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End lockdown, release detainees in Kashmir: Pak PM

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New York, Sep 27: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday called on United Nations to act regarding the lockdown of Kashmir in a speech in which he also covered corruption, climate change and Islamophobia.

Imran began his speech at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by saying he would not have come to the UN if he did not feel that some “urgent issues” needed to be addressed.

“What is the world community going to do,” Imran said, asking “is [the world] going to appease a market of 1.2bn or is it going to stand up for justice and humanity”.

 

Imran warned the issue in Kashmir could escalate in the future, claiming Pakistan would be blamed by India for any future conflict and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not thought through the effects of revoking Kashmir’s special status.

“What will happen when the curfew is lifted? There will be a bloodbath,” he said.

The former cricket star even went as far as talking about a potential conventional war between the two nuclear powers.

“If a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen,” Khan, who talked for 45 minutes, said.

“Supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbour is faced with the choice ‘either surrender or you fight to the death’,” saying that he would probably “see no option for Pakistan but to fight.”

“It’s not a threat, it’s a fair worry,” he said, calling on the UN to instead intervene.

“Under the guise of ‘Islamic terrorism’ cruelty is being inflicted on the people of Kashmir,” he said adding “there is no other narrative left for India.”

“India must lift this inhuman curfew,” said Imran, further saying that detained persons from the valley should be released by India. 

Imran earlier accused India and PM Narendra Modi of “drumming up hostility” towards Pakistan during the election campaign earlier this year, claiming India “falsely accused” Pakistan of helping armed groups in Kashmir. 

Talking about Indo-Pak relations, Imran stated that he tried his best to initiate talks with India because he (Imran Khan) “believes in good neighborhood.”

“However, response was India was negative,” he said.

He stated that Pakistan does not want acceleration with India and that was the reason that Pakistan handed back one Indian pilot to India who was shot down and captured in Pakistan. 

He stated that even after elections in India, Pakistan tried to normalise relations but Pakistan came to know that India was conspiring to blacklist Pakistan in FATF.

Addressing the prevalance of Islamophobia, Imran said it has grown at an alarming pace.

“Islamophobia is creating divisions, hijab is becoming a weapon; a woman can take off clothes but she can’t put on more clothes.

“It started after 9/11 and it started because certain western leaders equated Islam with terrorism.

He questioned the use of the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ saying: “There is only one Islam.

“What message does this (the term) send? How is a person in New York going to distinguish between moderate Muslims and radical Muslims?

“This radical Islamic terrorism used by leaders has caused Islamophobia and has caused pain for Muslims.

“In European countries it is marginalising Muslims, and this leads to radicalisation.

“Some of the terrorists were from marginalised Muslim communities. We Muslim leaders have not addressed this issue.

“The basis of all religions is compassion and justice which differentiates us from the animal kingdom.

“The Muslim leaders all became moderates and our government coined a phrase ‘enlightened moderation’.


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Northern Army Commander visits Siachen

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Srinagar, Oct 20:Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Sunday visited forward posts in Siachen Glacier. He was accompanied by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, General Officer Commanding, ‘Fire & Fury Corps’.

“Complementing the troops deployed in the Sector for their dedication and perseverance, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said that the nation is proud of the valour and sacrifices of the ‘Siachen Warriors’,” an army spokesperson said.

“He exhorted them to continue to uphold the high standards of professionalism and commitment, even while deployed in the face of extreme challenges posed by the highest battlefield in the world. He also laid a wreath at the Siachen War Memorial, as a mark of respect for the martyrs of Operation MEGHDOOT,” he added.

 

Lieutenant General Singh later visited ‘Heritage Abode’ – the residence of one of the greatest heroes of Ladakh, Late Colonel Chhewang Rinchen at Sumur Village in Nubra Valley.

Colonel Chhewang Rinchen was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra twice and a Sena Medal, for his acts of valour during the various battles fought in the Ladakh Sector. Paying his respects, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said that Colonel Chhewang Rinchen will continue to inspire future generations of Indians.

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No merger on cards, J&K Bank has strong fundamentals:Chhibber

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Srinagar, Oct 20: Putting all the speculations about the J&K Bank’s merger at rest, J&K Bank Chairman and Managing Director R K Chhibber today stated, “The recent crisis of Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank in the country has worried bank customers in general but the rumors of J&K bank’s merger by some vested interests has raised apprehensions among our depositors particularly in J&K. Let me put all those speculations at rest by assuring you that no merger is on the cards and the bank’s fundamentals are very strong.”

