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Mirwaiz conditionally welcomes New Delhi’s offer to talk

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jun 08: Chairman Hurriyat (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Friday said the offer for talks by the government of India was a welcome step “if it is due to a change in policy”.
Addressing the congregation at historic Jamia Masjid here, he said the leadership were not in a hurry for talks but would “deliberate and discuss” over it.
“We will welcome the offer for talks if it is due to the change in the policy. The India is gradually making a U-turn and it is due to the sacrifices and resolve shown by Kashmiris, which forced them to take such step,” Mirwaiz said.
“Is this change in policy and approach or just change in circumstances? Did their hearts really melt that now they are ready for talks with Kashmiris and Pakistan? Let us see what their approach will be,” he said.
Hurriyat (M) Chairman, however, blamed India for changing their statements over Kashmir frequently.
“They talk one language here and another in New Delhi,” he said.
Mirwaiz said the former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee had even realised that Kashmir issue was not related to development and package “but an issue of sentiments and aspiration of people”.
“Four years before when BJP took over the reins, we thought they will adopt the policy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee by considering talks with Pakistan and Kashmiris,” he said.
“I remember when he (Atal Bihari) last time visited here and said economic packages won’t work. He accepted the reality that Kashmir issue was related to the sentiments of people.”
He said the current government, by opposing the talks, entirely changed its policies against Hurriyat leadership and Pakistan.
“Every tactic was applied to suppress the people of Kashmir and weaken the movement. At economic level, GST was implemented and in courts Article 370 and 35-A was discussed, SARFAESI Act, creation of Sainik colonies on the pattern of Israel was decided by the government,” Mirwaiz said.
“Hurriyat leaders have been in jail for a year now. They stopped talks at the Foreign Secretary level. NIA was brought in and then propaganda was started on TV to establish connection between money, Pakistan and stone throwers.”
Mirwaiz said the local politicians here falsely take credit of changing situation on ground in the valley.
“The local collaborators continued to implement New Delhi’s anti-Kashmir policies. They follow the orders of their bosses like yes man,” he said.
He said even the Indian military has realised that force was not a solution to Kashmir.
“Not operation all-out, but operation wipe-out was started to kill Kashmiris. In south Kashmir especially, 250 youth were killed last year. Even their military itself has realised there was always a reaction against the force used against the people. Their Generals now clearly say that they won’t win people through might,” he said.
The Hurriyat (M) Chairman said the unity among people was most required to “take the movement at its logical end”.
“We have a unity among people of Kashmir, Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch, Kargil, Rajouri, Banihal, Bhaderwah, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. Who doesn’t want development and progress but that is only possible when peace is established in the region,” he said.
“When Kashmir issue is resolved our youth will grow. The government, which is saying that they cared for youth is sending them to graves.”
He said many pro-freedom leaders were languishing in different jails for over 25 years now.


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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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