Monday 30 July 2012

Norwegian Ambassador stresses upon Pak-India to resolve Kashmir Issue through Dialogue

Kotli (July 2012): Norwegian Ambassador in Pakistan, Ms. Cecilie Landsverk has stressed upon Pakistan and India to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogues, adding that the Norwegian government will play its due role in prosperity and development of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

“We want that the living standard of Azad Kashmir people should improve” she said.

Ms. Cecilie Landsverk was addressing during the inauguration ceremony of Basic Health Center in Phagwar Mohra established by Rahma Islamic Relief Pakistan.

She said after the 2005 earthquake, Norwegian government concentrated on this region and played its role in rehabilitation and reconstruction work. She said Kashmir is a beautiful place and Norwegian government will play its vigilant role for the development of this beautiful area. She said, “Rahma Islamic Relief Pakistan has done valuable work regarding health and I am pleased that the health center has been established with cooperation of Norway’s organization NORAD.” She said that due to the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) the problems of people have been decreased and help solving the problems of the masses. Before this she inaugurated the health facility which has been established with the cooperation of NORAD in union council Dhanwan.

On this occasion, the Food Minister of Azad Kashmir Javed Iqbal Budhanvi also addressed. He said after earthquake, the NGOs played extra-ordinary role in the rehabilitation. He said that the government will continue support of these NGOs. He said that the government is giving special attention on health and other sectors. On this occasion, the Chairman of Rahma Islamic Relief Pakistan, Muhammad Sagheer Qamar awarding the memorial shield and said Islamic Relief Pakistan has interest to start many new projects in the health filed in AJK and Pakistan, adding that we want to decrease the difficulties of people in health field.

Saghir Qamar said that the health centers were established in AJK after the 8th October 2005 earthquake but due to the shortage of manpower the problems of the people could not be overcome yet. He said that the non governmental institutions should come forward for the provision of best healthcare facilities to the masses.

Memorial shields were given away to the members of Rahma Basic Health Unit Khui Ratta for their best performance.

Dadyal Shops & Stores in England

People that live miles away from Dadyal have named their businesses after Dadyal, whether it's Birmingham, London or Coventry, cities across England have businesses named after Dadyal.

Dead body of Earthquake affected Kashmiri recovered after Seven years

Muzaffarabad (July 2012)
: A dead body of earthquake affected person has been recovered after seven year and eight months from Muzzafarabad, he was killed in result of earthquake of October 2005 in Azad Jammu Kashmir.

The dead body has been recovered beneath the debris of destroyed building of the old jail at bank road Muzaffarabad on Thursday. Police said that the dead body has been recovered during digging for construction, adding that body is not identifiable as only its Skelton remaining. A shawl and Tasbeeh has been found near the dead body however the identification of body is impossible through recovered material. Therefore after autopsy of the dead body, it has been declared as unknown and authorities have buried it.

The building of Muzaffarabad Jail had been completely destroyed in the disastrous earthquake of October, 08. Superintendent of Muzaffarabad Jail Liaqat Hussain Naqvi said that fifteen persons had been killed and approximately one hundred prisoners managed to flee from jail during earthquake. Further he told that out of those, sixty people have come back, remaining are still missing.

It is worth mentioning here that more than 70 thousands people of Azad Jammu Kashmir and Northern Areas of Pakistan were killed in earthquake of October 08, 2005. The officials of Azad Kashmir have no record regarding the missing persons. After the earthquake the dead bodies had been recovered from different areas.

As per the details, two and half years ago in January 2010, the seventeen dead bodies had been found from destroyed bus that was destroyed in result of earthquake near Muzaffarabad. Prior to this, in 2009, one dead body had been found under beneath of debris near Muzaffarabad. While in February 2007, two dead bodies of women were recovered beneath the debris in Chakothi, after that in 2009 a dead body was recovered beneath the debris in Muzaffarabad.

