The New Indian Express – Pakistan president Arif Alvi, PM Imran Khan reiterate support to people of Jammu and Kashmir

In his message, Alvi said “the United Nations Security Council, through several of its resolutions, has validated the Kashmiris’ right to decide their future through a fair and impartial plebiscite”.

Islamabad Capital Region – Pakistan, 28 October 2018. President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday reiterated Pakistan’s diplomatic and political support for the just cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the official media reported.

In his message, Alvi said “the United Nations Security Council, through several of its resolutions, has validated the Kashmiris’ right to decide their future through a fair and impartial plebiscite”.

Khan said Pakistan would not relent in its moral, political and diplomatic support until the Kashmiris realise their legitimate right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions, Radio Pakistan reported as the country observed ‘Black Day’ to demand the right to self-determination for the people in the Valley.

He called for immediate implementation of the recommendation to set up a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir.


The Statesman – India rules out talks with Pakistan

The spokesperson said Pakistan’s continued support to terrorism was one of the reasons India cancelled the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mahmud Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.

New Delhi – India, 18 October 2018. India on Thursday ruled out talks with Pakistan until the neighbouring country takes credible action against terrorism emanating from its soil.

“Talks and terrorism cannot go together…the onus is on Pakistan to take credible steps and to create conducive conditions by stopping its support to terrorism and dismantling the terrorist infrastructure on its soil,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing.

He was asked if any ‘Track II’ diplomatic initiative was on for engaging Pakistan.

The spokesperson said Pakistan’s continued support to terrorism was one of the reasons India cancelled the meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmud Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.

He said the Indian Army would be in a better position to respond to the Pakistan Army’s statement that it would conduct 10 ‘surgical strikes’ in response to a single such operation by India.

The News – Pakistan wants UN commission formation on Kashmir: Qureshi

Multan – Panjab – Pakistan, 06 October 2018. Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that the United Nations (UN) should constitute a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ to probe atrocities being committed in held Kashmir on the basis of a report recently presented by the UN Human Rights Commission.

While addressing a press conference here on Saturday, he said that the Kashmir issue got limelight following the presentation of the UNHR report.

He said Pakistan had always exposed brutalities of Indian army in the held Kashmir and raised voice for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

Now, the UN report had validated Pakistan’s stance on Indian aggression and cruelties in Kashmir, he added.

The minister said that the UN was the best forum to resolve all international issues.

Pakistan wished that the UN should become more effective for the resolution of the world issues.

He said that he met the UN Secretary General and urged him to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to probe Indian atrocities in held Kashmir.

Responding to a question about Pakistan’s relations with neighbors, the FM stated that it was the wish of every country that it should have good relations with the neighboring countries.

He said that Pakistan wanted good relations with India.

He said that restoration of talks was the best option to resolve all regional issues including poverty, education, and construction of dams.

He asked whether there was any other way out other than talks to resolve issues between Pakistan and India.

He said Pakistan extended offer of negotiations to India as a goodwill gesture.

India agreed for talks but soon after it back-tracked on his pledge.

Responding to another query that the PTI used to criticise the previous government whenever it tried to hold talks with India, he said the PTI never criticised talks for peace.

He said that holding talks for the peace process was different from the relations for personal businesses.

Pakistan also expressed its proposal to open border for Sikh pilgrims, he stated.

There are many Sikh holy sites in the country. Similarly, Pakistanis also wish to visit shrines in India. There are some Buddhist sites in Pakistan. The proposal could help promote tourism.

About his recent tour of the UN General Assembly session, he said that he presented Pakistan’s viewpoint in an effective manner.

To a question about any output of the recent visit of America, the foreign minister said that he observed a change in the attitude of America.

Earlier, the US was criticising Pakistan and issuing warnings on public forums.

He said that he presented Pakistan’s viewpoint to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He added that the relations between Pakistan and the US were improving gradually.

Qureshi remarked that he tried his level best that Pakistan services for promotion of peace be acknowledged at international level.

The foreign minister hailed people for appreciating him over the presentation of Pakistan’s viewpoint in a better way at the UN General Assembly session.

Responding to another question about Shehbaz Sharif arrest, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and courts were independent institutions.

The cases were not initiated during the PTI government but in the tenure of the last government.

