Category — Kashmir
By Josy Joseph in The Times of India
New Delhi: Kashmiri terrorists and refugees from Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have both received a pay hike. According to latest inputs from various intelligence agencies, Pakistani authorities are now offering terrorists coming to fight in J&K a monthly salary in the range of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000. This is a huge jump from the average pay of Rs 5,000 they were getting earlier.
The reason for this benevolence is obvious. There has been a drastic drop in violence levels in J&K and militancy needs a revival if the separatist agenda has to continue to grab global attention. The number of terrorists in J&K is now hovering around 700, an all-time low since militancy erupted in the state in the late 1980s.
The desperation among terror groups is also visible in the return of Furqan, one of the senior most Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who had been the group’s launch commander based in PoK for some years now. He infiltrated into J&K in April-end with a group but the Army was able to intercept them. Furqan is believed to have successfully evaded the Army and entered the state. His return, after more than four years, is being seen as a sign of LeT’s desperation to carry out a few sensational attacks.
It is not just Kashmiri militants who have got pay hikes. Those staying back in refugee camps of PoK too have been given increased financial benefits. From Rs 1,800 per month, their allowance has gone up to Rs 2,400 a month early this year, sources said.
Thousands of Kashmiri youth moved across the border to PoK in the past two decades for the explicit purpose of becoming trained militants. Many now want to return.
Pak authorities said to be offering Rs 8,000-10,000 a month to terrorists to fight in J&K, up from Rs 5,000
Only 700-odd terrorists in the state now, the lowest since militancy began in the state in the 1980s. The raise is an attempt to get more recruits
Those who crossed over and stayed back in PoK refugee camps getting Rs 2,400/mth against earlier Rs 1,800 Dole hiked to dissuade refugees from leaving PoK camps?
New Delhi: Pakistan is opening the purse strings to fuel militancy in Kashmir. The monthly salary of Valleybound ‘freedom fighters’ has been hiked to Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 from Rs 5,000. What’s more, thousands of Kashmiri youth who crossed over to PoK to train but have stayed back in refugee maintenance camps run by the Pakistan government will now get a dole of Rs 2,400 per month against Rs 1,800 hitherto.
There are no clear numbers, but some estimates say as many as 30,000 could be in PoK, holding state subject facility cards which grants them certain rights. Some have married local girls, and many Kashmiri youth have started small businesses.
While inflation is an obvious reason for the hike in monthly allowance for the refugees, the desire of many of them to return to India may have also been a reason for increasing the allowance, officials speculate.
In 2007, when Indian government opened up a liberal surrender policy for Kashmir, almost 150 of them came back. After a year, the policy was tightened, but sources now say that they are looking at revising it. An exodus of these refugees from PoK to J&K would hit Pakistan’s image, say officials. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/5938412.cms?prtpage=1
May 17, 2010 No Comments
The proceedings at the Deobandi ulema’s recent conference in Lahore must be studied less for its expected refusal to condemn suicide bombings and more for the insight it gives into the psyche of a large section of our powerful ulema community.
Of equal significance are the fissures that came to the fore between hardliners and harder-liners. Evidently, the latter carried the day.
It was gratifying that at least some ulema — among them Maulana Samiul Haq — were cognisant of the negative impact which acts of terrorism were having not on the nation but on the Deobandi image.
While the delegates did indeed plead with the militants to adopt peaceful and democratic means for the establishment of Sharia in Pakistan, a majority of the ulema, according to Nasir Jamal’s reportage (Dawn, May 2), said terrorism would continue to haunt Pakistan as long as “factors and causes” responsible for it continued. What was mind-boggling, however, was the principle some ulema propounded to establish a link between terrorism and government policies.
Briefly, the ulema at the Lahore moot said that the government’s foreign policy was pro-America, and this obedience to commands from Washington in their opinion was the reason behind the militants’ war against the government. That this war against the government and the army translates itself into a war on the state of Pakistan itself was an issue into which the ulema chose not go.
