The Indian Express – Don’t misuse money bills, consult Rajya Sabha more: Manmohan Singh in Parliament

By Express Web Desk, New Delhi – India, 18 November 2019. On Monday, the former Prime Minister had criticised the government for the tanking economy and for its “juvenile” shutting off of economic data.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said the role of the Upper House must not be undermined, and it should be allowed more time to study and debate Bills.

“In the 16th Lok Sabha, only 25% Bills were referred to committees as compared to 15th and 14th LS. Regardless of what the other House does, it is crucial for our House to form select committees to ensure Bills received go through detailed scrutiny,” Singh said.

The Congress MP from Rajasthan said misuse of the Money Bill provision should be avoided. “We have seen instances of misuse of the Money Bill provision by the Executive, leading to the bypassing of the Rajya Sabha on important matters. Those on the Treasury benches must ensure this is avoided,” Singh said.

“If not for the efforts of our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the Rajya Sabha would have been reduced to a mere revising House, relegated to a secondary position in the functioning of our democracy. He ensured the closest cooperation between the two Houses, and if that cooperation is not maintained, it will affect the working of our Constitution,” the former PM added.

Singh said the Rajya Sabha was a council of states, and hence it was all the more important that its voice was heard on the crucial issues of the day. “Converting Jammu and Kashmir to a Union territory has far-reaching consequences. The government should consult the council of states before such drastic measures can be considered by the House,” Singh said.

Earlier in the day, the former PM and former finance minister had come out with withering criticism of the NDA government on the state of India’s economy. Blaming the country’s tanking growth on the government’s “mala fide unless proven otherwise doctrine of governance”, Singh wrote in The Hindu that there was a spirit of distrust and helplessness around, which was stifling economic activity.

Singh also criticised the government for “hiding” economic data. “Shooting down messengers of bad news or shutting off economic reports and data is juvenile and does not behove a rising global economic powerhouse.

No amount of subterfuge can hide the performance and analysis of a $3-trillion market economy of 1.2 billion people. Economic participants respond to social and economic incentives, not diktats or coercions or public relations,” he said.

The former PM warned of more difficult times ahead unless corrective measures were taken, including stitching together the social fabric of the country. “Continued increase in inflation combined with stagnant demand and high unemployment will lead to what economists term as ‘stagflation’, a dangerous territory from which it becomes very hard for large economies to recover,” he said.

Singh also said India’s economy was slowing down at a time “when there is a unique and opportune moment in the global economy for India to capitalise”.

He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “set aside his deep-rooted suspicion of industrialists and entrepreneurs and nurse us back to a confident and mutually trustworthy society that can revive the animal spirits and help our economy soar.”

Don’t misuse Money Bills, consult Rajya Sabha more: Manmohan Singh in Parliament

Sikh24.com – CBI books Amnesty International India for violating FCRA; Amnesty terms it as India’s revenge for exposing excesses in Kashmir

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 15 November 2019. About half-a-dozen sleuths of CBI today conducted a raid at Amnesty International’s offices in Delhi and Bengaluru during the morning hours and carried out searches till evening hours. After this, the CBI booked Amnesty International for violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.

Reacting to the CBI’s action, the Amnesty International India has said that it is being targeted for speaking out against human rights violations in the country.

“Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India” reads a statement by Amnesty International India.

“Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights. These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and dissent,” it added.

Amnesty International India is accused of bypassing the FCRA by floating a commercial entity in the name of Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd, which received Rupees 360 million in foreign funds.

CBI books Amnesty International India for violating FCRA; Amnesty terms it as India’s revenge for exposing excesses in Kashmir  

Sputnik – Pakistan moves to embrace its minorities by opening the doors of Hindu Mandirs

New Delhi – India, 18 November 2019. India and Pakistan have opened the Kartarpur Corridor, allowing Indian pilgrims to worship throughout the year at a Sikh shrine in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Pakistan has historically been uneasy with its Hindu heritage but things seem to be changing under the ruling Imran Khan government.

Pakistan’s ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s spokesperson Ahman Jawad has announced plans to restore Hindu places of worship.

The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 resulted in the closure Hindu and Sikh shrines in the country.

A survey by the All-Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement earlier this year revealed that at the time of partition, 428 Hindu mandirs existed in Pakistan but only 20 remain operational.

In April this year, the Pakistan government announced plans to re-open 400 of the 428 mandirs. It also cleared a plan to allow Indian tourists to visit Sharda Peeth, an ancient Hindu religious and cultural site in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Taking another positive step towards the minority Hindus, Jagannath Mandir in Pakistan’s Sialkot city was reopened in July after 72 years.

