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Sajad dares Mehbooba to move court against Assembly dissolution

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 23: Two days after governor dissolved the Assembly, Chairman People’s Conference, Sajad Lone, on Friday dared the Peoples Democratic Party President, Mehbooba Mufti, to move court if she had the numbers.
“If Mehbooba Ji wants to challenge the dissolution of the Assembly in the court, she should go ahead. We will be more than glad to prove our numbers on the floor of the Assembly,” Lone told a press conference here, where he welcomed former PDP leader Molvi Imran Raza Ansari into his party.
To counter the government formation by Congress- PDP-National Conference (NC), Lone on Wednesday staked claim to form a government in the state with the support of the 25-legislators of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and more than 18 other lawmakers.
Lone said he staked claim to form the government in the state as he “possessed” the required number of legislators in the Assembly.
“I talked to the governor on phone, and then tried to send the letter via fax, but latter sent the letter through Whatsapp. We staked the claim as we had the numbers. Had there been a floor test or had we been told to bring the numbers, then what is within the purview of the constitution would have happened.” Lone said.
“Mehbooba Ji did not have support of a majority of former PDP legislators. The National Conference’s belated realization that PDP can in-fact safeguard the state’s special status is diametrically opposite to NC’s stand over the past three years…,” he said.
He said that NC and PDP did not want him to form the government in the state.
“These two dynasties do not want any third family to rule the state and was an opportunistic alliance,” he claimed, and blamed them for the uprising of militancy in 1987.
Reacting to National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, he said, “There have been 52 amendments by the Congress to weaken the special status of the state, and the party has been the chief architect of every constitutional erosion. How can one expect Congress is for protection of JK’s special status?”
Asked whether he supports the ideology of the BJP for erosion of Article 370 and 35A, he replied, “No Kashmiri can dream of erosion of these constitutions. The ideological fight between the Congress and the BJP is a battle being fought at the national level. Both Omar and Mehbooba have been allies of the BJP in the past and why was it not wrong that time?”
“Let Omar qualify what horse-trading is. I don’t have money to buy the legislators. Sheikh family has huge money, as they ruled the state for over 50 years. I have been minister for three years and was given the Animal Husbandry portfolio. I did nothing that is unconstitutional.”
He said it took five months to legislators of various parties to support him for government formation. “Things don’t happen overnight,” he said. “The PDP and NC were demanding dissolution of the Assembly for five months. When Governor did it, they call it undemocratic.”
Sajad said he did not support picking up of gun by the youth.
“Gun does not listen to anybody. There will be killings till gun is here. There can’t be any short term solution to Kashmir issue. I have been seeking votes for the development and Kashmir issue is a big issue,” he added.
On the occasion, Imran Raza Ansari said that NC has made property across various countries.
“Sheikh Sahab was a teacher and lived at Soura. See their property today in various countries. Where did it come from?” he added.


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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: ICJ to deliver verdict today

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jul 16: The International Court of Justice will deliver on Wednesday its verdict in a case relating to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, whose death sentence by a Pakistani military court based on an “extracted confession” has been questioned by India.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017.

His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India. The ICJ, in a statement early this month, said a public sitting will take place at 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) on July 17 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which top judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the verdict.

 

Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Muhammad Faisal last week said his country cannot “prejudge” the decision of the ICJ in the Jadhav’s case. “We cannot prejudge the judgment,” he said. He, however, said that Pakistan has fully contested the case before the ICJ.

India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.

A 10-member bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.

A four-day public hearing in the high-profile case took place in February amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the deadliest militant attacks in J&K by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group that killed at least 40 CRPF soldiers on February 14. During the hearing in ICJ, both India and Pakistan submitted their detailed pleas and responses.

India based its case on two broad issues — breach of Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution. Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, questioned the functioning of Pakistan’s notorious military courts and urged the top UN court to annul Jadhav’s death sentence, which is based on an “extracted confession”. In his submission in the ICJ on the last day of the hearing, Pakistan’s counsel Khawar Qureshi said, “India’s claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible.”