If one were to accept resort to terrorism as a justifiable means for registering dissent against government policies, then every country in this world must be ravaged by terrorism, because there is no government on the surface of the earth whose policies do not have critics. Let us, for instance, see the situation in two of Pakistan’s neighbours — Iran and India — where government policies have diehard foes.
The nuclear deal between America and India was first agreed upon in principle when Manmohan Singh met George Bush in July 2005. It took more than three years for the treaty to go through the various phases of America’s complex constitutional process and approval from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the nuclear suppliers’ group.
The treaty evoked opposition from key members of the Senate and House foreign relations committees, but to my knowledge no senators or congressmen or lobby groups resorted to terrorism or to threats of terrorism to express disapproval of this aspect of the Bush government’s foreign policy.
In India the treaty aroused intense opposition, not only from the traditionally anti-American parties of the Left but also from the extreme rightwing Hindu parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party. The press was equally divided, and influential sections of the print and electronic media came out with highly technical opinions from nuclear scientists who argued that the treaty undermined India’s nuclear programme.
The opposition finally called for the Manmohan government to obtain a vote of confidence, and it goes without saying that the vote saw a phenomenon we in Pakistan are quite familiar with — MPs were bought and convicts brought from prison to cast their votes. All along the intensely emotional debate, no party or group started killing India’s own citizens and blowing up markets and schools and temples and mosques because they thought the Manmohan government had sold India to Washington or to its corporate sector.
To our west, we have a theocracy in Iran, almost as obscurantist and ruthless as Ziaul Haq’s tyranny. The clerics have imposed an ideological dictatorship on Iran, the Internet is censored, foreign channels are banned or shown selectively, there is no opposition press and even government newspapers are often banned when they deviate from the official line.
The economy is in a mess, and crude-producing Iran imports half its oil because of lack of refining capacity. The parliamentary opposition does manage to put its views across, but the real opposition has gone underground. But no opposition group has started killing Iran’s men, women and children and blowing up shopping plazas in Tehran and bombing schools in Isfahan or mosques in Mashhad because President Ahmadinejad is pursuing wrong policies.
It is, however, in Pakistan that some sections of the ulema think that killing our own people is a justified way of expressing dissent against the government’s policies.
Mind you, the government’s perceived pro-American policies do not have opponents merely in the religious right. Even liberal sections of opinion — the recently formed Workers Party Pakistan, for instance — are sharply critical of a continuation of Pervez Musharraf’s war on terror by the PPP-led government. But none of these political parties and elements has justified blasts in Moon market or the blowing up of mosques or a girls’ university to register their protest against the government’s foreign policy.
The religious touch to the ulema’s anti-Americanism is laughable. Just the other day, they were head over heels in love with America, and any opposition to the CIA’s overt and covert operations in Afghanistan was considered heresy because there existed an “indissoluble unity” among the People of the Books.
The ulema know the hurmat Islam attaches to human life. In case some of them have forgotten, the blast in the Rawalpindi Askari mosque on Dec 4 last killed, among others, 16 children.
P.S: For some mysterious reason, ideologically motivated governments, movements and individuals, whether religious or secular — Nazi, Zionist, Taliban — are singularly devoid of the milk of human kindness. The attitude of a large number of Pakistani clerics today reminds us of the Christian church’s cold-bloodedness in burning purported heretics at the stake in medieval Europe. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/ulema-and-terrorism-050
May 10, 2010 No Comments
LAHORE: The water level of a landslide-triggered lake in Hunza is threateningly on the rise, with another village facing risks of a flood, a private TV channel reported on Sunday.
The artificial lake formed out of a landslide, has not only destroyed the Atta Abad village, but also completely covered the villages of Gojal, Aieenabad and Shashkat. The threatening water level may inundate Gulmit, the headquarters of Gojal tehsil, as its low-lying areas are already under water, the channel reported.
The residents of Atta Abad were given a May 15 deadline to vacate the area after experts voiced their concerns that the Atta Abad Lake dam may breach soon. Separately, residents of Hunza district are facing severe food shortages due to a shortage of fuel.
