SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Japanese support gives push to India’s quest
UN Security Council seat
New Delhi, August 15
India’s quest for a permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council is on the right course, diplomatic observers here said today after the just-concluded visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

Welfare schemes announced in Goa on Independence Day
Panaji, August 15
Announcing several schemes for ‘progressive development’ of the state on the occasion of 58th Independence Day celebrations of the country, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said the government would work for controlling the spiralling rise in prices of various commodities.

Kalam’s tribute to soldiers
New Delhi, August 15
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam paid tributes to defence personnel in a poem that he read out today.

President APJ Abdul Kalam with the three services chiefs pays homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion of 58th Independence Day President APJ Abdul Kalam with the three services chiefs pays homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion of 58th Independence Day in New Delhi on Sunday. —PTI photo

PM expresses grief at Assam blast
New Delhi, August 15
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has expressed deep shock and heart-felt grief at the loss of innocent lives, including that of several school children, in a blast in Assam during the Independence Day celebrations.


Classical dancer Geeta Chandran
Classical dancer Geeta Chandran performs at a function in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 

Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi interacts with children during a ceremony to celebrate Independence Day at the Congress Party headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday.Sonia renews resolve to fulfil promises
New Delhi, August 15
Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today hoisted the National Flag at the AICC Headquarters and reiterated the UPA government’s commitment to fulfil all the pledges made during the elections. “This is the day to renew the resolve to fulfil promises which we made during elections,” Mrs Gandhi told newspersons here during the brief flag-hoisting ceremony.

In video (28k, 56k)

Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi interacts with children during a ceremony to celebrate Independence Day at the Congress Party headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday.
— Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Gujarat ex-CM Chaudhary dead
Ahmedabad, August 15
Former Gujarat Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Amarsinh Chaudhary died here today following prolonged illness, Chief Whip of Congress Legislature Party Arjun Modvadia said.

Cong faces acid test in September elections
New Delhi, August 15
Besides the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls, the Congress will face a crucial test of strength in 31 byelections in 11 states. Expected to be held by September-end, these will be the first set of elections after the formation of the Congress-led UPA government.

Arjun declines to comment on RSS legal notice
New Delhi, August 15
A day after he was served with a legal notice by the RSS for his alleged comments on the organisation, Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh today declined to make any comments on the matter but said he would soon air his views through the media.

Breach of trust motion likely against Shivraj Patil
New Delhi, August 15
The Opposition is preparing to move a Breach of Trust motion against Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in the Rajya Sabha, political sources told The Tribune this evening.

Hostages: no negotiator appointed
New Delhi, August 15
The contact between Kuwaiti employers of three Indian hostages held in Iraq and their kidnappers remained snapped for the eighth day today with no sign of an end to the crisis.
When asked if it had appointed its representative to talk to the hostage-takers, spokesperson of Kuwait and Gulf Link Company (KGL) replied in the negative, denying media reports in this regard. The KGL had asked the kidnappers to “officially” appoint a new representative or hold direct talks with it. — PTI


Himachal page: Hostage’s family makes renewed appeal to captors

3 die in Gujarat floods
Ahmedabad, August 15
The flood situation in six central Gujarat districts today showed signs of improvement with water level in the Narmada and the Mahi Sagar receding, even as there have been reports of three rain-related deaths overnight.

Rishikesh ‘doctor’ caught in his own net
Rishikesh, August 15
The arrest of Dr R.K. Gupta, the owner of Neeraj Clinic on Friday, has evoked a mixed reaction from people here his arrest came as a surprise to local people who looked upon the ‘doctor’ as somebody who was making it big in a small town, more so because Dr Gupta had established dubious credentials and were more than obvious.

SC seeks details of cases delayed under political influence
New Delhi, August 15
The Supreme Court has sought more specific instances of enormous delay in the trial proceeding against influential political functionaries and public servants to make a case for admission of a PIL petition, seeking to lay down guidelines for speedy probe in such cases and monitoring of their trials by the high courts.

Pak national all praise for Indian doctors
New Delhi, August 15
Erum Naz Akhtar, the first Pakistani national to benefit from a liver transplant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital early this month, is longing to return to Karachi with stories about the high calibre of Indian doctors and the quality of medical facilities in India.

News Analysis
PoK is Pakistan’s soft underbelly
New Delhi, August 15
Disturbing signals have emanated from Pakistan in the past two weeks, particularly since the composite dialogue talks on the subjects of Siachen and Sir Creek concluded in the first week of this month.