He, however, maintained that the PML-N and all others should respect the courts.

To a question about the response of Prime Minister Imran Khan over his visit to the UN General Assembly, the foreign minister said that he appreciated and congratulated him for presenting Pakistan’s viewpoint effectively.

Dawn – Pakistan-India challenge

After the abrupt and bewildering cancellation of a meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers by the Indian government, the speeches by the two foreign ministers at the United Nations General Assembly took on added importance.

Editorial, 01 October 2018. Would Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Sushma Swaraj try and rein in emotion and avoid further escalating tensions or would a fresh crisis in Pakistan-India relations erupt?

For now, it appears that India and Pakistan have stuck to their respective lines: India petulantly and counter-factually blaming Pakistan for the absence of dialogue, Pakistan calling for dialogue while emphasising that such a call should not be interpreted by India as a sign of weakness.

Given the unfortunate build-up to the UNGA, two relatively low-key speeches by the Indian and Pakistanis foreign ministers were perhaps the best that could be expected in the circumstances. What is far from clear is how and when the distance between the Indian and Pakistani positions on dialogue can be bridged.

For Pakistan, the challenge remains the same as it has been for at least two years now: drawing the world’s attention to the state of repression and violence in India-held Kashmir while also being able to discuss a range of other issues with India.

The Pakistani state has rightly insisted that a solution to the Kashmir dispute lies at the heart of long-term peace and stability in the region, but has also acknowledged that several other issues can be addressed in the meantime.

Indeed, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s letter to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, was sensibly crafted and demonstrated a willingness on Pakistan’s part to not impose unrealistic expectations or demands on dialogue with India.

Yet, even though India has seemingly conclusively spurned talks with Pakistan for the foreseeable future, though in the context of South Asia, the foreseeable future can quickly change, Pakistan should continue with its balanced approach.

Arguably, the best possibility for Pakistan drawing the outside world’s attention to the harrowing circumstances that the people of IHK are living in is to maintain a reasonable approach to India in the context of the overall relationship.

For India, between now and the general election scheduled for next year, there will need to be a reckoning with the BJP’s perplexing attitude towards Pakistan’s government.

A reluctance to engage Pakistan in dialogue has been complemented by bellicose statements and a hawkish military approach, but it surely cannot be argued that India is any closer to achieving its goals.

All that the hawks in India have achieved is another wasted few years of opportunity and a region that is more tense than it was before the BJP returned to power.

If war is not a possibility, and it is categorically not in a nuclear South Asia, then dialogue is the only option.

When will India realise this?

The News – Pakistan courageously highlighted Kashmir dispute at UNGA: Gilani

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 30 September 2018. All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Syed Ali Gilani has said that Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi has courageously highlighted the Kashmir dispute at the United Nations General Assembly and proved to be a friend and well-wisher of Kashmir.

Syed Ali Gilani in a statement issued in Srinagar said that Shah Mehmood Qureshi had once again reiterated Pakistan’s stance that unless the core issue of Kashmir was resolved as per its historical perspective and according to the wishes of Kashmir, dance of death and destruction will have no end.

Reacting to the UNGA speech by Indian Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, Syed Ali Gilani said that it was full of lies, deceit, arrogance and persistent denial of basic and ground realities.

He said, “We are neither surprised nor did we expect anything substantial to be delivered there. Because most people under the toxic influence of power and might, fail to accept truth.”

He said that it was due to the arrogant mindset that India preferred to be in denial mode since the tragedy of Kashmir was born in 1947. Claiming to be the largest democracy with multi cultural society and a fast growing economic hub, it can’t dare to accept the bare and internationally recognized issue only because they believe that they can crush the genuine people’s movement with their military might.

Gilani said lies even repeated for centuries and by the whole world they still remain lies.

The APHC Chairman said that it was expected from India to be in the cocoon of its denial, but ‘we were really surprised that this was deviation from the universally accepted and recognized issue was softly and quietly tolerated, without causing any repels in the conscious and commitment of those sitting and listening in this august house’.

“They very well knew that 18 resolutions presently lying in this office clearly and loudly contradict the gentle lady delivering the sermon on the podium. By doing so, India has not only once again rubbed salt on our wounds, but has put a big question mark on the authenticity and effectiveness of this world forum whose relevance and authority has already faded from past few decades,” Syed Ali Gilani added.

