Special reports, comments and views on the situation, politics and governance in the state of Jammu & Kashmir

Previous Insights Reports Here

Could the Clock be Turned Back on the 5 August 2019 Decision?
17 August 2021
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Could Jammu & Kashmir once again revert to its previous state: unified and complete with special privileges? To answer this question, one needs to enumerate what are the diverse political constituencies with a stake and say in this matter.

Kashmir - Questioning the Unending Cycle of Protest
8 July 2021
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For the first time in decades many local Kashmiris are beginning to question the wisdom of repeated calls for life disrupting hartals, strikes and protests for one cause or the other.

Kashmir - Remembering the Assassinated
20 May 2021
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One of the biggest lies has to do with the assassination of two key Kashmiri figures - Maulvi Mirwaiz Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone. The pro-Pakistan lobby have projected these killings as the work of Indian agencies and commemorate their death anniversaries by organising anti-India rallies and calls for Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan.

Kashmir - Under the Shadow of the Jamaat
08 February 2021
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The Jamaat remains active all across South Asia and continues to propagate its vicious ideology in the name of Islam which, unlike what some people would like us to believe, is essentially a religion of peace and brotherhood. The Jamaat has used religion to further its brutal aims and become a powerful political force in various parts of South Asia.

Kashmir Solidarity Day: A Recurring Drama put up by Pakistan Army
30 January 2021
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It is good to remember the Kashmiri who have died fighting for a cause they believed in. But who will remember the hundreds of Kashmiris who were killed by the goons of Jamaat and other Pakistan Army agents during the armed struggle?

PAGD Victory Signals Political Strife Ahead
30 December 2020
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The alliance of a motley group of mainstream regional parties of the Jammu & Kashmir union territory might have won the largest number of seats in the recently concluded local bodies elections but far from signalling a period of political stability this suggests there is more strife in store ahead.

Gilgit-Baltistan Annexation by Pakistan Government
19 September 2020
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The Government of Pakistan has decided to officially annex the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, an area disputed by India, into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan by converting it into the country?s fifth province.

Kashmir Stands Much to Gain from Integration
1 August 2020
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5 August Anniversary: While politicians, ideologues and the separatists have focused on political issues, the question the average Kashmiri will be asking is whether he is worse off today than he was a year ago.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the death of the Pakistan Dream
20 July 2020
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Among the proponents of the Pakistan agenda was a thin, unsmiling Islamist called Syed Ali Shah Geelani. He had worked his way up the ladder of the Islamist organisation Jamaat e Islami (JeI) Kashmir, working ceaselessly for the Islamic cause and eventual accession to Pakistan, which to him was the promised land.

India-China Conflict: Impasse Drags On
1 July 2020
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While there has been no actual fighting between Indian and Chinese troops since the brutal Galwan Valley episode of 15 June 2020, there is no peace as yet either. China's Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) has made it clear that it would not restore the status quo ante and would continue to occupy positions it has occupied in recent weeks.

India-China Fighting Breaks out in Ladakh
17 June 2020
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Violent fighting has broken out between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the undefined borders of eastern Ladakh. The violence is the direct result of China's attempt to alter the status quo along the disputed line separating the two territories.

Pakistan's Unstoppable Killing Machine
7 May 2020
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The Pakistan Army must keep its terrorist warriors gainfully employed to prevent its Islamist cauldron from solidifying and becoming dysfunctional. Thus, the killings in Kashmir must continue.

Could the Corona Pandemic Hasten Political Reconciliation in Kashmir?
2 April 2020
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The present crisis has also woken the realisation that humankind is one large interconnected family. Could the rise of this feeling help political reconciliation in the Kashmir Valley, which has for decades isolated itself from the rest of the Subcontinent and increasingly celebrated its uniqueness and deprecated its commonalities with the rest of the country?

New Delhi's Normalisation Game-plan
16 January 2020
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As the first month of the new year enters its second half, a discernible strategy in New Delhi's plan to restore normalcy in the Kashmir Valley is becoming apparent. There will be no automatic concessions; people in the Valley, leaders included, will have to earn freedoms. Sounds drastic but looks like that is the way it will be.

2019 A Year of Shock and Dismay
31 December 2019
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The Government of India's unexpected decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution conferring special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two union territories took everyone in the state by utter surprise and left most utterly shocked.

Separatist Strategy: Slaughter and Terrorise Innocents
5 November 2019
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The list of civilian killings by terrorists in the Kashmir Valley is long and dreary. These started 30 years ago and have continued. The abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution and the state's bifurcation have nothing to do with it except provide more justification for violence.

Conflicting reports on Kashmir Valley Situation
14 October 2019
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Reports on the prevailing situation in Jammu & Kashmir state following the abrogation of Article 370 and its bifurcation into two entities paint a confusing picture. Some reports claim that there is normalcy while others stress that the clampdown and protests continue. Who to believe?

Mainstream Parties Cause of Electoral Disenchantment
1 August 2019
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In Kashmir Valley, the young do not vote. On election day, they remain at home or congregate at street corners to prevent others from voting. Towns and villages wear a deserted look with the soldiers guarding polling stations and a few brave voters trickling through. This indicates a total distrust of the electoral process and democracy as it is practised in the Kashmir Valley.

Is the Hurriyat Losing Its Relevance?
18 July 2019
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The Kashmir Valley's separatist conglomerate, the Hurriyat Conference, might claim to be the true representative and voice of the Valley's people but this claim is sounding increasingly discordant as well as desperate.

