Saturday 30 June 2012

Protest in London against AJK Power Cuts

LONDON (June 30, 2012): About 150 activists from the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) gathered outside the Pakistan High Commission to protest against the long hours of loadshedding in Azad Kashmir and the crackdown by the AJK government on the protesters.

Organised by the UKPNP, the protesters alleged that in some parts of Azad Kashmir there was no electricity for more than 24 hours and the local administration had failed to do anything about this situation. They alleged that hundreds of traders and ordinary citizens have been put behind the bar across Azad Kashmir for raising their voice against the power shortage.

Saqib Rafique, UKPNP senior vice president, said the Azad Kashmir government was taking draconian steps to suppress the democratic right of the people, who had lost all hope in the ability of the government to deliver anything, to protest. He said that the Pakistan People’s Party led government in Azad Kashmir was more concerned about paying visits to Larkana to “perpetuate its rule” and was “totally oblivious” to the plight of the poor, who suffer from deep economic deprivation.

The UKPNP said tens of thousands of Kashmiris migrated to Britain and elsewhere precisely for the reason that Mangla Damn was built on their lands in Mirpur district but Kashmir was not getting the right amount of royalty as well as now it was facing acute power cuts.

Usman Kayani, UKPNP president, called on the Pakistan government to release prisoners in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir and answer questions over the spate of sectarian killings in those areas. He said the situation in those areas warranted attention by media and human rights organisations, as not only the locals were living in danger facing threats from terrorists but they were also at the receiving end of the administration’s brutal policies.

A memorandum was presented to the Pakistan High Commission on the occasion in which the Pakistan government was urged to take effective steps for ending loadshedding in Azad Kashmir.

The News International

Ratta Win Cricket Final at Dadyal High School Ground

The Final Match of a Cricket Tournament was held in Dadyal on 29th June 2012 at High School Dadyal Ground between Youth Cricket Club Ratta and Chinaar Cricket Club. Youth Cricket Club Ratta beat Chinaar Cricket Club. Chinaar were runners up and their player Zain Keyani was awarded a TV. Raja Adeel, captain of Ratta won the brand new motorbike prize (70cc). Chief guests were Ahtisham Kayani PML-N leader and Chaudhary Khalid Mehmood Administrator of Dadyal. Ratta batted first and scored 107 in their 10 overs. Chinaar CC managed only 88 in their 10 overs. Ratta won the match by 19 runs. Photos by Raja Zahoor Arif.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Azad Kashmir economy needs more attention

KARACHI: The Azad Kashmir agricultural sector has the potential to produce tea of global quality if the government initiated an investment-friendly policy to attract foreign businessmen into farming.

Former President FPCCI, Chaudhry Saeed, also a politician of Azad Kashmir, revealed while talking to The News on Thursday at the Karachi Press Club. He added that Kashmir could also grow flowers of an international standard, but regretted that Pakistan had no significant share in the global trade of flowers, which stood at $1.5 billion.

He stressed the need to diversify the existing manufacturing sectors and agricultural products in Azad Kashmir to boost the national economy. Domestic tourism in the valley also needed to be encouraged, he said.

Chaudhry Saeed reported that the manufacturing units in Azad Kashmir have almost closed down because of the expensive electricity and dual taxation, leaving the textile, ghee producing and other such manufacturing units badly affected.

He urged the FBR to review its taxation system towards Kashmir businesses to stem the closure of industrial units. He hoped that a revised taxation policy for Azad Kashmir would help create an investment-friendly environment in the valley. Saeed demanded that the FBR rationalize the taxation system, commenting that the per capita income was still higher in Kashmir as tax evasion by businessmen was not very prevalent. The ex- FPCCI chief pointed out that the power tariffs for Kashmir were also higher by nearly Rs8 per unit, which also needed a rethink and should be receded.

Showing concern over Kashmir’s share in the NFC, he said that Kashmir had received only Rs9 billion during the last year, under the federal divisible pool, whereas its share stood at two percent. He stated that Rs30 billion as per accord should be given to Kashmir. And that Kashmir’s contribution to the foreign exchange reserves stood at $2.6 billion, out of the total $13 billion, through remittances.

Expressing disappointment over the government’s lack of interest in promoting tourism in AJK, he commented that Kashmir could not attract foreign tourists to its valley because of the government’s policy, which did not permit global visitors. However, local tourists should be encouraged to visit Kashmir, which would help boost the local economy of the people. He cited India’s example, where around a million local Indians tour the occupied Kashmir every year, which has allowed the domestic industry to grow. He pointed out that after the 9/11 incident, tourists of the Arab World thronged the Far Eastern countries. Pakistan, which offered greater facilities for tourists and more panoramic vistas, failed to attract any. Unfortunately the government was also not interested in promoting the business of Halal Food, a global trade, he lamented and added that Pakistan also did not place its products on the global market, while Thailand had a greater share, with its improved expertise in exporting products to international consumers.

The former FPCCI President, who is also the Finance Secretary of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), revealed that his party had already prepared an economic plan on how to augment the national economy and enhance productivity, if they came into power.

Tahir Hasan Khan - The News (June 2012)

Monday 25 June 2012

Mother turned away from parents’ evening in Manchester due to face veil

Manchester, United Kingdom: Maroon Rafique missed an important talk concerning her son's university education because she would not remove the niqab

A mother was turned away from a parents’ evening because she was wearing a full-face veil.
Maroon Rafique, 40, was told that for the security and safety of children and teachers at the college there was a ban on any type of face coverings. She was warned that unless she removed her full-face covering, known as the niqab, she would not be allowed into the college to attend.

In the end, a stunned Mrs Rafique was forced to call her husband, who took her place and went with their son Awais, 18.

