Thursday 30 May 2013

Senior Kashmir Government Officials urge Nawaz Sharif's Government to resolve Kashmir Issue

Senior government officials of Kashmir have urged the newly elected leadership of Pakistan to avoid taking new stands on the issue and follow the dispute-resolution pathway set forth by the previous government. Giving priority to the aspirations of Kashmir citizens, the disputed state has often advocated the need of a free and fair plebiscite to be held under the auspices of the United Nations.

Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani addressed the top leadership of both Azad and occupied Kashmir at Islamabad on Monday. He showed confidence in the Pakistani leadership and suggested them to desist from devising new formulae of resolution or adopting an apologetic or defensive posture. Immense emphasis has been put on the importance of adopting the resolution on the lines passed by the outgoing House.

Azad Kashmir President Sardar Muhammad Yaqub Khan, Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed and former President Maj-General (R) Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan were also present in the meeting. The leadership of Kashmir has also insisted that fundamentalism cannot be related to the region in discussion. There is a rising suspicion that Taliban have taken refuge in Kashmir and the issue has become far more complex than it ever was. On the contrary, Kashmiris have accused India of trying to complicate the matter by dragging the unrelated issues of terrorism in the debate. “India has started raising the Taliban bogey to justify its control on Jammu and Kashmir.

They are raising unnecessary hue and cry about the Taliban to justify the atrocities being perpetrated on the innocent people of Kashmir. Kashmir has been accepted as a dispute pending solution at international forums but the Government of India at times projects it as a law and order problem and is now trying to get Taliban factor in between to mislead the international community,” Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani said.

Police injure Protesters at Mirpur Load Shedding Protest

Mirpur: Police thrashed the participants of a march protesting against worsening power crisis in Azad Kashmir’s Mirpur on Monday. The people of Mirpur observed complete strike and kept business centers closed against the unannounced and prolonged load shedding. Police resorted to baton charge against the protesters injuring scores of people tormented by 20 hours power shut down daily. Meanwhile WAPDA after the protest declared Mirpur exempted from the power load shedding. The notification has also been issued in this effect. Thousands of protesters staged march towards Mangla Power house against unannounced and prolonged load shedding in Mirpur. The police stopped the protesters four kilometers away from the Mangla Power house and started baton charge; meanwhile the protesters also pelted stones on the police personnel. Many police personnel and protesters were injured in the result of the clash. Later on WAPDA declared Mirpur exempted from the power load shedding.

Reported by SANA 

Tuesday 28 May 2013

English Defence League (EDL) Supporters served Tea and Biscuits at York Mosque

A mosque has been praised for serving tea and biscuits to English Defence League supporters after the far-right group arranged a demonstration there. About six people turned up to protest at the mosque in Bull Lane, York, on Sunday and were invited inside to play football with worshippers. More than 100 supporters of the mosque had gone there after learning of the planned EDL protest. Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said the mosque's response was "fantastic". He said: "Tea, biscuits, and football are a great and typically Yorkshire combination when it comes to disarming hostile and extremist views." Father Tim Jones, who went to the Bull Lane mosque, which is situated in his parish, said: "I've always known they were intelligent and compassionate people and I think this has demonstrated the extent to which they are people of courage - certainly physical courage and also a high degree of moral courage. "I think the world can learn from what happened outside that ramshackle little mosque on Sunday." Hull Road ward councillor Neil Barnes said it had been a "proud moment for York". He said: "I don't think I'll ever forget the day that the York Mosque tackled anger and hatred with peace and warmth - and I won't forget the sight of a Muslim offering a protester tea and biscuits with absolute sincerity." Fears over a demonstration grew after Yorkshire EDL Scarborough Division posted a message on its Facebook page calling for supporters to gather outside the mosque. Imam Abid Salik said: "We did have a few people who did come to protest but when they came some of the members of the mosque went over and they engaged in a conversation. "Some people went over with cups of tea and biscuits, they were talking for about 30 or 40 minutes and then they came inside, which was a really, really beautiful thing."

Reported by BBC News 

Indian Soldier Kills Indian Soldier in Jammu & Kashmir

An Indian soldier was allegedly shot dead by one of his colleagues following a verbal spat in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district, police said today. Mukesh Kumar of the 33 Rashtriya Rifles was killed late on Monday in Kalal area, about 150 km from Jammu, near the LoC that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. "According to the report lodged with the police, Mukesh Kumar and Ratinder Kumar of 33 Rashtriya Rifles, posted in Kalal area, had a tiff at about 11.30 pm last night," said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Rajouri, Mubassir Latifi.