Amit Shah's Focus on Development, Panchayats and Kashmiriyat
1 July 2019
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Much has been already written and speculated regarding India's new Home Minister Amit Shah's likely policy towards Kashmir. The Minister himself has not clearly articulated a comprehensive Kashmir policy yet and perhaps never will. However, he has stated in the Lok Sabha after returning from a 2-day visit to the Kashmir Valley that the BJP will stress on ‘Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat' in J&K but will not tolerate terrorism.

Can BJP Home Minister Amit Shah Solve Kashmir Issue?
27 June 2019
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It is reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed his right-hand man, Amit Shah, as Home Minister, with a view to solve the Kashmir issue. Amit Shah is known to have political skills of a high order and was said to be instrumental in the BJP's landslide electoral victory in the last Lok Sabha polls. He is also known as a master manipulator. But the big question is whether Shah can make any headway where Kashmir is concerned?

The True Heroes of Kashmir
6 June 2019
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How does one facilitate a young man who gave up his life to save the lives of others? Can we ever thank or reward the person who has passed beyond all worldly wants? Perhaps the only way we can honour him is by remembering his selfless deed and preaching the message of humanity his actions illustrated.

Cross-LoC Trade Misuse
28 April 2019
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On 19 April 2019, the government shut down the free border trade in Kashmir. The trade is allowed through two points called ‘trade facilitation centres' in the state of Jammu & Kashmir: one at Salambad, Uri in Baramulla district and the other at Chakkan-da-Bagh in Poonch district. Trading is allowed four days a week and is on barter system with no customs duty being charged.

Jammu & Kashmir 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Primer
09 April 2019
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A primer on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the state. This time, unprecedented security arrangements are being made for a violence free election in the Kashmir Valley while the situation is absolutely normal in the Jammu region and in Ladakh where active campaigning is taking place. To provide ample security polling will be held in different days across five phases from 11 April 2019 to 6 May 2019.

Highlights of Indian Air Force Strikes on Terrorist Camps in Pakistan
27 February 2019
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India responded to the Pulwama terrorist attack of 14 February 2019 by an air attack on a major terrorist camp inside Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunwa province in the early hours of 26 February. For the first time since 1971 Indo-Pak war, Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out pre-dawn air strikes pounding Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp at Balakote, about 80 kilometers deep inside Pakistan from the Line of Control (LoC), killing over 350 terrorists including top commanders of JeM, trainers and recruits.

Masood Azhar: The Mass Murderer backed by Pakistan
17 February 2019
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Societies that glorify mass murderers and look upon them as heroes and role models have some serious and fundamental defects, bordering on psychosis. Pakistan and certain sections of Kashmir surely fit the bill. The truth is that the path to mass murder and atrocities was led by Pakistanis, one of whom is Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad. This organisation and its leadership cannot be called a militant group because its objective is to spread its influence through acts of terrorism and nothing else.

Widespread Corruption in J&K
14 November 2018
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Despite assassinations, death threats and boycott calls, majority of people in the state of Jammu & Kashmir are in favour of elections that will bring back grassroots democracy denied to them by power hungry regional The highest level administrator in Jammu & Kashmir, Governor Satya Pal Malik, has revealed the extent of corruption plaguing the state. Corruption is rampant, unchecked and has completed eroded all sane levels of governance. It is one of the principal causes of disaffection with the Indian government and a huge barrier to all attempts at economic development. Instead of money going to the people, it has been steadily squirrelled away by state politicians and bureaucrats..

J&K Municipal Polls 2018: Participation Despite assassinations, death threats and poll boycott calls
8 October 2018
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Despite assassinations, death threats and boycott calls, majority of people in the state of Jammu & Kashmir are in favour of elections that will bring back grassroots democracy denied to them by power hungry regional political parties.

Article 35A: Upholding a Constitutional Provision
19 August 2018
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It is curious that the latest round of agitation in the Kashmir Valley fomented by Separatists who seek secession from India are actually supporting a provision of the Indian Constitution. Section 35A of the Constitution was hurriedly and opportunistically added through the expedience of a Presidential Order in May 1954. Petitioners are now arguing that the Article discriminates against the other citizens of the country for they cannot own immovable property in the State nor can they get jobs and scholarships.

Violence and Hatred Wins in Kashmir Valley
21 June 2018
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The failure of the Ramzan Ceasefire and the demise of the coalition experiment in Jammu & Kashmir prove that violence and hatred have emerged as the ultimate winners in the Kashmir Valley. Some reporters have suggested that Ms Mehbooba Mufti was removed from the state's chief ministership because she was a staunch supporter of the Ramzan truce and advocated a “soft” approach in the Valley.

Vandalism and Misbehaviour Main Cause of Hatred
8 May 2018
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Vandalism, high-handedness and misbehaviour by security forces in Kashmir Valley is the main cause of local hatred. The intrusive behaviour of security forces, their constant mistreatment of locals has bred anti-India feelings. For three decades now, the local Valley population has endured the military and it has become intolerable, leading to a spike in militant recruitment and anti-India surge.

Futile Border Clashes
27 February 2018
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Every other day, newspaper reports talk of border clashes between Indian and Pakistani troops. Often heavy artillery is used by one or both sides. Soldiers are killed routinely on both sides and sometimes civilians too.

Implications of Appointment of Kashmir Interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma
27 October 2017
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The government in New Delhi has appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief, Dineshwar Sharma, as points-person for Jammu & Kashmir. This comes after persistent demands from various quarters for a sustained dialogue with all stakeholders to find a political resolution of the Kashmir problem. The mainstream has welcomed the move but others remain sceptical.

