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Sumbal Sonawari:We voted to protect JK’s special status

Mudassir Kuloo

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Photo: Ibrahim Mussa/KM

Bandipora, Apr 11: The road to main town in Bandipora was devoid of traffic Thursday morning but queues of voters were seen waiting to cast their votes outside the polling booths.

Voters had lined-up in large numbers at a polling booth set up in a local school in Dangerpora. The booth was ringed with three-tier security comprising of CRPF, police, and BSF.

Ghulam Hassan, 60, had reached to the polling booth early in the morning.

 

Asked why he cast his vote and defy the boycott call by separatists and militant outfits, he replied: “We want to end Governor’s rule in the state. We shall send a representative to the parliament, who will end our miseries. This vote is to protect our special status. Protect Article 370 and 35A.”

Asked the same question, a woman, carrying a child in her lap, replied: “Unless we don’t vote, our miseries won’t end. The harassment will continue and outsiders will rule us. We want Mohammad Akbar Lone in the parliament.”

The scenes were almost similar at a polling booth in Shadipora.

“We always want a good representative in the parliament. He should represent the Kashmir cause,” Ghulam Mohammad, 60, said.

“We also want overall development of our area,” he added while displaying the ink mark on his finger nail.

Near NC Candidate Mohammad Akbar Lone’s home at Poshwari Naidkhai, the queues of the voters grew even longer.

At three polling booths located at a local school in Poshwari, out of 1800 voters, at least 50 percent had already cast their votes by 1 pm.

At the same time, the polling agents of political parties had a scuffle. “Why are you asking people to vote for your candidate?” a middle-aged man told a polling agent of the rival party.

Another polling agent tried to push him. The policemen on duty, however, pacified things and the voting restarted.

Abdul Rashid, who was waiting in a queue, said there was “nothing wrong in casting the vote”.

“This election is to address our issues and to defend state’s special status. There will be bloodshed if there is any tampering with special status of the state. Only Akbar Lone and Engineer Rashid can talk about Kashmir issue in the parliament,” he said.

The three polling booths of Manzpora, Mirpora, and Hirpora villages of Sonawari wore a festive look.

Hundreds of people even including children had gathered to shout slogans in favour of Lone.

In these polling booths as well, of the 3500 voters, over 50 percent had already cast their vote by 2 PM.

Abdul Salam Lone, an elderly person, said: “Only Lone Sahab can talk about Kashmir in the parliament. This vote is to protect the special status of the state, and stop harassment of Kashmiris.”

A first time voter in parliamentary elections, Naziya asked other people to vote as well.

“We shall send a representative to the parliament, who conveys the sufferings of Kashmiris to the world. Poll boycott is no solution,” she added.

Scores of people visited Lone at his house which was a few hundred metres away from the polling booths.

“Did you and your mother vote,” Lone asked his son, who is an advocate by profession.

“Yes we did,” he replied.

The entire village seemed jubilant.

The scenes, however, were completely different just a few kilometers away from Lone’s residence.

The road leading to Hajin town wore a deserted look. At three polling booths, just three voters out of 2,235 had cast their vote by 3 pm.

“Please write that Hajin boycotted the elections,” a commuter told this reporter.

A few hundred metres away, in another polling booth on the banks of Jhelum in Hajin, out of 876 voters, 345 had cast their vote.

“When we saw people voting, we decided to vote too. We have been neglected by the successive governments. We hope our issues are solved,” said Manzoor Ahmad Guroo, who lives on the banks of Jhelum and earns his living by catching and selling fish.


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Pak must review death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav: ICJ

Agencies

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The Hague, Jul 17: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday announced its verdict on India’s petition challenging the death sentence given to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.

The court found by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had breached Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna convention on consular relations by not allowing Indian diplomats to visit him in jail.

It said that nothing in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) precludes its applicability to persons accused of espionage.

 

The provision basically states that when a national of a foreign country is arrested, they must be informed of the right to have their country’s consulate notified and should also have the right to regular consultation with their consulate’s officials during their detention and trial.

Pakistan had argued, unsuccessfully, that Article 36 of the VCCR does not apply to people involved in espionage.

Pakistan has been directed to suspend the execution of the death penalty awarded to Jadhav till it fulfills the new conditions (ensuring consular access and ‘effectively’ reviewing the case).

The ICJ, however, also rejected most of the other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and his return to India. It cited limitations of its jurisdiction in turning down those appeals.

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

Reading out the verdict, President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.

The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.

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.

TIMELINE

2016

3 Mar: Pakistan claims arresting Jadhav in Balochistan on charges of espionage. India claims he was kidnapped from Iran.

25 Mar: India is formally informed by Pakistan of Jadhav’s arrest. A confessional statement is released by Pakistan in which Jadhav claims to be a serving Indian Navy officer. India responds by moving the first of several requests for custodial access.

6 Sep: Pak files “supplementary” FIR naming 15 individuals as “accomplices and facilitators” of Jadhav, including NSA Ajit Doval, former RAW chief Alok Joshi, his wife Chetankul Jadhav, and mother Avanti Jadhav.