After the eight months of earthquake, eighteen dead bodies had been recovered from a smashed bus from Chal Pani near Muzaffarabad.

Reported by South Asian News Agency

Pakistan Men's Hockey Schedule London Olympics 2012

Monday 30th July 1:45pm Pakistan vs Spain

Wednesday 1st August 7:00pm Pakistan vs Argentina

Friday 3rd August 4:00pm Pakistan vs Great Britain

Sunday 5th August 10:45am Pakistan vs South Africa

Tuesday 7th August 10:45am Pakistan vs Australia

Sunday 29 July 2012

Forced Marriage: Man Threatened to Kill Daughter

Manchester (UK) 28/07/12: A muslim preacher who threatened to kill his daughter after she refused an arranged marriage has been spared jail. Abid Hussain, 56, grabbed his daughter by the throat and said ‘follow my rules or I’ll kill you’ in the row at their home above the mosque he runs in Northmoor Road, Longsight, Manchester.

The victim, Rabiyah Abid, 16, was in a romance with a student she met on Facebook – and had previously run away from home to be with him. She had refused to stop contacting him, prompting her brothers, who felt she had brought shame on the family, to beat her up days after her dad had threatened her, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Dad-of-five Hussain ended up in the dock alongside his sons, Nawab Uddin, 23, and Bahaud Uddin, 21, who is an Islamic scholar. All three men were found guilty of assault. Hussain was also found guilty of making threats to kill, while his sons were cleared of robbery.

The trio were each given suspended sentences by Judge Michael Leeming, who told them that the girl was ‘entitled to make her own decisions and her own mistakes’. The trial heard the girl lived in a ‘very male-dominated, patriarchal household’ where she was ‘exhausted’ by cooking and cleaning.

She had been ‘betrothed’ by her father to his sister’s son in Pakistan at just 15 years old but, in May last year, ended up falling for a student she had met online. In November, while her father was celebrating Eid in Pakistan, the man travelled from London to Oldham to stay with a pal, and the girl left her home to stay with him.

This prompted her brother Nawab to report her missing. When police traced her she told them of her fears that she would be forced to marry when she had finished her GCSEs, and they helped her obtain a Forced Marriage Protection Order, served on her father. On December 26, her father drew the curtains at her home and lunged at her. She later said that she thought she would be killed and ‘put under the ground’.

Andrew Nuttall, defending Mr Hussain, said his client was a ‘most excellent person’ and dedicated community volunteer who ‘fell short as a father’ on one occasion. Mr Nuttall said that the family had been ‘ripped asunder’ by a predicament ‘few mothers and fathers could not relate to’.

The court heard both Nawab, and Bahaud Uddin continue to maintain their innocence to assault charges – and their belief in arranged marriage. Nawab was said to have been a ‘father figure’ to the girl, while Bahaud was said to have kept the family together when their dad was held on remand.

Passing sentence, Judge Leeming said he hoped the three men would ‘reflect on the seriousness of the situation’. Nawab must serve a three-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 12 months’ supervision and 100 hours’ unpaid work. Bahaud must serve a three-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours’ unpaid work.

Ordering Hussain to serve a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for a year, the judge told him that he was a man of ‘obvious standing’ and strict religious and cultural beliefs who had tried to coerce his daughter ‘into conforming to your own beliefs and private arrangements’.

Friday 27 July 2012

Pakistan Athletes at London Olympics 2012

Pakistan has 23 athletes taking part in the London Oympics 2012

Pakistan Cricket Stars want to see T20 Cricket in the Olympics

Olympics 2012: Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik said that he will rooting for his wife and Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, who will be starting her Olympic campaign with women's doubles partner Rushmi Chakravarthi.

"I don't know whether cricket will ever be part of the Olympic Games. But I know that every cricket fan, follower and player wants to be involved and competing in the Olympics. But for now I am praying for Sania's success and hope she wins a gold medal," he said. Malik along with other Pakistan cricketers, meanwhile, pitched for the inclusion of T20 cricket in the Olympics.

