DNA India – Sikh body demands fresh probe into the Chattisinghpora massacre

Srinagar, 20 March 2017. A Sikh body here today demanded a fresh probe into the Chattisinghpora massacre which claimed the lives of 35 Sikhs on this day in 2000.

“After 17 years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Sikhs of the Valley, are still waiting for the justice. We urge the state and central governments to nab the culprits of the massacre,” Chairman, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee, Jagmohan Singh Raina said in a statement issued here.

He said it was “unfortunate” that the government is maintaining “silence” on the issue.

“We urge the state and central governments to go for fresh a probe into the incident. If they fail to do so, then we will consider it as a huge injustice with the Sikhs of Kashmir,” Raina said.

“We will not rest till the real culprits of the massacre are brought to justice,” he vowed.

After the massacre on 20 March 2000 in Chattisinghpora village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, the security forces claimed to have killed five “militants” responsible for the murder of the Sikhs at a nearby village.

However, a CBI inquiry, ordered by the state government after massive protests, revealed that the deceased were civilians who were abducted and killed in a fake encounter.


The Hindu – Don’t declare Gilgit-Baltistan as a province, separatists warn Pakistan

India, Pakistan have no right to alter geographical status of J&K, they say

Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar, 18 March 2017. Separatists on Friday opposed the Pakistan government’s move to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province.

In a joint statement, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik said, “Kashmir, Ladakh, Jammu, Azad Kashmir [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir] and Gilgit-Baltistan is a single entity.”

The separatists said since the political destiny of Jammu and Kashmir was yet to be decided any proposal to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as the fifth State of Pakistan was “unacceptable.”

Referring to Pakistan as “a prime party to the Kashmir issue”, the separatists said such a step may hamper the disputed status of Kashmir.

“We hail the role of Pakistan regarding the issue in international fora. However, any deviation in its stance about Kashmir and its geographical entity is improper and will prove detrimental for the Kashmir cause.”

They said no division, alteration and changes were acceptable unless the people of erstwhile J&K get an opportunity to decide the future course of the State through a referendum. “Both India and Pakistan have no authority or right to alter the geographical status of the State,” they added.

Mr. Geelani, the Mirwaiz and Mr Malik expressed the hope that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “will fulfil the country’s commitment regarding the geographical entity of Jammu and Kashmir”.

The separatists’ reaction comes days after, a committee, headed by Pakistan’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, had proposed giving the status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan.

The committee suggested that a constitutional amendment be made to change the status of the region, through which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes.

Placed under house arrest

Senior separatist leaders, including Mr. Geelani, the Mirwaiz and Mr Malik, were placed under house arrest on Friday in the wake of their call to hold “peaceful street protests after Friday prayers”.

JKLF chairman Malik, while condemning the police action, said, “Casting or boycotting vote is a democratic right of every human. If the rulers really believe in democracy, battle of ideas and freedom of speech and choice, they should refrain from terrorising pro-boycott people and allow the resistance camp to run a boycott campaign in a peaceful way”.

Two parliamentary constituencies, Srinagar and Anantnag, are having by-polls on April 9 and 12 respectively.


Dawn – Troubled waters: India fast-tracks hydro projects in held Kashmir

Jammu & Kashmir, 16 March 2017. India has fast-tracked hydropower projects worth $15 billion in India-held Kashmir in recent months, three federal and state officials said, ignoring warnings from Islamabad that power stations on rivers flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.

The swift approval of projects that had languished for years came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested last year that sharing the waterways could be conditional on Pakistan clamping down on anti-India militants that New Delhi says it shelters.

Pakistan has opposed some of these projects before, saying they violate a World Bank-mediated treaty on the sharing of the Indus river and its tributaries upon which 80pc of its irrigated agriculture depends.

The schemes, the largest of which is the 1,856-megawatt (MW) Sawalkote plant, will take years to complete, but their approval could prove a flashpoint between the nuclear-armed neighbors at a time when relations are at a low ebb.

