Mufti govt completes two years in office
PDP-Cong start fishing in NC pool
Centre keen on talks on J&K issue, says Mufti
Srinagar, November 2
He said the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh was keen to address the internal dimension of the problem through dialogue with various groups in the state. The Chief Minister added that there was no point in escaping the unconditional dialogue offer from the Centre with various groups in this trouble-torn state. While India continued with dialogue at various levels with Pakistan, it was also pursuing talks with various shades of people in Jammu and Kashmir, he said adding that this would lead to resolution of the issues.
This assumes significance ahead of Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir on November 17 and 18. On his return to the union Capital, the Prime Minister is expected to meet his Pakistan counterpart, Mr Showkat Aziz, in New Delhi.
Replying to questions on Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s proposal on resolving the Kashmir issue, the Chief Minister said it showed Pakistan's “clear position” on the issue.
Responding to a question on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, the Mufti said he was sure about the start of the bus service, which was being discussed in Delhi early next month.
Enumerating the achievements of his government, the Mufti said there was big relief for the common man while the police and security forces tackled militancy. He said there were less incidents of human rights violations and custodial deaths during the past two years. “All incidents brought to the notice of the government were being investigated to the satisfaction of the people,” he said.
The Chief Minister said 55 persons in various jails were being released on the occasion Eid. Orders to this effect had already been issued. He said out of 500 detainees in various jails, 130 were foreigners. Referring to the response to his government’s surrender policy, the Chief Minister said it was received well and that there was no publicity given to such surrenders by the militants.
Earlier, the Chief Minister released a film “Kamyabi Kay Doa Saal” documented by the Department of Information and Public Relations on the achievements of the coalition government during the past two years. He also released a special edition of the Kashmir Today, a publication of the Department of Information that has been revived after 22 years. The Chief Minister also released two other publications, Aalov in Kashmiri and Tameer in Urdu. A photo-exhibition depicting two years of the coalition government was also inaugurated by the Chief Minister.
It was revealed that the government spent Rs 6 crore daily on the development projects in the state, apart from providing jobs to 80 persons and creating 20,000 mandays every day.
The Chief Minister said his government was making efforts towards acceleration of socio-economic developments with an equal share to all in all the three regions of the state. He said top priority of his government was the power sector followed by education, agriculture and road connectivity.
Mufti govt completes two years in office
Jammu, November 2
Although the Mufti has one year to go, the question being asked these days is whether he would oblige the Congress by handing over power to it. The power-sharing formula was decided in 2002. The term of the Assembly is 6 years and the Congress and the PDP had agreed to lead the government for three years each.
The Congress, the largest partner in the coalition, appears to be apprehensive on the issue and none of its leaders is willing to comment on it. The Union Minister and Chairman of the steering committee of the coalition partners, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, recently asked the Congress activists not to raise the issue on any platform. The PCC president and minister, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, was also tightlipped on this issue.
Although the militancy-related incidents and tension on the Indo-Pak border has improved due to steps taken by the Centre, the Mufti has all reasons to take the credit as the process incidentally gained momentum at a time when his government came to power.
What the Mufti has to pat himself for was his own victory in the byelection for the Pahalgam seat that provided him an opportunity to enter the Assembly after a gap of over 20 years. So far, he was heading the coalition government while being a member of the Legislative Council.
The credit for somewhat revival of tourism in the terrorism-torn Kashmir valley after about 15 years goes to him. It was after a long spell that tourists thronged the valley. However, the bonanza was shortlived as they fled the valley because of terrorist attacks in the Dal Lake area. But this can be described as a good beginning. The Amarnath pilgrimage also passed off incident free despite a tug of war between the Mufti and the Governor, Lt. Gen S.K.Sinha (Retd), on the duration of the “yatra” and various other issues.
However, the government’s performance in curbing the growing corruption has not been satisfactory. Neither have any concrete steps been taken to remove the impression of discrimination with the Jammu region. The finance commission and the planning board have not been constituted so far although these were promised in the common minimum programme.
While the PDP and the Congress were publicly not speaking against each other, but smaller partners in the coalition, including Panthers Party leader Mr Bhim Singh, have missed no opportunity to do a lot of drum beating against the Mufti and the Congress. CPM leader, Mr Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who was also supporting the government from outside, has also criticised the government on certain issues.
The Mufti has succeeded in making a place for his PDP in the valley, but his “healing touch policy” has not been relished in Jammu. The Daughters Bill seeking to snatch the property rights of women marrying outside the state, introduced by the government, created a virtual divide between the Jammu and Kashmir regions. The Bill created a controversy throughout the country, but could finally not be passed in the legislature.
The terrorist attack on the National Conference leaders, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Mr Omar Abdullah, just a few days before the completion of two years of the government, has brought discomfort for the Mufti. The two NC leaders have accused the government of trying to eliminate them.