What is Article 35A?
11 September 2017
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The last few months have seen a new cause for agitation and protest in the Kashmir Valley. These revolve around Article 35A of the Indian Constitution which accords certain special rights to the state of Jammu & Kashmir on the issue of deciding who are its permanent residents and providing them special privileges regarding land ownership, scholarships and so on.

April 2017 Byelections
06 February 2017
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The Kashmir Valley's first major electoral test will be the April 2017 Lok Sabha byelections, coming as it does after prolonged protests and shutdowns of 2016.

The Arrest of LeT Chief Hafiz Saeed
06 February 2017
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Pakistani newspapers reported that Pakistani authorities had placed Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and four others under detention on the night of 30th January 2017. The action was taken under an anti-terrorism act.The four others include Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid and Kashif Niaz. The big question that remains is how it will affect militancy in Kashmir.

Why Target Education?
07 October 2016
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It is almost three months now since the pro-freedom shutdowns began following the killing of Burhan Wani. Boys are out in the streets to ensure strict shutdown and beat people who do not comply. The slogan is that all sacrifices are acceptable for the sake of freedom. Therefore, lives may suffer, businesses also but it is justified.My question is what about children? Why target their education?

The Killing of Burhan Wani and its Aftermath - A chronology
15 July 2016
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Events following the encounter killing of militant Burhan Wani compiled from newspaper reports. Burhan Wani, the 22-year-old most wanted Hizbul Mujahideen commander, who redefined the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, was killed along with two of his associates in an encounter at Waibombdora village in Dooru-Verinag-Kokarnag area of South Kashmir's Anantnag district.

Media Reactions on J&K's New Chief Minister
5 April 2016
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Mehbooba Mufti, president of the People's Democratic Party, took the oath as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday 4 April 2016, thereby ending 11 weeks of political uncertainty. Twenty three ministers were sworn in alongside Ms. Mufti.

Reasons for Delay in Government Formation
28 February 2016
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Initially, the delay in government formation in J&K following the death of chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was attributed to his daughter Mehbooba Mufti's grief over her bereavement. It was much later that the media realised that the reasons for the delay were largely political and not personal.

J&K's Stateless People
17 April 2015
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At the time of partition which was followed by tribal invasion, more than 7000 families crossed to this side of the LoC and International Border from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the then Western Pakistan. Later on, during Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, nearly 10,000 families got dislocated from 47 villages of Chhamb area. The families who had to migrate on various occasions since 1947.

Jammu & Kashmir 2014 Assembly Elections Results at a Glance
24 December 2014
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Summary of 2014 Assembly elections results: seats, votes polled and so on. For detailed constituency-wise results.

Jammu & Kashmir 2014 Lok Sabha Elections Primer
24 April 2014
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Traditionally, voters in Ladakh turn out in large numbers to vote while the turnout in the Valley is generally low mainly because of terrorist threats and anti-poll campaigns carried out by separatist groups. The turnout in the Jammu region varies but is usually much higher than that of the Valley.

Kashmiri Sufism
1 March 2013
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The atmosphere of hatred and religious bigotry in Kashmir has largely succeeded in eclipsing the state's age old culture of tolerance and communal coexistence. Worse, it has severely impacted Kashmir's core culture that is based on Sufism. The mystic Sufi sect of Islam has come under attack not just by changing social values and conflict but also by the challenge of rising Wahhabi brand of Islam. Should Sufism be snuffed out in Kashmir, it would mean the end of a historical culture and the end of a sacred order.

Pakistan's Mysterious Reluctance on LoC Trade
16 September 2008
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For the people of the Kashmir Valley locked as they are into an isolated region surrounded by high mountains, the opening of more trade and transit routes would be a welcome step. The Indian government has not tried to stop Kashmiri trade through Muzaffarabad with Pakistan. In fact, the Indian government has repeatedly been telling Pakistan to open a trading point at the LoC so that Kashmiris on both sides could trade as well as transit. The Pakistanis mysteriously have resisted such proposals.

The Human Rights Problem in Gilgit-Baltistan
28 June 2008
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Since partition of the Indian sub-continent, in 1947, and the coming into being of Pakistan the democratic and political freedom and the Human Rights situation in Gilgit-Baltistan is very bad and the population has been suffering. Since the recent installation of emergency by General/President Musharraf this situation aggravated even more.

Renewal of Militancy
31 April 2008
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Preparations seem to be on in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) for the revival of militancy in Kashmir this summer.

The Indian Establishment Responds to Human Rights Issues in Kashmir
28 April 2008
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In the many years of conflict in Kashmir since 1989, human rights has been a big casualty. But are HR violations the result of Indian policy imperatives? The truth must be told if the process of peace and reconciliation in Kashmir is to progress.

Shabir Shah's Political Somersault
21 January 2008
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Shabir Ahmed Shah, a prominent Kashmiri leader, who was expelled from the Hurriyat conference, ostensibly for holding talks with the US government, is back in the Hurriyat. He had floated the Democratic Freedom Party. He had projected himself as a progressive, pro-Independence figure. Today, he finds himself re-admitted to the irredentist Hurriyat.

Kashmir Mourns Benazir's Assassination
1 January 2008
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The tragic assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has shown that terrorism and the gun cannot solve any problem. Rather, terrorism is against peace, democracy and progress. The widespread reaction to the killing of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto must remind us of the futility of violence. This article is a compilation of reactions to the assassination.