“I say the way you look at these projects, it is not purely a hydro project. Broaden it to a strategic water management, border management problem, and then you put in money,” said Pradeep Kumar Pujari, a top ranking official in India’s power ministry.

Pakistan denies any involvement in the 28-year armed insurgency in held Kashmir and has repeatedly urged New Delhi to hold talks to decide the future of the region.

Foreign ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said he would confer with the Ministry of Water and Power on the proposed Indian projects, saying it was a technical matter.

He noted, however, that India would be attending a regular meeting of the Indus Commission later this month in Lahore, even though the broader peace dialogue was on hold.

“It seems that finally India has realised the importance of this mechanism under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) for resolving water disputes related to the Indus water and its tributaries.”

Triple power

Six hydro projects in India-held Kashmir either cleared viability tests or the more advanced environment and forest expert approvals in the last three months, two officials in India’s Water Resources Ministry and the Central Electricity Authority said separately.

Together these projects on the Chenab river, a tributary of the Indus, would triple hydropower generation in Jammu and Kashmir from the current level of 3,000MW, the biggest jump in decades, added the officials, declining to be named because the approvals had not yet been made public.

“We have developed barely one-sixth of the hydropower capacity potential in the state in the last 50 years,” the senior official at the Indian Water Resources Ministry said.

“Then one fine morning, you see we cleared six to seven projects in three months; it definitely raises concern in Pakistan.”

Pakistan’s water supply is dwindling because of climate change, outdated farming techniques and a fast-growing population.

A 2011 report by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said New Delhi could use these projects as a way to control Pakistan’s supplies from the Indus, seen as its jugular vein.

“The cumulative effect of these projects could give India the ability to store enough water to limit the supply to Pakistan at crucial moments in the growing season,” it said.

India says the projects are “run-of-the-river” schemes that use the river’s flow and elevation to generate electricity rather than large reservoirs, and do not contravene the treaty.

Environmental groups have questioned whether the government has followed proper procedures in fast-tracking projects located in a highly seismic area.

Blood and water

Modi told a meeting of government officials on the Indus treaty last year that “blood and water cannot flow together”, soon after India blamed Pakistan-based militants for a deadly attack on its troops in held Kashmir.

Modi’s message was two-fold, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said. Terrorism had to stop and India must fully utilise the economic potential available to it within the Indus treaty.

The projects that have won technical approvals in recent months are Sawalkote, Kwar, Pakal Dul, Bursar and Kirthai I and II.

Most of the projects have been held up for at least a decade awaiting multiple clearances. Sawalkote, which was cleared by a government-constituted environment committee in January, was first given techno-economic approval in 1991.

It is now up for forest clearance from the state authorities, after which the Indian government will finalize financing and begin construction.

Some projects like Pakal Dul were stuck in litigation, but that has been resolved, India-held Kashmir’s Power Minister Nirmal Singh told Reuters in Srinagar. “Things are now in a position of take-off,” he said.

In January, India’s senior federal officials made a presentation on energy security to Modi in which they proposed interest subsidies and long-term loans for hydro projects above 100MW, according to the document seen by Reuters.

But Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People, said some projects had been cleared without impact assessment studies and public consultation.

“It’s on one river, the Chenab, where you are doing so many projects. This is a very vulnerable region. It’s landslide-prone, it’s flash flood-prone, earthquake-prone,” Thakkar said.


The Times of India – India suspends cross-border trade with Pakistan

Jammu-Jammu & Kashmir, 15 March 2017. Indian authorities suspended cross-border trade with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) on Tuesday after Pakistan continued unprovoked ceasefire violation in the border district of Poonch. The firing severely damaged the Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) at Chaka-da-Bagh.

On Monday, the cross-LoC bus service from Poonch to Pakistan’s Rawlakote had been suspended as a “precautionary measure”.

According to TFC officer Tanveer Ahmed, trucks were sent by Indian traders to ‘zero point’ at Chaka-daBagh on Tuesday, but Pakistani authorities didn’t open the LoC gate. “After waiting for some time, we returned,” Ahmed said.

