Militant’s wife fights her temptation to vote

Militant’s wife fights her temptation to vote
November 23rd, 2008 – 9:07 pm ICT by IANS –

Jammu, Nov 23 (IANS) Parveen Akhtar, 22, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri has gone to live with her uncle in an adjoining district to escape persuasion by her relatives and temptation to come out to vote Sunday.Howsoever she wished, Parveen could not venture out to vote and almost “relinquished this right” after she married a top militant of her area, Abdullah Inqalabi.

“I was very excited at the thought of voting when I was in my teens and was waiting for my time, but now after marrying Abdullah I cannot go against his wishes,” she told IANS by phone in a soft Gojri accent.

“Though I have not told this to my husband, somehow I cannot help deeply loving India,” she said.

Parveen has temporarily left her home in Dhakri area in Rajouri district to go and live in Mahore in the adjoining Reasi district.

Parveen’s relatives (from Gujjar community) were all eagerly waiting to cast their votes as “it is going to be a keen contest and every vote is going to count.”

She said: “My relatives were telling me to come and vote as Abdullah would not come to know. But I do not want to lie to him, else Allah will punish me.”

Her husband, Abdullah Inqalabi is a Pakistani national from Gujranwala and had come to Rajouri over five years ago. He was operating in the upper reaches of Rajouri area and was then the divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen’s Pir Panjal regiment, a militant outfit active in this area.

Abdullah now is the top man of the United Jehad Council (UJC) in the area and is coordinating activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Al-Badr and Hizbul Mujahideen’s Pir Panjal regiment.

Parveen Akhtar belongs to a Muslim Gujjar (nomad) family which has not been swayed by separatist movement and has remained by and large pro-India.

“I knew the danger of marrying a militant but it was Allah’s will that I gave my consent,” she said. She added she married Abdullah of her own accord when he approached her father Mohammad Bashir.

Since their marriage over three years ago, both lived together for not more than three months in a staggered way. “He comes to meet for a few hours or at times I go at an arranged point to meet him,” Parveen said.

She does not want to go to Pakistan or get citizenship there as she says she is “fondly attached to this place.”


Indo-Pak secy level talks in Islamabad

Indo-Pak secy level talks in Islamabad
Bhavna Vij-Aurora
New Delhi, November 24, 2008

Armed with a detailed report on investigations into Samjhauta Express blast last year in which 68 people – mostly Pakistani nationals – were killed, Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta has left for Islamabad on Monday.

He will be holding talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Federal Secretary Interior, Syed Kamal Shah on Tuesday. Sources said that though there is not a very rigid agenda for the fifth round of home secretary level talks between the two countries, India is expecting Pakistan to raise the issue.

“Pakistan has raised this issue several times with India during talks at various levels. So far, we did not have anything concrete to tell them. Even now, though things are not very concrete, at least some headway has been made,” disclosed a senior home ministry official.

However, it is also somewhat embarrassing for the Indian side since the needle of suspicion is now on Hindu terrorists, and not the Muslim ones as the investigating agencies had suspected. “We have told them each time that it is probably Bangladesh-based HuJI and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba. Now it will be a complete U-turn,” the official added.

The talks are part of the on-going composite dialogue process between the two countries. The last home secretary level talks between India and Pakistan were held in July 2007 in New Delhi.

Home Ministry’s Additional Director General (Media & Communications) Onkar Kedia said that these talks will be held in the backdrop of recently initiated cross-LoC trade, which is a big step towards bringing people closer. “The talks seek to intensify efforts on the part of both the countries to discuss issues relating to terrorism, counterfeit currency, drug trafficking, exchange of prisoners and visa regime,” he said.

India, Pakistan to review dialogue Wednesday

India, Pakistan to review dialogue Wednesday

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) Days after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari surprised many by his advocacy of no first use of nuclear weapons, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi comes here Wednesday on a four-day visit that seeks to invigorate the peace process between the two countries. This is Qureshi’s second visit to India since he became foreign minister of Pakistan and the first by him since Zardari became president nearly three months ago.

The trip is a continuation of Qureshi’s last visit here June 27 which was cut short due to a tragedy in his family.

Qureshi will hold talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including the acceleration of economic ties, counter-terrorism and the Kashmir issue.

The two ministers will also review the progress in the fifth round of composite dialogue that was launched in the shadow of the bombings outside the Indian mission in Kabul July 7 that put the peace process under strain.

India has blamed Pakistan’s ISI for the Kabul bombings – a charge denied by Islamabad. The two sides discussed this issue in their anti-terror mechanism last month.

Taking a humanitarian view of the release of prisoners and inadvertent border crossers will also figure prominently in the discussions.

