ICJ ruled in a petition by Nicaragua, which alleged that the US had waged a covert war against it by supporting a rebellion.
The ICJ ordered reparations from the US in favour of Nicaragua. The US, in response, cancelled its declaration of the ICJ’s jurisdiction. It then went to the UN Security Council against the ICJ order and succeeded.
So, whatever the ICJ decides, both governments will have to be prepared for a long haul.
Hafiz Saeed arrested by Pak’s counter-terrorism dept
Srinagar, Jul 17: Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was arrested Wednesday by Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in connection with charges related to terror financing, Dawn and Geo news reported.
The arrest, as per the reports, was made when Saeed was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court. The Mumbai 26/11 mastermind has been moved to an undisclosed location, it added.
Quoting CTD spokesperson for Punjab, Dawn reported that Saeed, following his arrest, was sent to prison on judicial remand after the counter-terrorism department presented him before a Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC).
The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time, the report said.
A JuD spokesperson also confirmed the arrest to Reuters.
The arrest comes in the wake of an ATC in Lahore granting Saeed pre-arrest bail. Along with Saeed, three others were also granted the bail in a case pertaining to JuD’s alleged illegal use of land for its seminary, Dawn reported on July 14.
The CTD had registered 23 cases in July against the leadership of JuD, LeT and FIF (Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation) for gaining assets from “terrorism” financing through non-profit organisations. The move was termed by India as “cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan”.
“Pakistan is trying to hoodwink the international community on taking action against terror groups. Let us not get fooled by cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said.
Pakistan’s push against Saeed came after Financial Action Task Force (FATF), at a plenary session in USA. FATF chair, the US, had told Pakistan it could face blacklisting at its next session in October if it did not adhere to its commitments to stop access to funds for “terror” groups.
Saeed’s arrest comes just ahead of Prime Minister Khan’s maiden visit to the US on July 21 during which he will hold talks with US President Donald Trump. Trump has repeatedly asked Pakistan to abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny “terrorists” safe haven and block their access to funds.
The Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba which is deemed to be responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated “Global Terrorist”, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
LeT militant killed in Sopore gunfight
Srinagar, Jun 17: After a brief lull in the encounters in Kashmir, a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant identified as a local, was Wednesday killed in a gunfight at Gund-Brath village of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Giving details of the encounter, a police official said that Army’s 22 RR, 179 BN CRPF and SOG of J&K police jointly launched a cordon-and-search operation in Gund Brath village of Sopore following specific information about the presence of militants inside a residential house.
During the search operation, the official said, the hiding militant fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.
In the ensuing encounter, one militant was killed and the body was retrieved from the site of encounter.
The slain militant was identified as Adnan Ali Channa son of Ali Muhammad Channa, a resident of Arampora Azad-Gunj, Baramulla.
As per the police records, the slain was affiliated with militant outfit LeT.
Meanwhile, authorities suspended internet services in Sopore and Baramulla as a precautionary measure in wake of this encounter. Later in the day, thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of slain militant at his native village Azadgunj.
The encounter was the first one after the commencement of annual pilgrimage of Amarnath on July 1.