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Pak wives of former militants: Deport us or grant us citizenship

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jul 12: Toiba Bano, a native of Pakistan’s Abbottabad had never imagined that her marriage with a former militant from Baramulla district will separate her from parents and homeland.
Ever since she came here after the announcement of rehabilitation policy for former militants, she has been pleading the authorities to allow her to visit her parents’ home in Pakistan.
Claiming that she fell prey to the false assurances, Toiba has now urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan to allow her to visit her parents.
“We didn’t come on our own. We were asked to come and assured rehabilitation. But so far, nothing has been done. We should be given travel documents so that we can visit our families. Many among us have lost their husbands. Some have been divorced,” Toiba said.
“Recently, my eight-year-son told me that he will cross LOC to meet his grandparents. It is a wakeup call for India government. This time, I motivated him but after few years, I won’t be able to stop him. He has no option other than to take law into his own hands,” she added.
This is the tip of the iceberg of the pain and sufferings of Pakistani brides. There are around 350 Pakistani women, whose story is no different from Toiba.
On Friday during a presser, they appealed to the central and state governments on Friday that they be either granted Indian citizenship or deported.
“We are a total of 350 women…we should be made citizens here as is the case with the women who marry men in any country. We appeal the government of India and the state government to either grant us passport or travel documents or deport us,” Toiba told reporters here.
Nageena Begum, who married one of the former militants some 11 years ago, said she has been spending sleepless nights as her eight year daughter is living in Pakistan for the last nine years.
“When I came here, she was only one year old. I had to keep her there as she was fond of her grandmother. Every day, she has been asking me to visit her,” she said.
Nageena noted that many of the Pakistani brides could not take part in the last rites of the dear ones because they have been denied travel documents.
“For us, festivals carry no meaning. The happiest day of our life will be when we will meet our parents in our homeland. Many of us have slipped into depression. The India government should either provide travel documents or deport us,” she said.
She also appealed people not to raise objections against Ansar Bani Trust (ABT), a Non-Governmental Organization(NGO) fighting for their cause.
The women sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Jammu and Kashmir Governor S P Malik as well as Pakistani premier Imran Khan to end their plight.
They also appealed to the United Nations and human rights organisations across the world to take up their cause with India and Pakistan.
The women alleged that the state government was denying them travel documents to visit their families in Pakistan or Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The women have held protests earlier as well to impress upon the government to meet their demands.
In 2010, the then Jammu and Kashmir government led by Omar Abdullah had announced a rehabilitation policy for former Kashmiri militants, who had crossed over to Pakistan from 1989 to 2009 and had designated four points — Wagah-Attari, Salambad, Chakan Da Bagh and the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi — for their return.
Hundreds of persons, who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) for arms training, returned along with their families through the Nepal border till 2016 after which this policy was discontinued by the Centre.


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Kashmir

Slew of measures to give Srinagar smooth, sustainable roads: DC

Blacktopping of 125 km of road length;
Road expansions at major traffic nodes;
Strengthening of drainage system