J&K: Militants Violate Human Rights Too
10 December 2007
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On the occasion of World Human Rights Day on 10 December 2007, it becomes expedient to take a reality check on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Separatists and other outfits organised large-scale protests in Jammu and Kashmir against alleged 'increasing human rights violations' and demanded implementation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assurance on zero tolerance to human rights abuse by the security forces. While the so-called custodians of human rights regularly cry hoarse over violations allegedly commited by the Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, they turn a blind eye to the abuses undertaken by militants since the onset of militancy in the 1980s.

Mirwaiz's Utterances: A Blatant Lie
30 August 2007
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Ignoring all the significant steps undertaken in recent months by the Indian government, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, had recently stated in an interview that India lacked the will to find a political solution to the Kashmir dispute. Claiming that there was a complete breakdown of communication, the Mirwaiz also admitted that extremism and hardline positions may erupt with the new generation of Kashmiris who are longing for a permanent settlement. While a solution to the Kashmir problem is not imminent, Farooq's statement is clearly a blatant lie as it completely ignores the steps undertaken by New Delhi to foster a dialogue for resolving the Kashmir dispute.

The Nicholson Report: Pakistani Propaganda Fails As Kashmiris Become The Focus
25 March 2007
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For several decades Pakistan's propaganda machinery sought to internationalise the Kashmir issue while seeking a global recognition for its claim on the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan's propaganda had in fact ensured that the West's perception of the ground realities in Kashmir remained skewed despite Indian claims that the situation in its Kashmir region was strikingly different from the areas under Pakistani occupation. Despite the qualitative change in the situation in Indian Kashmir, Western perception continued to be mediated through Pakistan's negative propaganda. However, a report on the Kashmir situation drafted by British Member of the European Parliament (EP) and Rapporteur Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne has sought to project the actual ground situation in divided Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir: Important Events & Developments During 2006
31 December 2006
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Jammu and Kashmir inched closer to normalcy and peace during 2006 with the Government of India undertaking several important steps to bolster the ongoing peace process with Pakistan and separatist outfits. Militant outfits, however, continued to resort to violence in order to undermine the popular desire for peace. This summary provides a chronology of some of the important events and developments that took place in Jammu and Kashmir during 2006.

EU Report Says Plebiscite Not In Kashmiris' Interest
20 December 2006
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In her report titled 'Kashmir, Present Situation and Future Prospects', British Member of European Parliament (EP) Baroness Emma Nicholson has observed that the continuing demand for a plebiscite on the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is not reflective of the current needs of local people. Nicholson observes in her report that the plebiscite demand is, in fact, damaging to Kashmiris' interests. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the EP is expected to adopt the report after a debate on amendment proposals on 30 January 2007.

Split Wide Open: Geelani and Salahuddin Drifting Apart
30 November 2006
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United Jehad Council chief and Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Syed Salahuddin and Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani are at daggers once again with both of them trying to project themselves as the true leader of the Kashmir struggle. While both leaders stuck to the demand for holding a plebiscite in the past, Salahuddin recently made public his political desires by indicating a shift from the stand of implementation of UN resolutions to a possible solution by holding tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris, provided Kashmir was recognised as a disputed issue and the proposed solution was in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris. Salahuddin also indicated his willingness for a conditional ceasefire in the Valley. However, these developments clearly indicate the internal split in the separatist' ranks as Geelani took a tough stand against his one-time protégé for his ceasefire offer and asked Salahuddin to issue a denial.

Militants Picking Up Soft Targets
29 November 2006
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Even as Kashmir's tourism sector begins preparations for the Valley's winter sports, which is the backbone of its prosperity, militant outfits targeted tourists in Tangmarg on 28 November 2006 in order to derail the economic development of the state. Attacks against tourists in Kashmir by Pakistan-based militant outfits have increased this year as the tourism industry witnessed a boom despite the security situation in Kashmir. Though it is clear that militant outfits are aiming to derail the tourism sector, such attacks are only adding to the disenchantment of Kashmiris, who depend on the tourism sector for their livelihood.

Attack On Mosque: Militants Outraging Kashmiriyat
11 November 2006
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Kashmir's composite culture, reflected in the sentiment of ‘Kashmiriyat', came under attack when terrorists targeted a religious congregation in Pulwama district on 10 November 2006. The attack was meant to eliminate Maulana Abdul Rashid Dawoodi of the Barelvi sect which preaches Sufism. The attack, which left six innocent children dead and 55 others injured, clearly indicated that terrorist outfits are aiming to silence moderate voices in the Valley.

Militants Misusing Kashmiri Women
22 September 2006
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This is the story of a woman exploited by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist outfit, which sent her to Pakistani camps for arms training and then infiltrated her into the Kashmir Valley with a specific mission to befriend the Indian security forces and kill them apart from spreading the terror network in the strife-torn state. Indian security forces arrested the LeT operative, Khalida Akhtar, on 19 September 2006. Her interrogation revealed a sordid saga of how Pakistani terror outfits are exploiting Kashmiris in the name of jihad against India.

Apex Court Snubs J&K Bar Association
10 September 2006
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The Supreme Court's directive on 4 September 2006 to transfer the J& K sex racket case to Chandigarh on the plea that the accused faced threat to life and they were not getting any local lawyers to plead their cases because of the boycott call by the J&K Bar Association (JKBA) has proved that the JKBA was infringing on the right of defence of the accused as provided under Indian laws.

