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)
New political parties floated in Kashmir
Srinagar, Mar 18: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, several new political parties have been floated in Kashmir.
The Lok Sabha election in the state will be held in five phases beginning April 11. The restive Anantnag parliamentary constituency, comprising Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam districts, will go to the polls “in parts” in the third, fourth, and fifth phase. The assembly elections are expected to be held after that, although no announcement has been made so far.
For the last two weeks, several political parties have been created in a bid to make some changes in the political system of the state in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The representatives of these parties are either disgruntled leaders of the existing political parties or people, who claim to bring a change in the “corrupt system” of the state.
On last Thursday, Syed Najeeb Nakvi announced contesting the upcoming elections from Baramulla constituency.
He said that he will fight against “increasing alienation” of youth. Nakvi was former Congress member and aide of Taj Mohiuddin.
Former member parliament Abdul Rashid Shaheen, and Sequib Rehman Makhdoomi have launched their party ‘Jammu Kashmir Awami Conference’.
Shaheen said that he launched his part to “give a platform” to Kashmiris to raise their issues. “We have already witnessed violence over the years. People can raise their issues. We have to get united and provide a common ground to Kashmiris.”
Another political party by the name of ‘Tehreek-e-Insaaf’ too has been recently launched.
Syed Mohammad Rafiq Shah (Former MLC) has launched ‘JK Bachao Tehreek’.
Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal launched a political party on Sunday – the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) – with a promise to “bridge the distance between New Delhi and Islamabad in order to resolve the Kashmir dispute”.
“I have not come here to engage in traditional politics,” Faesal said while launching party in Srinagar. The ceremony was held inside a park in a park here at Rajbagh, which was festooned with banners and white flags carrying Faesal’s pictures. “This party doesn’t belong to any particular religion or group. It is people’s party, and I invite all of you, particularly the youth, to join us,” he said.
There are also reports that some independent candidates of the last elections may also float their own parties in the coming days.
Earlier, several political parties were launched to participate in the electoral process of the state.
To become a recognised political party either at the state or national level, a party has to secure certain minimum percentage of polled valid votes or certain number of seats in the state legislative assembly or the Lok Sabha during the last election.
There have been fears that most of such parties are used to ’round trip’ the black money into white.
The Election Commission of India had found that some of the parties were “no longer in existence or functioning”.
The Election Commission of India’s latest data on political parties, registered till March 9, a day before the Lok Sabha elections were announced, reveal that the country is having a total of 2,293 political parties.
They include seven “recognised national” and 59 “recognised state” parties.
In fact, 149 political parties were registered with the poll panel between February and March on the eve of the announcement of the poll schedule.
Till February this year, the country had 2,143 political parties registered with the Commission.
ECI issues notification for B’la, Jammu seats
Jammu, Mar 18: The Election Commission of India (ECI) Monday issued notification for General Elections to Baramulla and Jammu Parliamentary Constituencies.
As per the notification, last date of filing nominations has been fixed on March 25, while the scrutiny of papers will be held on March 26 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature is March 28 up to 3 PM.
Similarly, as per the notification polling for the two seats will be held on April 11, 2019. The voting hours has been fixed from 7:00AM to 6:00PM.
Meanwhile, notification for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections was issued for other constituencies in the country as well setting in motion the high-voltage electoral battle where the BJP seeks to return to power amid opposition’s efforts to present a united fight to unseat it.
Polling would be held in 91 parliamentary constituencies spread across 20 states on April 11 under the first of the seven-phase general elections.
The Election Commission Monday issued a notification signed by President Ram Nath Kovind for the first phase of the election.
With the issuance of the notification, the nomination process has begun which would continue till March 25. Scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held on March 26 and the last day of withdrawing nomination is March 28.
By the evening of March 28, a clear picture on the number of candidates in each of the 91 constituencies will emerge.
All parliamentary constituencies in 10 states and Union Territories will go for polling in the first phase.
These include, Andhra Pradesh (25 seats), Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya (two seats each), Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep (one seat each), Telangana (17 seats) and Uttarakhand (five seats).
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal will see polling in all the seven phases.
In the first phase, eight west UP constituencies, two in West Bengal and four in Bihar will go for polls. UP has 80 seats, while West Bengal and Bihar have 42 and 40 Lok Sabha seats respectively.
The Jammu and Baramulla seats in Jammu and Kashmir will also go for polling in the first phase.
The election will pit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance against mostly different opposition groupings in various states, including of Congress, the Left and regional forces who are continuing to work out a grand alliance to minimise a division of votes against the saffron party.
The BJP has worked out a seat-sharing formula with some new allies and several old partners, by even making concessions in states such as Bihar. However, opposition parties are yet to do so in several states.
While the NDA hopes to make history by coming back to power for a second full term, the Opposition wants to unseat the Modi dispensation by raising questions on its performance on a host of issues, including economic growth, unemployment, corruption and social harmony.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had led the NDA to back-to-back wins in 1998 and 1999 general elections but he was at the helm for only one full term.
The BJP, which lost three state polls last year, believes its Lok Sabha campaign is back on track following decisions such as 10 per cent quota for the general category poor, money transfer to farmers and a populist budget.
What has injected further confidence into the NDA fold is the fronting of the nationalist plank in the poll campaign after the Indian Air Force’s strikes in Pakistan following the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Modi has launched an aggressive campaign accusing the opposition of coming together for the sole purpose of removing him from power, when he is working to “remove poverty, corruption and terrorism”.
He had led the NDA to a sweeping victory in 2014 as it won 336 seats, reducing then incumbent Congress to its lowest total of 44 seats.
Police Chief asks cops to be ready for polls
Jammu, Mar 18: To assess the police preparedness for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh Monday visited District Bandipora and had an interaction with the personnel of Police and CAPFs.
He was accompanied by IGP Kashmir SP Pani and DIG North Kashmir Range M. Suleman Choudhary.
Singh, while interacting with the police and other CAPFs personnel deployed in the district, emphasised upon them to remain vigilant and ready for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
He said that with the announcement of schedule for the elections, responsibilities of all forces have increased and they have to focus on the security measures besides maintaining ‘law and order’.
“DGP said that J&K police alongwith other forces put in efficient efforts to conduct the Local Bodies and Panchayat elections in the state smoothly and now we have to remain extra vigilant and prepared for the Lok Sabha elections,” a police spokesperson said.