Islamabad, Feb 22: In response to India’s decision to stop the flow of its share of water from the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej to Pakistan, Islamabad said that it was not concerned if New Delhi diverted water of the three eastern rivers.
Indian’s announcement on Thursday comes in addition to other actions like withdrawal of the most favoured nation (MFN) to Pakistan and slapping of a 200 per cent duty on all imports from Islamabad in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama attack that killed over 40 CRPF troopers.
The attack was carried out by militant outfit JeM.
Speaking to Dawn news on Thursday night, Secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Water Resources Khawaja Shumail said: “We have neither concern nor objection if India diverts water of eastern rivers and supplies it to its people or uses it for other purposes, as the IWT (Indus Waters Treaty) allows it do so.” Shumail said Pakistan did not see India’s decision as worrisome in context with the IWT.
“But we will definitely express our concerns and raise objections strongly if they use or divert waters of western rivers (Chenab, Indus, Jhelum) on which our right to use prevails,” he added.
According to Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mehr Ali Shah, as the IWT has already given a right to India in 1960 to use the water of eastern rivers, it is now up to it to do so or not.
“Whether they diverted and used their unutilised share of eastern rivers’ waters in 1960, we had no problem. They want to do it now, we have no problem. And if they don’t want to use this, we have no issue,” Shah told Dawn.
While commenting about the proposed visit of Indian experts (India’s commissioner for Indus waters) to Kotri Barrage (Sindh) keeping in view the tension between the two countries after the Pulwama attack, the Commissioner said: “Let’s see what happens in this regard. But we hope for the best.”
A three-member delegation of Pakistani experts headed by Shah completed its general tour of inspection (from January 28 to February 1) to various hydropower projects – 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 48MW Lower Kalnai, 850MW Ratlay and 900MW Baglihar dam at Chenab Basin in India.
Before the Pulwama attack, India also shared the design data of its three planned run-of-the-river hydropower schemes with Pakistan under the IWT. (IANS)
Mirwaiz on India, Pak situation
‘Dialogue not war only war forward’
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Feb 22: Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Friday said that dialogue and not war is the only way forward for India and Pakistan.
“Dialogue not war is the only way forward for India and Pakistan. Even after wars in the past issues including Kashmir still unresolved,” Mirwaiz tweeted on Friday.
Addressing the Friday congregation at Jamia Masjid here, Mirwaiz, as per a statement, said that “Kashmir is a political issue and time and again I have said that Kashmir has no military solution instead it needs political handling solution.”
“People of India are being misled by a state narrative on Kashmir that obfuscates the fact of it being a dispute. J&K is not Bihar, Himachal or any other state but an internationally accepted disputed territory divided between India and Pakistan,” he said.
Mirwaiz added that the talk of strikes against Pakistan and starting a war, will only lead to destruction in entire sub-continent as both nations are nuclear powers and achieve no solution as in the past.
“Kashmiris are against war and violence. We are only asking for resolution of the dispute by peaceful means the most effective being dialogue. History is witness that nations even after fighting wars, have still to sit on a negotiating table to hammer out a solution,” he said.
He, while addressing the congregation, said the people of Kashmir have been watching with dismay the treatment meted out to Kashmiri students, traders, shawl sellers and businessmen in a systematic manner.
“In Jammu itself Kashmiri employees and families were targeted and dozens of vehicles torched by anti-Kashmir fanatics,” Mirwaiz said.
Mirwaiz, as per the statement, said that the anti-Kashmir hatred later spread to other states of India where Kashmiri students were beaten, harassed and in some cases rusticated from their respective colleges and Universities.
Mirwaiz said that even the Governor of Mizoram called for boycotting of Kashmiri products and Kashmiris.
He demanded that authorities ensure safe passage of every single Kashmiri back to their home land.
Mirwaiz reminded the people of India how Kashmiri youth first saved non-state residents including forces personnel in the deadly deluge of 2014 while in 2008 Amarnath Land agitation, not a single Yatri or non-state resident was ever attacked despite provocation.
“When the incident happened last week at Pulwama, Kashmiris regretted it as we believe that every human life is precious and every human has a right to live, yet our lives and human rights are not trampled and we are killed with impunity and incarcerated under draconian PSA,” Mirwaiz said.
Pak Army warns India of ‘surprise’
Islamabad, Feb 22: The Pakistan Army on Friday said the country does not wish for war, but warned India of “surprise” in case it takes any aggressive military measures, amidst heightened tensions between the two sides following the Pulwama attack that killed 49 CRPF personnel.
Addressing a press conference, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor also said that India blamed Pakistan for the Pulwama attack “without due investigation” and New Delhi has not yet accepted the “reality of partition”.