The changes are not just at the bureaucratic level, but also at the judicial level, with the Supreme Court of Pakistan making judgements in favour of Hindus.

Similarly, in September 2019, Muslims escorted Hindus to a mandir in Ghotki district after riots broke out in the area over an alleged blasphemy committed by a Hindu teacher.

Pakistan also plans to begin the renovation of two to three historic and heritage mandirs every year. The restoration process will begin with two historic mandirs, the 1,000-year old Shivalaya Teja Singh Temple in Sialkot and Gorakhnath Temple in Peshawar.

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201911181077341024-pakistan-moves-to-embrace-its-minorities-by-opening-the-doors-of-hindu-temples-/

The Print – Modi’s new citizenship law will rip open the wounds of Partition

Muhammad Ali Jinnah would be proud of Narendra Modi.

Shivam Vij

New Delhi – India, 18 November 2019. Political language,” said George Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” That would be a fine description of how the Narendra Modi establishment sells its disastrous policies.

It is certainly the case with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, likely to be a law in a few weeks. According to Prime Minister Modi, “There are many children of Maa Bharti who have faced persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. We will stand with those who were part of India at one time, but got separated from us.”

The claim is that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) will somehow finish the unfinished business of Partition. On the contrary, it will only rip open the wounds of Partition.

Maa Bharti’s disowned children

Partition became necessary because there were two different visions of what India should be like after independence. One vision was based on the two-nation theory, the idea that Hindus and Muslims are two separate “nations”. (Wonder why the two-nation theory never saw the Christians, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Bahai as separate “nations”. The logical end should be an eight-nation theory, if not more).

The other vision was that nationhood is not a religious construct. It is geographical. From Peshawar to Puducherry, we were one people united by shared geography and history. We were united in our diversity.

It was this difference of opinion that led to Partition. Pakistan saw itself as a Muslim nation. It didn’t matter that west and east Pakistanis would be separated by nearly 1,700 kilometres of Indian land mass. India saw itself as a secular country that respected all faiths equally. And the country itself did not have a state religion, unlike Pakistan.

This is why Mahatma Gandhi was busy stopping Hindu-Muslim riots that were meant to drive out Muslims into Pakistan on either side. The father of the nation, as also the government of India, was committed to ensuring that Muslims can stay peacefully as equal citizens.

In other words, all the people of this land were the children of “Maa Bharti”, no matter what religion they followed. But Narendra Modi now wants to separate some of “Maa Bharti’s” children from her: Muslims.

If you are a Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian in present-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, you will soon be able to walk into India illegally, or overstay your visa, and become an Indian citizen in six years.

To exclude Muslims from this privilege, just because they are the “majority” community in these countries, is to say that Muslims are not the children of “Maa Bharti”.

What about Ahmadis whom Pakistan considers part of a separate sect and who are possibly far more persecuted than Christians and Hindus? Given that the founding place of the Ahmadiyya sect is in Indian Punjab, Ahmadis make a good case to be included in CAB.

Making Jinnah proud

Defenders of the CAB say it does not make India a Hindu state, because it also welcomes Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. Yet, it does exclude the religion of the majority in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. PM Modi must explain why Muslims in these countries are not the children of “Maa Bharti”.

In practice, the new idea of religion-based citizenship will encourage large-scale migration of people from these three countries into India, reminding us of the wounds of Partition. Since the largest religious minority in Pakistan and Bangladesh are Hindus, most beneficiaries of the CAB will be Hindus.

Simultaneously, the so-called, pan-India National Register of Citizens will target Muslims who are unable to prove their grandfathers were Indian. They will be stripped off their citizenship and put in detention camps. This is worse than the two-nation theory. This is a systematic legal design for the persecution of just one religious minority in India, Muslims.

Hindus come in, Muslims get out. That is the message of CAB and pan-India NRC, when seen together.

After all the Orwellian trickery, CAB and NRC are basically a way of accepting the two-nation theory. The 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is the perfect time to do this. Muhammad Ali Jinnah would be proud of Narendra Modi. It is as if the Partition is still taking place.

Some more Orwellian trickery

Incidentally, the text of the proposed CAB does not say anything about Partition, persecution, leave alone “Maa Bharti”.

If the idea is that someone should be given citizenship because they are facing religious persecution, then they should be asked to prove they were facing persecution. That is how, often with the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, western countries grant citizenship to refugees.