The efforts of the government for return of the Kashmiri Pandits migrants have not succeeded so far because of a sense of insecurity among the community.
SRINAGAR: The National Conference has alleged that the government has failed in fulfilling its promises made under its common minimum programme.
Three senior NC leaders, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mian Altaf Ahmad and Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan, in a joint statement here on Tuesday refuted the claims made by the Chief Minister. They claimed that the two years of the government were “marked by grave human rights violations, misgovernance, infighting among coalition partners and rampant corruption”. They added that there was corruption in political, executive and administrative circles, misleading projections about financial health of the state, slow pace of development activities and increase in custodial deaths.
The leaders enlisted 27 other issues where they claimed that the government had failed.
PDP-Cong start fishing in NC pool
Jammu, November 2
A recent catch has been Mir Ghulam Nabi, who resigned from the NC to rejoin the Congress. In fact, for Mir Ghulam Nabi the motivation from the Congress was less than the provocation from the NC general secretary, Sheikh Nazir Ahmed.
Sources close to the Mir told this correspondent today that he and Mr Nazir had a wordy duel followed by a scuffle at the party headquarters when the NC leader lost his cool over the former reminding him that the party had made a wrong selection of the candidate for the Batamaloo assembly seat.
When the NC leaders had started discussing the names for the Batamaloo constituency, Mr Ghulam Nabi had suggested the name of Mr Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, a former vice-president of the party, who had been instrumental in the election of the late Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah to the assembly since 1977. Sheikh Nazir Ahmed had objected to this.
The result was that not only the party candidate, Mr Irfan Shah, lost the byelection, but also Mr Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh joined the PDP, which led to the victory of Mr Hamid Qarra in the election.
Mir Ghulam Nabi had in 1999 resigned from the Congress to join the PDP. However, within one year he joined the NC with the hope that he would get the party mandate for the Chadoora assembly constituency in the 2002 elections. Though he was not given the ticket, he still he remained loyal to the organisation.
The Mir has pockets of influence in Budgam district, which motivated the Congress to accept him within hours of resigning from the NC. Mir Ghulam Nabi had been summoned by the party President, Mr Omar Abdullah, and its patron, Dr Farooq Abdullah, and persuaded to withdraw his resignation from the NC. But when he found that the party leadership was not prepared to take action against Sheikh Nazir Ahmed, he refused to stay on.
According to sources, at least five NC MLAs wish to join either the Congress or the PDP, but the anti-defection law has restrained them. It is no longer a secret that one NC MLA, Mr Dilawar Mir, is in favour of the PDP. He has demonstrated his anger against the party leadership within the assembly and outside.
He has been waiting for the party to throw him out, which would facilitate his entry into the PDP and a berth in the Cabinet. The NC leadership, however, has decided to punish him by ignoring his criticism.
Reports indicate that the PDP is apprehensive of the game plan of the NC. PDP leaders fear that Dr Farooq Abdullah may strike a deal with the Congress high command for forming an NC-Congress government in the state. The PDP is therefore angling for main NC workers and leaders and has already succeeded in hooking about 200 NC workers to the ruling party from south Kashmir.
Leaders of the state Congress also fear that the NC leadership could win over MLAs belonging to the PDP and the PDF. It needs only 16 MLAs to stake claim for power. Consequently, it too has started wooing NC leaders.
Srinagar, November 2
Acting on specific information, troops of 76 and 96 battalions of the BSF, along with the local police, cordoned of Panjan village in the Chadoora area of Badgam district yesterday, the spokesman said.
While the troops were searching the house of a locally trained militant, Riyaz Ahmad Dar, a militant hiding in the first floor of the house jumped down and opened indiscriminate fire on the troops and tried to escape, the spokesman said.
He said troops retaliated and a fierce gunbattle ensued during which the militant, who was later identified as Divisional Commander of LeT Abdul Mannan alias Assadullah, was killed.
Describing the killing as a major success, the spokesman said Mannan was a Pakistani national hailing from Dakiabad (Faislabad) and was an IED expert.
He was responsible for killing of several security personnel, besides coordinating suicide attacks, he said.
An AK assault rifle, five magazines, 139 cartridges, an under barrel grenade launcher (UBGL), two UBGL grenades, a satellite phone, 1 kg of black RDX, 200 gm of white RDX, three electronic detonators, five remote devices, seven bottles of nitric acid, one litre of lead nitrate, 25 litres of sulphuric acid, two litres of hydrochloric acid and one litre of eythil alcohol were seized from the slain militant, he said.
His local accomplice Riyaz Ahmad Dar was arrested during search of the village, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, troops of Rashtriya Rifles shot dead a local militant in another encounter during search operations at Phattan village of Kapran in Anantnag district last night, defence sources said.
The militant was identified as Riaz Ahmad and an AK rifle and its one magazine were seized from him, he said. — PTI