Islamabad, Apr 7: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made a startling revelation on Sunday that Delhi was planning more military action against Pakistan in the third week of April, media report in Pakistan said.
Qureshi, while addressing a press conference, announced that the Pakistan government has “reliable intelligence that India is devising a new plan”.
“I am speaking responsibly, I hold a position of responsibility, and I know the words I utter will be picked up by the international media,” Dawn quoted him saying.
“Preparations are being made, and there are chances of another attack against Pakistan. According to our information, the action could be taken between April 16 and 20. A new mishap could be staged in Kashmir, just like the Pulwama attack. And its purpose will be to justify India’s offensive against Pakistan and to increase diplomatic pressure against Islamabad,” the report quoted Qureshi saying.
On February 14, at least 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack in Pulwama. India had immediately alleged of Pakistan’s involvement, whereas Islamabad strongly rejected the claim and asked for “actionable evidence”.
Subsequently on February 26, Indian warplanes went into Pakistani airspace and allegedly struck what New Delhi claimed was a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) training camp.
The next day, Pakistani jets fired at various targets from across the Line of Control. As the Indian Air Force engaged the Pakistani jets, Pakistan shot down an Indian warplane and captured its pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan. The pilot was released on March 1 as a gesture of peace by the Pakistani government.
“If it happens, you can imagine the impact of the occurrence on the peace and stability of the region,” Qureshi said.
He said that Pakistan has already briefed the United Nations Security Council’s P5 [permanent five member countries] over the issue and stated Pakistan’s apprehensions.
“We want the international community to take notice of this irresponsible behaviour and reprimand them [India] for taking this route,” he said.
Qureshi also criticised the global community for remaining silent over the “Indian aggression” against Pakistan on February 26.
“The international community, given the sensitivity of this flashpoint, should not remain silent,” he stated, adding that the global community should and would have to play their role in this regard.
Qureshi’s remarks come a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan rebuked India over its “false claim” of shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in a dogfight amid growing tension between the two countries in February.
“India’s claim that one of its fighter pilots shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial battle between the two nuclear powers in February appears to be wrong,” read a report posted on Thursday on the website of US-based Foreign Policy magazine.
“The truth always prevails and is always the best policy,” Pakistan prime minister tweeted in response. “BJP’s attempt to win the elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claim of downing a Pak F-16 has backfired with US defence officials also confirming that no F-16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet.”
Pak releases 100 Indian fishermen
Press Trust of India
Karachi, Apr 7: Pakistan on April 7 released 100 Indian fishermen as a “goodwill gesture” amidst tensions between the two countries after the Pulwama terror attack, media reports said.
The fishermen form the first batch of 360 Indian prisoners Pakistan has announced to set free in four phases this month.
The released prisoners were taken to the Karachi Cantonment Railway Station under heavy security, where they boarded the Allama Iqbal Express for Lahore, The Express Tribune reported. From Lahore, they would be taken to the Wagah Border for handover to the Indian authorities, it said.
The fishermen were arrested for trespassing into the country’s territorial waters and violating international maritime limits.
They were given gifts and provided travel expenses by the Edhi Foundation, a non-profit social welfare organisation in Pakistan, the report said.
On April 5, Pakistan announced that it will release 360 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen, this month in four phases, as a “goodwill gesture”.
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said the process of releasing the Indian fishermen will start on April 8 when 100 prisoners will be released.
Another 100 will be released in the second phase on April 15 and in the third phase on April 22, another 100 will be set free. The fourth and last phase on April 29 will see the release of the remaining 60 prisoners. “We are doing it as a goodwill gesture and hope that India will reciprocate it,” Mr. Faisal said while addressing his weekly briefing to the media in Islamabad on Friday.
Currently, there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in India and 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistan, he said. “Pakistan will release 360 Indian prisoners, of which 355 are fishermen and five are civilians,” Mr. Faisal said.
Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman of Edhi welfare organisation which helps the released fishermen with clothes and food, told PTI from Karachi on April 5 that the process of releasing the fishermen will start from April 7. “First a group of 100 fishermen will be taken from Karachi to Lahore on Allama Iqbal Express on Sunday,” he said.
They are likely to be handed over to India on April 8 at Wagah. They spent months and sometimes years before repatriated.