According to police, Ratinder Kumar sprayed bullets at Mukesh Kumar from his AK 47 rifle, killing him on the spot. He was later overpowered by other colleagues. The army is also inquiring into the incident. A week ago, a paramilitary Sashatra Suraksha Bal (SSB) trooper had shot dead two colleagues and injured two others in Kishtwar.

Reported by NDTV India 

Monday 27 May 2013

Rehana and Sobia Pakistani Couple Seek Asylum in UK

A pair of Pakistani women have made history as the first Muslim lesbian couple to get married in the UK. Rehana Kausar, 34, and Sobia Kamar, 29, made history when they tied the knot in a register office civil ceremony, then immediately applied for political asylum after they were wed, claiming their lives would be in danger if they returned to their native country. The pair, from the Lahore and Mirpur regions of Pakistan, said they had received death threats from opponents in Pakistan - where homosexual acts are illegal and considered against Islam. Watched by their solicitors and two friends, the pair wore traditional white bridal dresses when they were married in Leeds, West Yorkshire. 

Kausar said: 'This country allows us rights and it’s a very personal decision that we have taken. 'It’s no one’s business as to what we do with our personal lives. 'The problem with Pakistan is that everyone believes he is in charge of other people’s lives and can best decide about the morals of others but that’s not the right approach and we are in this state because of our clergy who have hijacked our society which was once a tolerant society and respected individuals’ freedoms.'

Read more: Daily Mail 

Sunday 26 May 2013

Norwegian Parliament urges India Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue

Oslo - The Norwegian Parliament has conducted an important debate for the second time in a year addressing the Kashmir conflict. An earlier debate was held in 2010 and again in September 2012 when the Norwegian parliament raised the issue of existence of unidentified mass graves in occupied Kashmir. The interpolation entitled “Kashmir on the backdrop of withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014” was submitted for a debate by the Chairman of the Norwegian parliamentary Kashmir Committee and Christian Democrat (KrF) Party leader Mr. Knut Arild Hareide. The debate which lasted for nearly one hour, had the intervention of all major political parties, parliamentarians and representatives. During the debate, the Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr. Espen Barth Eide stated that it is very important to closely monitor and contribute to a united world community seeks to assist both countries in this tense situation. He outlined that the conflict between India and Pakistan has deep historical roots: “There are many challenges associated with Kashmir. I do not think that a solution will be found in a kind of breakthrough, where everything suddenly negotiated done. I rather believe in a long-term process in which parties take step by step and build trust. Here's what we - as part of the international community - still have to show patience, so that the parties get the time they need for themselves to arrive at sustainable solutions. Our role is thus to hold both parties accountable. We must stress that rights and duties are reciprocal sizes.”

Two Men Charged with endangering Aircraft

Two men have been charged with endangering an aircraft after RAF Typhoon jets escorted a passenger plane over the UK. Tayyab Subhani, 30, and Mohammed Safdar, 41, both of Nelson, Lancashire, were detained at Stansted on Friday. Police boarded the Pakistan International Airlines flight, originally en-route to Manchester, after it was diverted to Stansted. The defendants are due at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday. The plane, flight PK709, left Lahore - the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab - at 09:35 local time (05:35 BST) on Friday and had been due to arrive in Manchester at 13:30 BST. One passenger told the BBC the pilot had informed them there had been threats. The man said: "We did not know anything about it other than the pilots announced that they have landed at Stansted. "And we landed, safely. Then he announced that he had a threat from someone, which was why he had landed the plane." The plane remained at a spot on the north side of Stansted Airport with flights carrying on as normal, before being released by police about midnight allowing passengers to conclude their flight to Manchester. The airline said there had been 308 passengers on board, as well as 14 crew including pilots, with a mixture of Pakistani and British passport holders. 

Reported by BBC News

AJK Development Budget for Various Projects

About Rs 341.082 million have been given for a project in transportation sector with providing interest free loans for 1500 vehicle and rikshaws for self-employment. The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet Development Committee (AJKCDC) has approved 39 development projects worth Rs17.518 billion. The approval was accorded here in Muzaffarabad on Monday in a meeting presided over by Azad Jammu and Kashmir Premier Chaudry Abdul Mujeed. In education sector two projects amounting Rs590 million have been allocated for the establishment of Cadet College at Muzaffarabad and construction of Mutli-storey complex with Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Mirpur.