“We have a 72-year history. The partition happened in 1947 and Pakistan was liberated. India still hasn’t been able to accept that,” the Army spokesman said after the strike by Jaish-e-Mohammad group in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.
“We are not preparing for war, you (India) are issuing threats…We have right to respond to the threats. We are not preparing to initiate but planning to defend and retaliate which is our right,” the Army spokesman said.
He further said: “Should you (India) initiate any reaction first, you would never be able to surprise us…We will surprise you.”
He said when it comes to India, “Pakistan has singleness of conception. We have will and determination.”
Ghafoor warned that military response this time will be different in case of war.
“We are not the army of past, we are a battle-hardened army. We have fought against an unseen enemy and won,” he said.
The army spokesman said that “we can respond to full spectrum threat” and warned “I hope you (India) get (the message) and do not mess with Pakistan”.
To a question about nature of preparations, he said, “We are not preparing for war but we are preparing for response and whatever response is needed, we have prepared for it.”
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday authorised the Army to take all measures to defend the country in case of any attack.
He said the Pulwama attack was negative for Pakistan as it came when important events were taking place in Pakistan including visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
“Our reaction shows that the prime minister offered complete cooperation if evidence is shared and he promised to take action. He also offered to talk about the issue of ‘terrorism’,” Ghafoor said.
He said Pakistan was changing and “we came to this point after heavy struggle. We are the only country and army which fought terrorism like we did.”
He said that media in Pakistan was behaving responsibly while “Indian media is doing war journalism”.
The already sour relations between India and Pakistan have worsened as New Delhi blamed Islamabad for the Pulwama attack. Both countries have called back their envoys for “consultations.” (PTI)
Amarnath Yatra 2019: Mughal road to be used as alternate link to ferry yatris
Srinagar, Jun 19: For the first time in 70 years, Jammu and Kashmir government is likely to use the historic Mughal road as an alternate link to ferry Amarnath pilgrims to holy cave shrine.
This follows the recent spurt in the militant attacks in south Kashmir that has claimed the lives of 10 security force men including four officers in the last one week.
The 83.9 kilometer road, which connects Shopian in south Kashmir with Bafliyaz in Poonch district of Jammu, serves as an alternate link to connect the valley with the rest of the country.
“Mughal Road shall be used as an alternate route. There shall be ample Langers (free community kitchens) all along the route as per past practice. Besides, buses for pilgrims shall be lined up separately for both Pahalgam and Baltal routes at Yatri Niwas. This has been done to avoid any chaos while looking for the concerned route buses by the pilgrims”, an official spokesman said.
Traditionally Jammu-Srinagar national highway has been used by the Amarnath pilgrims to reach the base camps at Baltal and Pahalgam before their onward trek to the holy cave shrine in the Himalayas.
For using Mughal road, the pilgrims have to travel a long distance from Jammu to Poonch before reaching Shopian for their onward journey to Baltal and Pahalgam in the valley.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma said that road is being repaired. “We have identified the slide prone spots and have made adequate arrangements. We have also kept toilet facilities at different locations,” he said.
The 46 day Amarnath yatra is scheduled to commence from July 1 and will conclude on August 15. Even though the authorities have made adequate security measures to ensure incident free yatra, the spurt in militant attacks is posing a big challenge to the security agencies.
Jammu and Kashmir government has already retained 300 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CRPF), which were brought for Lok Sabha elections, for the Amarnath duties.
“Adequate measures will be taken to ensure peaceful yatra. If need arises, more forces would be brought,” Munir Khan, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Law and Order, told The Kashmir Monitor.
Judiciary needs to stand upto populist forces: CJI Gogoi
New Delhi, Jun 19: Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi Wednesday said that it was the duty of the judiciary to stand upto populist forces when the executive and legislature get swept away in the wave of populism.
Addressing Chief Justices and judges from member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Gogoi said: “In the journey of a Nation, when the legislative and executive wings get swept away from their duties and goals under the Constitution by waves of populism, it is for the Judiciary to rise and stand up to the populist forces and protect the Constitutional ethos”.
Apparently referring to criticism that this amounts to judicial activism, the CJI added “to some critics and naysayers, this situation presents a case for hoisting the classical counter-narrative – unelected judges, acting under the Constitutional mandate, get to overturn the acts of the elected majority. However, it is for us to recollect that such situations across the world have heaped tremendous pressure on the Judicial organs, and it is no surprise that in some jurisdictions Judiciary too has succumbed to populist forces.”