21 Sep: Military court begins hearing Jadhav case.

2017

6 Jan: Pak ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi presents a dossier to the UN chief alleging India’s involvement in cross-border terrorism in Pakistan and Jadhav’s arrest.

23 Jan: Islamabad writes to New Delhi, seeking assistance in investigating the Jadhav case, and saying its request for consular assistance shall be considered “in the light of the Indian side’s response”.

10 Apr: Jadhav is sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan. India deems the death penalty as “pre-meditated murder”.

27 Apr: India writes to Pakistan, asking it for certified copies of the chargesheet, proceedings of the court of enquiry, the summary of evidence in the case, and the judgment itself. No reply is received.

22 Jun: Pakistan states that a military court has rejected Jadhav’s appeal.

8 May: India moves the International Court of Justice, and receives an interim stay on Jadhav’s execution, pending final orders in the case.

26 Oct: Islamabad writes to New Delhi, offering to discuss extraditing him to India should the government accept he is “considered a criminal under the laws of India.”

25 Dec: Jadhav’s mother and wife are allowed to visit him in prison.

2018

Jan 17: Apr 17 and July 17 fixed as deadlines for India’s Reply and Pak’s Rejoinder respectively.

2019

Feb 18-21: India and Pak make two rounds of oral arguments at The Hague.

Jul 4: ICJ announces that the President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, will read the Court’s decision on July 17.

How binding are ICJ judgments?

Srinagar, Jul 17: According to ICJ, judgments delivered by the court (or by one of its chambers) in disputes between states are binding upon the parties concerned. Article 94 of the United Nations Charter provides that “each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of [the court] in any case to which it is a party”. Judgments are final and without appeal.

If there is a dispute about the meaning or scope of a judgment, the only possibility is for one of the parties to make a request to the court for an interpretation. In the event of the discovery of a fact hitherto unknown to the court which might be a decisive factor, either party may apply for revision of the judgment.

However, there have been instances when the ICJ’s rulings have not been followed. The most famous one was in 1986, when the ICJ ruled in a petition by Nicaragua, which alleged that the US had waged a covert war against it by supporting a rebellion.

The ICJ ordered reparations from the US in favour of Nicaragua. The US, in response, cancelled its declaration of the ICJ’s jurisdiction. It then went to the UN Security Council against the ICJ order and succeeded.

So, whatever the ICJ decides, both governments will have to be prepared for a long haul.

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Hafiz Saeed arrested by Pak’s counter-terrorism dept

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 17: Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was arrested Wednesday by Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in connection with charges related to terror financing, Dawn and Geo news reported.

The arrest, as per the reports, was made when Saeed was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court. The Mumbai 26/11 mastermind has been moved to an undisclosed location, it added.

Quoting CTD spokesperson for Punjab, Dawn reported that Saeed, following his arrest, was sent to prison on judicial remand after the counter-terrorism department presented him before a Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC).

 

The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time, the report said.

A JuD spokesperson also confirmed the arrest to Reuters.

The arrest comes in the wake of an ATC in Lahore granting Saeed pre-arrest bail. Along with Saeed, three others were also granted the bail in a case pertaining to JuD’s alleged illegal use of land for its seminary, Dawn reported on July 14.

The CTD had registered 23 cases in July against the leadership of JuD, LeT and FIF (Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation) for gaining assets from “terrorism” financing through non-profit organisations. The move was termed by India as “cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan”.

“Pakistan is trying to hoodwink the international community on taking action against terror groups. Let us not get fooled by cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said.

Pakistan’s push against Saeed came after Financial Action Task Force (FATF), at a plenary session in USA. FATF chair, the US, had told Pakistan it could face blacklisting at its next session in October if it did not adhere to its commitments to stop access to funds for “terror” groups.

Saeed’s arrest comes just ahead of Prime Minister Khan’s maiden visit to the US on July 21 during which he will hold talks with US President Donald Trump. Trump has repeatedly asked Pakistan to abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny “terrorists” safe haven and block their access to funds.

The Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba which is deemed to be responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated “Global Terrorist”, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.

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LeT militant killed in Sopore gunfight

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jun 17: After a brief lull in the encounters in Kashmir, a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant identified as a local, was Wednesday killed in a gunfight at Gund-Brath village of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Giving details of the encounter, a police official said that Army’s 22 RR, 179 BN CRPF and SOG of J&K police jointly launched a cordon-and-search operation in Gund Brath village of Sopore following specific information about the presence of militants inside a residential house.

During the search operation, the official said, the hiding militant fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.

 

In the ensuing encounter, one militant was killed and the body was retrieved from the site of encounter.

The slain militant was identified as Adnan Ali Channa son of Ali Muhammad Channa, a resident of Arampora Azad-Gunj, Baramulla.

As per the police records, the slain was affiliated with militant outfit LeT.

Meanwhile, authorities suspended internet services in Sopore and Baramulla as a precautionary measure in wake of this encounter. Later in the day, thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of slain militant at his native village Azadgunj.

The encounter was the first one after the commencement of annual pilgrimage of Amarnath on July 1.

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