For hydel generation two projects have been accorded approval with an allocation of Rs1.313 billion. Projects in physical planning and housing sector were provided with Rs611.403 million for three projects. The AJK Cabinet Development Committee (AJKCDC) approved 39 development projects of worth Rs175.18 billion. According to details provided by Director Public Relations AJK Raja Naveed, the approved projects are related to hydel generation, public health, physical planning and housing, transport, industries and telecommunication sectors.

The approval was accorded in the CDC meeting held in Muzaffarabad late Monday chaired by Prime Minister AJK Chaudry Abdul Majeed. In education sector two projects of Rs590 million have been allocated for the establishment of Cadet College at Muzaffarabad and construction of multi-story complex with Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Mirpur. Whereas 341.082 million have been allocated for transportation sector with the objectives of providing interest free loan for 1500 vehicles and rikshaws for self-employment in collaboration with commercial banks.

For the establishment of POL Quality Control Labs (Mobile Units) and weight measures lab at Mirpur, an amount of 138.466 million has been approved which will be executed by industries department. For hydal generation two projects (1.0 MW Galetar Khud Gujran Hydro Power in District Kotli and 6.4 MW Chamfall, Hydro Power Project in Hattian) have been accorded approval with an allocation of Rs13.13 billion. Physical Planning and Housing sector is provided Rs6.11 billion for the completion of 3 projects including the construction of women stadium at Islamgarh, water supply scheme Kharak, Mirpur and Tehsil Headquarter Abbaspur. In telecommunication sector, 25km roads per constituency have been approved for up-gradation. He said that all development projects would be monitored and no delay or substandard material would be tolerated at any cost.

Source: Tribune

Saturday 25 May 2013

Woolwich and the Muslim Response - Article by Assed Baig

May 2013: Woolwich and the Muslim Response. The murder in Woolwich has shocked everyone, no one was prepared for such a killing on the streets of the UK. The response has been of disgust and condemnation. This incident has raised some questions that politicians and the mainstream media have conveniently dodged. I am disgusted and appalled by what has taken place, but why should I have to condemn or apologise for such a crime, it had nothing to do with me. Why is it that Muslims and Muslim organisations are expected to condemn and distance themselves from the actions of two individuals? Why is it that Muslim organisations do not even need to be prompted to condemn; they are readily condemning actions that have nothing to do with them.

There has been no attempt by Muslim organisations to discuss the causes of the attack, no attempt to question the mainstream media narrative that imposes labels on Muslims. I was born and brought up in a majority Muslim area of Birmingham. I have travelled the country and the world. I have come across thousands of Muslims, spoken, debated and challenged opinions. Radicalisation is not a religious problem, it is a problem of society, and specifically, in this case, British society. Muslim leaders have been scared into silence. Prevent officers visiting mosques and community leaders frighten them. They are told that if Muslims display any political opinions outside the mainstream then they are extremists, that if they do not inform on them, that their bank accounts can be frozen, mosques closed and they could face prison. Muslims are afraid. Muslim organisations and leaders are subservient to the state, scared to mention foreign policy as a radicalising factor just in case they are harangued for justifying the murder. It has got to such a state that we do not even realise that our minds have been conditioned through years of media misrepresentation and widespread Islamophobia. Questioning the reason for a murder does not mean condoning or justifying it.

Condemning something that has nothing to do with you feeds into the narrative that this is a Muslim problem, that this is something that the Muslim community are responsible for, at least in part. In turn so-called Muslim leaders stifled debate and discussion in mosques, too afraid to discuss anything political. For too long they have played a subservient role to the state, asking for a seat at the table and hoping for crumbs to be passed to them. I have not met a Muslim that has condoned the actions in Woolwich, but let’s not ignore what radicalises. British foreign policy radicalises, double standards radicalise, making Muslim youngsters feel like their opinions are not legitimate radicalises, stifling debate and discussion radicalises, not giving people a conduit to vent their opinions and frustrations radicalises, a lack of identity in Britain radicalises, we are either extremists or moderates.