"I don't understand why we can't have T20 cricket in the Olympics. I would love to play in the Olympics and be part of it," said wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq hoped that since the ICC was now officially recognised as a federation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), cricket could make a return to the Olympic Games by 2020.

Cricket made a sole appearance in the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, with a two-day match played between Great Britain and France that the former won. But after that cricket has never been part of the Olympics. "It can happen very soon. But I think for that the ICC, its member boards, players and the media, we all need to develop a momentum for the inclusion of T20 cricket in the Olympics," he said.

Misbah admitted that while he would be following the Olympics closely he missed the opportunity to be in London. But with the inception of T20 competitions internationally, there has been a strong voice for the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics and the ICC has also pointed out that it is working towards it.

Former ICC CEO, Haroon Lorgat earlier this year, in an interview, had said that the Twenty20 format was suitable for the Olympics. "We have never had a format that would lend itself to playing in the Olympics until Twenty20 came to the fore. But we will have to look at finding a suitable time slot for it," Lorgat said.

Pakistan's flamboyant all-rounder, Shahid Afridi said that it had always been a dream for him to represent his country in the Olympics and win a medal. "Unfortunately they don't have cricket in the Olympics, but I think it can be done. With the T20 format it is possible. It would be a great boost for the sport if we can have it in the Games," Afridi said. He said every athlete dreams of competing in the Olympics and it was no different with the cricketers.

"If they had T20 cricket in the Olympics it would also boost Pakistan's chances of winning a medal," he said. The Pakistani cricketers, meanwhile, said they will be supporting their hockey team in the Olympics. "We will be supporting them and watching every game. It is hard to escape the Olympic spirit and fever," Malik added. Although hockey is the national sport and has brought home three Olympic gold medals, cricket is the most popular game in Pakistan. Cricket has been played in the Commonwealth Games and was also included in the last Asian Games.

Reported by Cricket Country

British Ambassador: Pakistan 'World Leader' in Visa Application Fraud

The Telegraph UK 27/07/12: The British high commissioner to Islamabad has risked sparking a diplomatic storm after accusing Pakistanis of being "world leaders" in visa fraud. During a news conference to publicise the London Olympics, Adam Thomson said UK visa officials had sifted out thousands of forged documents submitted by Pakistanis trying to obtain travel documents for Britain during the past year. His strong words will anger Pakistanis who are sensitive to allegations that they are visa cheats. “You are world leaders in the visa fraud business which is why we have to check very scrupulously every single application, every single passport, every single document,” said Mr Thomson, who is usually known for a more mild mannered approach to diplomacy. “Last year we weeded out, I think, 4,000 forged documents or false passports.” The issue has already threatened relations this week after revelations in The Sun that passport officials and travel agents in Lahore were selling bogus documents.

The government of Pakistan hit back saying it will sue for defamation and accusing the newspaper of being part of an international conspiracy against the country. With more than one million people of Pakistani origin living in Britain, questions about visa processing, restrictions and delays are a constant feature of news conferences involving British officials. Mr Thomson was peppered with questions about visas even as he kept trying to steer questioners back to the Olympics. In the end he offered the brutal truth that fraud and forgery were “very strong” industries in Pakistan, before recovering to add that fraudulent documents made for a fraction of the 150,000 applications submitted each year and that Britain was satisfied with local visa controls. That was not enough to keep his negative comments from the front pages or from Geo News, the country’s most influential TV station. Javed Siddiq, Islamabad editor of the Nawa-e-Waqt newspaper, said Pakistan was used to being criticised by America but not by such a close ally. “I think this will upset many people, particularly when UK-Pakistan relations are so strong,” he said. “The visa issue has been bubbling all week and the government as well as business people will be frustrated and disappointed that he could say something like this.” No government spokesman was available for comment last night.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “This puts the government on a bit of a sticky wicket. It is one thing to threaten to sue The Sun for defaming Pakistan, quite another to act against the British High Commissioner.” A spokeswoman for the British High Commission said the two countries were working closely to tackle the problem of fiddled applications.