Mrs Rafique, who has worn the niqab for seven years, said: ‘I’m born in this country and British. Why should what I wear offend anyone? I didn’t want to make any fuss. All I wanted was to find out the information to help my son go to university.

‘I offered to sit at the back or at the front, anywhere where I wouldn’t be seen, if they thought I was going to offend anyone.

‘I was really upset because whenever I’ve visited the college before there’s never been a problem, in fact the tutors have been welcoming and friendly.’

Mrs Rafique, of Whalley Range, Manchester, had been invited to attend the parents’ evening and talk about her son’s education at The Manchester College. But when the mother of two arrived she was apprehended by security staff in the lobby of the college’s Northenden campus. Mrs Rafique, who is married to double-glazing firm boss Abdul, 40, and has a younger son, Ibrahim, 12, said she felt humiliated.

She added: ‘I do get abuse every now and again in the street, which I just have to deal with. However, I was very surprised when I was treated this way by the college.’

Business student Awais, 18, who hopes to take an accountancy course at Manchester University, said: ‘It was really embarrassing when they told her she couldn’t come in. We’ve never, ever been told about any rule about what parents can wear.’

A spokesman for The Manchester College said Mrs Rafique’s concerns were being taken ‘very seriously’ following the incident.

She added: ‘The Manchester College provides a safe and inclusive environment that fosters development and achievement. We apply a single dress code to all college users, including learners and visitors. ‘At all times we need to be able to identify all individuals easily in order to maintain safety and security, and therefore we ask that faces are clearly visible while indoors. Our dress code is reviewed through our quality improvement group and we will take this situation into account at the next review.’

In March, a Muslim woman was barred from serving on a jury because she refused to remove her niqab. The judge said she could not sit on an attempted murder trial because the niqab concealed her facial expressions.

And last year, France imposed a total ban on the full-face veil, introducing fines for anyone who breaks the law.

Reported in The Daily Mail

Sunday 24 June 2012

Saturday 23 June 2012

Friday 22 June 2012

Thursday 21 June 2012

Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan accuses Pakistani leadership of betrayal

Former Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir and President of the Muslim Conference Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan has levelled the serious charge of “betrayal of the blood of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiiri martyrs” against the Pakistani leadership, both the ruling PPP and the Opposition PML-N. He took Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif to task for shouting the slogan of “India Zindabad” at a time when India was keeping 800,000 of its security forces in Occupied Kashmir to maintain its tyrannical hold. Sardar Attique advised him to go to the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam and apologise for this grievous lapse. Turning to the PPP, he bemoaned that along with the PML-N, it was busy trying to form provincial units of the party in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan with the ultimate objective of declaring them as provinces. Sardar Attique sounded a note of warning that any shift in our stand on Kashmir would amount to compromising our water resources and, of course, the national defence. He feared that both the parties had already decided to step back from the country’s principled stand on Kashmir, thus indicating “retreat’ on Pakistan’s ideological frontiers, the atomic power and its friendship with China.
Sardar Attique’s candid assessment of the two parties’ motive – to befriend India even if that meant making a shift in our Kashmir policy or, even, putting the issue on the backburner for an elusive future to be brought forward – is hard to contend with. The PPP’s fateful decision to grant New Delhi the Most Favoured Nation status in order to promote trade relations between the two countries and even allowing it transit trade facility across Pakistan to Afghanistan and beyond, without witnessing any progress on Kashmir, testify to the nation’s apprehensions about their intentions. Sardar Attique was only articulating them. The PML-N is also on record to have openly advocated trade with India without waiting for the Kashmir dispute to settle, negating the age-old stand of Pakistan that there is no question of any trade with India unless it comes round to resolving the Kashmir issue, justly and fairly.
Undoubtedly, Kashmir holds the key to our development and prosperity, nay, the very survival; for therein lie the headwaters of rivers that flow into Pakistan. India is clearly conveying to the world, by its action of diverting our share of water as given in the Indus Waters Treaty, that it is tightening its grip on our jugular vein. Its fallout in the form of countrywide water scarcity is prompting the people to hold violent protests. Mian Shahbaz Sharif had to take emergency measures and install more tubewells to ease the situation. Yet, it is a great pity that our rulers keep extending the hand of friendship to India, without resolving an issue which has plagued relations between the two for decades. Once Kashmir is resolved, even if it opts for India in a plebiscite, then the road is clear for normalised relations, not before.
The Nation - June 19, 2012.

Trouble At LOC: 2 injured in unprovoked Indian firing

MIRPUR: Two civilians, including a woman, were seriously injured when Indian troops opened unprovoked firing on Battal village of Azad Kashmir (AJK) on Wednesday. The targeted area, located on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control within sub division Hajeera, comes within the territorial jurisdiction of district Rawalakot. Police sources, quoting official reports received at the police control room, told The Express Tribune that Indian troops resorted to indiscriminate firing on areas inhabited by a civilian population in Battal sector without any provocation. The firing was reported to have started at 2.55 pm and lasted for three hours intermittently. As a result two local residents, identified as Samiullah and Zeenat Begum, were wounded. The injured were rushed to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Rawalakot where their condition is stated to be critical.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2012.

Friday 15 June 2012

Councillor Waseem Zaffar of Birmingham Awarded MBE

Councillor Waseem Zaffar who represents the Lozells & East Handsworth Ward in Birmingham UK has been awarded an MBE (Member of British Empire) for services to the voluntary sector in Birmingham.

Waseem’s family is from Thub Jagir which is a village in Dadyal. He is the cousin of Raja Noman Kamal, a well known politician in Dadyal.

It's great to see Dadyali's doing us proud and this is an amazing achievement. Masha Allah.

Monday 11 June 2012

Photo Update 09/06/2012

     Photographer: Kaleem Chughtai of Dadyal Online

Sunday 10 June 2012

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