Actors Rajeswari Sachdev and Divya Dutta of the film "Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose-The Forgotten Hero" with singer Swapna Mukherjee
Actors Rajeswari Sachdev and Divya Dutta of the film "Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose—The Forgotten Hero" with singer Swapna Mukherjee at a press conference organised to announce the completion of the film, in Mumbai on Sunday.
— PTI

People form human chains in Imphal
Imphal, August 15
Hundreds of people defied prohibitory orders and formed human chains to press for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Manipur as a student leader attempted self-immolation and a girl, who was injured in the on-going agitation, died today, official sources said.

Videos
Man mission to space possible in 7-8 years.
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Sari weavers selling blood for survival.
(28k, 56k)
"Munnabhai" hits jackpot.
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Japanese support gives push to India’s quest
UN Security Council seat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
India’s quest for a permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council is on the right course, diplomatic observers here said today after the just-concluded visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

The decision of Japan and India to support each other’s candidature for the UNSC seat is being viewed in the diplomatic circles as a major development. It assumes all the more significance after New Delhi recently reached a similar understanding with another major power — Germany.

The P-5 countries like UK, France and Russia have already pledged support to India on the UNSC-seat issue, while Germany, Japan and Brazil have announced their decision to support India’s case on a reciprocal basis.

During the visit of the Japanese Foreign Minister on August 11-12 and her talks with the Indian leadership, both sides agreed that Japan and India share the understanding that it is of great importance to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of the UNSC, particularly through expanding the membership of the Security Council, both in non-permanent and permanent seats.

The Ministry of External Affairs announced that Japan and India “will support each other’s candidature, and make utmost efforts and closely work together towards realising the reform of the Security Council.”

To achieve this objective the two sides agreed to institute a Director-General/Joint Secretary-level dialogue on UN reforms for exchange of views and coordination of positions on this key issue. Joint Secretary (UN) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr B.S. Prakash will be visiting Tokyo for the first meeting on August 23.

The Japanese Foreign Minister also mentioned that the two countries agreed to make preparations for setting up a Joint Study Group (JSG) to strengthen and reinvigorate the Japan-India economic relations.

Though the UN has so far not decided on any time frame for the Security Council expansion, the feeling in India and like-minded countries is that the exercise is long overdue. The UN is almost 60 years old and the structure of the UNSC reflects the realities at the time of the founding of the UN. In sixty years, the membership of the UN has increased four fold. The developing countries are grossly under-represented in the UNSC.
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Welfare schemes announced in Goa on
Independence Day

Panaji, August 15
Announcing several schemes for ‘progressive development’ of the state on the occasion of 58th Independence Day celebrations of the country, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said the government would work for controlling the spiralling rise in prices of various commodities.

In perhaps the first scheme of its kind in the country, the state government has formulated a Universal Mediclaim scheme which would every Goan in case of major illnesses, he said in his address at the new Assembly complex here.

“We are glad to announce the Universal Mediclaim Scheme which will come into effect on October 2 and by December 19 (Goa’s Liberation Day) the benefits would start”, the Chief Minister said.

Bhubaneswar: Opportunities have been created for private investment of over Rs. 45,000 crore in Orissa to make the state the centre of industrial development, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said today.

Unfurling the national flag on the occasion of 58th Independence Day at the state-level function here, Mr Patnaik said his government was making efforts to utilise the state’s vast resources to create employment and raise the per capita income.

Pondicherry: Pondicherry Chief Minister N. Rangasamy unfurled the Tricolour on the occasion of the Independence Day on Sunday.

The Chief Minister said his government had spent Rs 468.23 crore under plan programmes last year, which was 99.92 per cent of the total allocation. — PTI, UNI
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Kalam’s tribute to soldiers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam paid tributes to defence personnel in a poem that he read out today.

“O defenders of borders, you are great sons of my land. When we are all asleep, you still hold on to your deed... Wind chimes of my land vibrate your feet. We pray for you brave men. May the Lord bless you all,” the President said during his message to the defence personnel.

The poem, titled “My Dear Soldiers,” was originally written by the President on June 18 and has been published in the August edition of Chennai-based journal “Poet”.
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PM expresses grief at Assam blast
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has expressed deep shock and heart-felt grief at the loss of innocent lives, including that of several school children, in a blast in Assam during the Independence Day celebrations.