“The High Commissioner raised the incidence of visa abuse stemming from Pakistan, explaining that it was among the highest in the world, although passport and visa forgeries exist in all countries,” she said. “He also warned Pakistanis against using untrustworthy visa agents, who encourage false applications.”

Reported by The Telegraph 

AJK BISE declares Metric Exam Results

MIRPUR (July 2012) - The Azad Jammu & Kashmir Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Mirpur here on Friday unveiled the results of annual matriculation composite examination - 2012.The entire result has been displayed on the website of AJK BISE - soon after its announcement. Besides the results could also be obtained through SMS dialling 5050 by writing AJK - Roll No through all cell networks except Warid. A total of 35,383 out of 57,994 candidates passed the annual Secondary School Certificate composite examination 2012 held under the auspices of AJK Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education Mirpur.“The overall results of the annual matriculation composite examination remained 61.01 percent, declared AJK BISE Controller examinations Prof Mirza Javed Iqbal while unveiling the names of the successful candidates securing first 20 positions in the examination.According to him those passed the annual matriculation examination included 28,132 regular and 7,251 private candidates.He said that a total of 36,065 regular candidates appeared in the examination of which a total of 28132 candidates passed. Thus the overall result of the regular candidates in entire Board remained 78 percent. Similarly a total of 21,929 private candidates appeared in the examination. Of these, 7,251 students qualified the exam. And resultantly the overall result of the private candidates remained 33.07 percent.Unveiling the names of the top position-holding boys and girls students belonging to all groups including Science (pre-engineering & pre-medical), and General Arts groups, Prof Mirza said that Ms Huma Irfan d/o Muhammad Irfan (Roll No. 101793) of the private-sector Kashmir Model College Mirpur secured first position in entire board by bagging 1020 marks out of total of 1,050 marks.Similarly, Ms Isha Tariq, d/o Dr Tariq Mahmood (Roll No 101787) secured second position with 1019 marks.The overall third position in the examination was clinched by two other female students including Ms Madiha Khan d/o Sardar Gulfraz Khan (Roll No. 101786) and Maaza Javed d/o Dr Muhammad Javed who secured 1016 marks each. All these first three positions holding students in the entire Board belonged to the Science group.Among the top-three position-holding boy students Fraz Farooq s/o Muhammad Farooq (Roll No. 124326), Sohair Ahmed Bhatti s/o Liaqat Ali Bhatti, (Roll No. 122642) and Ahsan Muzaffar s/o Muzaffar Iqbal (Roll No. 122613 respectively secured first, second and third positions by obtaining 1013, 1012 and 1005 marks in the entire board.

Reported by The Nation

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Pakistani Passport Scandal Reported By Sun Newspaper ahead of Olympics

According to a news report published in The Sun newspaper (UK) on 24/07/12, fake documents can be used to travel with the Pakistan Olympics squad. Below is the news story as reported by The Sun:

Around 100 suspects have been arrested in Pakistan over the Olympic visa racket exposed by The Sun — but several ringleaders are on the run. Investigators yesterday said they feared passport officials at the centre of the racket had links to potential terrorists and may have given them bogus travel documents to get into the UK. Mohammad Anwar Virk, head of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, said: “We have arrested dozens of suspects and will interrogate them to get access to the mafia leaders. There are hints some of the accused might be affiliated with terror groups. The main aim is to find terror contacts. It will be a bigger issue than it is now if terror links are found.

“We are investigating the terror links and the human smuggling aspect.” Abid Chodhary, the politician who offered a Sun undercover man a dodgy visa plus a letter confirming he was part of Pakistan’s Olympic entourage for £7,000, has vanished from his home. Staff at the Dream Land travel agency, who put The Sun in touch with corrupt passport officials, have also fled.

Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service said: “We have arrested around 100 people.

“We are also getting the details of all Pakistanis who travelled to the UK in recent weeks and will interrogate suspects among them. Intelligence at airports has also been enhanced to make sure no suspect gets a flight.” The Sun told on Monday how we paid a “fixer” £600 for a genuine Pakistan passport in a false name.

Pakistan's president yesterday ordered the arrest of criminals behind an Olympics visa racket exposed by The Sun. A dozen passport officials have been suspended. An aide said Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and President Asif Ali Zardari were appalled after we exposed corrupt officials offering potential terrorists the chance to sneak into Britain with the Pakistan Olympic squad. Rehman Malik added: “The visa scandal is shocking. “President Zardari and Prime Minister Ashraf have asked me to arrest those responsible for defaming Pakistan. Those responsible will be punished accordingly.”

Embarrassed Pakistan officials also rang Downing Street yesterday to confirm they are doing all they can to find the gang ringleaders. A dozen Pakistan passport officials were suspended yesterday and others were taken into custody. Those suspended include the general manager of the Lahore passport office which arranged for an undercover Sun investigator to obtain bogus travel documents for £600.

And senior politician Abid Chodhary, who offered our man a UK visa plus a letter confirming he was part of Pakistan’s Olympic entourage for £7,000, has been banned from leaving the country. The Dream Land travel agency in Lahore, whose staff put The Sun in touch with corrupt officials, was closed yesterday. Arrests are expected soon. Mr Malik said he had personally contacted the British authorities to assure them no terrorists would be allowed to slip into London 2012.

He added: “We love the Olympics and will never allow anyone to sabotage them.” Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service confirmed the racket could have been used by potential terrorists. A spokesman said: “The ISI had reports earlier that the Olympics could be used to send terrorists into UK and Europe but we had made a fool-proof plan to stop this.

“There has been an activity of the militants for the last few months and we have intercepted calls in which militants are discussing Olympics as a tool to get into UK. We have taken people into custody and are interrogating them. The men can give us a clue if they are connected with militant outfits or were just trying to make it to the UK.”

David Cameron said he had every faith in London 2012’s security. His spokesman said: “We are confident that we have the checks in place and the arrangements in place to deal with these issues.” Downing Street said British agents are in Pakistan working with authorities there. The suspended staff are from the NADRA passport centres in Lahore and Islamabad. Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said: “We’re grateful to The Sun.”

Tuesday 24 July 2012

London Olympics 2012 Protest Against Human Rights Violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Protest against Human Rights Violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (Jammu & Kashmir) to be held in London (UK) on Sunday 5th August 2012. The protest is to take place at the same time as India play Pakistan in a game of Hockey at the London Olympics 2012. For more information:

We wish India and Pakistan all the best for the Olympic games but ask your support in telling them loud and clear to stop playing with the lives of 15 million people in Kashmir. All those who watched the recent Channel 4  (British Media) documentary 'Kashmir's Torture Trail' were shocked by the severity of the torture techniques used by the Indian Army against innocent civilians in a desperate and deliberate attempt to strangle any hopes of freedom they have. 

Indian Occupied Kashmir is one of the most militarized place in the world where army civilian ratio stands at 70 to 1000 and upto 100,000 people are killed since the current uprising against Indian occupation in 1987. Laws such as Armed Forces Special Power Act adds into the suppression of civilians of which over 8,000 are found buried in unmarked graves. As documented by the recent Channel 4 documentary 'Kashmir's Torture Trail' and Guardian write-ups, torture is used by the Indian Army to get confessions out of innocent people and terrorize civilians including women and children. 