Speaking on the India-Pakistan tension, he said non-resolution of Kashmir is bone of contention between the two nuclear powers and if UN fails to play its role in resolving the grave human issue not only India-Pakistan subcontinent but global peace and stability is under sever threat.

Highlighting the need for a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute, he said the coercive measures, killings, detentions and suppression will yield nothing, instead will lead to devastation.

Terming down the unrealistic and arrogant approach of Indian leadership, Gilani said, “Suppression and oppression won’t deter us from pursuing our mission of right to self-determination.”

The Hindustan Times – India, Pakistan discuss implementation of Indus Waters Treaty projects

The 115th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was held in Lahore on August 29-30

New Delhi – India, 31 August 2018. India and Pakistan have discussed the implementation of various hydroelectric projects under the Indus Waters Treaty during the 115th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) in Lahore on August 29-30, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday.

“As per the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, technical discussions were held on the implementation of various hydroelectric projects, including Pakal Dul (1,000 MW) and Lower Kalnai(48 MW) in Jammu and Kashmir,” the Ministry said in a statement.

“Both the countries agreed to undertake the Treaty-mandated tours of both the Indus Commissioners in the Indus basin on both sides,” it said.

“Deliberations were also held on further strengthening the role of the Permanent Indus Commission on matters falling under the Treaty purview.”

The treaty was signed in 1960 and involves the Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers.

Brokered by the World Bank, the treaty gave the right to use waters of the first three rivers to India and of the other three to Pakistan.

India has said it has the right under the treaty to set up hydroelectric plants on the tributaries of the rivers flowing through its territory. Pakistan fears this might reduce the water flow into its territory.

During the Lahore talks, the Indian side was led by P K Saxena, the Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters.

The Hindustan Times – As Ladakh becomes unsafe, Kung Fu nuns train girls in self-defence

At least 40 girl students, in the age group of 12 to 20, participated in the event and learned the techniques to protect themselves.

Leh – Ladakh – India, 01 August 2018. Fourteen Buddhist nuns, who are specialized in Kungfu, imparted self-defence training to the local girls in a six-day workshop which concluded at Naro Photang Hemis on Wednesday.

At least 40 girl students, in the age group of 12 to 20, participated in the event and learned the techniques to protect themselves.

Reflecting on the motive behind the workshop, the program executive of the organizing body, Rigzin Angmo said that the incidents of harassment against women are increasing with each passing day in the region and Kungfu is a good way to shield ourselves from the social evils.

“Since many years, we have seen an influx of tourists in Ladakh. Ladakh is not a peaceful and safe area anymore.

We have seen many heinous crimes, we have seen many sexual molestation, eve-teasing and it is increasing day by day. In this kind of situation, I believe that when women are empowered and they know self-defence, they can do much better,” Angmo said.

“At least we can have some shield over us. That’s why we thought of organizing the self-defence workshop. At least, girls can feel safer in our homeland,” she added.

Girls, who participated in the event, were ecstatic to be a part of the workshop as they admitted that the workshop has helped them in boosting their confidence.

Talking about the need to conduct such workshops, one of the participants, Padma Youron said that the society is not a safe place and if your confidence level is high then you could deal with any kind of situation.

“During the course of learning Kungfu, my confidence level has increased and we were taught a lot of techniques to tackle social miscreants.

I felt the need to learn Kungfu as the society is not a safe area and if the confidence level of a girl is low then she does nothing to protect herself,” Youron said.

The Hindu – Kathua rape and murder case: J&K Crime Branch files supplementary charge sheet

It includes medical opinion about the effect of sedatives on the victim as well as the location of son of Sanji Ram, alleged to be the mastermind behind the abduction and killing.

Jammu/Pathankot – J&K/Panjab, 30 July 2018. The Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch on Monday filed a supplementary charge sheet before a Pathankot court in the case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old from a minority nomadic community in Kathua, officials said.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) R K Jalla, accompanied by Special Public Prosecutor J K Chopra and other lawyers, submitted the charge sheet before District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh, the officials said.

