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Chinese Prez Xi meets Imran Khan, calls for improvement of Indo-Pak relations

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Beijing, Apr 28: Chinese President Xi Jinping met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday and expressed hope that Pakistan and India can meet each other halfway to improve their strained relations following the Pulwama terror attack by a JeM suicide bomber.

Both leaders also exchanged views on the situations in South Asia, an official Chinese statement here said about the meeting between Xi and Khan.

The India-Pakistan relations reportedly figured prominently in the meeting. Xi expressed hope that Pakistan and India can meet each other halfway and promote the stabilisation and improvement of India-Pakistan relations, it said.

 

Khan arrived in China on April 25 and attended China’s 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) held on April 26-27.

The BRF meeting was held to highlight the achievement of the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) started by Xi in 2013 in which USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an important component.

India skipped the meeting for the second time, protesting over the CPEC which is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The Sunday’s meeting between Xi and Khan was regarded significant as it was held in the backdrop of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) which killed 40 Indian CRPF soldiers.

China had sent its Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou to visit Pakistan in March as part of its efforts to ease the tensions.

Khan’s meeting with Xi took place when China is under pressure at the United Nations over its repeated attempts to block efforts to declare Pakistan-based JeM leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

Last month, China put a technical hold on a resolution put forth by the US, the UK and France at the UN’s 1267 counter terrorism committee to declare Azhar as a global terrorist.

The US later took the issue to the UN Security Council (UNSC) in a bid to pressure China to take a public stance on Azhar’s issue instead of just putting up blocks at the 1267 committee.

China had expressed its firm opposition to the issue being taken to the UNSC, saying that the matter headed for settlement and blamed the US for scuttling it.

While there is no word here whether the Azhar issue figured in Xi’s talks with Khan, officials say there is a sense of wariness on the part of Beijing to block India, the US and other countries’ efforts to blacklist him at the UN on behalf of Pakistan.

Officials hoped that the issue could be resolved in the coming weeks following Khan’s visit to China.

Prior to his meeting with Xi, Khan called on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during which the two countries signed a number of agreements. Earlier, he met Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

During Sunday’s meeting, Xi expressed China’s firm support to Pakistan to further the bilateral ties between the all-weather allies.

“Pakistan is China’s all-weather strategic cooperative partner. China and Pakistan are ‘iron friends’ and have always firmly supported each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests.” Xi said.

China takes Pakistan as a priority in its diplomacy, he said.

“No matter how international and regional situations change, China firmly supports Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty and national dignity, choosing its own development path suited to its national conditions, combating terrorist and extremist forces, striving for a sound external security environment, and playing a constructive role in international and regional affairs,” Xi said.

He said major progress had been made in bilateral cooperation in the construction of the CPEC, especially in areas such as finance, trade and other aspects, the statement said.

“In the next stage, China and Pakistan should make more efforts to advance the all-weather strategic cooperation,” Xi said.

He called on both sides to deepen high-level contacts and mutual support, strengthen strategic communication and promote high-quality cooperation in production capacity, infrastructure construction, people’s livelihood and trade within the framework of the BRI.

Khan said the CPEC had played an important role in Pakistan’s economic development and the improvement of people’s lives.

He said he believed more and more countries will support and participate in the cooperation under the BRI.

Pakistan is willing to consolidate its traditional friendship with China, deepen pragmatic cooperation and enhance communication and coordination with China in multilateral affairs, Khan was quoted as saying in the statement.

During his meeting, Khan spoke a few times about India-Pakistan relations and the prospects of peace between the two countries.

Addressing Pakistan and China Investment Forum in Beijing on Sunday, he expressed hope that the relations between the two neighbours will improve after the Indian general elections.

“We want to build a civilized relationship with our Eastern neighbour and there is a possibility that if we can resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue, things can improve,” he was quoted by state-run Radio Pakistan as saying.


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Accused in Central Jail incident identified, chargesheet to be completed soon

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, May 25: The accused in the April 4 incident of clashes inside the Central Jail Srinagar have been identified and booked and the chargesheet against the same will be filed soon, J&K has said.
The matter was discussed during the visit of DGP Police & Prisons J&K Dilbag Singh to the Central Jail on Saturday, who held a detailed security review meeting with the Jail Superintendent, officers, Zonal SP, DySP and concerned CRPF officers.
During the meeting, a police spokesperson said, the DGP impressed upon the officers to ensure that the security of the Central Jail is further augmented in view of the incident of the “rioting and violence” in leading to serious intervention and action against the culprits for causing damage to the jail buildings and other infrastructure.
“Progress on the case FIR No. 19/2019 registered at Police Station Rainawari in this regard was reviewed with the Zonal SP and DySP. It was reported that considerable progress has been made. Most of the accused persons have been identified and booked, shall be charge-sheeted soon,” the spokesperson said.
He added that part of the restoration works of the damaged areas has already been initiated and the remaining shall be taken up soon after the approval and grant of funds from the state authorities.
As reported by The Kashmir Monitor early this month, the authorities had shifted at least 60 inmates – and were planning to move many more – from Srinagar Central Jail to other jails of the state following the incident of clashes and protests within the facility in April.
In the intervening night of April 4 and 5, as many as 400 inmates were engaged in night-long clashes with the jail authorities after the latter tried to move them out of their barracks.
The facility was damaged even as tear-gas shells and pump-action pellet guns were used against the inmates. At least, two of them were grievously injured. The jail is located in a densely populated area of the city.
The administration alleged the inmates “attempted jailbreak” while the inmates said they protested against the alleged desecration of the religious scriptures by the jail staff, a claim that was totally negated by the Jail Superintendent.
A week later, the inmates went on a hunger strike and refused to meet any of the visitors including their kin.
Their demands then included withdrawal of FIR against them in connection with the protests and clashes and transfer of the Jail Superintendent.
A team comprising of the members of High Court Bar Association (HCBA) had also visited the Jail after Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, had asked the jail authorities to permit and facilitate the visit.
The team filed their report to CJM on April 13.
The team, as per the HCBA statement, had found that the “inmates felt a conspiracy was being hatched against them and the state had adopted a hostile attitude towards them for their political ideology and thought.”
The Bar members had also found that after the incident, there was a communication breakdown between the inmates and the jail administration.

