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Better chance of settling Kashmir if BJP wins: Imran endorses Modi

Press Trust of India

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Islamabad, Apr 10:  Pakistan’s Premier Imran Khan has said he believes there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party BJP wins the general elections.

India will go to elections in seven phases beginning from Thursday (today).

“Perhaps if the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Khan told a small group of foreign journalists in an interview.

 

He said other parties would be afraid of the right-wing backlash in case of settlement on the Kashmir issue. Khan said Kashmir was the central issue between the two countries.

Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed over 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter operation, claiming to hit the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.

The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.

Khan has said that Pakistan was taking action against all militants groups including the JeM.

Khan said that groups like the JeM were being disarmed under a serious drive to eliminate militancy from Pakistan.

“We have taken the religious schools of these groups under state control. It is first serious effort to disarm the militant outfits”, he said.

Khan said action was taken because it was important for the future of Pakistan. He also rejected the impression that Pakistan was compelled by the world to take such an action.

He added that the Kashmir liberation movement was a political struggle and there was no military solution.

Imran reiterated that Islamabad was determined to dismantle all militant groups in the country and that the government had the full support of the army for the programme.

The premier said if the polls turned against Modi in the next few weeks, there was still a possibility that India could take military action against Pakistan to boost his party’s election campaign.

“It is vital for Pakistan to have peaceful ties with its neighbours, Afghanistan, India and Iran, if it was to have the kind of economy needed to pull 100 million people out of poverty,” he remarked.

Earlier, Imran accused India and Israel of moral bankruptcy over their election annexation pledges. He questioned whether the citizens of both countries felt outraged at their leaders’ “moral bankruptcy” as they defied international law to gain votes.

“When leaders in Israel and India show a moral bankruptcy in their readiness to annex occupied West Bank and IoK [Indian occupied Kashmir] in defiance of international law, United Nations Security Council resolutions, and their own Constitution for votes, don’t their people feel a sense of outrage and wonder how far they [the leaders] will go simply to win an election?” he asked in a tweet.

Israelis began voting in an election on Tuesday that could hand the conservative Netanyahu a record fifth term or see him dethroned by an ex-general who has pledged clean government and social cohesion. Netanyahu pledged last week to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins the upcoming general election.

India goes to polls next week where BJP would be trying its utmost to return with a thumping win while the main opposition Congress party would attempt to deny Modi’s party continuity in the saddle and to win a majority.

Opposition trolls PM

Pak officially allied with Modi: Cong; Bhakts scratching their heads: Mehbooba; PM will have to answer: Omar

Monitor News Desk

Srinagar, Apr 10: Hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was quoted as saying he sees a better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP wins the national election, reactions poured in from the opposition, which is often accused by the Prime Minister and the ruling BJP of “speaking Pakistan’s language”.

Leaders from the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Jammu and Kashmir politicians Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti seized the chance to get back at the PM and the ruling party.

Imran Khan has said if the next government in India were led by the Congress party, it might be “too scared” to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir, fearing a backlash. “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Imran Khan was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.

“Pakistan has officially allied with Modi! A vote for Modi is a vote for Pakistan,” tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Sing Surjewala. “Modi-ji, first Nawaz Sharif, now Imran Khan is your friend. The secret is out,” he added.

“Why does Pakistan want Modi-ji to win? PM Modi, please tell the nation how deep your relationship is with Pakitan? All Indians should know that if PM Modi wins then crackers will be burst in Pakistan,” tweeted AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal.

“Pakistan mein macha shor, Narendra Modi once more (There’s clamour in Pakistan for a second term for Narendra Modi)” Kejriwal said in another tweet.

Omar Abdullah, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, attacked by PM Modi over his recent comments on a separate PM for the state under the terms of accession, tweeted: “So much for Modi Sahib telling the country only Pakistan and its sympathisers want BJP to lose. Imran Khan has just endorsed him for a 2nd term”.

“Modi will have to answer that because it was Modi only who, till now, was saying that Pakistan and militants want the BJP to lose, but it has become clear today that it is the Pakistan which wants Modi to win again,” Omar told reporters here.

His state rival Mehbooba Mufti, the leader of the PDP and a former BJP ally, remarked: “Bhakts scratching their heads & at wit ends wondering if they should praise Imran Khan or not.”

Relations between Pakistan and India worsened dramatically in February after a suicide bombing killed over 40 soldiers in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed the attack. Days later, India sent its fighter jets across the border to what it claimed was a strike a militant training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. Pakistan responded the next day by sending planes to target Indian military installations.

PM Modi and the BJP’s re-election bid are seen to have received a boost from a wave of patriotism after Pulwama and the government’s strong response.

Imran Khan, according to the Reuters report, said Islamabad was determined to dismantle all Pakistan-based militant groups in the country, and that the government had full support from Pakistan’s Army for the programme.


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Two militants killed in Bijbehara gunfight

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Two militants were killed after a gunfight broke out between militants and security forces in Bagender Mohalla area of Bijbehara in Anantnag district on Thursday morning.