The Prime Minister spoke to the Chief Minister of Assam and conveyed his anguish and enquired about the welfare of the survivors and the families of the children who died in the explosion, an official statement said.

Dr Manmohan Singh said that such dastardly acts show the terrorists’ callous disregard for innocent lives. The perpetrators of such acts of violence will not be spared and the country’s resolve to eliminate the scourge of terrorism remains unshaken, he added.

The Prime Minister expressed his heart-felt sympathy and condolences to the members of families of the victims.
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Sonia renews resolve to fulfil promises
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today hoisted the National Flag at the AICC Headquarters and reiterated the UPA government’s commitment to fulfil all the pledges made during the elections.

“This is the day to renew the resolve to fulfil promises which we made during elections,” Mrs Gandhi told newspersons here during the brief flag-hoisting ceremony.

The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other members of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

Mrs Gandhi also paid tributes to freedom fighters and members of the armed forces who sacrificed their lives for securing freedom for the country.
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Gujarat ex-CM Chaudhary dead

Ahmedabad, August 15
Former Gujarat Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Amarsinh Chaudhary died here today following prolonged illness, Chief Whip of Congress Legislature Party Arjun Modvadia said.

Chaudhary, 64, is survived by his wife, four sons and a daughter.

The former Chief Minister had been battling several kidney-related complications arising out of high diabetes at SAL Hospital since past one month. — PTI
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Sonia shocked at Chaudhary’s death
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today expressed shock over the death of former Gujarat Chief Minister Amarsinh Chaudhary at a hospital in Ahmedabad after prolonged illness.

In her condolence message to the family members, Ms Gandhi described him as a dedicated party leader committed to the cause of the downtrodden and an astute Parliamentarian.

“In his death, the party has lost a senior leader and the void created would be difficult to fill in the near future”, she said.

Mr Ahmed Patel, Gandhi’s political secretary and a senior Congress leader from Gujarat, described the CLP leader’s demise as a personal loss as well as to the party at a time when the country needed politicians like Chaudhary who was respected by all sections of the society.
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Cong faces acid test in September elections
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
Besides the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls, the Congress will face a crucial test of strength in 31 byelections in 11 states.

Expected to be held by September-end, these will be the first set of elections after the formation of the Congress-led UPA government. As such, the results will be seen as a reflection on the functioning of the Manmohan Singh-led coalition. The Congress holds 13 of these seats at present.

Since Maharashtra is a large and important state, these Assembly polls are crucial for the Congress. It is imperative that the ruling coalition retains the state. However, it faces a tough task ahead since the Congress-NCP coalition is faced with the anti-incumbency factor and has to contend with a determined BJP-Shiv Sena combine.

Besides Maharashtra, the 31 byelections are equally important for the Congress. These bypolls include four Lok Sabha seats — two in Uttar Pradesh (Mainpuri and Akbarpur), one each in Bihar (Madhepura) and Karnataka (Bidar).

The UP seats fell vacant when Chief Minister Mulayum Singh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati opted out of the Lok Sabha. Madhepura is going to the polls again as Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, who contested from two constituencies, retained his Chapra seat. The Karnataka bypoll has been necessitated because of the sitting MP’s death.

The line-up for the assembly bypolls includes three seats each in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, four in Gujarat, two each in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and one each in Assam, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh.

Since the Congress is locked in a direct battle with the BJP in most of these states, except Punjab and J&K, these elections will show whether a government at the Centre has helped revive the party in the states. This is particularly so in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where the morale of the Congress cadres touched an all-time low after its disastrous performance in last year’s Assembly polls.

With 12 Assembly bypolls due in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress faces its toughest challenge here although the party held only one of these seats. The tenuous relations between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress will again be on display as cadres from both sides will necessarily have to launch an all-out offensive against each other. It is both embarrassing and confusing for the Congress workers since they are hard put to explain why they are continuing their support to the Mulayum Singh Yadav government.
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Arjun declines to comment on RSS legal notice

New Delhi, August 15
A day after he was served with a legal notice by the RSS for his alleged comments on the organisation, Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh today declined to make any comments on the matter but said he would soon air his views through the media.

“I will soon call a press conference and will address the matter in detail,” Mr Arjun Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here.

Mr Arjun Singh answered in the affirmative when asked whether he had received the legal notice by the RSS.