Goods laden trucks have been unable to cross the Chinar Bagh Bridge, due to which fuel cannot be delivered to boats, leaving them stranded. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\10\story_10-5-2010_pg1_3
May 10, 2010 No Comments
MUZAFFARABAD, May 9: The federal government transferred on Sunday the chief secretary of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in a move to appease some leaders of the AJK chapter of People’s Party (PPAJK) who considered him an obstacle to their efforts to reinstate AJK Supreme Court’s non-functional chief justice.
Mr Sultan has been replaced by Muhammad Shahzad Arbab, one of the five BPS-21 additional secretaries in the President’s Secretariat, Islamabad.
Mr Arbab called on Prime Minster Raja Farooq Haider in Kashmir House, Islamabad, on Sunday evening and is likely to take up his new assignment on Monday.
Some top PPAJK leaders, associated closely with President Asif Ali Zardari, had been trying for some weeks to get Mr Sultan ousted from AJK. These efforts were reportedly backed by Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo who has not hidden his leaning for an “out of box” solution to the AJK’s judicial issue.
They (PPAJK leaders) had been constantly convincing their leadership in Islamabad that “despite being a representative of the federal government the chief secretary was not supporting them in AJK and should, therefore, be transferred,” informed sources told Dawn.
Since the chief secretary was abiding by the AJK government he had also become a “persona non grata” in the “R” Block which houses the Kashmir Affairs’ Ministry. Last month, PPAJK president Chaudhry Abdul Majeed used obnoxious language against Mr Sultan in the presence of a PPP MNA and reportedly vowed to get the chief secretary ousted from the AJK.
Simultaneously, a smear campaign was also launched against Mr Sultan by a section of press to which he had served legal notices.
Interestingly, an intelligence agency, whose role in the ‘out of turn’ elevation of Justice Reaz Akhtar Chaudhry as the CJ is an open secret, was also unhappy with Mr Sultan and was reportedly gathering information to prepare grounds for his exit from here, the sources added.
The chief secretary is the most important tool in the administrative machinery of AJK and if he is non-cooperative he can frustrate the working of the government. http://news.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/ajk-chief-secretary-transferred-050
May 10, 2010 No Comments
By Tariq Naqash in The Dawn, May 8
MUZAFFARABAD, May 7: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir High Court disposed of a petition on Friday, challenging the appointment of Justice Reaz Akhtar Chaudhry as Chief Justice of the AJK Supreme Court, “as he stood removed from this office under the report of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), rendering the office of top judge vacant”.
The petition was filed by advocate Karam Dad Khan on March 27, 2007, but the Supreme Court had confiscated the same from the HC registrar’s office on the following day. However, on April 15, this year, the apex court’s acting CJ, Manzoor Hussain Gillani, sent the case back to the HC.
In his decision, after preliminary hearing, HC CJ Ghulam Mustafa Mughal held that since Justice Reaz Akhtar stood removed from the office of CJ from the day when SJC had made recommendations to the chairman of AJK Council (Prime Minister of Pakistan) to this effect, there was no point in issuing a writ of quo warranto. http://news.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/ajk-high-court-disposes-of-writ-challenging-appointment-of-chief-justice-850
May 8, 2010 No Comments
MUZAFFARABAD (APP): The Supreme Judicial Council of Azad Kashmir has summoned the Secretary to President AJK to appear in person before the council and submit the record of April 4 letter written by the President, ordering withdrawal of a reference against the deposed Chief Justice Reaz Akhtar Chudhary and his subsequent reinstatement.
The Supreme Judicial Council summoned the AJK President’s secretary on Friday during the hearing of a petition filed by AJK Bar Council members Raja Sajjad Ahmad and Sardar Muhammad Ejaz Khan under section 42-F, read with section 45 of AJK Interim Constitution Act 1974. The SJC directed the Secretary to President and other three respondents to produce the record of the President’s letter and reportedly filling up a reference against Acting CJ Manzoor-ul-Hassan Gilani, HC Chief Justice Mustafa Mughal and ad-hoc SC Judge Justice Ibrahim Zia.