For instance, after CAB becomes law, the Bhandara family in Pakistan, who happen to be Parsis, could walk into India and become Indian citizens. Are they “persecuted” in Pakistan? Not at all. They are part of the Pakistani high society, owners of the Murree Brewery.

Wouldn’t they love it if one of their family members could become an Indian citizen and start Murree Brewery’s operations in India?

So, the idea that CAB is for “persecuted” religious minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh is media spin meant to fool us. The text of the law says no such thing, because the real intention is perhaps not to help persecuted minorities in the three countries. The real intention is to import lakhs of Hindus so that the BJP may play vote-bank politics with them.

On another note, can anyone explain what Afghanistan has to do with Partition? It was not a part of India in 1947. It was never a part of British India. We have always been told that Partition divided India into two countries, India and Pakistan, and a part of Pakistan later became a third country, Bangladesh. So, if CAB is about Partition, what is Afghanistan doing here?

And if Afghanistan can randomly qualify, why not Myanmar? Myanmar (then Burma) was a part of British Indian Empire until 1937. How about giving Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities in Myanmar?

Over 7 lakh Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee to Bangladesh due to ethnic and religious persecution. If an Afghan-Christian from Herat is the offspring of “Maa Bharti”, why is a Rohingya Muslim from Arakan not a child of “Maa Bharti”?

If Afghanistan is included because of the RSS’ idea of Akhand Bharat, why not Sri Lanka? Just because Tamil-speaking Hindus from Sri Lanka aren’t really going to help the BJP win elections in Tamil Nadu?

There are other issues with CAB. Does India really need more people, given it is already one of the world’s most populous countries? And what about security issues? CAB offers a very convenient route for agencies to send spies to India and get them Indian citizenship in just six years.

None of this means India should not give citizenship to refugees. What we need is a comprehensive refugee law that determines how many refugees India can absorb as citizens every year, and the basis for such citizenship should not be religion or nationality. It should be humanity, in keeping with the spirit of the Indian Constitution.

Modi’s new citizenship law will rip open the wounds of Partition

Tolo News – Government criticized for ‘silence’ on China’s Uighurs

Lawmakers said Afghan politicians and the government should not remain silent on such issues.

Massoud Ansar

Kabul – Kabul Province – Afghanistan, 17 November Some members of Afghanistan’s Ulema Council on Sunday criticized the Afghan government and politicians for “silence” on “injustice” against the Muslim community in China.

On Saturday, The New York Times in a report about “organized mass detention of Muslims in China.”

The Times said there are more than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents providing an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

The report says that the leaked documents provide an inside view of the continuing clampdown in Xinjiang, where the authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.

“Unfortunately, in the Muslim world, we do not have a united institution which will represent all Muslims and treat such issues from a powerful position,” said Ghairat Bahir, a Senator and member of Hizb-e-Islami party.

The report says that China’s president Xi Jinping laid the groundwork for the crackdown in a series of speeches delivered in private to officials during and after a visit to Xinjiang in April 2014, just weeks after Uighur militants stabbed more than 150 people at a train station, killing 31.

It adds that Xi called for an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” using the “organs of dictatorship,” and showing “absolutely no mercy.”

“Injustice against Muslims in any part of the world should not be ignored,” said Attaullah Ludin, a member of Afghanistan Ulema Council.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not comment on this report despite repeated attempts.

MPs said that some Muslim countries, including the Afghan government, and individual politicians, are silent to protect their own interests.

“We call on the government and the international community to raise their voice against injustice towards Muslims in China,” said Keramuddin Rezazada, a lawmaker.

“There are some issues, including love for position and power, that shuts their voices,” said Abdullah Qarluq, a Senator.

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/govt-criticized-%E2%80%98silence%E2%80%99-china%E2%80%99s-uighurs

The Tribune – Jammu & Kashmir administration shifts 34 political prisoners from hotel to MLA hostel

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 17 November 2019. As Srinagar reeled under harsh winter conditions, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday shifted all 34 political prisoners, lodged at the Centaur Hotel since 05 August, to the MLA Hostel as the facility lacked proper heating arrangements, officials said.

The winter chill took a toll on the health of the detenues, National Conference, PDP and People’s Conference leaders and prominent social activists, and the security personnel guarding them.

They were lodged at the hotel on the bank of the scenic Dal Lake on 05 August when the central government announced its decision to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and split the state into two Union territories.

Kashmir Valley, including Srinagar City, was reeling under winter chill and witnessed the season’s first snowfall earlier this month.
The seat of administration in the newly created Union territory has moved from Srinagar to Jammu for the winter months.

