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Pak, China to discuss Pulwama fallout

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Beijing, Mar 18: The recent India-Pakistan tensions after the February 14 Pulwama attack that killed over 40 CRPF troopers, will figure in the talks between the Chinese and Pakistani Foreign Ministers which will begin on Tuesday.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi arrived in Beijing earlier on Monday on a three-day visit during which he will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi under the first China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.
The meet comes at a time when India’s ties with China and Pakistan, who are close allies, have come under strain after the suicide attack claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), whose chief Masood Azhar, Beijing once again refused to declare as an “international terrorist”.
Though the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed that India-Pakistan tensions will be discussed during the meet, it said that it was not aware if the listing of Azhar as an “international terrorist” will figure in the talks.
“On March 19 in Beijing, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have the first China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue with Pakistani Foreign Minister to discuss the international and regional issues of mutual concern,” Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said here.
“As you said, the issues causing regional tensions will be discussed. As a neighbour, China would like to see the easing of tensions between the two countries and would like to see the two nations engage in dialogue for peace and stability in the region,” Geng said when asked if the aftermath of the Pulwama attack will be discussed.
Geng, meanwhile, welcomed India-Pakistan talks on the Kartarpur corridor which will enable pilgrims from India to travel to the Sikh shrine inside Pakistan through a dedicated corridor.
“India and Pakistan are neighbours and they will always live with each other. A harmonious relation serves the fundamental interests of both and the common aspirations of the international community. We hope that two sides can continue to show goodwill, meet each other halfway, resolve differences through dialogue and improve relations and uphold regional peace and stability.”
Asked if the Azhar issue will figure in the talks, Geng said: “Well, I cannot prejudge the topics that are going to be discussed in the meeting. But as I said, they will discuss the issues of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual concern.
“So, as for the listing issue, I believe you are well aware of China’s position so I will repeat here. China will continue to deal with this issue in a responsible and constructive manner and will maintain close communication with all parties, including India and Pakistan.”
On March 13, China for the fourth time put a technical hold on the proposal by the UK, US, and France to the UN to ban Azhar.
Following the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force struck in Pakistan, after which Islamabad scrambled its fighters jets that resulted in a dogfight with Indian warplanes.
An Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan after his Mig-21 was hit but Islamabad released him as a “peace gesture”. (IANS)

China describes 13,000 arrested Muslims as ‘terrorists’
Beijing, Mar 18: China describes the nearly 13,000 people arrested in traditionally Islamic region of Xinjiang since 2014 as ‘terrorists’.
The figures were included in a government report on the situation in the restive northwestern territory that seeks to respond to growing criticism over the internment of an estimated 1 million members of the Uighur and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups.
China describes the camps as “vocational training centers” and says participation is voluntary. Former detainees say they were held in abusive conditions, forced to renounce Islam and swear allegiance to China’s ruling Communist Party.
The lengthy report issued Monday also says “law-based de-radicalization” in Xinjiang has curbed the rise and spread of “religious extremism”. (Agencies)

 
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Voter turnout in Bijbehara, Anantnag a lesson for Mehbooba : Omar

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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.”

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Mehbooba demands release of Yasin Malik

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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.

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Rains lash Kashmir; weather to improve from today

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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.

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