The Secretary to AJK President could not produce any record before the Council rather objections were raised, which were turned town while Khawaja Farooq Ahmad Advocate on behalf of the SC Judge Justice Khawaja Shahad clarified before the Council that the respondent has no such record.
The other two respondents also did not appear nor any of their representatives could produce such record. The Council then directed the Secretary to President to appear in person before the court and produce record on Saturday. http://thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ts&nid=1131
May 8, 2010 No Comments
THE leaders of the South Asian countries have just gone through another pleasant but sterile Saarc summit meeting in the beautiful mountain kingdom of Bhutan.
Once again, the leaders called it a ‘landmark’ meeting, though there was nothing of note except that Bhutan was hosting the summit for the first time. The summit declaration was as ambitious as any, but if the past is any precedent, it will remain a mere expression of good intentions.
It is this dismal track record that has encouraged the perception that Saarc is a mere talking shop, unable to achieve meaningful headway in implementing its declarations. At the root of this malaise, lies the continuing hostility between Pakistan and India.
While many of its faults could be removed through the revision of its charter and the reordering of its priorities, unless member states demonstrate greater political will and eschew narrow national interests, Saarc will remain the weakest link in the chain of regional organisations that girdles the globe. This pervading atmosphere of mistrust was poignantly acknowledged by the host, Prime Minister Jigme Thinley, when he warned that “fractious and quarrelsome neighbours do not make a prosperous community”.
The summit’s declaration called upon the leaders to ensure that the organisation lived up “to the hopes and aspirations of one-fifth of humanity”. It also adopted the Thimphu statement on climate change, besides unveiling a poverty reduction fund. Leaders signed agreements on trade and environmental protection.
But as in the past, the smaller states were not too thrilled to observe India-Pakistan ties dominating the summit. The Maldives president demanded that the two countries ‘compartmentalise’ their animosities, so as not to impede regional cooperation.
Nevertheless, Thimphu’s idyllic setting did succeed in thawing the ice between the two countries, when it was announced at the end of the tête-à-tête between Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh that they had agreed to revive, without preconditions, the dialogue that had been kept suspended since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Both sides termed the meeting as “very positive”, with Foreign Minister Qureshi gushing that the meeting was “warm, cordial and engaging”. He also claimed that all issues, including Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, were on the table. According to him, Gilani assured Singh that the perpetrators of Mumbai would be brought to justice. In view of the trust deficit between the countries, their foreign ministers were tasked with bridging the gap to “take the process forward”.
Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was more circumspect. She told the media that the two leaders held good talks in a “free and frank manner”, but that Singh expressed concern over the slow progress of the Mumbai trials in Pakistan, adding somewhat ominously that Singh had been “very emphatic that the terror machine needs to be controlled, needs to be eliminated”.
The agreement to resume the dialogue process is a positive development. But the mere resumption of ‘talks to have talks’ is not an occasion to go overboard. After all, the two countries have been talking to each other for the past 60 years, formally and informally, within and outside established formats. Talks are a means to an end, not the end itself. So, the Thimphu announcement has to be treated with caution.
In any case, it should not be forgotten that since the foreign secretaries’ meeting in Delhi earlier this year, India had been signalling its readiness to resume dialogue, but outside the format mutually agreed upon between them as far back as June 1997. Pakistan’s stand, on the other hand, had been that the dialogue needed to be conducted within the established formal, structured format. What led Pakistan to abandon its stand?
After all, India has always been willing to talk; what has been lacking is the commitment to resolving differences. This was painfully evident in the failure of the talks between the Indus water commissioners, which was followed by Indian statements to the effect that Pakistan’s concerns on water were a “gimmick” and a propaganda device, lacking substance and reality.
Even during the Washington nuclear security summit last month, Singh chose to dwell on Pakistan’s transgressions and failures in his meeting with Obama, while Foreign Secretary Rao accused Pakistan of using terrorism as a policy tool, adding that India should not be expected to resume talks until Pakistan was able to “cease its encouragement of terrorist groups that were targeting India”.