Sources said there was no likelihood of trade resuming on Wednesday. On March 1, Jammu & Kashmir police recovered a cache of arms and ammunitions being smuggled in a truck along the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar route.

A Chinese pistol, two pistol magazines, 14 rounds of pistol ammunition, four AK magazines, 120 AK ammunitions and two Chinese grenades were recovered from a “camouflage cavity” of the truck by police.

Trading between two sides began in 2008 but has since witnessed highs and lows. Pakistan suspended trading in August 2016 without sighting any reason.

On November 2, tension along LoC and the International Border had led to the suspension of trading and the Karvan-e-Aman Bus Service.


The Hindu – Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit irks China

Warns of ‘serious damage’ to relations with India.

Atul Aneja

Beijing, 4 March 2017. The China-India border dispute came into sharp focus on Friday after the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned New Delhi not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, the State which is at the heart of the Sino-Indian dispute in the eastern sector.

China’s sharp response against the visit by the Tibetan leader in exile followed a call by a former Chinese boundary negotiator, who stressed that if the two sides managed to overcome their differences in the eastern sector, the final settlement of the boundary dispute would be well within grasp.

“China is gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a briefing.

He warned that an invitation to him to visit Arunachal Pradesh will cause “serious damage” to Sino-Indian ties. “India is fully aware of the seriousness of the Dalai Lama issue and the sensitivity of the China-India border question.

Under such a background if India invites the Dalai Lama to visit the mentioned territory, it will cause serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and China-India relations,” he said.

‘Stick to commitments’

“We have expressed concerns to the Indian side, urged India to stick to its political commitments and abide by important consensus the two sides have reached on the boundary question, refrain from actions that might complicate the issue, not provide a platform to the Dalai clique and protect the sound and stable development of the Sino-India relations,” he said.

The remarks followed the conclusion of the China-India strategic dialogue, led by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar last month.

Mr Geng’s stand came in the wake of the “carrot” offered by Dai Bingguo, a former State Councillor and China’s Special Representative for the boundary talks, that both countries stood at the “gate” of the final settlement, provided they could overcome their differences on the eastern alignment.

The former official signalled that China was likely to reciprocate in the western sector, which includes the disputed Aksai Chin, if India demonstrated flexibility along the eastern boundary.

“If the Indian side takes care of China’s concerns in the eastern sector of their border, the Chinese side will respond accordingly and address India’s concerns elsewhere,” he observed.

The “eastern sector” dispute is over territory south of the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh, which includes Tawang. The McMahon Line was the result of the 1914 Simla Convention, between British India and Tibet, and was rejected by China.

Referring specifically to Tawang, Mr Dai underscored that the “disputed territory in the eastern sector of the China-India boundary, including Tawang, is inalienable from China’s Tibet in terms of cultural background and administrative jurisdiction.”

“From the perspective of international law, the Simla Accord, as well as the ‘McMahon Line’ which it created, are not only unfair and illegitimate, but also illegal and invalid,” he observed.

Mr Dai highlighted that an Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question, that was signed in 2005 has been “fundamental” in advancing the boundary talks.

He said that this agreement pinpointed that the two countries should make “meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question in order to reach a package settlement.”


Pakistan Today – Merger of Gilgit-Baltistan would amount of stabbing Kashmiris in the back

Wise or unwise?

Ashiq Hussain Bhat

Lahore, 19 Feberuary 2017. Recent news reports from Pakistan suggest that the Nawaz government is mulling the merger of Gilgit-Baltistan with the federation of Pakistan. Such a measure on part of Islamabad would have serious consequences for the rest of Kashmir because it would set a precedent for India to merge Kashmir in a similar manner with the Indian Union.

Gilgit and Baltistan were two separate entities inside the former Princely State of Kashmir. Baltistan was part of Ladakh Wazarat right upto August 1948; and Gilgit was a separate Wazarat (district) headed, as was Ladakh, by a Waziri-Wazarat (a sort of Deputy Commissioner).