The administration carried out required modification of rooms in the MLA Hostel on Maulana Azad Road in the heart of the city to accommodate the political prisoners. It has been declared as a subsidiary jail by an order of the J-K home department.

Among the political prisoners are Sajjad Lone of People’s Conference (PC), Ali Mohammad Sagar of National Conference (NC), Naeem Akhtar of the PDP and former IAS officer Shah Faesal.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was on Friday shifted to a government accommodation in the city from a tourist hut located at the foothills of Zaberwan range, officials said here.

The move was necessitated as the approaching winters and frequent power cuts made it difficult to stay in the hut which was converted into a jail after she was detained on 05 August this year.

According to the officials privy to the development, Centaur Hotel, owned by the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), has submitted a bill of nearly Rs 3 crore to the home department for over 100 days of boarding and lodging of the detenues.

The administration has, however, rejected the claims of Centaur Hotel and argued that the facility was converted into a subsidiary jail on 05 August and therefore, government rates would be paid.

The rates sanctioned by the administration would be around Rs 800 per day as against Rs 5,000 charged by the hotel, the officials said.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jammu-kashmir/j-k-admn-shifts-34-political-prisoners-from-hotel-to-mla-hostel/862164.html

The Wire – Why Sikhs don’t see Khalistan terror through Kartarpur Corridor as a serious threat

For Sikhs rejoicing at the fulfilment of a long-awaited desire, it is painful to suggest that they will fall for Pakistani sponsored propaganda.

Chander Suta Dogra

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 16 November 2019. Just as Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular, the world over, were celebrating the opening of the Kartarpur corridor and it was being hailed as the strongest peace move thus far in India-Pakistan relations, fears have been raised in India about the possibility of Pakistan misusing the open access corridor to revive the separatist Khalistan movement in Punjab.

If there are those who see in the Kartarpur corridor a similarity with the ‘fall of the Berlin wall’, an equal number, especially from the strategic circles, say that ‘India has fallen into Pakistan’s trap’.

They say the Pakistan army, which pushed for the opening of the long-standing demand of a corridor, and completed the project in double-quick time because it wants to re-ignite the fires of terrorism in Punjab with the help of expatriate radical Sikhs.

That may well be true. But it would be unrealistic to assume that Punjab will soon be inundated with Sikhs who return from Kartarpur with subversive intent.

This part of the story does not take into account the deep aversion to Khalistan and terrorist violence that has taken root in the hearts and minds of Sikhs after the unrest which ravaged Punjab in the 80s and 90s.

Consider this: As pilgrims began filing into the historic Kartarpur Gurudwara when it opened for the Sikhs of India, their attention was drawn to a glass-encased bomb – a remnant from the 1971 India-Pakistan war – placed strategically on a pillar. A plaque on it stated:

“Indian Air Force dropped this Bomb during 1971 at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Sri Kartarpur Sahib with the aim to destroy it. However, this evil design could not be materialised due to blessing of Waheguru Ji (Almighty Allah). The said bomb landed into Sri Khoo Sahib (Sacred Well) and this Darbar Sahib remained unheart (sic). It is pertinent to mention that this is the same sacred well from where Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji used to get water to irrigate his fields.”

Some stopped to read the words. But Indian journalists reported that most devotees did not take kindly to what they saw as blatant anti-India political propaganda. Devotees from across the globe seemed unanimous in the thought that there should be no ‘dirty politics’ in the name of the Guru.

Some even wanted the offending bomb display to be removed. There were also reports of posters of prominent Sikh separatists such as Bhindranwale and General Shubeg Singh being put up near the shrine in the days preceding the opening of the corridor. These were removed when India protested.

For millions of Sikhs worldwide, the opening of the Kartarpur corridor is the fulfilment of a long-awaited desire to pay respects at the last resting place of Guru Nanak Dev. Just four kilometres from the border and visible on clear days, the historic shrine was taken away from India in 1947 when a line was drawn to partition the country.

For almost seven decades, devotees on the Indian side peered longingly through binoculars at the shimmering gurdwara. To be able to pray and feel the ambience at the holy place is therefore a deeply emotional and reverential experience for all those who are making the pilgrimage today.

So when it is suggested that opening the corridor could pave the way for the return of dark days, most not only scoff at the predictions, but feel the suggestion that Indian Sikhs will fall for Pakistani sponsored propaganda is painful.

The average Punjabi is acutely conscious of the political games being played in the name of the Kartarpur corridor and is wary of being drawn into a quagmire that could potentially disturb the route.

