By Mubashir Bukhari
Srinagar, Mar 19: Senior separatist leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehraie was on Monday appointed as the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH), a dominant part of Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat (G) faction.
“In a unanimous decision taken in an extraordinary meeting of its highest decision making body (Majlis-e-Shoora) of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat appointed Mohammad Ashraf Sehraie as interim Chairman, till the organizational elections, to be held late this year,” read a TeH statement.
The Tehreeq-e-Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Geelani Monday held a meeting at its office in Srinagar and appointed Sehraie as party chairman, thus replacing Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
The decision to replace Geelani with Sehraie, who is his old-time friend and associate, was taken after an executive meet of the organisation.
Geelani while addressing the members of Shoora, said that they were aware of the prevailing situation of the valley and hard times the “pro-freedom” camp was facing especially Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
“By the grace of Allah Almighty and your timely cooperation I have stood my stand despite testing times of Jails, Interrogations, domestic hardships, physical and psychological onslaught, but for the last 8 years of continuous house arrest, restrictions on the interactions with my party colleagues has dented the function of the organization,” Geelani said.
He added that merely holding a position without practical contribution is injustice not only with the post, but the conscience as well.
“So today I willfully step-down from the chairmanship, and advise the shoora to arrange an alternative at the earliest. I extend my fullest cooperation and sincere wishes to the would-be leadership of the organization,” Geelani, as per the TeH statement said.
Later, before conclusion, the Shoora “unanimously appointed Sehraie as interim chairman till the party elections to be held later in the year”.
Geelani and Sehraie were among the founding members of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) when it was formed in 2004 after Geelani had a rift with Jamat-e-Islami, its parent organisation.
Sehraie, then a member of Jamat, was instrumental in the formation of the new separatist outfit, say sources. Sehraie parted ways with the Jamat more than a decade ago.
Sehraie, who was until now the general secretary of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, was tipped to be the first choice to replace Geelani. In fact, three years ago, Geelani had decided to nominate him as his successor in the Hurriyat but the announcement was halted at the last moment after some members questioned Geelani making a nomination when organisation had an election system.
Sehraie’s appointment also comes two days after Geelani said he rejected an offer of talks by the Modi government in New Delhi when an official of Intelligence Bureau (IB) had visited him at his residence here.
In November 2015, Geelani was elected as lifetime chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat .
Though reports say that the handing over of the charge was due to the old age of Geelani, some say there may be other factors which may have pushed in the change.
As per reports, Sehraie, a few months ago, had written to Geelani expressing his displeasure about some developments within the faction.
Sehraie did not attend many executive council meetings of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and the Hurriyat as well.
The change of guard also comes at a time of an unprecedented crackdown by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the separatist camp.
NIA has arrested several senior pro-freedom leaders in the past one year. They are currently detained in Tihar Jail in New Delhi.
Apart from senior Hurriyat leaders Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan, Shahid-ul-Islam, Farooq Dar alias Bitta Karate, Meraj-ud-Din Kalwal, Peer Saifullah and Ayaz Akbar, Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah is presently under NIA detention while his sons Naeem Geelani and Naseem Geelani were summoned by the agency many times in the past.
A resident of Tikki Pora Lolab in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Sehraie joined Jama’at in 1950s a few years after Geelani.
He is credited to have worked as a “foot soldier” in JeI in the trying times. He has held various positions in JeI including that of Secretary General.
When JeI J&K decided to launch its student wing, Sehraie was chosen to lead Shooba-i-Talaba since 1977. Shooba-i-Talaba was renamed as Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) later on and the current framework of IJT has been designed by Sehraie himself in 2001.
Pak must review death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav: ICJ
The Hague, Jul 17: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday announced its verdict on India’s petition challenging the death sentence given to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.
The court found by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had breached Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna convention on consular relations by not allowing Indian diplomats to visit him in jail.
It said that nothing in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) precludes its applicability to persons accused of espionage.
The provision basically states that when a national of a foreign country is arrested, they must be informed of the right to have their country’s consulate notified and should also have the right to regular consultation with their consulate’s officials during their detention and trial.
Pakistan had argued, unsuccessfully, that Article 36 of the VCCR does not apply to people involved in espionage.
Pakistan has been directed to suspend the execution of the death penalty awarded to Jadhav till it fulfills the new conditions (ensuring consular access and ‘effectively’ reviewing the case).
The ICJ, however, also rejected most of the other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and his return to India. It cited limitations of its jurisdiction in turning down those appeals.
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
Reading out the verdict, President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.
The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.
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.
3 Mar: Pakistan claims arresting Jadhav in Balochistan on charges of espionage. India claims he was kidnapped from Iran.
25 Mar: India is formally informed by Pakistan of Jadhav’s arrest. A confessional statement is released by Pakistan in which Jadhav claims to be a serving Indian Navy officer. India responds by moving the first of several requests for custodial access.
6 Sep: Pak files “supplementary” FIR naming 15 individuals as “accomplices and facilitators” of Jadhav, including NSA Ajit Doval, former RAW chief Alok Joshi, his wife Chetankul Jadhav, and mother Avanti Jadhav.