In March 1935 the Maharaja of Kashmir leased it out to the British government of India. Since then the British Agent at Gilgit exercised full authority there. In fact the Agent exercised greater control than the Wazir right from 1880s when the British set up an Agency there.

When in 1947 the British decided to withdraw from the sub-continent, and transfer power to Indian hands (Muslim majority Pakistan and non-Muslim majority India) all the agreements, including the Gilgit Lease, between the Indian princes and the British rulers were to lapse, under the provisions of States Memorandum of 12 May 1946, on 15 August, the day of Transfer of Power.

Accordingly, the Maharaja deputed Ghansara Singh, Waziri-Wazarat designate, to take over the administration of Gilgit Wazarat. Ghanara arrived there on 30 July 1947. However, he found himself unwelcome in Gilgit (p.116 Kashmir A Disputed Legacy, Alastair Lamb). He found that no administrative set-up existed in Gilgit, not even in name.

And the only authority that the people of Gilgit recognised was that of the Corps of Gilgit Scouts, a militia of local men raised by Gilgit Agent in 1913, who did not want to be part of the Maharaja’s Kashmir, or part of an Indian Kashmir.

The Indian army intervention in Kashmir on 27 October 1947 prompted the Scouts to take action. Openly supported by their British Officers, Major Brown and Captain Mathieson, and by the Muslim component of 6th Battalion of State Forces, they killed the Sikh component of the State Forces that manned the Janglote outpost; and forced Ghansara to surrender (p.240 The History of Jammu Kashmir Rifles Major Brahma K. Singh).

In the coming days, led by Colonel Shahzada Mataul-Mulk, the new free army of Gilgit, which comprised the Scouts, the Muslim component of the erstwhile State Forces, and other locals, and which they named as Azad Central Forces (ACF), headed towards Baltistan.

En route they liquated the Sikh component of State Forces guarding the Tsari Pass on the left bank of Indus River while as the Muslim component guarding the Tsari Pass on the right bank of the River joined hands with them voluntarily (pp.251 & 258 The History of JK Rifles Major B. K. Singh).

They fought pitched battles in February to May 1948 in and around Skardu with the Skardu Dogra garrison and the troop reinforcements sent from Srinagar and Kargil. Finally the ACF forced the Skardu garrison to surrender on 12 August 1948 (p. 259 The History of JK Rifles Major B. K. Singh).

The ACF had already gifted Gilgit in November 1947 to Pakistan on a plate. Now they gifted them Baltistan also.

Meanwhile, the 1948 Pakistan-India war over Kashmir ended in a ceasefire courtesy of United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP).

Next year, 1949, the two countries agreed upon demarcation of a ceasefire line (LOC since 1972) which passed through the erstwhile Princely State of Kashmir thereby partitioning it into three parts with Pakistan receiving, in addition to Gilgit and Baltistan, portions of Kashmir and Jammu provinces of the State, collectively referred to as “Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)” by Pakistan and “Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK)” by India.

The UNCIP also recommended a plebiscite for Kashmir State so that the final disposition of the State could be decided in accordance with the wishes of its people.

This ascertainment of peoples’ wishes was never effected, India accusing Pakistan of failing to withdraw its forces from State territory as laid down in the UNCIP Resolutions; and Pakistan accusing India of scuttling the process by stalling the appointment of UN-nominated plebiscite administrator.

Since then the State remained a bone of contention among Pakistan, India and Kashmiris which led to wars and internal revolts.

Since January 2016 reports started coming from Pakistan that suggested that the Nawaz Sharif government was seriously considering the issue of merger of Gilgit-Baltistan as the fifth province of the country in total disregard of the consequences this measure would have on the broader issue of Kashmir.

It was given out at that time that the Islamabad administration were concerned about the passage of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through internationally disputed Kashmir State territory of Gilgit and Baltistan. So, if they merged Gilgit-Baltistan with Pakistan, it would serve their economic interests better.

As of now, February 2017, such reports have again started making rounds. The most recent reports on this issue, published by Pakistani newspapers, suggest that the Nawaz government has finalised the plan to merge Gilgit-Baltistan with the endorsement of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly which was convened first time in 2009 under the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order.