We are told that Muslims are equal citizens in this country but the reality is something very different. If we say we don’t drink, we are labelled anti-social or not willing to integrate, if we drink we are labelled moderate, if a Muslim wears a hijab, she is oppressed, if she doesn’t she is liberated, if we express an opinion outside of the mainstream narrative, we are angry, if we join a mainstream political party we are passionate, if we sing the praises of the British establishment we are liberals, if we object to foreign policy we are extremists or Islamists. I for one am fed up of this apologetic and subservient tone. I have nothing to apologise for, I should not be asked to condemn the actions of two men that had nothing to do with me just as a white man should not be asked to condemn the murders committed by Anders Brevik or for the violent actions of the English Defence League. Have Muslims not proved their worth to this country? Muslims have bled for this country during WWI and WWII, they have fought for Empire, they have served as colonial subjects, they have waved the flags, sang the anthems and anglicised their names –Mo and Ed. But still we are not accepted; we still hear ‘Muslim appearance’ in the mainstream media, which basically means non-white, not one of us. I am privileged, I went to university, I had an abundance of left-wing white friends that never questioned my opinions because of my religion or ethnicity, that accepted me as an equal, and made me feel that I had a place in society, we shared our politics as well as our battles. My parents still fear that I will be arrested for writing and expressing an opinion as a journalist.

I have been inundated with calls since the attack from Muslims that are afraid of a backlash, one even asked me if there would be ethnic cleansing. I told them not to be afraid because I had faith in the British people to see through the fog that politicians and mainstream media perpetuate. Why is it that Joe Glenton can say that foreign policy is a radicalising factor but our so-called Muslim leaders tiptoe around the issue? Why is it that George Eaton can say that Muslims should not have to distance themselves from the attacks, but our so-called leaders are falling over themselves to do it? Why is it that Glenn Greenwald can question whether the attack is terrorism, but my fellow brothers and sisters are afraid to do the same? I was born here, I am British, I am standing in the tradition that says that my opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s, that I have a right to object to the hypocritical treatment vented out to Muslims without being accused of condoning or justifying such attacks.

There are Muslims that will disagree with me, that is fine, we must understand that we are not a homogenous group, Anjum Choudry and his motley crew do not represent me, neither do the Muslim Council of Britain with their 400 affiliated mosques run by old men in committees. Unfortunately non-Muslims in the public sphere represent my views more than our so-called Muslim leaders. To be ‘leaders’, senior Muslim figures must lead. Whilst politicians and the media carry on scapegoating Muslims, a true community leadership must face up to the reality of foreign policy and suppression of Muslim communities over the last decade, and call it out for what it is.

Copyright: You are free to share (copy, distribute, transmit), remix (adapt) and make commercial use of this article. Please just credit to Assed Baig, include link to

Three Army Men injured in firing at LoC Kashmir

SRINAGAR, May 25 2013 : An Indian army brigadier and two troopers were wounded in exchange of fire between Pakistani troopers on Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. The ceasefire violation was reported last night along Tutamari Gali of Nowgam sector, close to LoC in frontier Kupwara district, around 120 km northwest of Srinagar city. "Brigadier Sanjeev Langar and two troopers were injured on Friday night when Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian positions violating the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Tutmari Gali sector," reports said . 

Reports said Indian army has also retaliated to the firing from Pakistani side. GoC Barmaulla V.G.Khandiara told a local news agency, CNS, that Pakistani rangers opened fire on Indian positions violating the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Tutmari Gali sector. “The post is guarded by 17 Jath, 17 Gadwal and BSF’s 37 Batalion. Brigadier Sanjeev Langar and two troopers were injured in the incident. They are out of danger,” he said. Earlier this year skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani troopers on LoC heightening tension between the nuclear neighbours. 

Five troopers of both the countries (two from India and three from Pakistan) were killed in these skirmishes on LoC. New Delhi and Islamabad in 2003 agreed to observe a ceasefire along the international border and LoC in Kashmir. Though some violations have been reported on both sides, the ceasefire remains in effect. Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from British, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

Friday 24 May 2013

Chinese man held in Azad Kashmir over Q'uran abuse

MUZAFFARABAD (May 2013): A Chinese man working on an energy project in Azad Kashmir was being held Saturday after hundreds of protesters attacked his company offices over the alleged desecration of a Quraan, officials said. Lee Ping, administration manager of a Chinese consortium building the Neelum Jhelum Hydropower project, was accused by co-Pakistani workers of throwing the Quraan on the ground. "We have taken Ping into protective custody after protests erupted in the company when Pakistani labourers saw him throwing the belongings of a Pakistani worker including the Quraan," Sardar Gulfraz, a senior police official, told AFP. Lee Ping was moving the belongings of a Pakistani doctor after he had refused to vacate his room for relocation.