Murder of Baloch Leader Nawab Akbar Bugti: A Big Tragedy
2 September 2006
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One of the most distinctive and respected politician of Pakistan and former chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, was mercilessly killed by the Pakistani army on 26 August 2006. Bugti was killed during a massive military operation in the Bhambore Hills, an area between the cities of Kohlu and Dera Bugti, in Balochistan province. The veteran Baloch leader had gone into hiding earlier this year after Pakistani forces launched a crackdown on Baloch rebels after rockets were fired in December 2005 during the Balochistan visit of President General Pervez Musharraf. Bugti's killing is a clear indication that General Musharraf has no tolerance for dissent, even if it is based on genuine grievances. However, the targeted killing of Bugti's killing has, in fact, bolstered the ongoing insurgency in the province which could ultimately threaten Pakistan's territorial integrity.

Differences Emerge Between Salahuddin and Geelani
26 August 2006
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A new dimension has been added to Kashmir's separatist/militant politics over the statement of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) based Hizbul Mujahideen chief and Chairman of United Jihad Council (UJC) Syed Salahuddin and his one time mentor, senior separatist and leader of his faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Differences have reportedly emerged between Salahuddin and Geelani over the former's willingness to participate in a dialogue with the Indian government.

Militants Target Innocent Kashmiris
20 July 2006
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Even though they claim to be waging a jihad (holy war) against India, Pakistan-sponsored militants have frequently targeted innocent Kashmiris, including women and children, who have suffered the brunt of the long-running militancy in the trouble-torn state. Seeking to destroy the secular and communal harmony in Jammu and Kashmir, militant outfits have also targeted minority communities in the state. Though Pakistan continues to deny its involvement, there is considerable evidence that since 1990, a planned and organised militant campaign sponsored from across the border has brutalised Kashmir and its people.

Elections in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir: A Farce
13 July 2006
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On 11 July 2006, elections were held to 41 Legislative Assembly seats of Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK). However, these elections were marked by the absence of pro-azadi (freedom) candidates of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and the All Party National alliance (APNA). The elections were also marred by allegations of widespread rigging as political parties including the PML and the MMA alliance claimed that the Musharraf government had rigged the polls in favour of the Muslim Conference which bagged a comfortable majority to form the government.

India-Pakistan Peace-Process and the Mumbai Bomb Blasts
12 July 2006
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In accordance with India's stature in South Asia, the then Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had extended the 'hand of friendship' in April 2003 to seek a permanent peace with Pakistan. Since then a number of initiatives have been taken by India to restore normalcy between the two warring countries. These included a ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) which is holding even today though differences have emerged between the two countries due to slow progress in resolving contentious issues and continuing terrorist activities in India by Pakistan-based militant outfits. Though India has undertaken several confidence building measures to seek peace with Pakistan, continuing violence and terror attacks against innocent Indians clearly points out to a long list of Pakistan's betrayals on key promises it had made earlier.

Pakistan's New Strategy in Kashmir
10 June 2006
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Pakistan appears to have adopted a carefully planned new strategy of continuing to sponsor militancy in Kashmir through its institutions while overtly claiming to undertake steps to rein in terrorist/jihadi outfits operating from its territory. Pakistan's new strategy involves an endorsement of the ongoing political processes, particularly the Roundtable Conference, as relevant means of resolving the Kashmir issue. At the same time, the strategy also seeks to maintain the violence levels in Kashmir and target tourists in particular as recent reports have indicated that the economy of Kashmir is on the upswing owing largely to the huge influx of tourists.

Kids As Bombs: The Ugly Face Of Pakistani Terror
5 June 2006
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Child abuse takes place in different forms and for different objectives though it is condemnable in all aspects. Though there are several laws and institutional measures to prevent child abuse, it continues to be a preferred option for earning money as well as avoiding suspicion. The worst form of child abuse is undertaken by Pakistan-sponsored militant outfits in Kashmir who use children for activities like planting bomb or acting as couriers to convey messages and material. Given the fact that children are not usually out of the perimeter of suspicion of security agencies, they serve as a strategic tool for militant outfits to undertake and facilitate attacks. Moreover, militant outfits indoctrinate children by giving such tactics an ideological frame of jihad in order to influence unsuspecting and innocent children.

Kashmir Press Roundup: May 2006
2 June 2006
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At the initiative of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the second Kashmir Roundtable Conference was held in Srinagar in May 2006. Though New Delhi invited political parties and separatist outfits to participate in the conference, the separatist outfits once again chose to boycott the dialogue. Separatist outfits, which had also boycotted the first Rountable Conference, appear to be incognisant of the dominant public opinion in Kashmir which is clearly in favour of a negotiated solution of the Kashmir problem. However, owing to the influence of their cross border masters, separatist outfits once again chose to boycott the path of dialogue. This sentiment was reflected in the media reports of Kashmiri news sources during May 2006. A summary of selected media reports during the month is given below.

Indus Waters Treaty: View From Kashmir
1 June 2006
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With Pakistan securing World Bank's intervention by having appointed a neutral expert, Raymond Lafitte from Switzerland, to adjudicate its dispute with India over the 450 MW Baglihar hydropower project on the Chenab river in doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, the 45 years old Indus Waters Treaty has once again come into the focus of national and international attention.

Attack on Tourists: Terrorists Attack Soft Targets in Kashmir
31 May 2006
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Frustrated by the waning of local support and growth of the tourism industry, militant outfits in Kashmir are now coordinating their attacks on soft targets such tourists who are visiting Jammu and Kashmir. The return of normalcy, support for the ongoing dialogue process between New Delhi and Kashmiri groups as well as India and Pakistan, has significantly dampened the outlook of militant outfits who are increasingly finding themselves marginalised in the state. The beauty of Chinar-lined lakes and snow-capped Pir Panjal mountain ranges are some of the various sites that attract thousands of tourists to Kashmir. By targeting tourists, militant outfits are also seeking to hurt the state's economy, its culture and the very notion of Kashmiriyat.