Should that happen, the balloon of resistance in Kashmir Valley, nurtured by Pakistan itself, would be deflated. New Delhi administration would make merry.

Despite their long winded rhetoric that Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK belonged to India and were illegally occupied by Pakistan, and that they meant to liberate these by force, the reality seems to be that they fervently desire Islamabad administration to effect constitutional changes for merger of Gilgit-Baltistan (and also AJK) with Pakistan as provinces at par with other provinces of the federation, because this would create a precedent for them (New Delhi administration) to do likewise with the rest of the State which is under Indian administration.

They can easily obtain concurrence for required constitutional changes from the Legislative Assembly of Kashmir which is full of their own people. Probably some sort of nexus has developed on this issue between New Delhi and Islamabad, or Islamabad might not have thought of this merger.

Up until now the Kashmir resistance forces accused India of not allowing a plebiscite in the valley as laid down in the UNCIP resolutions and instead seeking its merger with the Union with the concurrence of unelected assemblies (the Constituent Assembly in 1950s and the Legislative Assembly since 1957).

Now Pakistan has set the process of merger of Kashmir State territories in motion.

They can hardly justify their action on the grounds that the Legislative Assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan is supportive of these measures; and that people of Gilgit-Baltistan wish to be part of Pakistan.

Should they do so, then the New Delhi administration could embark upon a similar adventure; abrogate the Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India; obtain the concurrence of the Kashmir Legislative Assembly; and thereby finally merge Kashmir with the Union of India at par with other States of the Union.

If this were to happen, the people (read Muslims) of Kashmir would have two options available: Either accept the new dispensation hands down and curse Nawaz government; or fight back with more vigour.

If they settle for the second option, it will, in turn, prompt New Delhi administration to seriously consider their options.

They can either do with Kashmiris what Sri Lanka did with Tamils, knowing well that the State of Pakistan, which previously claimed to be the traditional protectors of Kashmiris, would be looking the other way, having themselves stabbed them in the back; and/or, kick out the intransigent elements among them (Kashmiris) across the “LoC” (which would have by now been accepted by Pakistan State as International Boundary) just as they (Indians) kicked out people in 1948-49 across Sucheetgarh into Pakistan.


The Hindu – IEDs kill more commoners than VIPs: NSG

Data show 55% of these devices are set off in public places; in 2016, only 7% of the attacks were targeted at VIPs

Special Correspondent

New Delhi, 9 February 2017. Who are the primary targets of terrorists? VIPs? Security forces? Or ordinary people?

A detailed data analysis carried out by the National Security Guard, a counter-terror and counter-hijack force, show it is the unarmed civilians who often fall victim to IED (improvised explosive device) blasts set off by terrorists across India. The VIPs are the least targeted.

Between 2012 and 2016, anywhere between 49% and 72% of the attacks annually have been targeted at ordinary civilians. In contrast, attacks targeting VIPs were in the range of 1% to 7%.

Minor number

In 2016, only 7% of the IED attacks were targeted at the VIPs. In comparison, 55% of all IED explosions across India in 2016 were targeted at public places. The remaining 37% were against security forces.

The Union government provides security to more than 300 VIPs. While the Special Protection Group provides security to the Prime Minister, the former Prime Ministers and their close family members, the NSG commandos guard those like Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The Centre justifies VIP security in the name of “security threats”, which are assessments made primarily through the Intelligence Bureau. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is a recent addition to the list of VIPs protected by the NSG.

The NSG report said that three VIPs each were targeted in Northeast India and areas affected by Left-wing extremism, one in Jammu and Kashmir and remaining 16 in the rest of India.

In all, 337 bomb-related incidents were reported in the country, the highest in five years.

The States affected by Left-wing extremism contributed the most number of IED blasts at 159, followed by the north-eastern States at 59 and Jammu and Kashmir at 31.

“In 2016, the most preferred targets of Maoists, insurgents and terrorists were public and security forces. Overall, there was an increase in incidents when specifically security forces were the target,” the report said.

