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Faesal’s no to Hurriyat, yes to politics

‘Mainstream delegitimised, need to change that’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 11: Three days after quitting Indian Administrative Service citing “unabated killings” in Kashmir, Shah Faesal Friday said that he won’t join the Hurriyat camp and instead would enter the electoral politics.

Faesal, an IAS officer who topped the 2009 UPSC exams, said that he would take the decision whether to join any existing mainstream party or contest independently only after “building a consensus with the youth and other stakeholders of the state”.

“I am not trained to do politics. I will like to work within the system and use my skills to do better governance. Hurriyat does not give me that opportunity because they don’t believe in electoral politics.  So I won’t join the Hurriyat at the moment,” Faesal told a jam-packed press conference at a local hotel in Srinagar.

 

He said that people would know representative character of Hurriyat if the latter fight the elections. “We don’t know whether they (Hurriyat) will win or not. It is wrong to presume that Hurriyat has no role to play in our state. I value the suggestion of Hurriyat inviting me to join them,” he said.

Faesal recently returned to India after a stint as a Fulbright fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He arrived in Kashmir last week following which he announced his resignation.

Hailing from Lolab — a picturesque valley in the frontier district of Kupwara — the 35-year-old was a doctor before qualifying the civil services.

Hurriyat (M) chairman and one of the three leaders comprising Joint Hurriyat, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has welcomed Faesal’s decision of resigning from services in protest against “unabated killings” in Kashmir.

“Welcome the stand to resign by @ShahFaesal to protest unabated killing of Kashmiris by GOI. Hope his outrage over killings and his sentiment that Kashmiri lives matterguide his choice of politicsand gets reflected in representing his people’s collective deep driving desire of right to self-determination and their relentless struggle and sacrifice in achieving it – also the reason behind killings and repression on them by the state,” Mirwaiz had tweeted soon after he announced his resignation.

There are a lot of speculations that Faesal may join the National Conference and could be its probable candidate from north Kashmir for parliamentary polls.

The speculations gained momentum after National Conference senior leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah in a tweet said, “Welcome to the fold.”

Faesal praised Omar during the press conference.

“Omar is a gracious and supported me. Omar is a leader, who has been guiding me. The NC never approached me but I went to Omar for suggestions,” he said.

Faesal however said that he has not decided whether to join any existing political party or fight independently.

“My future plans depend after talking to youth and other stakeholders of the state. We will reach to consensus before taking the final decision,” he said.

He announced that he would contest the upcoming polls.

“I believe parliament and assembly is an important space. We need well-meaning people there,” he said.

He said that due to de-legitimisation of mainstream politics, youth were not interested towards it.

“We need to change that. I would like to use parliament as an important and useful tool of engagement for bringing a solution to our state,” he claimed.

“I will make people believe that it is a credible institution and not one to destroy people.”

Faesal said that he was inspired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal but said it was not easy to work in that space in a conflict region like Kashmir.

Asked that people have been critical on social media for his decision of joining electoral politics, he replied: “The moment you start your own party, people believe it is sponsored by agencies. If you contest independently, even then you are labeled as an agency person. If you join an existing party, people have problems with that as well.”

Faesal said that IAS has given him an opportunity to understand the development problems.

“I resigned against unabated killings, lack of political initiative, denial of justice to Kashmiris, Article 370 and 35 A continuously being invoked for electoral gains, Kashmiri pandits not made to return to valley, loss of lives along the borders,” he said.

Faesal said that constant efforts were being made to undermine the JK sovereignty.

“One region is being pitched against other in the state. There are curbs on the freedom of speech and even institutions like CBI and RBI have been undermined,” he gave these reasons for his resignation.

He appealed the people of India to come to rescue JK people and to bring peace across the country.

“We have to defeat the communal and hateful elements of the country,” he added, adding that Harvard gave him an opportunity to learn how to sacrifice big things for any cause.


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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: ICJ to deliver verdict today

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jul 16: The International Court of Justice will deliver on Wednesday its verdict in a case relating to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, whose death sentence by a Pakistani military court based on an “extracted confession” has been questioned by India.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017.

His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India. The ICJ, in a statement early this month, said a public sitting will take place at 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) on July 17 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which top judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the verdict.

 

Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Muhammad Faisal last week said his country cannot “prejudge” the decision of the ICJ in the Jadhav’s case. “We cannot prejudge the judgment,” he said. He, however, said that Pakistan has fully contested the case before the ICJ.

India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.