The CJI sought to stress that it was for the judiciary to rise to the occasion. “This is also an area that requires judiciary to prepare itself, to strengthen itself about such populist onslaughts on the independence of the Institution. The human agency, through which justice is sought to be administered, has to be adequately secured and fortified in ordinary times, so that it is sufficiently equipped to deal with such forces of populism in extraordinary times, lest they overrun the judicial edifice too. This would be our strongest case for strengthening the independence of judiciary,” he said.
Underlining the importance of independence of judiciary, he said: “Whatever be the political system of governance, people across nations aspire for a free and independent judicial system to serve them.”
The CJI said that “if a judicial system fails to enjoy public confidence, its deliverables would never constitute ‘justice’.
The CJI also said that “independence of judiciary as an institution is different from independence of judges as the fountainheads of justice”.
“Proponents who call for a strong and independent judiciary would assert that in the absence of institutional independence of judiciary, independent functioning of Judges cannot be assured and similarly, without strong and independent Judges, the ‘institutional independence’ of the ‘Judiciary’ would be a misnomer and futile,” he said.
Listing some of the measures to secure the independence of the judges as well as judiciary, CJI Gogoi said: “Non-political appointments, security of tenure and rigorous procedure for removal, securing the reputation of and remuneration and immunities for the Judges, in-house accountability procedures, and implementation of code of judges’ conduct.”
Elaborating, he said that “strengthening of Institutions works best when they are strengthened from within and not when strength is sought to be infused from an external source”.
“Strength that evolves from inside, touches the character and core of the Institution; in contrast, an external source could only lend ‘support’ to the Institution. Such external support would rarely strengthen the core of the Institution. That apart, independence of judiciary is not a one-time pill-it is a ‘state of affairs’ that has to remain constant, in the face of continuous and recurrent waves of onslaught aimed at disturbing such ‘state’. It is also an aspiration that the stakeholders and leaders of the judicial organ must constantly seek out and defend,” he said.
Besides this, “judiciary also needs to work on securing its independence in financial matters”, he said adding “the control of revenues and on expenditure essentially vests with Governments, however such control is more often than not seen to be exercised as a tool of arm-twisting.”
“There is an apparent lack of understanding globally that, by the dint of their Constitutional role, the Judicial organs essentially act like buffers and pressure valves, standing between the State agencies and the restive populace, absorbing all the heat and dust thrown up by the cycle of governance, or a lack thereof. This lack of understanding, coupled with the fact that Judiciary does not pander to any constituency, translates into low budgetary support for the Judiciary—including for its infrastructure and human resource components,” he said.
“It would not be surprising if data would reflect that nations which support and invest heavily in developing a strong judicial infrastructure, with sufficient financial resources and powers, would be nations with more stable governments and administrations,” he added. The CJI also lauded the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary in India and said “if one goes for a more nuanced scrutiny it becomes obvious that except for some outliers, in almost all other cases, the executive in India has historically shown deference to the judiciary in the appointment of judges to the Higher judiciary”.
Soz writes to GoI: Transfer antiquities of Burzahom back to Kashmir
Srinagar, Jun 19: Former Union Minister and Senior Congress leader, Prof Saifuddin Soz Wednesday said he has written to Government of India (GoI) to transfer back to Kashmir the archeological antiquities of Burzahom.
Soz, in a statement, said that he, along Mohammad Shafi Pandit, Formerly Chief Secretary J&K and Mohammad Saleem Beg, currently convener of INTACH, J&K chapter, visited Burzahom Archaeological site “the other day”.
Narrating what he saw, Soz said: “I also felt a sense of distress in my mind that this site of great historical significance presents a neglected look. The only relic of life there was to see a Cricket Match going on there within the notified area of 72 kanals of this Archaeological site. But I should also say that the Kashmir chapter of the Archaeology is doing whatever is possible to maintain such sites.”
Soz said he learnt that the archaeological antiquities of Burzahom had been shifted by Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to New Delhi way back in 1990s, “as a temporary measure for writing a Comprehensive Report on the site.”
“After the visit, I wrote a letter to Mr Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of Culture, Govt. of India and requested him earnestly to transfer back the Archaeological Antiquities to Burzahom, where it should establish a Museum, at the earliest,” Soz said.
He added that he wrote to the Minister that Burzahom can be an attractive place for interested visitors, particularly, for the youth of J&K State, who should know more about their Archaeological wealth and their history.
“I further requested the Minister to Station the Superintending Archaeologist for Srinagar Circle at Srinagar as this office was shifted to Jammu in 90s, temporarily,” he added.
Soz said that he also wrote a letter to Vijay Kumar, Advisor to Governor, requesting him to ask the Sports Department of the state to disband sports activities in the notified area of Burzahom and provide an alternative site to serve as playground for the youth of the area.
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