Professor Balkar Singh is a respected Sikh scholar and the director of the World Punjabi Centre in Punjabi University, Patiala. He was among the first to walk across the corridor and pay obeisance at Kartarpur.

Says he, “It is quite obvious that political entities in India and Pakistan, the Pakistani Army included, are all playing politics in the name of the Kartarpur corridor. The security establishment in Delhi is raising the bogey of Khalistan, and some elements in Pakistan may actually try to foment trouble in ham-handed ways.”

He added that the bottom line is that the community is not in any danger of being misled now. “We have suffered huge losses of life and property in the past. Khalistan has no present and no future, so why will anyone permit those bad days to return?”

This is also why recent attempts by expatriate radical Sikh organisations like Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), allegedly sponsored by Pakistan’s deep state, to hold a ‘Referendum 2020‘ on seceding from India has not had an impact. SFJ’s posters on a referendum, seen on the Pakistani side for a while, were largely ignored by Indian Sikhs.

The separatist Khalistan ideology has few takers in Punjab today. The few fringe organisations who claim to be its proponents are finding it hard to survive in an atmosphere where the very word has become anathema for the majority.

As Gurpreet Singh, president of the Kendri Singh Sabha, points out, “Residual fragments of Khalistanis are not even 1% of the population now. Even at the height of militancy, only about 5% of Sikhs subscribed to the ideology.

The talk of reviving the movement is just a bogey drummed up by those who wish to exploit Sikh sentiments for their own politics. To even imagine that patriotic Sikhs will fall for the blatant propaganda being conducted by a section of the Pakistani establishment is hurtful.”

If anything, the desire to keep it going is reason enough for Sikhs to desist from falling for Pakistani propaganda. The fear in Sikh circles today is that the beauty of the gesture from both countries that has come at a rather difficult time in India-Pakistan relations could be marred by the politics over Khalistan.

The Sikh world would rather see the shadow of Khalistan far removed from their holy shrines and many are decidedly uncomfortable that pilgrims to other gurdwaras in Pakistan like Nankana Sahib gurdwara and Panja Sahib have been subjected to anti-India propaganda in the past.

“Kartarpur gurdwara should not be allowed to be used as a platform for Khalistani forces because that is not the purpose of this corridor,” said Gurpreet Singh.

Voices like his are growing. The use of Sikh religious holy places like the Golden Temple in Amritsar for separatist politics in the past brings up bitter memories of its destruction during Operation Bluestar. Memories that the community has put behind.

In July, India shared with Pakistan its concerns about pro-Khalistan elements promoting anti-India activities in a detailed dossier which listed events between 2016 and 2019 that were orchestrated by Khalistani elements.

India pointed out that the four annual Indian Sikh Jathas who visit important gurdwaras in Pakistan every year under a bilateral protocol to visit religious shrines have been regularly subjected to anti-India propaganda during their visit.

Former Pakistan army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg was quoted as having said, “Pakistan army and the government should create trouble for India through Khalistan movement, it is the only way to teach India a lesson.”

But if elements in Pakistan are seeing an opportunity to foment trouble in Indian Punjab through the Kartarpur corridor, Indian politicians are not averse to using it to play with Sikh politics.

One of the first to oppose the Kartarpur corridor is Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, heading a Congress government. At the opening ceremony in Dera Baba Nanak, he warned Pakistan against misusing the corridor to “destabilise Punjab“.

Many see his opposition to the corridor as an attempt to hold the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) responsible for exposing Punjab to trouble.

The political acrimony between the two sides, and its potential implications are being watched with growing unease by the Sikhs. It is well known that one-upmanship between the two parties was one of the reasons for the birth of the terrorist phase in the past and a repeat in any new avatar will be strongly resisted by the community.

Sikh politics is largely that of a minority versus the majority, always a tempting trope for ambitious parties. With the benefit of hindsight, community leaders now want Sikhism to be left alone.

Away from the machinations of unscrupulous politicians on both sides of the border. This only means that the onus of maintaining the sanctity of the Kartarpur corridor and allowing the initiative to thrive and grow in a conducive atmosphere lies with responsible elements in both India and Pakistan.

Chander Suta Dogra is a journalist and author.

