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Burhan Wani anniversary: Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown on July 8




Srinagar, Jul 04: Joint Hurriyat Leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik on Wednesday called for a complete shutdown throughout the valley to commemorate the death anniversary of Hizb Commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
The spokesman in a statement has called religious clerics to hold Fateh Khawani on July 6 to commemorate the 2nd death anniversary of Burhan Muzafar Wani and over a hundred civilians killed during the turmoil.
“Joint Hurriyat will hold a general public meeting in Tral town on Sunday,” the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, Joint Hurriyat leadership denounced Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement, saying that Kashmir is not an issue of development or administration, nor it can be resolved through military might.
“Dispute related to Jammu and Kashmir is a long-standing issue in international forums and world community has agreed to decide its political destiny through right to self-determination,” Joint Hurriyat said in a statement.
Joint Hurriyat called PM Modi’s statement “nothing more than jugglery of words which illustrates frustration and insincerity”.
“It is not an issue of mere development instead the issue relates to 15 million people for their right to self-determination,” they said.



Kolahai Tragedy: Survivor Hazik saw stones crush his friends to death; he cannot overcome the horror

Hirra Azmat



Srinagar, Sep 19: “Neither I can put it in words, nor will you understand it in words. It was a split second, but to me it was an eternity,” says Hazik Beigh, survivor of tragic Kolahoi Expedition of September 7.

Pressed further, he sighs, gazes at the peeling hospital ceiling and his heavily bandaged fingers, and mumbles a response.

On September 2, nine trekkers left for expedition to Kolahoi Glacier. Little did they know that their excitement of conquering the peak would turn into mourning as they faced a rockfall while descending, claiming two lives and leaving another trekker grievously injured.

Lying on a bed at the SMHS Hospital is Hazik, who is suffering from sixth rib-cage fracture along with several minor fractures.

A tube drains out the excess fluid in his body as his lungs heal from the sudden trauma. Looking visibly shocked, he narrates his near-death experience.

“Time, space, emotions, everything ceased to exist. I felt my skull is broken and I am dead,” recounts Hazik.

He says in a feeble voice, “We started early morning on September 2. One week was the timeline and Aadil Shah was the one who organised it.”

The young mountaineer says that before leaving for the expedition, the group had done proper research work about the glacier.

“We held discussions with people who had gone on such treks and thoroughly discussed the routes that had to be taken. After much thought, we took the southern route that was less deteriorated,” he recalls.

Taking a long pause moaning lightly from pain, he gulps down few sips of water, and resumes talking again.

“The expedition was carefully planned by taking every member into the loop. It was everybody’s effort and the work was divided. While some took care of the technical part, the others saw that we take our proper safety gear and snacks with us,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.

The young mountaineer says throughout the trek everybody was well-equipped.

“We had all the required safety gear with us. Five people were roped up in one group and four people were in another, leaving eight meters gap in between,” he narrates.

However, on their way back, the weather changed suddenly which made the group halt their journey for some time.

“Weather became foggy, triggering a hailstorm and snowfall,” he recalls.

On the sixth day, the young climber recollects, the weather got clear and the group excitedly resumed their downhill journey.

Little did they know that expedition would claim two lives and he third injured.

“The visibility got fine and we left the tents there, picked up all our technical gear, and set out,” he recalls.

“At the time of incident, Aadil was leading our group, Naveed was second, and I was third. We were at the pass where the whole view of Pahalgam is visible. All of a sudden I heard a cracking sound and a big boulder started to roll down. Within a fraction of a second, Naveed was taken by that boulder, next was me,” he laments.

Hazik saw his wayfarer Naveed hit instantly by a big boulder.

“I too was in that range of stones. Big and small stones coming together and they were rolling us with it. I fell in a crevasse at the bottom of the pass,” he sighed.

He stops again and begins talking with heavy breathing, “I could feel death hovering over me. I didn’t shout or cry, there was blood all over the place.  Before shouting to other guys, I realized that my left side has gone numb. It felt really loose inside of me.”

The next few moments revealed a saga of tragedies for Hazik.

“When I came out of the crevasse, I saw Naveed had gone blue in the face, and he was lying there. He was unrecognizable, I could only say, Naveed ha mood,” he recalls.

Somewhere five six meters down, another tragedy awaited them.

“There was big boulder sitting on top of Aadil. Six people removed the stone with the help of a rope, and put him in a sleeping bag. After few moans, he too stopped breathing,” Hazik remembers the haunting memories.

The group was told to wait for twenty minutes before the rescue team comes with a helicopter, however, no one came. They had no option but to move down with the injured person.

“It was really painful to walk. I was falling. We didn’t even have water with us. Around 3-4 in the morning, we reached our base camp in Dhanwar,” he says.