The charge sheet includes medical opinion about the effect of sedatives on the victim as well as the location of Vishal, son of Sanji Ram, alleged to be the mastermind behind the abduction and killing in January this year. Vishal had claimed he had never visited Kathua.

The Crime Branch has arrested Ram, Vishal and his juvenile nephew, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias ‘Dipu’ and Surender Verma and friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu. All of them were named in the first charge sheet on April 9.

It also arrested Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence. Raj and Dutta have since been dismissed from service.

Destruction of evidence

The supplementary charge sheet has summed up the investigation, alleging that Kumar was not only in constant touch with co-accused Khajuria, but also in contact with Raj.

Raj is believed to have played a pivotal role in striking a deal between Ram and the police for destruction of evidence.

The charge sheet also submitted Kumar’s detailed call analysis to show he shared a common location with other accused on crucial dates of crime and immediately thereafter.

The duration of the calls made and their frequency increased after the rape and murder of the girl, leading to the “irresistible conclusion of knee deep involvement of accused Surinder Kumar with other accused…”, the charge sheet stated.

Cash withdrawn to bribe police’

The Crime Branch also conducted an analysis of the two bank accounts of Ram, custodian of the temple where the child was allegedly confined, and found he made huge cash withdrawals.

Witness statements recorded by the Crime Branch confirmed the accused had undertaken no constructional activity and had no social obligation either, the document said.

The charge sheet alleged that the withdrawals were made to bribe the police officers for destruction of evidence.

Earlier this month, the Crime Branch informed the Supreme Court that it would submit a supplementary charge sheet in the case. The court had given them eight weeks to file it.

The district and sessions court in Pathankot framed charges of rape and murder against the seven accused in the case on June 8.

Ram is alleged to have hatched the conspiracy with the other accused for kidnapping the girl as part of a strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.

Daily News – Elections 2018 and Kashmiri demographics

At a time when India is all set to decimate the Kashmiri youth and disturb the Muslim majority character of Jammu and Kashmir, we have made the gross error of not keeping a count of people of Kashmiri origin in Azad Kashmir’s electoral roll.

Dr Syed Nazir Gilani

Op/Ed 23 July 2018. The last election of May 11, 2013 placed Pakistan on the radar as a country which in addition to Muslims is a home to seven non-Muslim communities. These are namely Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Bahais and Buddhists.

Except for the boycott of some 200,000 members of the Ahmadi community, 1.40 million Hindus, 1.23 million Christians, 5,934 Sikhs, 3,650 Parsis, 1,452 Buddhists and 809 Jews played a crucial role in 96 constituencies. Of the seven minority communities living in the country, Hindus constitute the largest group.

Elections 2018 are being held in a charged political climate. There are accusations of favouritism and micromanagement of the electoral process.

Ahead of the polls, there have been several cries of pre-poll rigging.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is questioning the fairness of the process and the manner in which justice has been administered in its cases. It is understandable that Mian Nawaz Sharif could not be the only erring politician since 1947, who allegedly parked his wealth outside the country.

There is an important community comprising of five generations of persecuted people. They are designated as Kashmiri refugees living in all the provinces of Pakistan.

They are entitled to vote not only for the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan but after the 13th amendment, they also vote for 12 seats in now a 53 member Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

These people fall under the State Subject Law of April 20, 1927. There are other Kashmiris (Pakistanis of Kashmiri origin), who left the State during the famine of 1832 and the epidemic of 1867 and settled in various parts of British India. A majority of them settled in Amritsar and Lahore.

These Kashmiris are entitled to vote in the UN supervised referendum. It is unfortunate that they are not listed in the electoral college of Azad Kashmir or identified for the future UN supervised referendum.

At a time when India is all set to decimate the Kashmiri youth and disturb the Muslim majority character of Jammu and Kashmir, we have made the gross error of not keeping a count of people of Kashmiri origin in Azad Kashmiri’s electoral roll.

We need to counter Indian efforts to bring about an unnatural demographic change by keeping a proper count of people of Kashmiri origin. So far, this threat has missed our attention.

