The Statesman – Supreme Court reinstates Alok Verma as CBI Director, without full powers

Apex court says any further decision against Verma will be taken by the high-powered committee that selects and appoints CBI Director.

New Delhi – India, 08 January 2019. The Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Alok Verma as CBI Director, setting aside the Centre’s decision to divest him of his powers as the head of the premier investigating agency and sending him on leave.

The judgment comes days before Verma’s two-year tenure as CBI Director ends on January 31.

Pronouncing the judgment on a petition filed by Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the government’s decision taken on the intervening night of October 23 and 24, the apex court, however, said the officer would “cease and desist” from taking from taking any “major policy” decision until the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry into corruption charges against him was over.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S K Kaul and Justice K M Joseph also said any further decision against Verma would be taken by the high-powered committee that selects and appoints CBI Director. Justice Kaul said the selection committee would meet within seven days from Tuesday.

The selection committee comprises the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.

The court also set aside the Centre’s decision appointing M Nageswara Rao, who was the CBI joint director, as its interim chief.

Rao was appointed the interim chief after Verma was sent on leave after being divested of his powers as CBI chief. The decision had come after the CBI registered an FIR against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, accusing him and DySP Devender Kumar of extortion and corruption. Devender Kumar had been arrested.

The feud between Verma and Asthana had become public as they levelled allegations of corruption against each other.

Tuesday’s judgment, penned by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, was read out by Justice Kaul and Justice Joseph as the CJI did not attend the court.

The Tribune – Sukhpal Khaira floats regional party

Jupinderjit Singh, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 08 January 2019. Sukhpal Khaira, who recently quit the Aam Aadmi Party, on Tuesday announced a new political party, Punjabi Ekta Party.

Addressing a gathering, Khaira said their party would be a Punjab-centric regional party. Rebel MLAs Kanwar Sandhu, Nazar Singh Manshahia, Master Baldev Singh, Pirmal Singh, Jagdev Kamalu and Jagga Issowal were also present, though they were not seated on the stage.

Listing the agenda of his party, Khaira said subsidy should be transferred in cash to farmers’ accounts; there should be 50 per cent reduction in interest rate for loans to farmers.

He said his party would fight against corruption by taking action against bigwigs instead of only against clerks or JEs; effective institution of Lok Pal would be introduced; action would be taken on sacrilege incidents; and there would be a crackdown on drugs.

He also supported Navjot Sidhu’s model to check sand mining which, he claimed, the Amarinder government did not implement. He said his party would involve the youth in liquor and cable trade.

Loosduinseweg – Monstersestraat

25 December 2018

Tram 2 to Kraayenstein

Tram 2 to Kraayenstein
RandstadRail Tram 4 to De Uithof

Tracks of Tram 11 from/to Scheveningen Harbour

RandstadRail Tram 4 to De Uithof

RandstadRail Tram 4 to De Uithof

Tram 11 to Holland Spoor Station

To see all my pictures:

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Afghanistan Times – Editorial: Not in Doha

Pressure mounts on Taliban to join peace talks, Afghanistan optimistic over peace prospects

Editorial – 08 January 2019. In the wake of Afghan Taliban leaders reluctance to talk with US in presence of Saudi and UAE officials at Riyadh on January 13, now they (Taliban) also rejected to hold talks with the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha Qatar which was set for today January 9.

Whatever might be reasons for refusing to talk in Riyadh and Doha, one thing is very clear that Taliban leaders are under tremendous pressure to have face to face talks with the Afghan government or members of peace commission.

Soon after the refusal of Taliban to talk with the Afghan government representatives, Afghanistan’s special envoy Muhammad Omar Daudzai announced flying to Islamabad on Tuesday. Daudzai is going to talk with Pakistani officials in on ongoing peace efforts.

In particular, Daudzai is likely to remind Pakistan of its frequent promises and commitments regarding “playing a role in face to face” talks between Afghan government and Taliban leaders. Similar promises were also made by Saudi Arab and UAE.

No one can neglect Pakistan’s influence over Taliban since early mid of previous 90’s when these scattered Afghans have been made united against what it called warring war made self styled commanders on the slogans of going to bring peace.

In recent months, the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad made frequent flights to the region and held several rounds of face to face talks with Taliban leaders. On concluding of each and every round, Pakistan, Saudi Arab and UAE high ups have not made jubilation but even they claimed breakthrough to the deadlock between Afghan government and Taliban.