In 2016, the number of IED blasts rose from six to 33 in Kerala and from 12 to 32 in Tamil Nadu. Chhattisgarh saw an increase from 39 to 60.

The report was shared with mediapersons on Thursday at an international seminar organised by the bomb data centre of the NSG.

The report said Jammu and Kashmir saw an increase in number of blasts after the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with the security forces.

Type of explosives

“High-grade explosives were used in 83% of all IED incidents. Considerable quantities of low explosives, especially petrol bombs, also saw an increase. From none in 2015 to 12 in 2016,” the report said. The security forces remained the prime target in J&K.

Director-General, NSG, Sudhir Pratap Singh said the force had been organising seminars on counter-terrorism for the past 16 years and this year, representatives from 12 countries attended the conference.


The News – Regional peace to remain elusive till resolution of Kashmir dispute: PM Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad, 5 February 2017. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the dream of peace and prosperity of the people of Pakistan and India will remain elusive unless the Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“We urge India to stop bloodbath in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and allow the holding of free and fair plebiscite under the UN auspices,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a message on the Kashmir Solidarity Day.

The prime minister said Pakistan calls upon the international community to raise its voice in seeking an end to the gross violations of human rights and the reign of terror unleashed by Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Kashmir (loK) and fulfill the promises it made with the people of Jammu and Kashmir 70 years ago.

The Jammu and Kashmir dispute, he said, was the unfinished agenda of partition and remained one of the oldest disputes in the UN Security Council.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the systemic state terrorism and brutal killings of the innocent people of IoK by Indian occupation forces”.

“Use of pellet guns has permanently blinded more than 150 people including women and young children,” he said.

The prime minister said the basic human rights of the innocent people of IoK including the right to life and peaceful assembly had been grossly violated by the Indian occupation forces.

He pointed out that senior Hurriyat leadership had been arrested or placed under house detention and in the last few months around 12000 people had been illegally detained without any charges.

The prime minister said for the last seven decades India had denied the valiant people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir the right to self determination promised to them by the international community through numerous UN Security Council resolutions.

“The people of Pakistan join their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in observing Kashmir Solidarity Day today to reaffirm our moral diplomatic and political support to their legitimate struggle for their basic human rights especially the right to self determination enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions”

Nawaz Sharif said the valiant resolute and determined people of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir had rendered unmatched sacrifices in their just struggle.

“However, all the Indian brutalities have failed to deter the people of IoK from their cause for freedom from Indian subjugation,” the prime minister said.

He said the people of Pakistan and the international community had utmost respect for the people of Kashmir for their unparalleled courage, bravery and persistence in facing the worst kind of state terrorism human rights abuses violence and suppression by the Indian state.

“I salute the sacrifices of the brave and courageous Kashmiri people and reaffirm our firm commitment to Pakistan’s principled stance on Jammu and Kashmir,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said.


The Times of India – PSGPC general secretary staged anti-India demonstration at Nankana Sahib

Yudhvir Rana

Amritsar, 5 February 2017. Many Sikhs in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Sikh’s first master Guru Nanak Dev, led by Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) General Secretary Gopal Singh Chawla held an anti-India demonstration on Sunday.

Chawla, during the anti-India protest which was attended by members of several Islamist militant groups, spewed venom against India and sang hosannas’ in favour of militants carrying out disruptive activities in Jammu & Kashmir.

Intelligence sources told TOI on Sunday that Gopal Singh Chawla who is known to have close relations with terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed, currently under house arrest, took out an anti-India procession and also addressed a gathering assuring Pakistan’s Sikh’s support to militants operating in J&K. He also showed disrespect to Indian national flag.

Notably, every year on February 5th Kashmir Solidarity Day is observed in Pakistan both by Pakistan government and militant organisations spearheading a militant movement in the valley.

According to a video clip in possession with TOI Chawla praised Hafiz Saeed and termed him his ‘Jarnail’ who was fighting for the people of Kashmir.

