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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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Trump offers to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir issue

Press Trust of India

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday offered to be the “mediator” between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue as he met Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House where the two leaders discussed a host of issues.

India maintains that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one and no third party has any role in it.

“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know,” Trump said in response to a question during his meeting with Prime Minister Khan in the Oval Office.

 

Trump said that he is ready to help, if the two countries ask for it.

“I think they (Indians) would like to see it resolved. I think you (Khan) would like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It should be….we have two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership, (and they) can’t solve a problem like that. But if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that,” Trump said.

“We have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship (with India) is strained a little bit, maybe a lot. But we will be talking about India… (it’s) a big part of our conversation today and I think maybe we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do. It’s something that can be brought back together. We will be talking about India and Afghanistan both,” Trump told Khan.

Khan, who was sitting by Trump’s side in the Oval Office of the White House, said that he is ready and welcomed such a move by the US.

“Right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate (on Kashmir),” Khan told Trump.

Khan was accompanied by Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi among others.

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Corrupt praying elections to escape ACB: Guv Malik

Says militant remark ‘made in frustration’; calls Omar ‘political juvenile’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jul 22: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik Monday said that the political parties in Kashmir want immediate elections to “save” themselves from the ongoing action against corruption.

“Political parties and their leaders want immediate assembly polls to escape from investigations. The ACB is close on their heels. These politicians are involved in misappropriation of funds in various schemes. There will be zero tolerance against corruption,” the Governor said while speaking to media on Monday.

He expressed regret over his remark that militants should stop killing innocent people and target the corrupt, saying it was made in a “fit of anger and frustration”.

 

On Sunday, Malik stoked controversy during his address at a function in Kargil.

“These boys who have picked up guns are killing their own people, they are killing PSOs (personal security officer) and SPOs (special police officers). Why are you killing them? Kill those who have looted the wealth of Kashmir. Have you killed any of them?” Malik had asked.

Day later, the Governor, however, said that he should not have made the comment as constitutional head of the state, but it did reflect his feelings and he will say the same thing when he is not governor.

“As Governor, I should not have made such a statement but my personal feeling is same what I said. Had I not been Governor, I would have no regret for giving such statement,” Malik told the media.

“What I said was my frustration and anger as I have seen huge corruption in Kashmir for the last one year. Otherwise, I know militants will be ultimately defeated,” the Governor added.

Reacting strongly to the Governor’s comments in Kargil, former chief minister, Omar Abdullah had tweeted: “Save this tweet – after today any mainstream politician or serving/retired bureaucrat killed in J&K has been murdered on the express orders of the Governor of J&K Satya Pal Malik.”

Omar said the governor should check out his own reputation in Delhi before sanctioning unlawful killings.

“This man, ostensibly a responsible man occupying a constitutional position, tells militants to kill politicians perceived to be corrupt. Perhaps the man should find out about his own reputation in Delhi these days before sanctioning unlawful killings & kangaroo courts,” he said.

Reacting to Omar’s criticism, the Governor called him a “political juvenile”.

“He is tweeting on every issue and media carry them. But media does not carry the comments on his statement. 90 percent people abuse him for his statements,” the Governor said.

Malik said he was appointed Governor because of his reputation.

“I did nothing wrong in my 50 year career. People know whether I did anything wrong. Wherever Omar Abdullah is at present is because of his reputation. He is speaking on every issue in a childish way. I had regards for Omar,” he said.

The Governor said families that have ruled Kashmir have accumulated huge wealth.

“Their grandparents were teachers but they have properties across the world.  Their three generations have accumulated huge wealth. They have one house in Srinagar, one in Delhi, Dubai, one in London and elsewhere. They are shareholders in big hotels.”

Asked whether two prominent political families, Abdullahs and Muftis were also involved in corruption, he replied: “The Anti-Corruption Bureau is investigating and whosoever is involved in corruption has to face the punishment. One of the former ministers has been grilled. Few more former ministers will also be investigated. We won’t spare anyone irrespective of how powerful they are.”

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Power theft costs JK 4000 cr a year

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jul 21: Jammu and Kashmir suffers a huge loss of around 4,000 crore every year due to power theft.

The department is unable to overcome the huge losses despite the fact that they have installed power meters to tackle pilferage.

An official in the Power Development Department (PDD) said that the deficit of Rs 275 crore in 2002-03 grew to Rs 2,976 crore during 2014-15 and to 4,000 crores in 2018.

 

The economic survey of 2017 blamed the revenue deficit on “high power thefts, illegal uses, unregistered consumers, uncontrolled and unaccounted consumption of power, lesser load agreements, low tariff rates, and poor collection efficiency.”

“We are losing Rs 4000 crore every year on power purchase bill. Last year we purchased power for 6200 crores and we collected only 2200 crores so the total lose we suffered is 4000 crore,” Hashmat Qazi, Chief Engineer PDD told The Kashmir Monitor.

The major reason for losses, he said, is the power theft.

“We lose maximum power due to the illegal usage by the people here. Despite installing meters, people find ways to breach them and use as much electricity as they can,” Qazi noted.

Qazi informed that to overcome the losses, there are many Government of India schemes including ‘Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reform program’ (R-APDRP) which will upgrade the infrastructure including installation of Aerial Bunched Cable (ABC) which will restrict power theft by hooking.

“This is Rs 1660 crore plan which is being funded by the Government of India and comprises of 30 towns that have more than ten thousand population,” said Qazi.

“Another scheme is Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) which comprises of 81 small towns, having a population more than four thousand. Apart from these two schemes, there is another scheme Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) for distribution of electricity in rural areas,” he added.

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