Unfazed by the legal notice, Mr Arjun Singh had yesterday ruled out tendering an apology for suggesting the organisation’s involvement in the assassination of Mahatama Gandhi. He had challenged the RSS to “do their worst” and said its philosophy of “hatred and violence” killed Mahatama Gandhi. “Since the tragic and fateful evening of January 30, 1948, when the shots fired by Nathuram Godse killed the Father of the Nation at a prayer meeting, I am convinced that philosophy of hate and violence, which the RSS swears by, killed Mahatmaji,” he said in a written statement. — PTI
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Breach of trust motion likely against Shivraj Patil
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
The Opposition is preparing to move a Breach of Trust motion against Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in the Rajya Sabha, political sources told The Tribune this evening.

Mr Patil had last month laid a statement on the floor of the Upper House that no case was pending against JMM leader and former Union Minister Shibu Soren.

Mr Patil had also said in the statement that no non-bailable warrant had been issued against Mr Shibu Soren.

Interestingly, a few hours after Mr Patil’s statement came, a court in Jamtara (Jharkhand) issued a fresh warrant against Mr Shibu Soren on the instructions of the High Court.

Mr Soren is in the jail in connection with the same case.

Mr Shivraj Patil had also said that the court had withdrawn the summon against Mr Shibu Soren and hence there was no case against Mr Soren.

It is understood that the Opposition, in its Breach of Trust motion, is also going to take exception to the wrongly worded statement of the Home Minister, which was also factually incorrect. The Union Home Minister had said that Mr Shibu Soren “had not committed in the Court”.

The correct legal position is that an individual is not committed in the Court but the case is committed by magisterial court to a sessions court.
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3 die in Gujarat floods

Ahmedabad, August 15
The flood situation in six central Gujarat districts today showed signs of improvement with water level in the Narmada and the Mahi Sagar receding, even as there have been reports of three rain-related deaths overnight.

Rail traffic between New Delhi and Mumbai remained affected as several trains were cancelled and three diverted on alternate routes, a railway spokesman said. The tracks between Limkheda and Mangalmahudi stations had been damaged due to downpour in the past two days. — UNI
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Rishikesh ‘doctor’ caught in his own net
Swati Vashishtha
Tribune News Service

Rishikesh, August 15
The arrest of Dr R.K. Gupta, the owner of Neeraj Clinic on Friday, has evoked a mixed reaction from people here his arrest came as a surprise to local people who looked upon the ‘doctor’ as somebody who was making it big in a small town, more so because Dr Gupta had established dubious credentials and were more than obvious.

Dr Gupta had grown too big for his own good, said Mr Kedar Joshi, an oldtime resident of Rishikesh. There were frequent complaints against him but to no avail, “we are surprised that the arrest actually took place,” he said.

People close to the ‘doctor’ believe he got trapped in his own net by hardselling the dubious treatment through blown-up newspaper ads. He started small, with a nondescript shop, which now sells musical instruments. In 20 years he rose to be one of the most famous people of the city with over 12 properties scattered all over Rishikesh, said a close associate of Dr Gupta. Dr Gupta also owns a state-of-the-art dental college, which got sanction from the state government after the IMA declared him a quack in 2000.

Dr Gupta, who is not even a registered practitioner, reportedly duped patients by using a high narcotic and psychotropic content in his ‘miraculous cure’ for epilepsy. Although Dr Gupta claimed to get the ‘siddha’ medicine from the Himalayas in the small hours of the morning, he actually bought the pills from a local plant for Rs 60 per kg, said Mr Jagdish Raturi, a former employee at Neeraj Clinic. The same drug was sold under a code name at a different price to people, he said.

The first dose was given by Dr Gupta after being ‘blessed’ but this actually was an exercise to reckoned the size of the patient’s pocket to fix the cost of the medicine, said Shikha, a former employee at his clinic. The police nabbed him when he was planning to give treatment for other diseases like rheumatism using the same medicines, she said.

Dr Gupta has been remanded in 14-day judicial custody after his arrest on Friday. The state police arrested Dr R.K. Gupta, at Saharanpur.

The police has seized three quintals of illicit drugs from the clinic of the accused, who was booked under the NDPS Act and violation of the licence Act, apart from Section 420, IPC, SSP D.V.S. Prasad said.
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SC seeks details of cases delayed under
political influence

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 15
The Supreme Court has sought more specific instances of enormous delay in the trial proceeding against influential political functionaries and public servants to make a case for admission of a PIL petition, seeking to lay down guidelines for speedy probe in such cases and monitoring of their trials by the high courts.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti, Mr Justice G.P. Mathur and Mr Justice C.K. Thakkar said on Friday that before making a case for issuing notices to the Centre and the states on the issue, the petitioner should place before it more instances like the 30-year delay in commencing of the trial against former Coal and Mines Minister Shibu Soren.