We are asking support from all people of Britain and others coming to enjoy the Olympics to please ask your governments, parliaments and human rights organisations, trade unions, associations and campaigns etc. to exert pressure on the Indian government to withdraw their occupying armies from Kashmir and let the people of the state decide their future independently.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Manchester City's Kolo Toure Fasting Footballer

Manchester City’s Kolo Touré, a devout Muslim, fasted throughout the beginning month of the Premier League in 2011.

“It doesn’t affect me physically,” Touré admits. “It makes me stronger. You can do it when you believe so strongly in something. A normal human can be without water for much longer than one day.”

Touré highlights a crucial point here. Muslims can garner great strength from prayer and fasting during Ramadhan. The central focus of the holy month is reaffirming and strengthening one’s individual bond with God. The positive effects of this process need not be left at the stadium gates. Just as a lack of water or sugars may disadvantage an athlete, so they might benefit from the heightened focus and energy brought about by spiritual cleansing.

Hashim Amla Ramadhan Special Interview

Does the fasting affect your performance during matches, or if no games are being played in Ramadan, is your training being affected?

Yes, it does affect the matches and training- positively mostly- Alhamdulillah. People get amazed when I tell them that I have learnt so much in my game while I had been fasting. There has been instances on hot and humid summers days in Durban when I had been batting, and I remember thinking to myself with a bone dry mouth and throbbing headache…’when am I going to get out because I cannot handle this anymore’. I went on to make a big score, Alhamdulillah, but I have learnt after passing that stage of thirst and mental fatigue, that the limits we put on the body and mind can, and at times, must be challenged.

What advice would you give Muslim youth who are busy with studies/work/etc and find it difficult during the month of Ramadan?

I think time and energy management is key for us. I try and do my activities later in the day.

The truth is, Ramadan is a rewarding and testing month for all and experiencing difficulty and weakness is, I believe, one of the means of creating humility and submission in us to our lord. So when it’s tough, I am thinking sabr.

What do your other team mates have to say about Ramadan? Do they think it’s an issue that you fast?

There is no real issue and all I try and do is create a better understanding in their minds. Some have asked the significance of fasting, and I explain to them that this practise is not just in the Islamic faith, but in most of the world religions as a way of instilling discipline and God consciousness and that we believe Islam to be the final revelation to humanity. Other guys are just amazed that we don’t eat food or drink the whole day and still play cricket.

Does Ramadan provide extra opportunities for giving Dawah and speaking to non-Muslims about the beauty of Islam? Yes indeed. Alhamdulillah.

What are your favourite verses from the Holy Quran?

Ala bidhikrillahi tutma innul quloob (13:28)
La in shakartum la azeedanna kum (14:7)
Innallaha ma’as saabireen (2:153)

Who is your favourite reciter of the Holy Quran?

I love Sheikh Mishari Raashid. I enjoy listening to Sheikh Abdullah al-Matrood.

What general advice would you like to give the Muslim youth out there?

Let us strive to keep good friends, those that encourage towards the path of faith and knowledge. In our daily life we have interactions and the best form of attraction and understanding of Islam we can offer is that of the beloved Messenger (saw) and he (saw) has mentioned: “ballighoo anni wa lo aayah” – “Convey from me even if it be a single aayah”

May Allah make it easy for us to follow the way of His Prophet (saw).

Interview by:

Hashim Amla Scores Triple Century against England

Hashim Amla scored 311 not out, the HIGHEST SCORE by a South African batsman in the history of Test Cricket. Masha Allah an amazing achievement against a very strong English bowling attack playing in England. Allah (Swt) Gives Success to the patient and hard working believers, alhumdolillah, an amazing record for Amla who might have been fasting during the innings which was spread over three days of Test Cricket! Success at the highest level, playing against the number 1 ranked Test team in the world (England), in the most challenging form of the game Test Cricket, Hashim Amla has really improved as a cricketer over the years and this is a real high for him.