This article is utter nonsense: 1) There is no Khalistan terror threat, but there is a strong pro Khalistan movement amongst diaspora Sikhs, who want to campaign in a peaceful manner for Khalistan. The supporters of this movement love India as much as I do, but they are fed up with subsequent Indian governments who have shown no respect for minorities. 2) When I lived in Panjab I met many Sikhs who would prefer greater autonomy or independence of Panjab. 3) The government and its agents keep saying that the Khalistan movement is minuscule, but they seem to be afraid of this minuscule movement. 4) Pakistan propaganda would have no effect on Sikhs if basic demands of the Sikhs like the rewriting of article 25 of the constitution were implemented.
Man in Blue

https://thewire.in/rights/sikhs-khalistan-threat-kartarpur

Dawn – Supreme Court asks government to explain legality of internment centres

Nasir Iqbal

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 16 November 2019. The Supreme Court questioned the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about the functioning of internment centres without authorisation for three months last year during the hearing of a petition on Friday against the KP-Action in Aid of Civil Power Ordinance.

Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who heads a five-judge Supreme Court bench, cautioned Attorney General Anwar Mansoor a number of times that he must satisfy the court about the legality of the matter. Otherwise, he warned, it would cause problems to the government.

And in a lighter vein the chief justice told the AG that he needed to “do more”.

The Attorney General retorted that “in Pakistan we always have to do more”.

The joint challenge to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ordinance, brought by PPP stalwart Farhatullah Babar, rights activists Afrasiab Khattak, Bushra Gohar and Rubina Saigol, seeks scrapping of the ordinance since it “impinges upon fundamental rights”.

In addition to the petition, the larger bench is also seized with the federal government’s appeal against the 17 October 2018, Peshawar High Court (PHC) decision holding the ordinance as ultra vires. The verdict also held as illegal the provincial government’s decisions to continue with laws in the erstwhile Pata and Fata.

The issue cropped up when it came to the notice of the court that the 25th Constitution Amendment came into effect on May 31 last year after removal of Article 247 (7) from the Constitution and merger of both the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) with KP.

Prior to the 25th Amendment, the tribal areas were administered under Article 247 of the Constitution, authorising the president to make regulations for peace and good governance in Fata and Pata.

Later the KP Assembly adopted the Action in Aid of Civil Powers Regulations giving protection to internment centres and other actions taken by the armed forces to deal with terrorism.

The law had also mentioned Fata even though the 25th Amendment had merged both Pata and Fata in KP.

Realising the mistake, the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa promulgated the KP-Action In Aid of Civil Power Ordinance on 04 January this year by giving a retrospective effect to the law from September 2018 and by removing other deficiencies like mentioning of Fata in the earlier regulations.

But the Supreme Court was concerned why the ordinance ignored the period from 31 May 2018, when the 25th Amendment came into effect and provided protection only from September.

During the hearing, Justice Gulzar Ahmed regretted that the federal government granted some rights to the people of Fata and Pata through the 25th Amendment, but the provincial government took away those rights.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa observed that the amendment had done much more than merging Fata and Pata with KP since it had introduced democracy in the erstwhile tribal areas by giving them representation in the assemblies.

The chief justice asked whether the constitution makers provided any transition clause in subsequent laws because after the 25th Amendment the legislature knew well about the mechanism and arrangements under which the internment centres function and that all these systems have to be taken care of by the provinces. Otherwise, the arrangement will be rendered unconstitutional.

The attorney general read out the regulation to establish facilities afforded to interned persons, e.g. visits by family members, letters after 15 days, clothing, imparting skills and rehabilitation.

Anwar Mansoor said he would produce a video at the next hearing to show how internment centres functioned and how international organisations like Unicef were working with them.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked whether the government had evidence that the people being interned were non-state actors.

“No country in the world accepts them any longer since they have no allegiance to any country, except the organisation for which they are working,” Justice Ahmed observed.

The AG said that there were certain things which he cannot disclose.

But the chief justice wondered whether the list of missing persons had been shared with the commission on enforced disappearances. He explained to the AG that the court was not seized with the performance of internment centres, but with the legal status of the arrangement.

Attorney General Mansoor replied that the state had to be protected by taking extraordinary steps and “we have saved the country from miscreants”.

“I will try to convince the court that internment centres are not unconstitutional,” the AG said.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1517012/sc-asks-govt-to-explain-legality-of-internment-centres

PM Imran Khan’s message for Narendra Modi: Justice leads to peace – Injustice breeds anarchy

Faizan Bangash & Sher Ali Khalti

Kartarpur – Panjab – Pakistan, 10 November 2019. With the opening of Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan, the Sikh community in India has been provided easy and direct access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Devji.

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, situated in Kartarpur (Shakargarh, Narowal), is the second holiest place for the Sikh community.