India will also take up with the Pakistani side increased infiltration and sporadic violations of the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) that the two sides agreed to on Nov 25, 2003.

The talks between the two ministers will be preceded by a meeting between senior officials of the home ministries of the two countries in Islamabad to discuss cooperation in countering terrorism and drug-trafficking.

Zardari set a positive tone for talks when he announced Saturday that he was in favour of no first use of nuclear weapons against India and supported a nuclear-free zone in South Asia.

In his televised address from Islamabad to a conclave in New Delhi, Zardari spoke about the need for India and Pakistan to accelerate trade and supported visa-free travel between the two countries.

Qureshi will go with Mukherjee to Chandigarh Thursday to jointly participate in a seminar on “Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South Asia”. The trip to Chandigarh is aimed at strengthening the ties between the “two Punjabs” on either side of the border.

He will also visit Jaipur and Ajmer, a town in Rajasthan that is home to the holy shrine of one of the most revered Sufi saints, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.

Sopur tense; Police, CRPF use force to quell protesters

Sopur tense; Police, CRPF use force to quell protesters

Updated at 1430 hours IST

Srinagar, Nov 24: Police and paramilitary CRPF troopers used force to quell the protesters in north Kashmir’s Sopur town on Monday.

Reports said the trouble started when hundreds of people took to the streets, protesting against the killing of two youths in Varmul and other alleged atrocities by troopers from Friday evening.

As the demonstrators were moving towards the main Sopur town, troopers and policemen resorted to baton charge and fired numerous tear smoke shells to disperse them. The protesters were demanding immediate action against those involved in the killing of two youths and release of all the arrested during the anti-poll demonstrations in north Kashmir areas.

Shops and business establishments in Sopur town and adjoining areas remained closed and traffic was off the road. Work in government offices was also affected.

Kangan attack: Policeman succumbs

Kangan attack: Policeman succumbs

Srinagar, Nov 24: A policeman, Ghulam Hyder, who was injured in a grenade attack at Kangan last week , succumbed at SK Institute of Medical Sciences here this morning.

Hyder was among the four people who were injured in a grenade attack at Kangan Bazar on November 21, the last day of electioneering in two Assembly segments of Ganderbal and Kangan, which went to polls yesterday.

Heavy voter turnout sharpens urban-rural divide in Kashmir

Heavy voter turnout sharpens urban-rural divide in Kashmir

Ganderbal (J-K) (PTI): The heavy turnout in the first two phases of elections in Jammu and Kashmir has sharpened the urban-rural divide in the Kashmir Valley with both sides blaming each other for the “political mess” in the state.

In the urban areas, people have boycotted the polls in “response” to calls of the separatist forces and blamed the villagers for the “ills” in their locality, while country folks in large numbers supported the mainstream political parties and voted in their favour saying the state should not be allowed to be in turmoil forever.

During the second phase of elections in this newly created district on Sunday, people from rural areas of the district turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise while only committed party workers in the urban areas mustered courage to enter the polling stations and cast their votes.

Yesterday’s voting was almost the repeat of the first phase of polls held on November 17 in Bandipora district where large number of villagers came out to vote.

“We have come to vote … please do not ask me the reasons but one thing is sure that we cannot continue with strikes, stone-pelting and killing of youth forever. There has to be an end to all this,” Mushtaq Ahmad, a youth from Kangan area in Ganderbal district, told PTI.

Ahmad said although he was all for the boycott call of the separatists when the Amarnath Land Transfer row erupted in June this year, he changed his mind after the treatment meted out to them by the city people on July 13 at the graveyard of the 1931 martyrs.

“The martyrs of 1931 laid down their lives for an end to the aristocracy of the Maharajahs and nobody, mainstream or separatist, should be prevented from paying homage to them,” Ahmad said.

IHK Bar condemns killing of youth by troops in Baramulla

IHK Bar condemns killing of youth by troops in Baramulla

Srinagar, November 24 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the Bar Association has strongly condemned the killing of two youth by Indian troops’ unprovoked firing in Baramulla town.

The Bar Secretary General, Ghulam Nabi Shaheen in a statement issued in Srinagar termed the killing as an act of sheer demonstration of Indian state terrorism. He maintained that such tactics could not deter Kashmiris from continuing their struggle for right to self-determination.

Terming the so-called assembly elections in the occupied territory as a futile exercise, Ghulam Nabi Shaheen said that polls couldn’t be substitute of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. He pointed out that India had been holding farcical polls in occupied Kashmir for the past several decades but could not suppress Kashmiris’ sentiments for freedom.

The Bar Secretary General urged India to adopt realistic approach, give up its intransigence and take steps towards resolving the Kashmir dispute. He also appealed the international community to help stop human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian troops in the occupied territory.