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”
Day 39: Normal life still out of gear in Kashmir; schools remain shut, public transport off roads
Srinagar: Normal life remained affected in Kashmir as the stalemate following the abrogation of Article 370 entered its 39th day on Thursday with schools closed and public transport off the roads, officials said.
Restrictions on the movement or assembly of people have been lifted from most areas of the valley, but security forces continued to be deployed to maintain law and order, the officials said.
They said the authorities were also considering easing out restrictions on mobile communications and restoring voice call services.
While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir.
However, normal life remained severely affected across the valley due to shutdown which entered 39th day on Thursday, the officials said.
Markets and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport was off the roads across the valley, they added.
Internet services remained suspended across all platforms, the officials said.
The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.
Most of the top-level and second-rung separatist politicians have been taken into custody while mainstream leaders including three former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have also been either detained or placed under house arrest.
NC leader Akbar Lone ‘appreciates’ Pakistan’s role in raking up Kashmir issue
SRINAGAR: National Conference leader and MP Akbar Lone has “appreciated” the role of Pakistan in raking up the Kashmir issue internationally and “putting pressure” on India, even as he said that his party must contest elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lone told IANS in an interview that contesting elections has been compulsion in the past though “Kashmiris don’t belong to India”.
“We will have to first understand what powers the new Assembly will have in the event of any elections taking place. As a man from National Conference, whatever the elections, we must contest elections,” he said.
Batting for a united stand by political parties against the abrogation of Article 370, Lone said that all parties must stand together for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“All parties like the Congress, National Conference, PDP and other small and big groups must join hands to carry out agitation against India for the return of the special status of the state,” Lone added.
Lone said the clampdown in Kashmir is stopping people from showing their resentment against the scrapping of the special status.
“It is military rule in Kashmir. Every nook and corner of the state is guarded by the Army, by paramilitary forces, people are not allowed to come out, if they would have been allowed to come out, they would have showed their resentment,” Lone said.
He said that he “appreciated” the role of Pakistan and other countries in raking the Kashmir issue internationally and “putting pressure” on India.
“It is a good thing that Pakistan or China or US any other country rakes up the Kashmir issue internationally and supports the cause, they have exposed India, otherwise India would have taken the move as a success without caring about who is who,” he said.
Lone demanded the release of former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and said the party leadership must be allowed to meet these senior leaders to decide the future course of action.
“We must be allowed to see our leaders and they must be released, we will sit down along with other parties to chalk out a joint course of action,” Lone said.
Guv interacts with SMC councillors
SRINAGAR, SEPTEMBER 11: Governor Satya Pal Malik met the Councillors of Srinagar Municipal Corporation over tea, at Raj Bhawan Auditorium, Srinagar. The Councillors of the SMC were specially invited to Raj Bhawan for an interaction with Governor.
Shri K.K. Sharma, Advisor to the Governor; Shri B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Shri Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Dev. Department; Shri Baseer Khan, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; Dr. Shahid Iqbal, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar; Shri Khurshid Ahmad Sanai, Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation; and other senior officers of the Housing & Urban Development Department, the Divisional and the District administration were present on the occasion.
Councillors informed Governor about problems being faced by them due to non-availability of communication/internet and also requested for suitable accommodation for them in the city. They also mentioned that the funds are yet to be made available to them in order to reach out to the people and fulfill the mandate given to them.
It was informed to the Councillors that during the current financial year, out of earmarked Grant-in-Aid, about Rs. 100.00 crores will be released shortly. Similarly, out of Rs. 500.00 crores to be made available to SMC under the 14th Finance Commission Award, Rs. 86.00 crores has already been made available to the SMC. In addition, 5000 Street Lights is being provided in the city through various Councillors and after agreement, the EESL Corporation of Government of India will start the task of 100% Street Lights of Srinagar city for a period of 7 years. EESL will start the work once the situation will improve in the valley.
Governor announced an additional grant of Rs. 18.50 crores @ Rs. 25.00 lacs per ward to the SMC for developmental works. These works will be executed after the identification by the concerned Councillors.
Governor announced purchase and installation of 7,400 street lights for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation @100 per ward besides transfer of Street Light Division of Srinagar city from the Power Development Department to the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
On the issue regarding Indian House Hold Latrines (IHHL), Governor assured that the verification of all the cases, which were pending, will be completed by 30th of September.
Regarding communication problems, Governor informed that 15 internet terminals have been made operational in office of the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, for usage by all the departments including the Srinagar Municipal Corporation. He also assured that mobile connectivity will also be restored very soon in J&K.
Governor observed that a delegation of Councillors will be sent outside J&K to study working of the Municipalities in other parts of the country. He advised the them to work devotedly for ensuring development of their Wards and providing uninterrupted basic facilities to people.
Governor noted that Raj Bhavan is open for public and every grievance reaching his office is addressed immediately. Besides, he said, his Advisors are regularly hearing and addressing public’s grievances.
Governor urged the Councillors to work towards making J&K peaceful, progressive and prosperous.