While inaugurating the Kartarpur Corridor here on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan termed it a gift for the Sikh community all-over the world, especially those living in India, from the people and Government of Pakistan. He welcomed thousands of Sikh pilgrims from India in Pakistan and urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue.

Urging his Indian counterpart to give justice to Kashmiris, PM Imran said prosperity in South Asia region was only possible if Kashmir issue was resolved. “It’s just a beginning; let’s hope the relationship between India and Pakistan becomes like it should have been,” added the PM. The premier said Narendra Modi must know that justice brings peace and hatred causes chaos in a society.

He said a leader was the one who brings people together and doesn’t divide them to get their votes through spread of hatred. “When I was elected as the prime minister, I told (Narendra) Modi our biggest problem is poverty.

I told him that if we open our borders, mutual trade will eliminate poverty,” Imran Khan said while addressing the people of both countries at Kartarpur Corridor. He called upon Indian premier to give justice to the people of occupied Kashmir.

Imran said, “Eight million people in occupied Kashmir are being treated like animals. They have been brought under forcible rule of 900,000 Indians troops.” He warned Modi to end injustice as such decisions bring chaos.

He urged the Indian premier to give justice to the people of occupied Kashmir and liberate the Subcontinent. He said the problem of occupied Kashmir had gone beyond a dispute over territory and became a human rights issue.

Once justice was done to Kashmiris and their right to self-determination was given to them, situation of the entire region would improve. “Look at Germany and France, both countries fought wars and killed thousands. Today, their borders are open and trade has brought progress to the region.”

Imran Khan said that justice was only reflected in society of human beings and urged the Indian PM to rid the region of the dispute of Kashmir. The PM also recalled the role of great African statesman Nelson Mandela for playing the role of a leader for his country and uniting the people.

Appreciating the teachings of Baba Guru Nanak Devji in his speech, he said: “There is humanity in the philosophy of Guru Nanak. Humanity is what separates human beings from animals. Our God also talks about humanity and our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent as a blessing for all mankind.”

The PM congratulated the government officials and ministers over swift and on-time completion of the Kartarpur Corridor project. He said, “I learnt a year ago about the value of Kartarpur Sahib. This is the Madina for the Sikhs of the world.”

He said that the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and other departments and ministries concerned worked diligently and completed the project in just 10 months. He said he did not know fully how efficient and capable his government was.

Addressing the ceremony, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said it was a historic moment for Sikhs. “Imran Khan has created history with Kartarpur Corridor; Kartarpur has been opened for Sikhs from all over the world,” he added.

The foreign minister congratulated the Sikh all over the world on opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and welcomed the Sikh pilgrims present at their holy site. He said, “The doors of Kartarpur Sahib are open for the Sikh community.”

The foreign minister said “we need to see today who was sowing the seeds of hatred in the region”. He congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan on the opening of the historic corridor.

Qureshi said, “09 November was also the day when the Berlin Wall fell, which changed the map of Europe”.

The foreign minister said, “If the Kartarpur Corridor can open, then the LoC’s temporary closure can also be ended.”

He said that the way the doors of Kartarpur have been opened, the doors of Srinagar’s Jama mosque should also be opened so that Muslims could pray the Friday prayers there.

Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also forced to thank Prime Minister Imran Khan over opening of the Kartarpur Corridor. Speaking at an event, Modi said Prime Minister Imran had understood the emotions of the Indian people. “I would like to thank the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, for understanding the sentiments of the people of India,” he said.

He said that it had become easier for Sikh pilgrims to go to Guru Nanak’s Gurdwara because of the corridor. “I would like to thank the authorities in Pakistan who helped create this corridor in a short span of time,” he said.

“Imran Khan has made history,” said Navjot Singh Sidhu at the inaugural ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor. He termed it an ointment on the wounds of people who witnessed bloodshed during the Partition.

He called Imran Khan the ‘king of hearts’. He said Alexander the Great had won hearts of people because of fear, while Imran Khan won hearts of people by promoting peace.

He thanked Imran Khan for taking a bold step. He said for the first time in the history, boundaries between the two countries have been dismantled. “No one can deny the contribution of Imran Khan,” said Sidhu and sent Munna Bhai MBBS’s hug for Modi.

He demanded opening of borders so that people could have their breakfast in India, their lunch in Lahore and then return to their homes in India after completing their trade and business tasks.

Former Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh, Bollywood actor and Indian parliamentarian Sunny Deol, Panjab CM Sardar Usman Buzdar, Panjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and other noted figures were also present on the occasion.

Sikh Yatris from different cities of India including Amristsar, Ambala, Patiala, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Chandigarh, Delhi as well as from different nations like Canada, USA, France, England, Sweden were present at the inauguration ceremony.