"Doctor Sajid had a dispute with the company management about the relocation of his room. He refused to vacate the room and Ping threw out all his belongings in anger," said local police official Raja Anser Shahzad. "Local labourers saw Ping throwing out luggage including the Quraan and they started protesting. Later, people from outside the company also joined the rally and around 1,000 protesters attacked the offices," Shahzad told AFP. Police said the incident happened at midday on Friday, when local Muslims were preparing to offer their main weekly prayers.

"They broke vehicles and windows inside the company premises. We have called in extra police to protect instalments and have also moved Ping to a secret location for protective reasons," Gulfraz said. Authorities said a commission had been formed to determine whether Ping was involved in a desecration or not. "(Ping) will be charged under the blasphemy law only after this commission confirms that he was involved in a serious violation," Gulfraz said.

Two arrested after PIA flight forced to land near London

24/05/13: British police Friday arrested a couple of passengers on suspicion of endangerment of aircraft after forcing Pakistan International Airways (PIA) Flight PK709 to land at Stansted airport following a mid-air alert, Geo News reported. According to sources both the British nationals of Pakistani origin were arrested after they reportedly had a spat with the crew. According to PIA sources the suspects had allegedly threatened to bomb the plane with explosives. A panicked stewardess alarmed the pilot, Captain Nadeem Sufi, who sent a stress signal to London control tower triggering the security alert, which led to the force-landing of the plane. There were 297 passengers and 11 crew members were on the plane. Initially Essex Police said that a man namely Mohammad Shafqat, and a woman, Ammara Ashraf were arrested and removed from the plane, which is on an isolated runway at the airport.

Reportedly, it all started after Mohammad Shafqat and Ammara Ashraf, traveling with a number of other family members, engaged in a hot argument, which went out of control forcing the crew to intervene, who were warned to stay out of it. The quarreling family went as far threatening the crew that they were going to blow the plane up, which caused this whole panic. However, they were released after police found out it was a petty domestic squabble. The incident was not believed to be terrorism-related, the officials said. "There was a family of eight to 10 people on the plane and they were wrangling among each other," the PIA source said. "When PIA staff approached them and asked them to calm down, they told them to go away otherwise they would blow up the plane. "PIA staff became scared and they raised the alarm to avoid any untoward situation." A passenger Nauman Rizvi told Geo News that two passengers who had tried to move toward the cockpit during the flight were handcuffed and arrested once the plane landed. Rizvi said that after the men were taken away, the flight crew told passengers there had been a terrorist threat and that the pilot had raised an alarm. Later, there were reports that another couple of men apart from the fussing spouses were also arrested amid the panic.

Two men, aged 30 and 41, were held on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft, Essex Police said Earlier, Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon jets were scrambled to intercept the PIA plane, which escorted the Manchester-bound flight to Stansted. Flight PK709 from Lahore was due to land at Manchester Airport in north west England at 1230 GMT. The plane was diverted to Stansted airport, east of central London, according to a Manchester Airport spokesman. A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence said that Typhoon jets had been launched from a Royal Air Force base after the incident was signaled by the plane's crew, shortly before the plane was due to land in Manchester at 1230 GMT. "Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby have been launched to investigate an incident involving an aircraft in UK airspace," the MoD spokesman said. After the plane landed, the MoD spokesman said the incident was now a police matter and "our involvement is over".

Typhoon planes can be scrambled if the pilot or crew of a passenger aircraft sends out a passenger signal, he added. Essex Police, who are responsible for the area where Stansted is located, said an incident had occurred on a flight and they were investigating. "The plane diverted to Stansted Airport has now landed at the airport. Police + partners are continuing to respond," Essex Police in southeast England said in a Twitter message. All the passengers were disembarked at the Stansted Airport and no one has been hurt, an airport spokesman said. According to a statement issued by Pakistani High Commission, a team of the officers was sent to the Stansted Airport to provide any consular assistance to the passengers that may be required. The High Commission is keeping the authorities informed back in Pakistan and is also in touch with the PIA office in London, the statement added. The news comes two days after a soldier was hacked to death on a London street in an incident the government are treating as a terrorist incident. 

Reported by The News, Pakistani Newspaper.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Friday 3 May 2013

Aankhon Main Bas Gaya Hai - Naat by Muhammad Bashir Chughtai

Urdu Naat by Muhammad Bashir Chughtai who is from Dadyal, Azad Kashmir. The video is filmed in Old Dadyal. Directed by Aftab Ahmad Chughtai. Released by Dadyal Online. 

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