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ECI for Anantnag by-poll before winter; seeks report on security

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The Election Commission of India has sought a report from the Jammu and Kashmir government whether the situation was conducive to hold Anantnag by-poll before November 15.
A senior official at the Civil Secretariat said that the poll body has sought the report from the JK government on the security situation in the state, and whether it is was conducive to holding the by-poll under the present circumstances before the winter sets in.
“The government has not responded yet. But the government does not want to hold the polls till normalcy returns in south Kashmir,” the official said.
According to national media reports, the ECI wants the polls to be held before 15 November in south Kashmir; otherwise, the winter snow will not let it take place before March 2018.
The official said that the security agencies have told the government that south Kashmir by-poll will be difficult to hold under the present circumstances.
“The state administration including security agencies do not want to take any chances that could disturb further situation in south Kashmir. Ensuring peaceful election campaign and polls under present circumstances seems a tough task,” the official said.
“The security forces want to continue counter militancy-related activities. It will not be possible to hold polls when security agencies are busy with anti-militant operations.”
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, said he was not aware about CEI’s communiqué to JK government about security situation.
While senior PDP minister Abdul Rehman Veeri said that state government will respond as per the situation in the state. “If the ECI has sought a report, the state government will reply after accessing the situation in south Kashmir,” Veeri said.
The election was originally scheduled to be held on 12 April, but was put off owing to the unrest in the state, which took a violent turn in the Srinagar by-election on 9 April. Only 7 per cent voters turned out for that poll, and eight people were killed in poll-related violence.
Earlier, the J&K government had also advised the ECI against holding the election in Anantnag in April, saying the situation was “not conducive to holding free and fair elections”. In view of the state government’s report, as well as inputs received from the Chief Electoral Officer of the state, the EC moved the bypoll to 25 May, and then postponed it indefinitely, as the security situation did not improve.
Anantnag seat fell vacant in June last after Mehbooba Mufti won the assembly bypolls, as required by law, to continue as the Chief Minister. Earlier, the PDP had chosen J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti’s brother Mufti Tasaduq Hussain to contest from Anantnag constituency against Congress state president G A Mir.


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Faesal launches new party, promises utopia

Aims to wipe corruption, resolve K-issue, research robotics and nanotechnology…

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Mar 17: Shah Faesal, the doctor-turned-bureaucrat-turned-politician, Sunday launched his political party ‘Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM)’ amid a crowd of around 3,000, mostly comprising of people from Bakerwal community, at ‘Gindun’ park here in Raj Bagh.
Faesal was accompanied by the former Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Shehla Rashid, businessmen Feroze Peerzada and Baldev Singh Raina and other scholars, as they all announced their joining the party.
Faesal, who arrived almost two hours late to his own show, began his speech reciting Surah Asr and said the holy verses “summed up” his life.
He spoke for around 24 minutes, during which he mostly talked about his decision to switch careers and the challenges he has faced since then.
In a typical politician’s avatar, Faesal, who once was the IAS poster boy of India, made tall promises including resolving the complex geo-political issues of Kashmir if voted to power.
Faesal was also carrying his party’s ‘vision document’ which listed 29 objectives, most of which are similar to boilerplate clauses in manifestos of Kashmir based political parties.
For instance, the first objective says the party “shall pursue peaceful resolution of the Kashmir problem as per the will and aspirations of the people of J&K.”
The vision document’s second objective is “Look-Up North”, which aims at reviving of the traditional silk route to revive centrality of Jammu and Kashmir, a demand lingering for the last many decades.
The document mostly focuses on involvement of youth, women, Kashmir diaspora and endeavor to campaign against “evil influence of money power and muscle power”.
Apart from the social issues, the objectives talk about “re-orienting education and research towards the demands of fourth industrial revolution and arrival of artificial Intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology.”
After speeches by party’s new entrants, which too began with holy verses, Faesal spoke about the alternatives he shuffled through after quitting civil services and his decision to float a new political party in Jammu and Kashmir.
“After quitting IAS, many political parties approached me and even offered a mandate for parliamentary seat. During that course of time, people badmouthed me, which opened my eyes and forced me to take a right decision. Youth came to me and said that joining hands with political parties whose hands are bloodstained was wrong,” he said.
After spending 10 years in civil services, Faesal said, his “diagnosis” of restoring peace in Kashmir through development was wrong.
“I was of an opinion that being a doctor I had better chances to serve people. Later, I qualified IAS examination and spent my 10 years in the system. But I realised that being a doctor, my diagnosis of peace only through development was wrong.” he said.
“Peace is not possible until problems of youth are solved. The motive cannot be achieved till the bloodshed is ended and modesty of our mothers and sisters is safeguarded,” he said.
Faesal, who claimed his party will function in accordance to humanitarian politics, said they will work to end corruption if voted to power.
“A decision was taken 170 years ago when our entire nation was sold for 75 lakhs Nanak Shahi rupees. Since then we have been treated like animals and the indignation we experienced is still with us. The first thing that you will see is that we will end the corrupt system here and restore our dignity in public services and offices,” he said.
“The intention is to give a new politics to the state which has seen only miseries for the last 70 years. This party is not a region or religion specific. I want to send to everyone a message of friendship. Our politics is incomplete without the dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits,” Faesal said.
On harsh reactions from state based political parties, the former IAS officer said “new ideas always face criticism.”
“We have created a platform for youth and now those who offered me a mandate are blaming me as an agent of RSS and BJP. I often cite example of Imran Khan and Arvind Kejriwal because their faith never shook. Imran Khan won election after 22 years and he is still being called as military’s man,” he said.
On the occasion, former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid said the prevalence of different laws for Kashmir forced her to take a political path.
“We have no problem with laws but they should be uniform for all. We need roads, electricity and water but with dignity,” she said.
Calling women to join the party, she said the party will pave way for resolution of Kashmir issue.