21 Sep: Military court begins hearing Jadhav case.
6 Jan: Pak ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi presents a dossier to the UN chief alleging India’s involvement in cross-border terrorism in Pakistan and Jadhav’s arrest.
23 Jan: Islamabad writes to New Delhi, seeking assistance in investigating the Jadhav case, and saying its request for consular assistance shall be considered “in the light of the Indian side’s response”.
10 Apr: Jadhav is sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan. India deems the death penalty as “pre-meditated murder”.
27 Apr: India writes to Pakistan, asking it for certified copies of the chargesheet, proceedings of the court of enquiry, the summary of evidence in the case, and the judgment itself. No reply is received.
22 Jun: Pakistan states that a military court has rejected Jadhav’s appeal.
8 May: India moves the International Court of Justice, and receives an interim stay on Jadhav’s execution, pending final orders in the case.
26 Oct: Islamabad writes to New Delhi, offering to discuss extraditing him to India should the government accept he is “considered a criminal under the laws of India.”
25 Dec: Jadhav’s mother and wife are allowed to visit him in prison.
Jan 17: Apr 17 and July 17 fixed as deadlines for India’s Reply and Pak’s Rejoinder respectively.
Feb 18-21: India and Pak make two rounds of oral arguments at The Hague.
Jul 4: ICJ announces that the President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, will read the Court’s decision on July 17.
How binding are ICJ judgments?
Srinagar, Jul 17: According to ICJ, judgments delivered by the court (or by one of its chambers) in disputes between states are binding upon the parties concerned. Article 94 of the United Nations Charter provides that “each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of [the court] in any case to which it is a party”. Judgments are final and without appeal.
If there is a dispute about the meaning or scope of a judgment, the only possibility is for one of the parties to make a request to the court for an interpretation. In the event of the discovery of a fact hitherto unknown to the court which might be a decisive factor, either party may apply for revision of the judgment.
However, there have been instances when the ICJ’s rulings have not been followed. The most famous one was in 1986, when the ICJ ruled in a petition by Nicaragua, which alleged that the US had waged a covert war against it by supporting a rebellion.
The ICJ ordered reparations from the US in favour of Nicaragua. The US, in response, cancelled its declaration of the ICJ’s jurisdiction. It then went to the UN Security Council against the ICJ order and succeeded.
So, whatever the ICJ decides, both governments will have to be prepared for a long haul.
Hafiz Saeed arrested by Pak’s counter-terrorism dept
Srinagar, Jul 17: Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was arrested Wednesday by Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in connection with charges related to terror financing, Dawn and Geo news reported.
The arrest, as per the reports, was made when Saeed was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court. The Mumbai 26/11 mastermind has been moved to an undisclosed location, it added.
Quoting CTD spokesperson for Punjab, Dawn reported that Saeed, following his arrest, was sent to prison on judicial remand after the counter-terrorism department presented him before a Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC).
The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time, the report said.
A JuD spokesperson also confirmed the arrest to Reuters.
The arrest comes in the wake of an ATC in Lahore granting Saeed pre-arrest bail. Along with Saeed, three others were also granted the bail in a case pertaining to JuD’s alleged illegal use of land for its seminary, Dawn reported on July 14.
The CTD had registered 23 cases in July against the leadership of JuD, LeT and FIF (Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation) for gaining assets from “terrorism” financing through non-profit organisations. The move was termed by India as “cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan”.
“Pakistan is trying to hoodwink the international community on taking action against terror groups. Let us not get fooled by cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said.
Pakistan’s push against Saeed came after Financial Action Task Force (FATF), at a plenary session in USA. FATF chair, the US, had told Pakistan it could face blacklisting at its next session in October if it did not adhere to its commitments to stop access to funds for “terror” groups.
Saeed’s arrest comes just ahead of Prime Minister Khan’s maiden visit to the US on July 21 during which he will hold talks with US President Donald Trump. Trump has repeatedly asked Pakistan to abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny “terrorists” safe haven and block their access to funds.
The Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba which is deemed to be responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated “Global Terrorist”, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
LeT militant killed in Sopore gunfight
Srinagar, Jun 17: After a brief lull in the encounters in Kashmir, a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant identified as a local, was Wednesday killed in a gunfight at Gund-Brath village of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Giving details of the encounter, a police official said that Army’s 22 RR, 179 BN CRPF and SOG of J&K police jointly launched a cordon-and-search operation in Gund Brath village of Sopore following specific information about the presence of militants inside a residential house.
During the search operation, the official said, the hiding militant fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.
In the ensuing encounter, one militant was killed and the body was retrieved from the site of encounter.
The slain militant was identified as Adnan Ali Channa son of Ali Muhammad Channa, a resident of Arampora Azad-Gunj, Baramulla.
As per the police records, the slain was affiliated with militant outfit LeT.
Meanwhile, authorities suspended internet services in Sopore and Baramulla as a precautionary measure in wake of this encounter. Later in the day, thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of slain militant at his native village Azadgunj.
The encounter was the first one after the commencement of annual pilgrimage of Amarnath on July 1.