Kashmir Roundtable Conference: Another Opportunity Lost By Separatists
26 May 2006
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With the Hurriyat deciding to stay away from the second Kashmir Roundtable Conference (KRC) held in Srinagar on 24-25 May 2006, questions are being raised about the separatist outfit's commitment to the peace process and its claim of being the 'true representative of Kashmiris. The Hurriyat Conference had boycotted the first KRC held in New Delhi on 25 February. The second KRC was hailed as a significant step forward with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh outlining a comprehensive framework for addressing Kashmiri grievances. By boycotting the roundtable, the separatists have lost yet another opportunity to involve themselves in the broad-based dialogue process.

Bhasha: The Damned Dam
20 May 2006
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Pakistan's plan of constructing the Bhasha dam has led to widespread protests in Gilgit. The Bhasha project has led to a major controversy as the dam is currently being debated in Pakistan as a second choice or an alternative to the proposed Kalabagh dam in Sindh province. The Bhasha dam is being opposed by people in Gilgit as they fear that it would affect the social, economic and ecological balance in the region and would inundate 32 villages of Diamer district in Northern Areas, rendering thousands of people homeless.

Kashmir Press Roundup: April 2006
2 May 2006
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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's initiative for resolving the Kashmir issue by broadening the dialogue process appears to have found popular support among the Kashmiris. With over 70 per cent of Kashmiris participating in the by-elections to four assembly constituencies held on 24 April, the popular sentiment is clearly in favour of a dialogue and political process to resolve the Kashmir issue. While the separatist outfits boycotted the first roundtable conference held in New Delhi, they are reportedly planning to participate in the second roundtable conference to be held in Srinagar in May 2006. This sentiment was reflected in the media reports of Kashmiri news sources during April 2006. A summary of media reports of Kashmiri news sources is given below.

Massacre in Kashmir: Militants Target Hindus After By-polls
1 May 2006
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The macabre killing of 35 Hindus in the mountainous districts of Doda and Udhampur on 1 May 2006 clearly indicates the frustration amongst militant outfits following the overwhelming participation of Kashmiris in the by-polls held to four assembly constituencies in April 2006. The massacre, which took place two days ahead of a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the separatist Hurriyat Conference conglomerate, clearly reflects the desperation amongst militant outfits which are seeking to derail the ongoing efforts by the Indian government to restore peace in Kashmir.

By-elections in Kashmir: Turnout Indicates Popular Support For Electoral Politics
28 April 2006
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The huge turnout in the by-elections held on 24 April 2006 to four Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir has institutionalised the revival of political participation in the state. If the Assembly elections of October 2002 marked a turning point in violence-torn Kashmir, the turnout in the by-elections has clearly indicated that Kashmiris have cast their vote in favour of peace and normalcy in the state. Despite intimidation and threats issued by militant outfits, over 70 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the by-elections.

The World Social Forum 2006: An Alternative Forum for Dialogue
4 April 2006
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Delegates from across the world met in the Pakistani city of Karachi during 24-29 March 2006 under the aegis of the World Social Forum (WSF), a platform which serves as an open meeting space for the free exchange and debate of ideas.

The Pugwash Conference on Kashmir
24 March 2006
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Prominent leaders from both sides of Kashmir participated in a three day conference from 10 to 12 March 2006 at Islamabad, Pakistan. This conference was organised by Pugwash an American think tank The conference was held under the broad theme 'Prospects for self-governance in Jammu and Kashmir, and present status of cooperation and communications across the LOC'.

Youth Participation in Army's Recruitment Drive Marks A Significant Beginning in Kashmir
23 March 2006
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The participation of Kashmiri youth in the statewide recruitment drive launched by the Indian army indicates a significant beginning in the Kashmir situation. Despite the threats issued by militant outfits, Kashmiri youth participated in large numbers to sign up for employment in the Indian army.

Martyrdom of Hussain: An Example of Lofty Character
5 March 2006
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The martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, his family members and colleagues in the month of Muharram at Karbala about 1,400 years ago, was a great sacrifice for the cause of mankind, Islam and its values.

Kashmir Press Roundup II: February 2006
1 March 2006
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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has initiated talks with different Kashmiri groups and leaders in order to broaden the ongoing dialogue.

Kashmir Round table Conference: An Opportunity Lost
26 February 2006
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By refusing to participate in the 25 February 2006 round table conference on Kashmir, the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has clearly lost a significant opportunity to initiate a broad dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue. The fact that the invitation for the conference came from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was clearly not enough for the Hurriyat leadership.

Earthquake Forces Musharraf To Suggest Kashmir Demilitarisation
1 February 2006
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The residents of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) were not the only people who suffered the wrath of the devastating earthquake on 8 October 2005, which levelled the capital city of Muzaffarabad. Apart from the civilians, the Pakistan army has reportedly suffered major losses in the earthquake. The Pakistani president's emphasis on demilitarisation appears to have been clearly influenced by the losses suffered by his army.

The Quest for Identity
10 January 2006
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The struggle of People of Gilgit baltistan in search of identity has not received much attention and importance in Kashmir controversy. Their quest for identity has just begun to emerge since it has undergone and witnessed different phases and situations than rest of Kashmir as they continue to be victim of Pakistan policies of constitutional ambiguities that surround the area, people and its status since it took control of the Area. The voices to air their grievances and seeking an end of constitutional limbo has drawn adverse response from the Islamabad authorities.