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Noted Kashmir expert Yousuf Buch passes away in New York

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Srinagar, May 25: Yousuf Buch, a noted Kashmir expert, former Pakistani minister and former Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, passed away in the US on Friday evening at his home in New York.
“Grieved to hear about the death of Ambassador Yousuf Buch in US, a legend and a living encyclopaedia on Kashmir who dedicated his life to the Kashmir cause. He was a close aide of Mirwaiz Yousuf Shah in Muzzafarabad who later served as advisor to UN Sec Gen for 18 years. Praying for the magfirah of this illustrious son of Kashmir,” tweeted Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
“M Yusuf Buch a scarcely known authoritative voice on Kashmir is no more. Civil servant, policy maker, political advisor & much more. A Kashmiri to the core, an intellectual with Graham Greene, Paul Sweezy, & Baran as friends. Would like to be remembered as Ambassador Buch. RIP!” former J&K Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu tweeted.
The Secretary General of Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, in an emailed statement said the funeral prayers of Ambassador Yusuf Buch will be held at Makkah Masjid in Brooklyn, New York.
He added the body of the deceased will be transported to Pakistan where he will be buried in Muzaffarabad.
Born in Kalashpora Srinagar 1922, the Buch’s were three brothers: Yusuf, Ghulam Naqashaband, who eventually became the Resident Commissioner in Delhi and Mohammad Amin Buch, who became the Chief Conservator of forests in Jammu and Kashmir and would also run Chenar newspaper.
Yusuf Buch, according to reports, topped a civil administration examination during Dogra rule and was appointed as Tehsildar somewhere around the early forties. He was posted in Baramulla for a few years.
Buch was one of the many persons exiled by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1949. Open source information suggests that the staunch Muslim Conference supporter, Buch was arrested and driven to Suchetgrah in Jammu and later sent to Pakistan. He was accompanied, in the same bus, by Agha Showkat Ali, Barrister Abdul Gani Rentoo, and Mahmood Hashmi.
Buch was considered as an encyclopaedia on Kashmir as he had witnessed almost every major development from a very closer quarter.
Buch came to the US in 1953 as a winner of an International Essay Contest sponsored by the United Nations. Later, he worked as a correspondent at the United Nations. He also, ran a Free Kashmir Centre in New York from 1957 to 1972. He remained a Senior Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General for over 18 years.

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Muslim couple thrashed after beef rumours in MP

Omar says ‘just the beginning’; ‘Horrified’ reacts Mehbooba

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Bhopal, May 25: In an appalling case reported from Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh, a Muslim couple was brutally thrashed for allegedly carrying beef. The victims have complained that they were forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ by the accused men.
The local police Friday arrested five vigilantes after the video went viral showing five men beating up three persons including the Muslim couple on suspicion of carrying meat.
The video further shows ‘gaurakshaks’ forcing the three to shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. The incident happened on May 22 but the police came to know of it on May 24 when the video came to the fore.
Dunda Seoni police station incharge Ganpat Uikey said that Shubham Baghel, a habitual offender, Yogesh Uikey, Deepesh Namdev, Rohit Yadav and Shyam Dehriya have been arrested for assault. The five have been booked under IPC sections 143, 148, 149, 341, 294, 323 and 506 and also section 25 of arms act.
On May 22, Taufik, Anjum Shama and Dilip Malviya were arrested under the anti-cow slaughter act and sent to judicial custody after the cow vigilantes informed the police that they were allegedly carrying the meat in an autorickshaw and a two-wheeler from Khairi village. The meat has been sent to a laboratory for testing. Seoni SP Lalit Shakyawar said the situation was under control.
Ganpat said that a relative of one of the three persons filed an FIR after the video surfaced. He said the vigilantes informed the police after roughing up and beating the trio. He added that one of the accused Shubham Baghel belongs to an organisation called Shriram Sena.
Meanwhile, former J&K CMs, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah reacted to the incident.
“Horrified to see cow vigilantes thrash an innocent Muslim with such impunity in MP. Hope @OfficeOfKNath takes swift action against these goons,” Mehbooba tweeted.
Omar Abdullah’s remark was a bit poetical referring to the rise of Hindutva in BJP 2.0 regime.
“Ibtedaae ishq hai rota hai kya, Aage Aage dekhiye hota hai kya,” he tweeted. The Urdu verse roughly translating into, “It’s the start of love, why do you cry? Behold, there is more to follow.”

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