Easily identifiable families of Kashmiri origin in Pakistan are: the families of Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din, the second Governor General of Pakistan, Haji Manzoor Hussain, (1922-1985) also known as Bholu Pahalwan, Mian Amirud Din, Sheikh Masood Sadiq and Sheikh Sadiq Hasan, Javed Iqbal, Agha Hasher, the Sharifs, Ayaz Sadiq (Sheikh), Justice Badiuz Zaman Kaikaus, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, Kirmanis, Agha Husher, Shorish, Dar, Mir, Malik and other families living all over Pakistan.

The PML-N cabinet was full of Pakistanis of Kashmiri origin. Over a crore Pakistani voters of Kashmiri origin are likely to vote in the Pakistan election 2018. A quarter of this number votes for the 12 refugee seats in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

The merits of numerical and qualitative presence of Kashmiris in the National and Provincial politics of Pakistan are not translated in the manifestoes of the major political parties contesting the elections. The PML-N manifesto makes a passing reference to UN resolutions, aspirations of the people and 1999 Lahore Declaration to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

Compared to the PML-N and PTI manifestoes, the PPP manifesto covers Kashmir with a commendable degree of seriousness [centre/italics]

The PML-N manifesto has committed itself to an Aadha Teetar Aadha Bater concern on Kashmir. The first part is a generic routine and the addition of 1999 Lahore Declaration, has its demerits. This declaration has disturbed the core position of Kashmir and has rendered it one of the eight outstanding issues.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) manifesto has included Kashmir among the four basic issues of interest. There is no other qualifying reference beyond this passing mention of the word Kashmir.

As against PML-N and PTI manifestoes, Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) manifesto covers Kashmir with a commendable degree of seriousness.

It makes a proper reference to Kashmir and points out that “We strongly believe that countries that are in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions on matters of international peace and security, such as the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, by no means qualify for a special status in the Security Council.”

Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act, 2018 does not disturb the principal role of the Government of Pakistan in the affairs of Azad Kashmir and its duties assumed under UNCIP resolutions.

Azad Kashmir Assembly has been duly empowered and the Azad Kashmir Government would have massive powers under Article 51-A.

All this empowerment is people-specific and aimed towards better governance and securing self-determination under UN Charter and according to the UNCIP Resolutions through the democratic method of free and fair plebiscite. Pakistan keeps an exclusive control of 54 subjects listed in ‘Part-A’ and ‘Part-B’ of the Third Schedule.

There would be fresh appreciation and appraisal of interaction between the Government of Pakistan and the Government of Azad Kashmir. This change and the ongoing repression in the Indian occupied Kashmir are not reflected in the manifestoes of PML-N and PTI.

The General assembly session of September 2018 is around the corner. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on Kashmir and its endorsement by the UN Secretary General are very serious developments.

It seems that PML-N and PTI have not done the proper homework on Kashmir and have addressed Kashmir simply as a matter of routine. The two parties need to revisit their narratives on this issue.

The writer is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, heads London based JKCHR — NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He can be reached at

FirstPost – Jammu and Kashmir Police detain suspects over stabbing and harassment of Sikh girl

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 09 July 2018. Police have registered a case in connection with the alleged stabbing and harassment of a girl belonging to the minority Sikh community and studying at a university in south Kashmir, and started questioning the suspects.

The girl, studying at the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), Awantipora, in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, has alleged she was stabbed by unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants last week.

The girl, a resident of Tral, also alleged that a group of students, including a woman, put pressure on her to offer prayers during the fasting month of Ramzan and “mentally tortured” her for the past one month to “convert”.

“A case has been registered and investigations taken up,” a police official said.

“Some of them have been detained. We are questioning them,” the official added, refusing to share further details.

Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police SP Vaid confirmed that the police were investigating the matter.

“Case registered. Suspect has been identified and being questioned,” Vaid wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah appealed to the police and university authorities to look into the issue.

“The authorities, both at IUST and the @JmuKmrPolice/@JKgrievance need to look into this and address it. Denying anything happened without even a cursory investigation is not the way to instill confidence,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

A statement from the university refuted the allegations of harassment of the student.

“The university refutes all allegations and requests all the civilised citizens of the country to not take any heed to any rumours and conspiracies of all those mischievous elements who are always there to create mistrust and dilute the harmony and diversity of the country.

These elements are trying to further their selfish interests by creating a divide in society through propaganda,” the statement said.