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Only right to self-determination can solve K-issue: Pak prez

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday reiterated that the only solution to Kashmir dispute is providing the right to self-determination to Kashmiris.
“The only solution to the dispute of Kashmir is providing the right of self-determination to Kashmiri people, and Pakistan will continue to play its role in this regard,” Hussain was quoted as saying by Dawn.com.
Pakistan commemorated its 78th Republic day on Friday. On this day in 1940, Lahore Resolution was passed when the All-India Muslim League demanded a separate nation for the Muslims of the British Indian Empire.
Hussain also strongly condemned India for its “irresponsible behaviour and attacks from across the Line of Control and Working Boundary”, the report said.
He said that cooperation for international peace is the base of the country’s foreign policy.
“Islamabad also extends a hand of cooperation to the regional countries but taking the gesture as a weakness will be a dangerous mistake,” the Pak president said.
He accused India of ceasefire violations and human rights abuses, saying New Delhi’s actions have put regional peace at stake.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was the ‘Guest of Honour’. He was received by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at the parade ground in Islamabad.
Indian deputy high commissioner JP Singh was also seen seated among the foreign diplomats invited to witness the parade.
Referring to cross-border ceasefire violations president Mamnoon accused India of gross human rights violations in Kashmir.
“With these actions, Pakistan’s neighbour has put the regional peace at stake,” he said.
He said that Pakistan was ready to extend a hand of co-operation to the regional countries, but “taking it as a weakness will be a dangerous mistake”.
Mamnoon also said that the global scenario has changed, and now countries could not be coerced to toe the line of one particular country.
Cautioning against exploitation, suppression of nations and interference into the internal affairs of any country by another nation, he said: “Pakistan’s foreign policy was about achieving permanent peace in the world and is based on non-interference into internal issues of other countries”.
He said that Pakistan had been playing a vital role in global peace and rendering commendable services from the UN platform for it.
On the issue of Afghanistan, Mamnoon said that Pakistan would continue playing its role for peaceful resolution of the Afghan issue.
“Pakistan had always played a historic role in the peaceful settlement of Afghan issue and for the stability of the Afghanistan government.”
He also stressed that efforts to curb terrorism should continue so that any achievements made so far could be further strengthened.
Meanwhile, Abbasi, in his message, said, “We cannot succeed without upholding the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.”
The special performance by the Jordan military band was the highlight of the day in which troops from Turkey and UAE also participated.
Contingents from Pakistan’s Army, air force, navy, frontier corps and Pakistan Rangers participated in a march-past.
Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan led a fly-past as a salute to the president and later joined the guests at the parade ground.
The other who witnessed the event include Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurrum Dastagir, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Navy Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee Zubair Mehmood Hayat.
Pakistan Day parade resumed in 2015 after a gap of seven years. It was suspended due to the threat of militancy.
Earlier, the day began with a 31-gun salute in Islamabad and 21-gun salute in the provincial capitals.
Security was on high alert in the capital and mobile phone services remained suspended. Around 2,000 military and police personnel were deployed.


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3 militants killed in Budgam encounter

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Three militant of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed in an encounter at Hapatnar woods in Charar-e-Shareef area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday.

News agency Global News Service quoted a senior police officer saying that a joint team of Army’s 53 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in forest area of Hapatnar early Monday morning following “credible inputs” about the presence of some militants.

As the joint team of forces intensified the combing operation, the militants hiding in the area opened fire triggering off a gunfight which continued intermittently till late in the evening.

 

During the course of gunfight, three militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed, the officer said.

The operation was prolonged due to the tough terrain amid inclement weather conditions, he added.”So far one body has been recovered along with arms and ammunition. The other two bodies which are lying inside the hideout are yet to be retrieved,” the officer said.

“The identity of the slain is being ascertained,” the officer said.

The officer said that the government forces have also blasted the hideout of the militants in the mountainous area, covered under plenty of snow.

Meanwhile, sources identified one among the slain Shahid Baba of Drabgam, Pulwama. (With inputs from GNS)

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Snow, rains persist: Land, air traffic disrupted

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Although not as severe as predicted, fresh snowfall and rains were Monday lashed Kashmir bringing some respite to the people from the cold wave.
The plains of Kashmir witnessed moderate rainfall from early hours of Monday, while there were reports of snowfall in higher reaches of the valley, officials said here.
The MeT Office has forecast widespread rain and snow over the state with heavy falls at isolated places till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, traffic on the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu highway was halted because of heavy snowfall on the stretch.
“Today no movement of vehicular traffic on Jammu Srinagar NHW from Jammu towards Srinagar and vice versa as road blocked due to snow accumulation at Nowgam-Jawahar Tunnel-Qazigund Sector and still snowing,” J&K Traffic Police tweeted Monday morning.
Bad weather conditions also disrupted operations at the Srinagar International Airport here, leading to the cancellation of four flights, officials said.
“Due to the inclement weather, four of the 27 flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled on Monday,” an official of the Airport Authority of India.
Another 11 flights got delayed due to poor visibility and intermittent rainfall since Monday morning, he said.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar on Sunday settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius, same as previous night, a MET official said.
He said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.6 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius Sunday night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius Sunday night, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in Kargil registered a low of minus 14.0 degrees Celsius. Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, colder than even Drass town which recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold).

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Lack of funds halts vital JK tourism projects

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jan 21: The Governor-led administration is mulling to start new projects to boost tourism in Kashmir even as several old ones have been left midway due to want of funds.

In December last year, the administration ordered the constitution of an official panel for identification of new projects in tourism sector to be implemented under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).

Back in 2014, the Government of India, under Project/Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits (PIDDC), had sanctioned Rs 7593.88 lakh for development of basic tourism infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir through private investment, opening of new potential destinations and development of heritage, adventure, and pilgrim and eco-tourism.

 

However, the projects have been left incomplete as the Centre has, as per the latest official data, released only Rs 3504.80 lakh of the sanctioned amount against which the department shows 100 percent expenditure.

Now, due to the unavailability of funds, the PIDDC project is on standstill.

The project included development of Eidgah, face-lifting of Khankahi Moula, Development of Jamia Masjid Heritage Corridor, Renovation of Aali Masjid, Upgrading of Ziyarat Abdul Razaq Sahib at Hawal, Ziyarat Hazrat Balaad Rumi at Rajouri Kadal, Ziyarat Akhoon Sahib and TajBibi at Fateh Kadal, Ziyarat Hazrat Noor Shaha Sahib at Narwara, and Conservation of areas from Naagar Nagar to Watlab.

The tourist circuit from Naagar Nagar to Watlab, which was a key component of the project, still requires Rs 2312.90 lakh to be completed, official data shows.

Another main component of PIDDC project, construction of Trans Himalayan Culture Centre in Leh, too requires further Rs 1094.48 lakh for completion.

Similarly, development of Khiram Shrine in South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town also remains incomplete for want of funds.
Section Officer of Planning, Tourism Department, Sajad Ahmad, told The Kashmir Monitor that “65 per cent” of the work has been completed on Naagar Nagar to Watlab component of the project.

“We had to stop the work because the Centre did not release the funds,” he added.

Executive Engineer, JK Tourism, Abdul Qayoom Kirmani said they have asked the Government of India for the pending funds and also sent to them the proposal of the new projects.
“We have identified new Rs 100 crore new projects under PMDP-II, which comprises of nine circuits,” he said.

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