Friday 20 July 2012

Hashim Amla: A True Role Model for Muslims

July 2012, London: A True Role Model for Muslims: Hashim Amla, South African cricketer might be fasting (in Ramadhan) whilst playing against England in a Test Match. Hashim Amla is currently 47 not out at close of play on Day 2 of the Test Match between England and South Africa being played at The Oval in London. Test cricket is usually played from 10am till 6pm or slightly later. The fasting hours (daylight) in UK are 18 hours so it would be amazing if he is fasting whilst playing. Many players in the past have missed fasts whilst playing cricket. However, he is away from South Africa so he is also travelling and that could potentially excuse him from fasting (depending on circumstances relating to duration of stay). Hashim Amla is a star batsman, averaging 47 in Test cricket and 56 in ODI cricket. Hashim went on to score 311*.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Raja Nomal Kamal & Raja Naveed Akhtar Goga of PML-N discuss Party Matters in Birmingham

Muslim League N AJK Activist Raja Noman Kamal discussed party matters with Muslim League N AJK candidate for LA4 Khurree Shareef constituency, Raja Naveed Akhtar Goga in Birmingham (July 2012). The meeting highlighted the importance of empowering young activists to play a greater role in party campaigning.

Raja Naveed Akhtar Goga raised concerns about the failures of the current PPP Government in AJK in particular the issues surrounding constant load shedding of electricity.

Metric Exam Results July 2012

Top Positions (General) Boys & Girls Metric Exams

Highest Marks Female 952/1050 - Summera Kouser, Mirpur.

Highest Marks Male 899/1050 Muhammad Ehtisham of Mohra Kanyal, Dadyal.

WELL DONE MUHAMMAD EHTISHAM of Dadyal for taking first place.


Sunday 15 July 2012

Thursday 12 July 2012

Chaos at Visa Application Centre in Mirpur ahead of Immigration Rules Change

MIRPUR: There was a chaotic scene in Mirpur on Friday 6th July 2012 which was the last day to submit visa applications before changes in Immigration Rules were introduced by UKBA on the 9th of July. 7th and 8th of July were Saturday and Sunday respectively (holidays), so the 6th was the final day to submit applications before the new rules applied.

Many people wanted to submit their applications ahead of the changes to Immigration Rules and as a result of this, there were too many people turning up on the day asking to be allowed to submit their application despite not having booked an appointment. Appointments were all booked out many days in advance, even at other venues such as Lahore and Islamabad. 

There was a real scene outside Fedex Gerry's Visa centre in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. Although there is a VIP appointment that can be booked where you pay 3,000 Rs. to get immediate entry into the application centre, there were too many people that turned up on the day, desperate to submit their visa application.

According to sources, some people paid up to 50,000 Rs to get into the centre to submit their application on the day. There were at least 50 people waiting to get in and they started to cause trouble so the Police was called to calm the situation and Geo TV and JK News Reporters also arrived at the site. Raja Zahoor Arif of Dadyal Online was present in Mirpur at the time and witnessed the chaotic situation. One of the key changes to the Immigration Rules is: 'introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner.' In other words, if you wish to call your spouse to the UK, then you must be in employment and earning a salary above £18,600. People in Azad Kashmir are concerned that this requirement will make it much harder for them to sponsor relatives and make visa applications more difficult, hence the rush at the Mirpur Centre on the last day before changes were introduced to Immigration Rules by UKBA. 

Reported by Raja Zahoor Arif & Written by Sameer Hussain

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Employees regularised, legislators’ fund doubled

The Azad Kashmir government on Friday announced regularisation of the services of all the contractual employees of its different departments, increase in elected representatives’ fund and appointment of two judges to the higher courts.

“Services of all those contractual employees serving in different departments of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government will be regularised,” announced AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed while addressing the budget session in the Legislative Assembly on Friday.

“Despite the financial crunch and economic challenges, we have given maximum relief to the people,” he added, mentioning the salient features of the budget for the financial year 2012-13.
AJK Finance Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Ashraf had presented Rs49.59 billion budget in the legislative assembly last Wednesday.