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

Pakistan had rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its “spy”. However, Pakistan facilitated a meeting of Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad on December 25, 2017.

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Kashmiri Sikhs hope for Kartarpur-like corridor to PaK Gurdwaras

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jul 16:  Voices are growing for LoC corridor to allow Kashmiri Sikhs to visit historic Gurudwaras in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) akin to Kartapur sahib.

All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC), an apex body of Kashmiri Sikhs, said there are several Gurudwaras in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur, which are held in high reverence by Sikhs across the globe.

“One such Gurudwara of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, the sixth Sikh Guru, is located in Naluchi in the neighborhood of Muzaffarabad,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, Chairman APSCC.

 

Raina said the Gurudwara has remained closed for the last 70 years and was partly damaged in October 2005 earth quake.  “The Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara of Naluchi has been famous before partition when Sikhs in huge numbers from different parts of Kashmir used to go on a pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the Gurudwara has remained shut for the last 70 years and has now been converted into a police station,” he said.

Chairman APSCC said the Sikh community has asked Union Home Ministry to extend cross LoC Karvan-e-Aman bus up to Naluchi exclusively for the Sikh pilgrimage to the Gurudwara.

“We have written to MHA that people of different faiths live in Kashmir. A demand was made to allow Sikhs to go on a pilgrimage to PaK Gurudwaras,” Raina said.

The APSCC chairman said the Sikh body contacted Prime Minister of Muzaffarabad’s office in February and suggested 15 people who intend to undertake a pilgrimage to restore Gurudwara to its pristine glory.

“A journalist friend of mine helped us to take up the matter with the office of Prime Minister of Muzaffarabad. We later sent copies of 15 passports to Muzaffarabad PM’s office. We are following it up. We hope the pilgrimage will be allowed from Uri and Poonch side,” he said.

Ajit Singh Mastana who is one of 15 people who has enlisted for the pilgrimage, said sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Singh had stayed in Naluchi after visiting Kashmir’s Uri area.

“Chatti Padshahi Gurudwaras are built at a place where our sixth Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji rested during his visit to Kashmir. At present we have Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara in Srinagar, Baramulla and Uri in Kashmir,” he said.

 Mastana who heads Punjabi Sahitiya Sabha said many Sikhs families are yearning to go on a pilgrimage to the historic Gurudwaras in Pakistan Administered Kashmir.  “The yatra should be allowed on the pattern of Kartapur,” he said.

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JK has stronger case of non-application: Masoodi on NIA Bill

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 16: National Conference has opposed the NIA Amendment bill 2019 in the Parliament, saying the proposed amendment bill “infringes upon” the people’s right to liberty and life.

Participating in the debate Member of Parliament from Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi said the Parent Act of 2008 was not in tune with fundamental right of life and personal liberty.

“The amendment suffers from the same flaw.  The Article 21 while guaranteeing right to life and personal liberty provides that a person can be deprived of life and personal liberty in accordance with procedure established by law and such procedure must be just, fair and reasonable,” he said.

 

Masoodi added: “The three fundamental principles are to be taken care of at the stage of investigation, trial as also sentence and its mode of execution. In case of NIA Act wide and unbridled powers were given to the Central Government to constitute the special court as per its choice. The wide and unguided powers under NIA Act have prompted selective use of the Act and setting up of Special Courts as per choice and in an arbitrary manner. Resultantly, the Act leaves scope for violation of right of access to justice, an integral part of right to life and personal liberty.”

Kashmir, Masoodi said, is a ready example of such violation, where people who are prosecuted find it very difficult to get access to justice.

“There is no court and justice seekers from far flung areas are left without access to justice. While in case of other states NIA Act is said to trespass State list. In case of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no State list and all powers except those given by it to Centre belonged to State, there is a stronger case of non-application of NIA Act to State,” he said while participating in the debate.

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