What then explains this apparent volte-face, if Qureshi’s claims are to be taken at face value? For one, New Delhi has made no secret of its disappointment with what it perceives is a change in the Obama administration’s attitude to the region. Instead of piling pressure on Pakistan, Washington is now appreciating Islamabad’s efforts and seeking its cooperation, especially in the unfolding post-exit strategy in Afghanistan.
More importantly, since this envisages a planned US drawdown from Afghanistan, but not any diminution of its presence in the region, Pakistan’s role will continue to figure in all American calculations. This explains the anxious flurry of diplomatic overtures by India to Russia and Iran (even Saudi Arabia), to work in concert with them on Afghanistan, which is likely to remain an object of desire not only for Pakistan, but for others, as well.
No less important has been the impact of the Obama administration’s ‘counsel’ to India to resume the dialogue process with Pakistan. How else can Pakistan be persuaded to devote its resources and energies to the western front? Voices have also been raised in India itself, indicating that it cannot achieve global player status while remaining recalcitrant and prickly in its own region.
These developments call for the Pakistani leadership to respond to India’s gesture with maturity, because the resumption of talks does not necessarily represent a change in India’s strategic approach to Pakistan — it is only a tactical modification. Of course, this should not mean the weakening of our resolve to achieve a cooperative relationship with India, but to paraphrase Lenin, we must not confuse form with substance. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/saarc-and-dialogue-650
May 6, 2010 No Comments
The Nation, May 6
ISLAMABAD (Online) – Backdoor diplomacy between India and Pakistan has been restored and in this regard a 10-member delegation headed by former army chief General Jahangir Karamat left for India on Wednesday.
The delegation includes Sherry Rehman, Ahsan Iqbal, Jahangir Badr, Najamuddin, Humayun Khan, Shafqat Mehmood and Aziz Ahmed Khan.
According to a private TV channel, Track-II diplomacy between both the countries has been restored after the deadlock that ensued following Mumbai attacks. The governments of US and UK have played a key role in this regard, as per sources.
Sources further reported that the delegation was divided in three groups: one group, headed by the former army chief, would deal with Kashmir issue; the second was on the issue of trade; and the third group would deal with terrorism.
Diplomatic circles are giving much importance to these initiatives because the process of backdoor diplomacy had started in the second term of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and continued gradually but stopped after the incident of 26/11 it was stopped. The resumption of dialogue after such big hurdles is a good sign, the circles believe.
The Nation, May 6
FOREIGN Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi finally seemed to be making the right noises on Kashmir when he informed the National Assembly that Kashmir was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and Pakistan desired a peaceful solution to the dispute in keeping with UN Resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. If this means a reversal of the confused Musharraf policy on Kashmir and its attempt to delink from the UN Resolutions, then the present policy is to be welcomed. Presumably the government has once again understood that Pakistan’s principled position on Kashmir stems and acquires legitimacy from the UN Security Council Resolutions.
Unfortunately, there are some serious misgivings that also arise in the context of the present government’s policies in relation to Kashmir and India. To begin with, the Foreign Minister’s reference to the “changed ground realities” of Kashmir is the same ominous phrase so often used in the past by leaders determined to shift away from the principle of self-determination. Of course, nothing remains static anywhere so similarly the ground realities in Kashmir keep shifting but there is a constant that has not changed and that is what Pakistan should be highlighting but what the FM has failed to do and that is the fact that Kashmiris today are as adamant to reject Indian occupation as they have been since 1948. Generation after generation of Kashmiri youth continue to sacrifice their lives to rid themselves of India’s brutal occupation. So while the tactical ground realities are constantly in a state of flux, the strategic macro level reality of what the Kashmiris want for their future and continue to reject remains unaltered.