Valley of Death
31 October 2005
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Many parts of Kashmir both on Pakistan side and Indian side were devasted by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, 8 October 2005. It caused widespread destruction in many areas in both India and Pakistan. According to the latest estimates around 39,422 people died, while around 65,000 people were injured and about 2.5 million people had been rendered homeless in the Pakistan controlled areas.

Hurriyat's Pakistan visit: Internal Contradictions Exposed
1 October 2005
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Ever since the Kashmiri separatist conglomerate, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), split into what is known as the moderate and hardline factions, the outfit is plagued by inherent contradictions that were once again revealed during their visit to Pakistan in June 2005. This was the first-ever visit to Pakistan by the APHC, which took place in the context of improving relations between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan.

Intra-Kashmir Conference in Kashmir
15 July 2005
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The Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR), Delhi Policy Group (DPG) and Forum for Regional Voices (FRV) organised an Intra-Kashmir Conference at Centaur hotel in Srinagar from 29-31 July 2005. A thirteen member Pakistani delegation headed by Retd. Chief Justice Abdul Masjid Malik participated in the conference. The delegation included scholars, lawyers and journalists. The conference aimed at strengthening and fostering people to people dialogue between intellectuals of both sides of Kashmir.

Reconsidering the Indus Waters Treaty: The Baglihar Dam Dispute
31 January 2005
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Indian plans to go ahead with the Baglihar Hydropower Project on the Chenab River in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has evoked opposition from Pakistan which claims that the project puts the World Bank-brokered Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of 1960, the only successful treaty between the two arch-rivals, at risk.

Lok Sabha Elections in the Valley: An Unclear Vote for Peace
31 May 2004
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Despite the threat by militant outfits and boycott calls by separatist groups, voters in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir exercised their franchise in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. In doing so, the people of Kashmir indicated their desire for peace which was overwhelmingly expressed earlier during the Assembly elections in October 2002.

Eid Celebrations in Kashmir: Reviving the 'Azadi' Demand
7 February 2004
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On 2 February 2004, the Muslim holy festival of Eid-ul-Juha was celebrated with fervour in Jammu and Kashmir. Eid celebrations were held in the backdrop of the thaw between India and Pakistan which began with the unilateral ceasefire along the Line of Control announced by Pakistan to mark the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr in November 2003. Kashmiri leaders made Eid-ul-Juha a rallying point for reviving the decade-long demand for 'azadi' or independence, which had taken a backseat in the backdrop of India-Pakistan peace initiatives.

Moulvi Abbas Ansari: The Hurriyat's New Chief
1 August 2003
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The All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) elected Moulvi Abbas Ansari, the leader of Ittehadul Muslimeen Moulvi, its chairman on 12 July 2003. Ansari replaced Muslim Conference chairman Abdul Gani Bhat, who completed two years as Hurriyat head. Ansari's election comes at a crucial time for the Hurriyat with internal disessions surfacing openly for the first time in years. Will Ansari manage to steer the Hurriyat through these troubled times? The answer might lie in his history.

Human Rights in Pakistan
14 April 2003
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Pakistan and its proxies who cry hoarse of alleged human rights violations in J&K should see the grim picture of human rights violations painted by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) especially during the year 2002 when the country joined the US led so-called international war on terrorism.

The Nadimarg Massacre
10 April 2003
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The massacre of 24 Kashmiri Pandits including 11 women and two children on March 24 at Nadimarg, Shopian, Pulwama district, shows that the Pak sponsored Jehadis are pursuing their own murderous course in J&K. The war in Iraq and the US force's engagement in Afghanistan have not distracted the Islamic terrorists from their terrible agenda. It is even possible that given the anger against the Americans among the militants in Pakistan, the terrorist groups are being encouraged by their sponsors in Islamabad to direct their wrath against the targets in Kashmir.

The Assassination of Hizbul Leader Majid Dar
24 March 2003
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Abdul Majid Dar, another sane voice in Jammu and Kashmir who realised the futility of the gun and talked of restoring peace to the terrorists` violence weary Kashmiris, has been silenced. Abdul Majid Dar`s assassination is the second in the row after the assassination of A.G. Lone, senior Hurriyat leader who talked of solving the long pending Kashmir imbroglio by giving a call to the Kashmiris to participate in the recently held assembly elections.

The Concept Of Democracy in Islam
19 December 2002
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Islam is a religion of peace and co-existence, wherein there is ample scope for freedom of expression. You can express your views even if you differ. The decision is arrived at through consensus in all important matters. Islam's superiority over other religions lies in the fact that it gives utmost importance to the opinion of the people. This fact is clearly illustrated in the Quran and the Hadiths. The Quranic verse 'Am Ruhum Shura-bai nuhum' (Chapter 42-Asura; verse 38)- whose affairs are a matter of consultation is an ample proof.

Pakistan Elections - Uncertain Fate of Democracy
25 November 2002
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Pakistani dictators from Yayah Khan to General Zia-ul-Haq, the religious parties had a major say in the govt. But the present military dictator was forced to annoy this powerful element of Pakistan's society under US pressure when after Sept. 11 he had to join US led war on terrorism. The recently held elections (Oct. 10) are an attempt by this present military regime to gain the favours of this powerful lobby besides becoming the unchallenging authority in his efforts to consolidate his powers after becoming the president of the country through the heavily rigged referendum of April 30, 2002.