While expressing their views, Yatris unanimously hailed the project and expressed the hope that further relaxation would also be given to them so that they could visit Panjab as per their will.

Besides, the Sikh community members from Pakistan including former MPA Ramesh Singh Arora, sitting MPA Mahender Pal Singh and others also lauded the role of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in successful completion of the project.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri also addressed the ceremony.

He said the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor was the greatest message of peace after the Partition in 1947. He said the prime minister had fulfilled his commitment to provide access to Sikh community to visit their holy shrines.

He said while being in Baghdad, Baba Guru Nanak used to visit the shrine of Imam Musa Kazim daily which gave a message of harmony as he had devoted his life for peace and harmony.

The Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Harpreet Singh said by opening of Kartarpur Corridor, the 70-year old demand of Sikhs had been fulfilled for what they were thankful to both the governments.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/553558-imran-s-message-for-modi-justice-leads-to-peace-injustice-breeds-anarchy

Sikh24.com – 550th Prakash Purab: Activists demand re-building of historical Gurdwara demolished by Hindu mobs in 1984

By Sikh24 Editors

Haridwar – Uttrakhand – India, 13 November 2019. The Supreme Court verdict in the Babri Masjid Case might have favoured Hindus, but the bench’s citing of Guru Nanak’s visit to Ayodhya has reignited the demand of the Sikhs to rebuild a historical Gurdwara that was demolished in 1984 by Hindu mobs.

Sikhs are asking that if Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s visit to Ayodhya can be an important factor in the Supreme Court ruling, then why not use the same sources used by the Supreme Court and allow re-building of historical sites associated with Guru Nanak’s life, which were demolished by mobs in 1984.

Gurcharan Singh Babbar, who has led the campaign to seek re-building of Gurdwara Gyan Godri Sahib organized a nagar kirtan to the site, but he was arrested at the border. He was allowed to visit the site but under escort. Babbar has been vocal about getting the demolished site re-built, however, till date the local administration has not provided any cooperation.

During the fourth ‘Udaasi’, the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Haridwar and shared a message of humanity there. Gurdwara Gian Godri Sahib was established in the memory of Guru Nanak Sahib’s valuable teachings at Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar.

The Gurdwara was demolished in 1984 and later the site was taken over while carrying out the beautification project of the Ganga River.

Gurcharan Singh Babbar expressed frustration while speaking with Sikh24. “First they demolished the site, then they illegally occupied and now they want us to file a case. It shouldn’t be like that,” he said while talking about the historical site of Guru Nanak’s visit to Haridwar.

“We are ready to face arrests, but we want the entire world to know that the Uttrakhand police arrested a nagar kirtan,” he said.

In addition to Gurcharan Singh Babbar, Karnataka born professor, Panditrao Dharenavar also visited the site and raised awareness of the historical Gurdwara. Professor Dharenavar currently teaches Punjabi while living in Chandigarh. He has made the propagation of the Panjabi language his life mission.

Dharenavar recited Sri Jap ji Sahib ji at Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar and demanded the local administration to re-build the Gurdwara. He held banners while campaigning about the history of Gurdwara Gyan Godhri Sahib.

“I have also written a letter to Chief Minister of Uttarakhand to take steps to rebuild Gurdwara Gyan Godri,” he told Sikh24. “Sikh Sangat of the world is celebrating Sri Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th parakash celebration by visiting Karatapaur and Sultanpur Lodhi but I visited Haridwar and recited Sri Jap Ji Sahib.”

Panditrao, assistant Professor in post graduate government college Sector 46 Chandigarh has been reciting Sri Jap ji Sahib at Har-ki-Pauri every year on the auspicious occasion of Kartik Poornima, the prakash day of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji.

Panditrao Dharenavar is originally from Karnataka but learned Panjabi so well that he has penned down 12 books in Panjabi and translated Sri Jap ji Sahib into the Kannada language of Karnataka. He told Sikh24 that he is committed to get the historical shrine re-built and for that he will visit the site every year.

Obviously the Sikh claim on the site where Gurdwara Gyan Godri was is based on facts, and not on fables about Gods.  But why are we so keen to maintain ‘historical’ gurdwaras in areas where there is only a small Sikh population ?
If we were to have a Gurdwara at all the places where our ten Gurus ever preached we would have loads of real estate without sangat !
Man in Blue

550th Prakash Purab: Activists Demand Re-Building of Historical Shrine Demolished by Hindu Mobs in 1984