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, July 15: The government has set about renewing some 125 kilometres of road length in Srinagar while taking a multidimensional approach aimed at long term solutions to concerns surrounding roads in the capital district.
The targeted length includes 100 kilometres that require resurfacing and 25 kilometres which require full macadamisation. It stretches across different kinds of roads including the national highway road and major and interior roads of the district.
Contractors’ strike held up restoration work on roads in the district but about 50 percent of the total targeted work has been completed since work was started in June.
These include a range of important roads including MA Road and IG Road in Tehsil South, Batamaloo-Parimpora road and Bemina road in Tehsil Shalteng, Natipora road and Chanapora-Chrarisharief road in Tehsil Chanpora, North Foreshore Road and Nishat-Shalimar road in Tehsil Harwan and the North South Corridor.
These also include various major roads in the old city including Eidgah road, Ali Jan Road, Khanyar-Zadibal-Pandach road, Nalamar Road, Syed Merak Shah Road and Baghi Ali Mardan Road.
The roads which require full macadamisation and where work has been started include Zero Bridge-IG Road via Kursoo, Zewan-Khonmoh Road, Shala Naseem Road and Boulevard Road from Nehru Park to Kralsangri.
Drainage deficit running into over 50 percent with a shortfall of around 600 kilometres — for which haphazard establishment of residential colonies and their mushroom growth is responsible and which leads to road damages from frequent water-logging as a result — is also being addressed as part of the multidimensional approach to improve road condition as a longterm solution in the district.
The district administration has released five crore rupees to concerned executing agencies to strengthen the drainage network at major locations of concern. Liberal government funding is expected soon to address the problem once and for all.
In addition to this various other measures are being taken as part of the said efforts. Critical bottlenecks at different places across the Srinagar city are being removed for which about 20 crore rupees have been released to the concerned. This is alongside a host of important road expansion projects — worth an aggregate of about 800 crore rupees — for which funding is being released as acquired for taking up execution.
The Sonwar-Panthachowk road which is a critical road being the entrance to the Srinagar city and which remains choked because of its large traffic volume is being decongested for the first time. The work has been started with the Srinagar administration releasing an amount of two crore rupees for shifting of utilities aimed at decongestion of the road.
DC Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary had detailed meetings with both the GOC of 15 Corps and the CEO of Badamibagh Cantonment Board apart from approaching the DG BRO in efforts to address this problem. Concerned stakeholders later held a joint assessment of issues and requirements recognising the need to redress them.
The project will see some 50 kanals of prime land worth many crores of rupees getting retrieved during the decongestion process.
In addition to this decongestion of roads at the economic hub Batamaloo which includes overhauling its drainage network and expanding its roads has also been started — with the latter to follow the former that is going on at present.
This goes alongside the construction of the Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover and enhanced efforts over the past four months aimed at completing it within the new deadline the district administration had set. The completion of ongoing work on the last access ramp at Jehangir Chowk by the end of this month as targeted will mark the completion of the flyover project and the success of determined efforts at that.
In order to ensure true achievement of smooth and sustainable road network in the capital district the district administration has also initiated a performance audit of roads in the district. The DC said the aim is to determine the causes of the problem so as to nip them in the bud as part of the planning process and ensure Srinagar has reliable roads laid with longterm solutions to unique challenges in mind.
This is in addition to a host of important languishing bridge projects in the district which have been resumed to augment and strengthen the road network. These include the Mehjoor bridge and Bagh-e-Mehtab bridge which have already been thrown open and at least six other bridges including Noor Jehan bridge, Qamarwari bridge, Wethpora bridge, Shalteng bridge, Darbagh bridge, Panthachowk footbridge and Takanwari footbridge on which works are currently underway.
Meanwhile in response to several public grievances projected in the recent past all the Public Works Department divisions in Srinagar have been asked to come up with proposals for improving interior roads and lanes in the district. The departments have been asked to focus on rural roads assessing their needs in consultation with the local residents and prepare and submit project reports having been assured of quickest funding and execution.
Dr Shahid said the above is in addition to instructions to all concerned engineers to propose innovative projects involving advanced technologies and ongoing consultations of the district administration with experts from outside the State in this regard — all of it aimed at giving Srinagar the roads that it deserves.

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Threat among Kashmiris compelling them not to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’: Adv Farooq Khan

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, July 15: The newly appointed fifth Advisor to Governor, Farooq Khan Monday said that threat among the people of Kashmir was compelling them not to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, which needs to be eliminated.
While addressing a gathering during the reception function at Jammu Airport said that “we need to put an end to the threat looming among people of Kashmir that compels them not to chant “Bharat Mata ki Jai’. We need to encourage them (Kashmiris) so that they will deal with the militants themselves without having security forces on their back.”
He further said that Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits and the government was taking every possible step to ensure their return. “The slogan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas and Sab Ka Vishwas’ will be implemented on the ground in letter and spirit. Some people claim that this is a political slogan but in actuality it is an assurance from the PM Modi regarding the development and upliftment of all sections of society,” he added.
Khan further stated that Kashmir is equally important as Jammu for him. “My maternal hall is in Kashmir and due to insurgency; people of Kashmir have suffered a lot including their property.
However, he added that those who tried to wedge the gap between the Centre and Kashmiris have been failed by the government. He added there are few more things that need to be done in this regard so that the alienation among the people will come to an end.
According to KNS Correspondent present on the occasion, Khan further added that he will work tirelessly and will try to come up to the expectations of people.
About drug menace in Jammu and Kashmir, Advisor Farooq Khan said that both Jammu and Kashmir are witnessing such menace, which needs to be curbed. “Even when I was far away from Jammu and Kashmir, I was concerned about such menace in Jammu and Kashmir. I believe drug menace is more dangerous than terrorism. I have always acted tough against the offenders and will take every possible step to put an end to drug menace in the State,” he added.

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We always welcome home coming of Kashmiri Pandits: Hurriyat (G)

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, July 15: Commenting on the debate over the return of Kashmiri Pandits, Hurriyat Conference (G) said that we always welcome their home coming and encourage every move which helps their return. Let them come back, live as they previously used to, along with their Muslim brothers.
Hurriyat (G) said that we wholeheartedly and sincerely want them to come back, but will oppose any move to settle them in separate colonies as it negates the very fabric of our social, cultural and mutual bonds.
Commenting on the governor’s statement that separate settlement for Pandits is a compulsion and not a choice, Hurriyat Conference (G) said that if decisions sub-servant to compulsions, then there is every possibility of fading away the realities under the veil and dust of so-called compulsions which everybody can narrate according to his own choice.
Hurriyat Conference (G) said that Pandits have been made show pieces by fascist forces to malign and communalize the ongoing movement. Some self-centered and political opportunists exploit their “victimhood” for their own dividends.
Hurriyat (G) welcomes with open arms every displaced citizen of this state including those who suffered similarly in 1947, 1965, 1990 should also be amongst the beneficiaries.

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