Majeed said that the education and health sectors have been given top priority. He said that uniformed curriculum will be introduced and another women university will be established in Muzzafarabad during the current fiscal year. For the development of the education sector, the government has allocated Rs887 million in the budget.

“Mangla dam raising issue has been resolved according to the wishes of the people, the main focus will be placed on road infrastructure along with other facilities,” he added. The opposition and all the legislators would be taken on board on the Neelum-Jehlum power project issue before finalising an agreement.

He further said that the funds of the Legislative Assembly members would be doubled from Rs5 million to Rs10 million.

About the shortage of judges in the higher courts, the premier said that two additional judges would be appointed in the AJK High Court, one each additional judge will be appointed in Patika and Mirpur respectively and a circuit bench will be set up in Bagh District.

He also announced allocation of Rs5 million for the Azad Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Majeed recalled the services of Kashmiri leaders including Sardar Ibrahim Khan, Sardar Abdul Qayyum, Sardar Fateh Muhammad Krelwi, Raja Haider Khan, K.H. Khursheed, Raja Mumtaz Hussain Rathor, and others for the Kashmir cause.

He also paid tribute to Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for giving a constitution to Pakistan and making it a nuclear power besides pleading the Kashmir cause on world forums. He said that Bhutto’s legacy was carried forth by Benazir Bhutto, who took up the Kashmir policy by getting Kashmiris a membership in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. She also took measures for the AJK’s development.

Moreover, he condemned the rumors of making Kashmir a province of Pakistan and assured the leader of opposition that the mandate of opposition would be respected and their positive feedback would be incorporated. “Whatever the members of treasury benches would be given the same would be accorded to opposition members assembly and all members are equal and respectable for me,” he said. Moreover, he appreciated the cooperation of opposition and the leader of opposition saying that Raja Farooq Haidar Khan contributed positively in this budget for the people of Kashmir.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2012.

AJK President invites industrialists to invest in power-generating units and tourism in Azad Kashmir

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan has invited business community to invest and establish industrial and power generating units in Azad Kashmir.

Addressing members of Federal B Area Association of Trade and Industry (FBAATI) after laying foundation stone of FBAATI building complex and later talking to newsmen on Thursday, he said that Kashmir is the most peaceful area in the region and offers lucrative investment opportunities in power generation and tourism in particular and other areas in general.

He said that Azad Kashmir has immense potential for new investment in various fields. The president said that Kashmir has potential of generation 15,000 to 18,000MW power, which can be supplies to meet the demand of Pakistan.

He said that industry of tourism and fruit processing units could be set up and the labour will be available very cheap, as Kashmiris come all the way to Karachi to work in industries. "It will help stop migration of work force from Kashmir," he said.

The AJK President said that there was no infrastructure problem by virtue of network of roads and small hydel projects which help cover energy needs of the industries. Sardar Yaqoob said that during his meetings in Karachi with businessmen of various sectors of economy, he had a feeling that the community here was keen to establish trade ties with Kashmiri counterparts.

He was of the view that instead of looking towards foreign investors we must look towards local investors and proved them necessary facility to invest in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. He also invited business community to visit Azad Kashmir to see and evaluate investment opportunities and make plan for investment.

He assured that AJK government is ready to provide what ever incentives to business community requires including tax holiday, free of cost land for establishing industrial units besides assuring continues power supply. The president further pointed out that Azad Kashmir produced best quality of apple and other fruits and added that a large quantity of its goes waste due to non-availability of cold storage facility.

Chairman FBAATI, Masroor Alvi expressed concern over air flight from Pakistan due to prevailing law and order condition, economic crisis, power and gas high tariff and shortage. However, he was of the view that offering free of cost land and other facilities for establishing industrial units in Azad Kashmir will definitely attract Pakistani investors. He said that the association has taken an imitative to start construction of its building complex, which will house offices and shops.

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