As for the FM’s reference to the composite dialogue being an Indian term of reference, with Pakistan seeking a comprehensive dialogue, the point is that having accepted this nomenclature Pakistan was able to conduct multi-tier dialogues on critical issues simultaneously, including the Kashmir and nuclear issues. Now the Indians clearly want to put all that aside, including whatever progress was made – and certainly there was some – and commence anew dialogue format where they will decide the agenda. Our FM, who spoke vociferously in defence of India’s PM and their innocence on the waters issue, now seems to be preparing to sell us this new Indian dialogue ploy. Clearly he is unaware of the fact that India has just made its intention public of purchasing 126 fighter planes to add to their already massive weapons arsenal to, as the Indian Air Chief put it, “bolster India’s war fighting capability.” So where is the peace that the Indian leadership “desires” according to the Pakistani FM? It is time we awoke to the reality of India’s aggressive designs towards Pakistan and the Kashmiris as reflected in their policies today. Equally important we must never forget that Kashmir remains the essential core issue between the two antagonist states.
The Dawn, May 6
SHAKESPEARE brushed aside semantics by asking, “What’s in a name?” But Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi attaches a lot more importance to the issue. He made it clear in the National Assembly on Tuesday that Pakistan had returned to its “historical” stand on Kashmir. He also said that the dialogue with India will not be referred to as a “composite dialogue” but will henceforth be a “comprehensive dialogue” as Pakistan had originally wanted it to be called. He, however, hastened to add that the eight points specified in the previous format would continue to be addressed as before. One should not worry about these changes in nomenclature as long as they do not indicate a turnaround in the positive thrust in Pakistan’s foreign policy as it has evolved over the years. The fact is that if there is to be peace in South Asia, India and Pakistan must learn to seek peaceful and durable solutions to their disputes. Kashmir — described as the core issue — needs to be addressed and in such a way that the people of the state are included in the peace process, whatever the mutually agreed format. It would be impossible to go back to the specific modalities stipulated in the UN resolutions of 1949 apart from the underlying principle that the wishes of the people should be kept in consideration. The settlement that is agreed upon must have the confidence of the National Assembly. But would it not be unrealistic to expect the two sides to sit at the negotiating table under the media limelight? This would inevitably force them to play to the gallery. That would scuttle the peace process even before it has been resumed.
There are many issues that need to be sorted out between India and Pakistan if the political climate in the region is to be made conducive for amicable talks. Thus Afghanistan, terrorism and the water issues that affect the two countries directly call for a regional understanding as they are so closely related. Islamabad and New Delhi should waste no time in initiating their dialogue so that confidence-building gets under way. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/kashmir-policy-650
The Business Recorder, May 6
EDITORIAL (May 06 2010): The next round of talks with India may not be in the framework of the Composite Dialogue, but all eight subjects, including Kashmir that formed its agenda, would be on the table. The assurance was given the other day by Foreign Minister Qureshi in his statement in the National Assembly, as doubts swirled about in the Capital that the Composite Dialogue forum has been sacrificed in barter for the much sought after Gilani-Manmohan Singh meeting in Bhutan.
Even if so – and that is quite likely given the minister’s claim that the phrase ‘Composite Dialogue’ had an Indian origin – the most critical subject on the agenda of the Composite Dialogue, Kashmir, would be discussed head-on with the Indians. Pakistan is returning to its “historical and principled” stand after “wavering” by the Musharraf regime for 7-8 years when ‘reliance was put on the back-channel diplomacy, without taking parliament into confidence’.
Whether Foreign Minister Qureshi’s stance, so vehemently taken on the floor of the National Assembly, was a disapproval of back-channel diplomacy or an explanation for abandoning the Composite Dialogue forum, one could guess and say it was both of it.
Back-channel diplomacy was General Musharraf’s hobbyhorse, and if former foreign minister Kasuri’s recent disclosures are any guide, quite a bit of “progress” had been made towards resolving the Kashmir dispute. Kasuri says 90 percent of the spadework had been completed and a “final Kashmir settlement was just a signature away, once India and Pakistan decided to pull the file from the rack”.