Taliban group willing to talk with American, Pakistan, Russian, Chinese and other foreign countries but they are reluctant to talk with the Afghan government. Taliban are not only insisting on their demands pertained to pulling US troops out of Afghanistan but even they are demanding a free zone along with crossing points with Pakistan.

Acceptance or honoring of such type of demands could be nothing else, disintegration of Afghanistan. There already exists unprecedented polarization in regional countries like India, Pakistan and Iran. And allocation of a safe zone to Afghan Taliban would definitely affect the whole South Asian Region, which might be harmful to global peace.

Instead of believing in hallow claims and commitments of certain stakeholders, Afghanistan needs to remain careful and alert at this crucial stage. Certain legacies of previous British Colonial era are bent up restoration of the Sikh Raaj in the region, which has badly affected Afghanistan couple of centuries ago.

Through one or other pretext certain visible and invisible hands are making attempts to fuel war flames in Afghanistan for meeting own and master’s nefarious designs. Militants remain loyal to foreign mentors and sponsors are holding frequent parlays along with Durand Line for discussing strategies to overcome and exploit the situation in Afghanistan.

Now at this crucial stage, responsibility rests with the Afghan politico-socio, religious leaders, tribal chieftains and law makers to be alert for saving the motherland of plunging into irreversible crises in future like of recent past happenings.

I can assure our Afghan brothers that present day Khalistanis are not likely to have designs on territories west of the Ravi, and definitely have no designs on territories west of the Indus or the Durand line.
All Sikhs do pray that Afghanistan again becomes a country where people of all religions are respected.

Dawn – American Sikhs for keeping Kartarpur Sahib Complex in original state

Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara

Shafiq Butt

Sahiwal – Panjab – Pakistan, 08 January 2019. The American Sikh Council (ASC) and the Sikh in America (SIA) have appealed to the Pakistani government to make sure that the Kartarpur Sahib Complex (KSC) is maintained in its original state.

A message posted at the website of the ASC reads that “any structural changes and/or additions to accommodate upcoming huge visitors either coming from India, Pakistan or Sikh diaspora living across globe by lodging to restrooms and more must be done at a distance, away from the main KSC so that the Kartarpur Sahib original farms, natural areas spread around 100 acres of land that belonged to Guru Sahibji, and the forest areas around the River Ravi can retain as much of its originality as possible.

This needs to be preserved in its original landscape for posterity”.

The appeal was made in the background of recent development where both Pakistani and Indian governments agreed to open up Kartarpur Corridor for Sikhs to visit the birthplace* of their prophet Baba Guru Nanak.

Dr Gurdas Singh, ASC president, and Gurinder Pal Singh, SIA president, told Dawn by phone the Pakistani government might change the original archeological and cultural structure and lawns of the complex.

Gurinder Pal Singh said they feared that in the name of development sometimes original and historical architecture were not being taken care of by contractors.

“Such efforts must be and should be kept at bay without compromising original structure spread across 100 acres,” he explained.

He said the Auqaf Department and the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandak Committee must understand the legitimate concerns of the Sikh diaspora.

He said Sikhs everywhere yearned to visit the Kartarpur Sahibje and see the fields that their wondarous ‘Guru’ tilled with his own hands, the place where he lived, the trees he sat under and feel and touch their forehead on the same dusty soil that their ‘Guru’ walked on!

Both ASC and SIA presidents thanked the Pakistani government for opening the Kartarpur Corridor and taking “proactive step towards peace and amity of two people (Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab) who have so much in common, from language to food, from Punjabi poetry to clothes and so much more”.

Dr Gurdas told Dawn a group of young American Sikhs started a Facebook page to monitor and report on the developments of the Kartarpur Corridor and to make concerned voices heard in regards to the development.

G P Singh says Kartarpur Sahib is the place where the founder of the Sikh faith spent 18.5 years of his life as a farmer, a householder, a husband, a father while spreading the word of love, humanism, universal sisterhood and brotherhood and making sure that his followers learnt how to raise their voices against any kind of tyranny, be it state repression or social discrimination.

Kartarpur Sahib can be called the first Gurdwara which was established in 1521. Bhai Dhuni Chand donated 100 acres to Baba Guru Nanak Sahibji. This land is still associated with the KGC.

Both organizations wished that it would be heartening to see if any renowned Pakistani architecture along with provincial department of archaeology gets involved in revising and keeping old structure intact.