A 10-member bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.

A four-day public hearing in the high-profile case took place in February amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the deadliest militant attacks in J&K by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group that killed at least 40 CRPF soldiers on February 14. During the hearing in ICJ, both India and Pakistan submitted their detailed pleas and responses.

India based its case on two broad issues — breach of Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution. Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, questioned the functioning of Pakistan’s notorious military courts and urged the top UN court to annul Jadhav’s death sentence, which is based on an “extracted confession”. In his submission in the ICJ on the last day of the hearing, Pakistan’s counsel Khawar Qureshi said, “India’s claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible.”

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

Pakistan had rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its “spy”. However, Pakistan facilitated a meeting of Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad on December 25, 2017.

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Kashmiri Sikhs hope for Kartarpur-like corridor to PaK Gurdwaras

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jul 16:  Voices are growing for LoC corridor to allow Kashmiri Sikhs to visit historic Gurudwaras in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) akin to Kartapur sahib.

All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC), an apex body of Kashmiri Sikhs, said there are several Gurudwaras in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur, which are held in high reverence by Sikhs across the globe.

“One such Gurudwara of Guru Hargobind Singh, the sixth Sikh Guru, is located in Naluchi in the neighborhood of Muzaffarabad,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, Chairman APSCC.

 

Raina said the Gurudwara has remained closed for the last 70 years and was partly damaged in October 2005 earth quake.  “The Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara of Naluchi has been famous before partition when Sikhs in huge numbers from different parts of Kashmir used to go on a pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the Gurudwara has remained shut for the last 70 years and has now been converted into a police station,” he said.

Chairman APSCC said the Sikh community has asked Union Home Ministry to extend cross LoC Karvan-e-Aman bus up to Naluchi exclusively for the Sikh pilgrimage to the Gurudwara.

“We have written to MHA that people of different faiths live in Kashmir. A demand was made to allow Sikhs to go on a pilgrimage to PaK Gurudwaras,” Raina said.

The APSCC chairman said the Sikh body contacted Prime Minister of Muzaffarabad’s office in February and suggested 15 people who intend to undertake a pilgrimage to restore Gurudwara to its pristine glory.

“A journalist friend of mine helped us to take up the matter with the office of Prime Minister of Muzaffarabad. We later sent copies of 15 passports to Muzaffarabad PM’s office. We are following it up. We hope the pilgrimage will be allowed from Uri and Poonch side,” he said.

Ajit Singh Mastana who is one of 15 people who has enlisted for the pilgrimage, said sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Singh had stayed in Naluchi after visiting Kashmir’s Uri area.

“Chatti Padshahi Gurudwaras are built at a place where our sixth Guru Hargobind Singh Ji rested during his visit to Kashmir. At present we have Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara in Srinagar, Baramulla and Uri in Kashmir,” he said.

 Mastana who heads Punjabi Sahitiya Sabha said many Sikhs families are yearning to go on a pilgrimage to the historic Gurudwaras in Pakistan Administered Kashmir.  “The yatra should be allowed on the pattern of Kartapur,” he said.

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JK has stronger case of non-application: Masoodi on NIA Bill

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 16: National Conference has opposed the NIA Amendment bill 2019 in the Parliament, saying the proposed amendment bill “infringes upon” the people’s right to liberty and life.

Participating in the debate Member of Parliament from Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi said the Parent Act of 2008 was not in tune with fundamental right of life and personal liberty.

“The amendment suffers from the same flaw.  The Article 21 while guaranteeing right to life and personal liberty provides that a person can be deprived of life and personal liberty in accordance with procedure established by law and such procedure must be just, fair and reasonable,” he said.

 

Masoodi added: “The three fundamental principles are to be taken care of at the stage of investigation, trial as also sentence and its mode of execution. In case of NIA Act wide and unbridled powers were given to the Central Government to constitute the special court as per its choice. The wide and unguided powers under NIA Act have prompted selective use of the Act and setting up of Special Courts as per choice and in an arbitrary manner. Resultantly, the Act leaves scope for violation of right of access to justice, an integral part of right to life and personal liberty.”

Kashmir, Masoodi said, is a ready example of such violation, where people who are prosecuted find it very difficult to get access to justice.

“There is no court and justice seekers from far flung areas are left without access to justice. While in case of other states NIA Act is said to trespass State list. In case of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no State list and all powers except those given by it to Centre belonged to State, there is a stronger case of non-application of NIA Act to State,” he said while participating in the debate.

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