The Bench said though it was the duty of the government, whether the Centre or the states, to ensure speedy prosecution in any offence because the apex court did not want to take upon itself the task which was purely administrative, it could consider the petition if it was satisfied that political influence had been causing delay in the trial proceedings in such cases.

The court was hearing a petition filed by a lawyer in the wake of the Shibu Soren episode.

An advocate arguing on his behalf said Soren’s was not the isolated case, as a similar matter in Madhya Pradesh against a high profile politician had been lingering on for past several years and “if the media reports are correct about another Union Minister Taslimuddin that he faces a non-bailable arrest warrant, then it is another serious case against a minister who is attending all public functions, including his ministry but evading the process of law.”

“It has become a general ploy for the prosecuting agencies that the court process cannot be served against the politicians facing trial in serious offence even when they had been making public appearances,” the advocate said.

He said it was in the similar background that the court had passed directions for giving details about the criminal past by politicians to the Election Commission at the time of the filing of nominations but that seemed to have made no impact to check “criminalisation of politics”.

The petition filed last month when Soren had gone underground after facing NBW in the 29-year-old massacre case, has pleaded the Supreme Court to lay down guidelines for the states and the high courts to ensure that “trial against public functionaries, who are accused of serious offences, is monitored by the high courts to ensure speedy disposals.”

It also said the apex court should lay down clear norms for the states for “time-bound” investigation and filing of the chargesheets in all heinous crimes, specially when a public functionary is involved in the case so that he did not get enough chance to influence the probe.

“If influential persons accused in a case are allowed to get away without facing trial in the criminal offences, it will pose a big threat to society,” the PIL said.

“It is a fundamental principle of the law that all persons who have committed the crime must be proceeded against in court of law as per the procedure laid down,” it said.
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Pak national all praise for Indian doctors
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
Erum Naz Akhtar, the first Pakistani national to benefit from a liver transplant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital early this month, is longing to return to Karachi with stories about the high calibre of Indian doctors and the quality of medical facilities in India.

The 45 year-old Azamgarh-born woman who got a partial liver from her 25 year-old son came to the hospital with her two brothers and two sons, all of whom volunteered to donate part of their liver for the transplant.

Ms Akhtar was moved from the multi-organ transplant Intensive Care Unit after nine days.

Doctors in Pakistan told her that her disease was in a terminal phase and transplant was imperative. After approaching several doctors in Aga Khan Hospital and Masood Hospital in Pakistan she approached Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here.

Dr Sanjiv Saigal, transplant hepatologist at the hospital, said they identified her elder son, Asim Akhtar as the most suitable candidate for donation. 
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News Analysis
PoK is Pakistan’s soft underbelly
by Rajiv Sharma

New Delhi, August 15
Disturbing signals have emanated from Pakistan in the past two weeks, particularly since the composite dialogue talks on the subjects of Siachen and Sir Creek concluded in the first week of this month.

The Pakistani top brass, including President Pervez Musharraf, has again started playing its favourite broken record of Kashmir and given statements that the ongoing peace talks cannot be open-ended and cannot go on for ever.

The amazing aspect of Pakistan playing the K-card at the drop of a hat is that it has never raised the territory question and has confined itself to the alleged violation of human rights by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

It is a clever move by Pakistan for political, diplomatic and strategic reasons. Islamabad knows that whenever the question of territory comes up for talks, it will turn the world’s attention to its soft underbelly — Pakistan occupied Kashmir — where there is no democracy or development worth the name.

Worse still, it will inevitably lead the talks to that part of PoK which Pakistan illegally ceded to China in March, 1963. China would never like this to happen considering the strategic importance of the 5100 square kilometre of the PoK territory it is occupying.

As for the PoK itself, Pakistan has no leverage, no talking points.

PoK comprises of two areas, the so-called “Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)” (5,703 sq kilometers area) and “The Northern Areas (NA)” (72,496 sq kms area), which Pakistan had illegally occupied through armed action in 1947.

The total area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is 222,236 sq kilometers. Pakistan is in illegal occupation of approximately 78,000 square kilometers of the Indian state.