JuD holds its Annual Convention
24 November 2002
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The Jamaat-ud-Daawa, formerly known as the Markaz-ud-Daawa Wal Irshad (MDI), parent body of the banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), held (Nov. 1-3, 2002) its annual convention at Yarmok Centre, Patoki, district Kasur after a gap of two years. The venue, which was earlier Muridke, was shifted to Patoki, as the government did not want to 'attract the attention of the West'. The organisers were also told that the change in venue was necessitated by apprehensions of an 'Indian attack' during the meet.

Islam - A Religion of Peace and Compassion
22 November 2002
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A new group amongst the Muslims has emerged in the modem era known as Mujahid or Mujahideen. For a lot of people they are reckoned as a Muslim hero. But, contrary to the popular belief, these Mujahideens are associated neither with Jihad nor with Islam. As quoted in Hadith, the prophet of Islam defined the Mujahid as those who are doing Jihad with their Psyche/carnal life, in the obedience of Allah. But, these so-called Mujahids are doing the reverse. They indulge in violence against others.

Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Elections 2002: Ending National Conference's Reign
30 October 2002
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After more than two decades in power, the ruling National Conference (NC) was voted out by popular mandate in the 2002 Assembly elections in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The elections, held over four phases in September and October 2002, witnessed an average turnout of about 44 percent.

Free, fair elections in Kashmir
16 September 2002
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India confronts a Kashmir Rubicon on September 16 when it commences a four-phase balloting process in the disputed territory to elect members to a Kashmiri Assembly.

'You don't understand Pakistan's agenda'
14 September 2002
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'You don't understand Pakistan's agenda', the caller said to me. 'Be under no allusion, Pakistan is not interested in Kashmiri people's independence, you people are being used in a proxy war to bleed India', the caller added and put the phone down.

"Numaindo Ko Maro" Or Kill the Candidates
12 September 2002
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"Kill the Candidates" is the message ISI controllers based in Pakistan are sending to their operatives in Kashmir. Rumours in Srinagar have it that the going rate for assassinating a political candidate is ten lakh rupees while killing an activist fetches just a lakh. The odd part of the recent pre-election killings is the new names of organisations that have claimed responsibility for the killings. The latest killings are said to be the handiwork of an organisation known as the Al Afreen, which has never been heard of.

The Kashmir Settlement, An Initiative
1 September 2002
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Political parties and groups on the east of the Line of Control and political parties and groups on the west of the Line of Control in the former state of Jammu and Kashmir should consider approving a document on the following lines...

Hurriyat Leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Arrest - ISI Funding for Kashmiri Militants
10 June 2002
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On 8 June 2002, former All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman and leader of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami and his son-in-law were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (Pota) in Kashmir. Geelani's arrest revealed the nexus between Kashmiri separatist leaders and Pakistan's ISI in receiving money through hawala channels and then distributing them to different militant organisations in Kashmir.

Mori Poll: Kashmiris Reject War Over Kashmir
2 June 2002
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Nine Kashmiris in ten oppose the state of Jammu and Kashmir being divided on the basis of religion or ethnic group. The vast majority of Kashmiris oppose the prospect of war between India and Pakistan as a means to establish a permanent solution to the situation in Kashmir, preferring the option of democratic elections. They also believe the unique cultural identity of the region should be preserved in any long-term solution. The findings of a poll conducted by MORI were released to a news conference on Thursday 30th May 2002.
Read Detailed Poll Results here

Ethnicity and Regional Aspirations In Pakistan
31 December 2001
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Ethnicity is not a new phenomenon in world politics. For a long time ethnicity was regarded as the sole domain of sociologists, where as on studies on International Relations and intra-regional developments it received little attention.

Taliban find safe haven in Pakistan's wild west
31 November 2001
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Pakistan's tribal areas in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) region hold the key to the eventual success of the United States- led coalition's war against terrorism.

Islamabad's plan to tame tribal areas
15 November 2001
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Pakistan has been preoccupied with the problems of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) for quite some time. In view of the potential of the FATA to create considerable trouble for Pakistan by giving refuge to undesirable elements, including, possibly, Osama bin Laden, ft is hardly surprising that Islamabad plans to merge the FATA with NWFP.

Can Gen. Musharraf be relied upon
31 October 2001
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Not much is known about the ancestry and family traits of General Pervez Musharraf, Chief of Pakistan Army and self appointed President of Pakistan. What is known is that he belonged to a mediocre family living in Darya Ganj, Delhi, which migrated to Pakistan during partition of the country and settled in Karachi as most of the other Muhajirs did.

General Musharraf Versus President Bush
30 September 2001
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For Pakistan, every thing has happened on the expected lines, except that the blow to the American power and pride was too hard and too humiliating.

Talibanization of Kashmir
31 August 2001
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Taliban is an Arabic word and means 'student'. It is plural of word Talib, which means 'a student'. The first great irony, therefore, is that the dictionary or even traditional religious meaning of Taliban has nothing to do with the present ruling dispensation in Kabul, which is known by the same nomenclature and which has set upon itself to teach the faithful world over as to how Islam should be practiced in its pure and unadulterated form!

Kashmiri struggle: Is it religious or political?
15 March 2001
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Those who are trying to project the present struggle as religious one are deliberately trying to confuse the issue. Their aim is very clear - they don't want the issue to be resolved. It is clear to everyone that by projecting the Kashmiri struggle as religious (which is known as "Islamic fundamentalist struggle"), we are only trying to deprive it from desperately needed internal and external support.

The Problems Of The Northern Areas
31 January 2001
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The Northern Areas are a part of the undivided state of Jammu & Kashmir, which was annexed by Pakistan in 1947-48 during the war with India. Unfortunately, this area became more of a Pakistani colony than anything else.