The mountaineer claims that they were given assurances that the rescue team will reach at 6 am but no one turned up. “By that time, I could hardly breathe, I wasn’t sure whether I can survive now. At around 10:30 the two choppers were on the way, and airlifted me to the Bone and Joint hospital and later shifted to SMHS hospital,” he says.

The rescue operation was conducted by Ram Singh and his rescue team along with Indian Air Force.

Hazik says, “Indian Air force did a great job. Apart from that I owe my life to the people of Aru. Their help was not politically driven; they had genuinely come to help me.”

Asked why they didn’t take the traditional route to the glacier to prevent the calamity, Hazik responds, “There is still one unclimbable route to Kolahoi, we took the route that was better than this particular route. Glaciers have receded a lot since 1930’s because of the climate change, the crevasses open up every day due to the temperature change. The crevasses change their course. The route which changes every day can never be conventional.”

In a recent report published by The Kashmir Monitor, the Tourism Director Kashmir had claimed that the Alpine group didn’t register with them before going for the expedition.

“In the main core of climbing circles, everybody knew that we are going and nobody objected as such,” replies the young mountaineer.

Would he go on such expeditions in the future? Hazik ends his conversation in a true mountaineer spirit, “So many people die due to car accidents, it doesn’t mean we will stop driving. Just because a calamity hit me, it won’t deter me from doing what I love.”





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DAY-NRLM :GoI extends Special Package for JK



New Delhi, Sep 19: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday approved extension of timeline for implementation of the Special Package under DeendayalAntyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) for Jammu & Kashmir for another year during 2018-19.

The Cabinet also approved allocation of funds to the State under DAY-NRLM on a need basis for implementation of the Special Package without linking it with poverty ratio. There is no additional financial implication as the approval is to extend the timeline to cover two thirds of the vulnerable households in the State within the originally approved financial outlay of Rs 755.32 crore.  An amount of Rs143.604 crore will be required for the period of one year during 2018-19.

This will help in covering all the vulnerable rural households in the State (estimated at two thirds of the total number of households) within a definite time frame.

It will ensure mobilization of households under the auto inclusion category and households with at least one deprivation category listed in the Socio-Economic Caste Census – 2011.

It will also ensure coverage of all the blocks in Jammu & Kashmir under DAY-NRLM and ensures social inclusion, social development, promotion of livelihoods leading to poverty alleviation in the State.

Pertinently, due to unavoidable reasons, the Special Package as approved in May 2013 could not be fully implemented by the state. Now, the State Government has requested Government of India to consider extension of the earlier approved implementation schedule of the Special Package and continued funding of DAY-NRLM in Jammu and Kashmir on a demand driven basis without linking allocation with poverty ratio during this extended period.

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Pak court suspends jail terms of Sharifs



Islamabad, Sep 19: A Pakistani court has suspended the jail sentences given to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and two family members by an anti-corruption court earlier this year, with the three expected to be released after the payment of a bail bond.

Sharif, his daughter Maryam and his son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were convicted in July by an anti-corruption court of not being able to prove the source of assets used to buy a set of upmarket London flats.

On Wednesday, Islamabad High Court judge Athar Minallah ruled that the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, was unable to prove a financial link between the former prime minister and the apartments in question.

A two-member bench, led by Minallah, suspended the jail sentences while hearing the Sharifs’ appeal against their convictions.

Their convictions will stand, although their sentences have been suspended.

Sharif had been sentenced to 10 years in jail and a $10.5m fine, his daughter Maryam to a seven-year jail sentence and a $2.6m fine, and Maryam’s husband Safdar to a year in prison.

Sharif remains barred from running for public office for life, after the Supreme Court in April ruled that he had lied on a parliamentary wealth declaration and that the disqualification from that crime would last for an indefinite period.

Sharif, his daughter, and his son-in-law will now each have to pay 500,000 Pakistani rupees (roughly $4,000) in separate surety bonds before their release.

Hamza Shehbaz, Nawaz Sharif’s nephew, said the family was thankful for the ruling.

“Today is a happy day that our leader will be released from jail. We are thankful to Allah. As I said earlier, this verdict from the anti-corruption court, it was clear that there was no corruption proved against Nawaz Sharif. Hopefully, we will show that there is nothing to this case.”

“Today’s fundamental news is that the verdict by the anti-corruption court against Nawaz Sharif was very weak, and … hopefully, we will continue our legal battle against all the other cases.”

A crowd of hundreds of Sharif’s supporters had gathered at the court ahead of the verdict and raised slogans praising him following the announcement of the suspension of the sentence.

The National Accountability Bureau is expected to appeal the Islamabad High Court’s verdict at the Supreme Court.

Hearings in two other corruption cases against Sharif and his family are continuing at an anti-corruption court.

Wednesday’s decision will come as a blow to Sharif’s bitter political rival Imran Khan, who swept a July general election following Sharif’s conviction and jailing.

Khan, now prime minister, was in Saudi Arabia on a state visit when the decision was announced.

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