“AJK”, with an estimated population of 2.5 million comprises six districts of Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Kotli, Poonch, Bagh and Bhimber. NA, comprising the northwestern part of erstwhile J&K State wedged between Afghanistan, NWFP in Pakistan and Xinjiang in China, has a population of 2.8 million and has been divided administratively into five districts of Gilgit, Skardu, Diamir, Ghizer and Ghanche.

AJK has always claimed the NA as part of the territory controlled by it in 1947. The NA have, however, been annexed by Pakistan and are under its administration. Pakistan’s control over the Northern Areas is based on a tripartite agreement, the Karachi Agreement of 1949, signed between the Government of Pakistan, the President of “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” and the President of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference. Northern Areas were illegally brought under the direct control of the Pakistan Federal Administration from July 1, 1950.

The Pakistan government has maintained that the Northern Areas are an integral part of Pakistan. Yet, constitutionally, the Northern Areas like “Azad Kashmir” are not a part of Pakistan. It is neither defined as part of the territories of Pakistan, nor as a colony or protectorate.

Pakistan has deliberately kept the status of PoK (comprising “Azad Kashmir” and the “Northern Areas”) ambiguous, neither allowing them to secede, nor allowing these territories to be fully integrated into Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan maintains an ambivalent stand over the status of NA in the context of its demand for the resolution of the “Kashmir issue” through plebiscite as per UN resolutions. It seeks to differentiate between NA and Kashmir in the expectation that, in case such a plebiscite is ever held, the NA would vote for Pakistan. This ambivalent stand also obviates any threat to the NA as part of Pakistan in the event of exercise of the third option.
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People form human chains in Imphal

Imphal, August 15
Hundreds of people defied prohibitory orders and formed human chains to press for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Manipur as a student leader attempted self-immolation and a girl, who was injured in the on-going agitation, died today, official sources said.

Sources said several men and women formed chains at Khurai, Tera, Sagolbandh, Lamlai, Irilbung, Soibam Leikai, Nongmeibung, Mantripukhri, Canchipur in Imphal East and Imphal West districts defying prohibitory orders amid tight security.

They said clashes between the police and the protestors and blockade of roads were reported from Wangkhei, Tera, Uripok, Thangmeiband, Khurai in Imphal and the greater Imphal areas. — PTI
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Mamata walks out of nursing home

Kolkata, August 15
Injured Nationalist Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who walked out of a nursing home in South Kolkata, was now being treated at home and the doctor attending on her said today that it would require at least one more month for her to recover fully. — PTI
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Landslide claims 2 lives
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 15
Two pilgrims were killed in a landslide when they were on their way to the Kedarnath shrine through the trekking route. The pilgrims were from Vijaynagar in MP, Disaster Management Department officials said.

The mishap occurred at 8 am at Junglechatti in Rudraprayag district between Gaurikund and Rudraprayag. The pilgrims, Sunita Bai (28) and Radha Bai (4), were mother and daughter, the officials said. 
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BRIEFLY

Veteran freedom fighter dead
AHMEDNAGAR:
Senior freedom fighter Ramchandra Vishnu Botre died of old age here on Saturday family sources said. He was 83. Botre, popularly known as Rambhau, took part in the freedom struggle when he was studying in the seventh standard only. He had also served a sentence for participating in the 1942 Quit India Movement. — PTI

11 killed in road accident
FAIZABAD:
At least 11 persons were killed on the spot and 39 injured when the bus in which they were travelling collided head-on with a truck near Kotsarai village on Sunday. The bus was going from Kanpur to Sunauli via Faizabad, official sources here said adding the victims were mainly from Basti Siddharthnagar, Kushingar and Deoria districts of Uttar Pradesh. — UNI

Youths arrested on rape charge
NAGPUR:
Six youths were arrested for allegedly gang-raping a teenaged girl at a slum locality in Kabirnagar in the city, the police said on Sunday. The accused forced entry into her hutment, dragged her parents out and allegedly criminally assaulted the girl after threatening her. — PTI

Kalpana Chawla Award for villager
CHENNAI:
The Middle-aged and poverty-stricken Ms Amalamary, who hails from the non-descript village of Thengankudi in the Kanniyakumari district, is the proud winner of the Kalpana Chawla Award for Bravery, instituted by the Tamil Nadu Government last year. The award, given by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, carries a medal and a prize money of Rs five lakh. She got the award for saving the life of 500 train passengers this year. — UNI
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