Intelligence sources who are keeping a watch on the movement of Chawla, being as General Secretary of PSGPC, informed that he (Chawla) was involved in anti-India movement and had close links with Mumbai terror blast Hafiz Saeed.

Sources informed that they apprehend that Chawla could initiate recruitment of Sikh youth from both India and Pakistan for Saeeds’ Jammat Ud Dawa which was now been re-branded as Tehreek Azadi Jammu & Kashmir for militant operations in Valley.

Sources further informed that Pakistan’s ISI had been looking for soft targets among Sikh’s during their pilgrimage to Pakistan on various religious occasions.

“We have already warned about the activities of Chawla who is using a religious platform to implement Saeed’s anti-India plans’ said sources adding that they apprehend Chawla’s attempt to lure gullible Sikhs during upcoming Sikh pilgrims visit Pakistan on the occasion of Baisakhi.


Dawn – Kashmir Day to be observed today

Tariq Naqash

Muzaffarabad, 5 February 2017. The people of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) will observe the ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ on Sunday to reaffirm their support for the struggle of the people of India-held Kashmir for their right to self-determination pledged under several UN Security Council resolutions.

Pakistanis and Kashmiris have been observing the Kashmir Day every year on 5 February without any discontinuity since 1990.

The call to observe this day was first given by then emir of Jamaat-i-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmed and it was endorsed by then prime minister Benazir Bhutto and then chief minister of Punjab Nawaz Sharif.

On Sunday, rallies, seminars, demonstrations and other events, such as speech and essay competitions in educational institutions, will be organised across Pakistan and AJK, notwithstanding the harshness of weather, as an expression of unwavering support to the struggle of Kashmiris.

However, the main event of the day will be the formation of symbolic human chains at five or six points linking AJK with Pakistan, in a loud and clear message to the international community in general and India in particular that Pakistanis and Kashmiris are like “one soul in two hearts”.

Pakistani and Kashmiri expatriates in different parts of the world, mainly the United Kingdom and United States, also hold rallies to voice their support for the oppressed but resilient people of India-held Kashmir.

A special joint session of the AJK Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council has also been convened to meet here at 2pm on Sunday.

Weather permitting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would address the special session and in case he fails to make it to Muzaffarabad owing to inclement weather, his message would be read out.

A special function in connection with the Kashmir Day will be held in Convention Centre Islamabad with Pakistani and Kashmiri leaders among the speakers.

Prime Minister Sharif will host a dinner in the honour of Kashmiri leadership from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) on Sunday night.

On Saturday, AJK ministers and lawmakers visited different camps of Kashmiri refugees and distributed ration packages among them with the cooperation of the federal ministry of Kashmir affairs.

Messages from Srinagar

In their messages on the eve of the Kashmir Day, pro-freedom leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Syed Shabbir Ahmed Shah expressed their gratitude for the government, people and armed forces of Pakistan for their unflinching support to the Kashmiris’ struggle.

“People in India-held Jammu and Kashmir are challenging a big power and Pakistan is the only country that acknowledges our right to self-determination and extends its persistent support to us,” Mr Geelani said.

“But we hope that Pakistan will play more effective and active role in this regard,” he said, asking Islamabad to activate all of its foreign missions to highlight the Kashmir issue and human rights violations in an operative method.

In his message, incarcerated chairman of Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah said that observance of 5 February as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ was “encouraging and praiseworthy”.

Fair plebiscite

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged India to stop bloodbath in held Kashmir and allow holding of free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations, adds APP.

He said in a message for the last seven decades India had denied valiant Kashmiris the right to self-determination promised to them by the international community through numerous UN Security Council resolutions.

The prime minister said the people of Pakistan joined their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in observing the “Kashmir Solidarity Day” to reaffirm the country’s moral, diplomatic and political support to their legitimate struggle for their basic human rights, especially the right to self-determination, enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain has said the dream for peace in the region would remain elusive until resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris.

In a message, Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that the Kashmir Day had special significance this year because the recent uprising in India-held Kashmir, following the July 8 extra-judicial killing of popular youth leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani had shaken the conscience of the international community.