In a press statement, he further said, “Let me assure all the stakeholders of the bank that their beloved bank is in safe hands of more than 12000 strong J&K Bank family under the supervision and guidance of a professionally strong board of directors with a robust accountability framework in place for transparency and efficiency. The only way to go for the bank is up and above, towards higher levels of accomplishments.”

Commenting upon the effect of recent political developments in J&k upon the bank, he said, “We certainly believe that the recent developments that have taken place in state won’t affect the essence of this institution, which is to financially serve the people of J&K and catalyze the economic development of this region.J&K Bank has witnessed far bigger challenges in the past, and we believe, as always with the emotional equity of the people, support of J&K Government and unmatched commitment of our staff, we shall meet every challenge head-on and come out stronger and more successful.”

 

While reiterating that J&K Bank has strong fundamentals with all its major financial indicators performing well, the Chairman also asserted that few of the large loans, made some years ago that have turned Non Performing Assets (NPAs) and are being investigated; have been adequately provided for by the bank and shall have no impact on the profitability of the bank.

“Let me assure you that we are here to be with you and lead you towards a more promising and fulfilling economic future”, he said.

Reflecting upon the long and eventful journey of the bank, the Chairman said, “It has been a long, eventful and challenging journey of over eighty years that has shaped up not only this great institution but the very structure and the substance of J&K’s economy. For all this, we acknowledge and admit the instrumental role of our shareholders and customers whose unwavering trust and cooperation has been the guiding light for us during eight decades of our existence.”

Expressing his gratitude for the bank’s main stakeholders, Chairman said, “In particular we appreciate the unflinching support of our main stakeholders i.e.the J&K Government, the Board of Directors, and employees at large. J&K Government has always come forward to support the bank in all spheres and have already raised their stake to 59 pc in the bank by providing capital of Rs 532 Crfor business growth and regulatory requirement. Thegovernment has also indicated to extend additional capital support in near future to meet our Basel III capital requirements.”

Notably, thevery reason for the establishment of Jammu & Kashmir Bank by its founders in 1938 has been to empower the people of the state financially so that an era of development could be ushered in.Today we see that vision transformed into reality as J&K Bankleads from the front with market share of more than 65 pc, more than 12 million account holders from two million households and a total business around 1.65 lac Cr.

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Market Intervention Scheme: Govt procures 1.5L apple boxes, disburses Rs 8 cr

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 19: Jammu and Kashmir government has procured 1.5 lakh apple boxes and paid around Rs 8 crore to growers under the ambitious Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) so far.

Launched last month in association with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), MIS was aimed at easing difficulties of the apple growers in the valley.

Director Horticulture, Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, said around 4000 growers have been registered under the scheme so far.

 

“We have procured 1.5 lakh apple boxes, which roughly comes to 2000 metric tonnes of fruit. We did business of around Rs 10 crore and almost Rs 8 crore have been disbursed to apple growers so far,” Bhat told The Kashmir Monitor.

Director Horticulture noted that there has been a good response since October 7, when government revised the rates of apples.

“As per government order, the payment has to be disbursed within three days after procurement of apple. Sometimes it may take five days. We will continue this scheme till December 15. It can be extended if need arises. This scheme is working in a hassle free manner and apple growers are benefitting,” he said.

 The initial rates for A grade apple were Rs 52 per kilo, Rs 36 for B grade and Rs 15.75 for C grade apple. The revised rates for A grade apple are Rs 58 per kilo, Rs 42 for B grade and Rs 22 for C grade apple.

Bhat said six lakh metric tonnes of apple have been exported so far. This includes 2000 metric tonnes exported under market intervention scheme.

“Kashmir grows around 21 lakh metric tonnes of apple and over 25 percent has been exported so far. Most of the growers have exported apples on their own without benefitting from the scheme,” he said.

Kashmir’s fruit season starts in May when first crop of cherry is harvested. It is followed by pears and other fruits which hit the market in the following months. Apple is almost the last crop that hits the market in autumn. Bulk of the apples is exported to the markets in Delhi. Some of the crop is also sold in Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmadabad and other cities.

Horticulture is the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy with seven lakh families directly and indirectly associated with the sector. The horticulture contributes seven percent to the Gross State Domestic Product of Jammu and Kashmir.

More than 3.38 lakh hectares of land is under the fruit cultivation in the valley. Of which 1.62 lakh hectares is under the apple cultivation. Last year the fruit production including dry fruits touched 23.30 lakh tonnes last year compared to 22.34 lakh tonnes in 2017.

Jammu and Kashmir is the largest producer of apple in the country with production touching 18.28 lakh metric tonnes last year. The apple production was 17.27 lakh metric tonnes in 2017.

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