‘Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement’
Separatist questions: Faesal copied my party name
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Mar 17:
The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) has strongly objected to the launching of a new political outfit under the identical name and style by the former bureaucrat Shah Faisal and urged him to make a modification in the name of his party which he launched on Sunday.
In a statement, senior APHC leader and chairman of the JKPM Mir Shahid Saleem said that a political outfit under the name and style of “Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement” (JKPM) has been functioning “for the past 20 years” in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that the party was launched on April 4, 2000 at press club Jammu.
“After being launched, the JKPM became a constituent member of the APHC and presently is a member its executive body,” the statement said.
Saleem, as per the statement, took a strong exception to the party name being used by Faesal and called upon him to make necessary modification in the name of his newly launched political party to avoid unnecessary confusion.
He claimed that during a conversation, Faesal had agreed to make a change in the party name.
Saleem said that this was “unbecoming and against the basic ethics for a man like Faisal to commit a sort of plagiarism, who has always been talking of moral high grounds in the public life”.
“I wondered why a tech-savvy Faesal could not Google out the name of Jammu Kashmir People’s Movement which has been in use for the past over twenty years.

 
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Alliance with Cong only after seat sharing agreement: Omar

Says top bureaucrats, couple of parties ‘conspired’ to defer assembly polls

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Srinagar, Mar 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Vice President of the National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah said on Sunday that his party was open to a pre-poll alliance with the Congress if the latter agreed to NC’s seat sharing formula for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a party function in Anantnag district, Abdullah said: “We have received an offer from the Congress, but we are very clear about taking forward any alliance plan only if our candidates are to contest all the Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir.”
J&K has six Lok Sabha seats, three in the Valley, two in the Jammu division and one in the Ladakh division.
Omar also criticised the Central government for not holding the state Assembly elections simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.
“It amounts to denying the people of the state their democratic right to form an elected government,” he said.
Omar said that some top officers of the Governor’s administration and a couple of political parties are responsible for deferment of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and declared that National Conference won’t give up claim in case of pre-poll alliance with Congress for Lok Sabha elections.
“Some top bureaucrats and a couple of political parties have hatched a conspiracy for deferment of assembly elections,” Omar said.
Reiterating that his party would revoke PSA if voted to power, Omar said, “The parliamentary board meeting of NC is scheduled to be held tomorrow after which, we will announce the names for all the Lok Sabha constituencies.
Commenting on the launch of a new political party by former IAS officer Shah Faesal, Omar said it remains to be seen whether the new party would have something new to offer to the people.
He said it was pointless to expect any forward movement towards the resolution of the Kashmir problem till the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections were over.
Commenting on the ban and the subsequent crackdown on the cadres of the Jamaat-e-Islami in the state, Omar said that he never felt the need to ban the Jamaat when he was the Chief Minister of J&K.

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Mehbooba calls PDP workers ‘real mujahideen’

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Srinagar, Mar 17: PDP chief and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Sunday extolled her party workers as “real mujahideen.”
Addressing a large gathering in Kupwara district, Mehbooba said even though a PDP worker “may not have a gun or stone in his hands, you are the real mujahid.”
“Your contribution to the society is far greater than the contribution of workers of other parties that have been around for decades,” she said.
Mehbooba said every Kashmiri should feel proud of PDP as every single worker of the party is an ” asli mujahid.”
She said the PDP was only the party which gave “relief to Kashmiris from POTA, task force, and set up universities and colleges.”
The party also realised the “dream of opening Muzaffarabad- Srinagar route,” she said.
She said the PDP believed in acting as “a bridge between Pakistan and Kashmir so that every Kashmiri will have excess to anywhere he wants to go whether it is Afghanistan or Iran.”
She said her father Mufti Saeed’s tenure as chief minister was a “success due to opening of traditional routes linking Kashmir to rest of the world.”

PDP finalizes panel of candidates

Srinagar, Mar 17: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is holding consultations among the party leadership about fielding candidates for upcoming parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir and will announce names of the candidates in coming days.
Quoting top sources in PDP, news agency Kashmir News Service said that the party is considering former legislator of Sonawar Ashraf Mir, Dr Mehboob Beg and Aga Mohsin for Srinagar Parliamentary seat.
Sources said that on Anantnag parliamentary segment the names of PDP President and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, vice President Abdul Rehman Veeri and Party chief spokesman Rafi Ahmad Mir are being discussed for the poll fray.
For Jammu region seat, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, Abdul Qayoom Dar and Choudhary Qamar for Jammu-Poonch, while Firdous Tak and Arshad Malik for Udhampur-Doda seat being discussed.
One of the top leaders confirmed about these developments and said: “All these names are in the panel for these seats. Final names will be out in coming days.”
Sources said the name of former trade union leader Abdul Qayoom Wani has been finalised for Baramulla parliamentary constituency where he will lock horns with NC senior leader Akbar Lone and Raja Aijaz Ali of Peoples Conference.
For the seat of Ladakh, Kashmir News Service has learnt that NC, Congress and PDP will field a joint candidate so that the BJP does not win the seat again.
“Such an arrangement has been done in the past also,” sources said. (KNS)

 
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