“Protecting the special status of Jammu and Kashmir as guaranteed in the Constitution of the country, is one of the main cornerstones of our campaign for these elections”
Voter turnout in Bijbehara, Anantnag a lesson for Mehbooba : Omar
Kulgam, Apr 24: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that the low voter turnout in Anantnag and Bijbehara is a lesson for PDP and Mehbooba Mufti.
He asserted that the ensuing elections are significant since it provides the people of the state an opportunity to reveal how passionately they feel about their identity including Art370, Art 35-A.
Addressing two separate public meets at Chawalgam and Homeshalibug, Kulgam party vice president said that the threats of BJP-RSS to abrogate Art 370, Art 35A will be defeated as the people of the state will not allow them succeed in their nefarious designs. “ Today state is facing an assault on its special status from all sides, however all the machinations of the forces as are inimical to our status will fall flat if the people of our state show resoluteness in protecting the identity and integrity of our state. This time people across the state have taken it upon themselves to trounce the efforts as are hell bent to destroy the special constitutional status of the state,” he said adding, “Today’s elections is not about choosing MLA’s, today our state is fraught with a challenging situation. The need of the hour is to send a representative to Parliament who can fight for the interests of state, the situation that the state is facing today demands of having a credible voice at Delhi who can work tireless both within and outside parliament for the protection of Art 370, Art 35-A. Seeing the scope of work and the challenges we are facing, we considerately fielded Retired Justice Hasnain Sb from Anantnag constituency. He is known for his pronounced judgments on Art 370, Art 35 A. He boasts the necessary political and legal acumen to deal with the situation.”
While highlighting the importance of Art 370, Art 35 A, Omar said, “It is needless to say how important Art 370, Art 35-A are for the state and its people. Today the people of our state are masters of its own land. They work on their land, and derive their sustenance from it. God forbid, if these articles are done away with, the consequences that will follow shall be beyond our comprehension. The people of the state will stop to cleave to a respectable denomination which Sher- e- Kashmir bestowed upon them through famous land to tiller reforms and other people friendly measures. Our kids would not be able to derive various scholarships from government. The youth of our state will cease to be the sole beneficiary of jobs in government sector. Keeping in mind the far-reaching consequences of abrogation of our status, we deemed it fit to have Hasnain Masoodi represent us in parliament from Anantnag.”
Mehbooba demands release of Yasin Malik
Srinagar, Apr 24: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday demanded the release of separatist leader Yasin Malik.
“Yasin Malik should be released immediately as he is really unwell. Also other members of Jamaat-e-Islami should be released. Sadhvi Pragya on whom there are several serious accusations has been set free,” Mufti said.
Delhi’s Patiala House Court Wednesday sent Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik to judicial custody till May 24 in connection with a 2017 alleged funding case.
Mehbooba also lodged a note of protest against a slew of measures brought about in the valley recently.
“After the encounter, families of militants are harassed and the cross LoC trade which was taking place through Muzaffarabad has also been stopped. The National Highway is closed for traffic for two days in a week and security forces are interfering in the daily life of people. We are protesting against all these issues,” she said.
Elections in the state are staggered in five phases which began on April 11 and culminate on May 6. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.
Rains lash Kashmir; weather to improve from today
Srinagar, Apr 24: Rains continued to lash Kashmir since Tuesday evening, bringing the average temperature down in the valley.
The local meteorological department predicted improvement in weather conditions from Thursday evening.
The rains began on Tuesday evening and continued intermittently till this evening. The rains in the Valley led to dip in the temperature.
Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar Ahmad said that the weather conditions in Kashmir would improve from Thursday evening.
He said the light rainfall would continue intermittently till Thursday evening following which there will be improvement in the weather.
Ahmad said that in plains the weather would improve from Thursday afternoon while in higher reaches it will start improving from the evening.
Meanwhile, an official in Meteorological department informed that Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 12.0 degrees Celsius Tuesday night against 8.9 degrees Celsius normal for this time of the season.
The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir received 3.9 mm of rain since overnight till 8:30 hours, he said.
The official said that Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir, recorded a low of 10.8 degrees Celsius and had a rainfall of 6.8 mm while the mercury in Kokernag town in south Kashmir settled at a low of 9.2 degrees Celsius and it had 8.6 mm of rains during the time.