The duo was killed after a gunfight broke out between them and a joint team of the Indian Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles unit and a Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

The exchange of fire began while security forces had been carrying out cordon and search operations after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area. An official said that the militants opened fire on the troopers when they were closing in on their hiding spot.

 

A search operation is underway as the forces believe there were three militants in hiding in Bagender Mohalla.

The police spokesman identified the slain as Safder Amin Bhat (25), son of Muhammad Amin of Zirpara Bijbehara and Burhan Ahmad Ganaie (25) of Malipora Hablish Kulgam. He said the duo was affiliated with Hizb-ul -Mujahideen militant outfit.

Incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of the encounter, he said, adding that the police have registered a case.

“Citizens are requested not to venture inside encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any,” said the spokesman.

Thousands of people participated in funeral prayers of two slain militants in Bijbehara and SK Colony Lazibal areas of Anantnag.

Meanwhile, internet services were also suspended for “precautionary measures” and a complete shutdown is being observed in the district.

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Ladakh Parliamentary Seat: Karbalai in fray to cut Muslim votes and benefit Congress?

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Ahead of the elections for it, the Ladakh Parliamentary Seat is in the spotlight these days as Asgar Ali Karbalai, who is contesting as an Independent candidate, may play spoilsport for Sajjad Hussain who has support of the NC, PDP and powerful religious groups of Kargil.

Four candidates are in the fray for Ladakh parliamentary constituency that will go to polls on May 6.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, while Rigzin Spalbar is Congress’ candidate. Both the candidates are from Leh district. Sajjad Hussain, and Asgar Ali Karbalai are contesting as independents. Both are from Kargil district.

 

Asgar has claimed that he has left the Congress, however a source within the party said his contesting of elections is to “cut the Muslim vote in Ladakh to benefit the Congress candidate.”

“He has no support of any religious group unlike Sajjad. If he will be able to cut the Muslim vote, Congress will be the hugely benefitted,” the source said. 

It said that PDP and NC decided not to field candidates as they would have divided the Muslim votes and would have benefitted the BJP.

The PDP and NC have decided to support journalist turned politician Sajjad in the parliamentary elections. He is the candidate of Anjuman Jamiatul Ulama Islamia School Kargil (AJUISK), the largest religious organisation of the region and also backed by Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust.

“Both National Conference and PDP have unanimously decided to support Sajjad, who has been fielded by Kargil’s powerful religious organization, Islamia School,” National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, said.

Asked why the National Conference did not field its own candidate, Sagar replied, “We have several top leaders in Ladakh. But when powerful religious organizations decided to field the candidate, we decided to support him. All religious groups are on platform on his candidature. We hope that he would win the elections.”

Senior PDP leader Nizam-ud-Din Bhat too confirmed that NC and PDP have unanimously decided to support Independent candidate, Sajjad.

“We decided not to field our own candidate because this candidate has backing of two religious groups, and he represents the sentiments of people,” Bhat said.

In Kashmir, the PDP and NC have been fighting against each other as both parties have fielded their candidates against one another on all three parliamentary seats. The NC and Congress are jointly fighting the Srinagar, Jammu and Udhampur parliament seats while there is a “friendly” contest between their candidates for Baramulla and Anantnag seats.

In 2014 Thupstan Chhewang of Bharatiya Janata Party won with a margin of 36 votes. Chhewang secured 31,111 votes while Independent Ghulam Raza secured 31,075 votes. Chhewang last year resigned, citing ‘discrimination’ against Ladakh, as the reason.

Spread over Leh and Kargil districts and having four assembly segments including Kargil, Zanaskar, Nobra and Leh, Ladakh is geographically one of the largest and population-wise one of the smallest constituencies in the country. There are about 1.72 lakh eligible voters for the Ladakh seat.

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NIA summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter shameful: Mehbooba

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Apr 25: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday termed National Investigation Agency (NIA) summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter as “shameful”.

Addressing a rally at Kulgam district in south Kashmir, the PDP president while condemning the issuance of ED summon to Sama Shabir, the daughter of Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah said, “She has been summoned in connection with case of money laundering in 2007 when she was just five years old. The harassment has increased over the years.”

She said that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was summoned by the NIA and Yaseen Mailk faced detention and constant harassment.  “This shows the sheer desperation of centre,” she claimed.

 

She maintained, “The abrogation of Article 35-A and 370 will render the basis of accession null and void. Thus, we should strive towards safeguarding the special status.”

Mehbooba took jibes at the BJP president, Amit Shah over his statement that there is Modi wave in India.

“Had this been true, the Balakote airstrikes wouldn’t happen then?  Incidents like mob lynching and oppression on the marginalized sections wouldn’t be so commonplace,” she said.

She said while taking potshots at the NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, “Omar is living in this delusion that the people in her home town Bijebhera in Anantnag district have rejected her and voted for NC. I want to make this thing clear that it’s my hometown and people are supportive of me and are still unknown to Omar.”

Ruling out that government employees participated in her Pulwama election rally, she said, “This is completely false. No government employees participated in that rally. I have nothing to do with these employees as I am not a part of the government.” 

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