But where is that back-channel file? Is there a back-channel file at all “beyond Musharraf’s pronouncements of unreciprocated unilateral gestures of flexibility?” And, who will pull it off the rack? Former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad would like to know. Qureshi denies if there is such a file in the Foreign Office.
And, according to Shamshad Ahmad, “that is what always happens when shady deals are struck at non-institutional levels”. Not only General Musharraf’s back-channel diplomacy negatively impacted Pakistan’s known position on Kashmir, it also triggered debate for options other than Settlement of the Kashmir dispute under the UN resolutions.
So much for the back-channel diplomacy, which to say the least, was hardly an honest way of dealing with an issue of momentous importance to millions of Kashmiris and a billion of others in South Asia. Of course, a few CBMs were put in place but they too have gone with the wind as harsh ground realities catch up.
As for the Kashmir and other issues, with India everything seems to be back to square one, leaving Foreign Minister Qureshi with no option but “to recover from the damage done to Pakistan’s case then”. May be, given Pakistan’s present difficulties, there are ‘friendly pressures’ to adjust with India, and to concede its interference in Afghan affairs.
May be the Indian pliability, as exhibited in the Bhutanese capital, is driven by the same incentive and consideration. In that backdrop one may err on the side of believing that the bonhomie witnessed on the margins of the 16th Saarc summit was essentially a transitory thaw.
Having relegated Kashmir to the backburner of back-channel diplomacy, India, of late, is sparing no effort to turn Pakistan into a bone-dry desert, as we see helplessly from across the border. Here, too, Pakistan is becoming a victim of a kind of back-channel diplomacy by agreeing to successive rounds of meetings and talks, in defiance of the Treaty, which clearly defines as to what constitutes a dispute to be resolved by third-party arbitration.
The fact is that both the problem of Kashmir and the violation of Indus Waters Treaty by India have a strong international context; they bypass the United Nations. We need to look afresh into this aspect of our disputes with India and invoke international law at the world forums. No doubt, it would be a long haul task but this is the only right way to deal with India. www.brecorder.com/index.php?id=1053008&currPageNo=1&query=&search=&term=&supDate=
May 6, 2010 No Comments
MUZAFFARABAD, May 4: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir cabinet endorsed on Tuesday Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider’s action of filing a reference against non-functional chief justice Reaz Akhtar and urged President Raja Zulqarnain Khan to either fall in line or face action by the parliamentary party.
“The cabinet endorses and fully supports efforts of Raja Farooq for reforms in the superior judiciary and considers the filing of reference (against Justice Reaz) a timely and appropriate action under the constitution and law,” said a resolution adopted by the cabinet.
A meeting of the cabinet presided over by the prime minister criticised a reported suggestion by the AJK president during his meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari “for initiation of extra-constitutional measures in AJK such as dissolution of the government and elected institutions”.
“We demand and expect from the (AJK) president that he will fulfil his obligation to improve and protect institutions by following the constitution and law and to withdraw his earlier extra-constitutional measures,” the cabinet said.
The cabinet, however, praised President Zardari for “dismissing and discouraging” all proposals and suggestions calling for extra-constitutional actions in AJK. It expressed the hope that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would soon implement recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Council calling for removal of Justice Reaz Akhtar. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/ajk-cabinet-warns-of-action-against-president-550
May 5, 2010 No Comments
SKARDU, April 25: Lawyers have criticised the government for not giving Baltistan division due representation in judiciary and other departments of Gilgit-Baltistan. They sought share of Baltistan in judiciary and all departments according to its population.
Baltistan chief court bar association president Shaukat Ali advocate, in a statement here, said the people of Baltistan had been totally ignored in filling posts in the Supreme Appellate Court, Chief Court, special judges in banking, customs, anti-terrorism, anti-narcotics, excise and taxation courts; no single position had been allocated to Baltistan for the posts of advocate general, additional advocate general, deputy advocate general and assistant advocate general.
He said the people of Baltistan were being denied their due share in other departments like election commission, public service commission and services tribunal etc.
April 28, 2010 No Comments