Indian soldier killed in Kashmir border firing

SRINAGAR: An Indian soldier was killed on Monday in cross-border firing in Kashmir, the latest in a spurt of violence in the disputed region that has raised tensions with Pakistan, officials said.

The incident comes two days after India said rockets were fired from Pakistani territory. At least seven militants have been killed in separate gun battles, and multiple infiltration attempts foiled by troops in the last week, police say.

Monday’s incident was the first time in six months that an Indian soldier has been killed in border firing.

“There was an unprovoked firing from across the border in Poonch area, we lost one BSF (Border Security Force) jawan (soldier),” Vinod Sharma, a spokesman for the border guards said.

India accuses Pakistani troops of cross-border firing to help militants cross the disputed border to join the 20-year revolt in Kashmir and violate a 2003 agreement reached between the two armies. Islamabad denies the charge.

Indian police and security experts say violence may go up in Kashmir because hundreds of Pakistan-based militants may have sneaked into India in the past few months.

“It is a desperate attempt by Pakistan to create trouble in Kashmir as India is cutting troops and the general feeling is the situation is getting more and more normal in Kashmir,” said Naresh Chandra, a former Indian envoy to Washington.

India said last month that it is gradually cutting around 30,000 troops in Kashmir and handing over law and order to police as incidents of violence have gone down.

Officials say tens of thousands of people have been killed since a revolt against Indian rule broke out in 1989.


Curfew imposed in part of H-Kashmir

NEW DELHI: The Indian authorities in held Kashmir have imposed a curfew in some parts of the region after thousands protested the killing of two young men by the military, said local media reports.

The curfew was imposed in the northern Sopore town 50 kilometers from Srinagar.

Local media quoted residents of Sopore as saying soldiers riding a bullet-proof vehicle fired on the three young men without provocation near a bus stand in Sopore on Saturday, killing two of them and wounding another.

Plan to improve 86,000 waterways by 2010

ISLAMABAD: The government would embark on a plan to improve 86,000 waterways by June 2010, while 58,000 waterways have by thus far been completed.

Planning Commission sources told Geo News that development funds for this purpose were being provided timely and 30,000 waterways in Punjab, 29,000 in Sindh, 10,000 in Frontier, 13,466 in Balochistan, while 1000 waterways in Azad Jammu Kashmir would be improved by June 2010. Besides, 1300 in Fata and Islamabad’s 337 waterways improvement target would also be achieved by completing it at end of next fiscal year.

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Pakistanis, Kashmiris to form `Human Chains’ on KSD

ISLAMABAD: Pakistanis and Kashmiris would form `Human Chains’ at the bridges that connect AJK with Pakistan as a gesture to express solidarity on February 5.

Pakistanis and Kashmiris, at home and abroad, would also hold seminars, rallies and interact with media on February 5 to express solidarity with the Kashmiris as well as condemn Indian atrocities in Occupied Kashmir, the AJK President Zulqarnain Khan said while talking to a delegation of prominent Kashmiri figures, which called on him on Tuesday.

The delegation was comprised of Ch. Aftab Ahmed Kohal, Raja Fazl ur Rahman, Ch. Abdul Rauf and Raja Liyaquat Ali Khan. Zulqarnain Khan underlined the need for launching an organised campaign to settle Kashmir Dispute on which India was making desperate attempts to mislead the world opinion. “Major breakthrough on Kashmir Dispute could be achieved once we convince international community in this respect.”

The AJK President said in spite of imposing tyrannical rule over Kashmir India was still misleading the world. Appreciating the efforts of overseas Kashmiris and Pakistanis for highlighting Kashmir dispute at international level, Zulqarnain Khan called for more serious struggle to foil malicious Indian designs. He underscored the need to expose the world to true Indian face, atrocities committed by over 8,00,000 forces on innocent Kashmiris in IHK, and violation of UN Resolutions.

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Kashmir leader reminds Obama of Kashmir issue

LONDON: As Barack Obama takes oath as the 44th US President; a Kashmir leader has reminded him of the issue relating to the disputed Himalayan region, which has been a sticking point in the good relations between Pakistan and India for the past six decades.

Director, Kashmir Centre London, Prof. Nazir Ahmed Shawl expressed hope that the new US President and his team will respond to various challenges on different fronts and in a different regions.

“One of the challenges is the sixty two years Kashmir imbroglio which is a great destabilizing factor for south Asian regional stability and peace,” he said in a statement.

Shawl hoped that special envoy for the region would be appointed to strengthen the voices of sanity in the region and for realizing the aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir so that they live in dignity and honour without fear and denial of all their rights including their right of Self determination.

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Kashmir solidarity day to be observed on Feb 5

ISLAMABAD: Kashmir solidarity day would be observed in Pakistan on February 5 to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir regarding their right to franchise, which was also promised by the United Nations.

The day being observed annually would be of extreme importance this time given afresh-popular movement for freedom in Occupied Kashmir, which was also acknowledged by Indian civil society and media. It would be reviewed in different perspective as well following Mumbai attacks that strained Pak-India relations.

To celebrate Kashmir day in a befitting manner, a meeting of the inter-provincial co-ordination committee was held at Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas (KANA) to arrangements in this respect.

The meeting which was presided over by Minister for KANA, Qamar Zaman Kaira discussed and expressed resolve to celebrate Kashmir solidarity day with full zeal and fervour.

It was decided in the meeting that the ministry of KANA would arrange a “Kashmiri convention” on February 5 to highlight the cause of Kashmir in a befitting manner.

Kaira said Pakistan would continue supporting the cause of Kashmir and the right to self-determination of people of held Kashmir. He said Pakistan observes “Kashmir Solidarity Day” on February 5 every year to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

The committee also decided to distribute a ‘Rashan Package’ comprising commodities of daily use among each family living in all Kashmir refugee camps on behalf of people of Pakistan.

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AJK Constituent Assembly votes out Dy. Speaker

MUZAFFARABAD: The no confidence motion moved against Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Deputy Speaker has been carried out successfully.

In all 46 members were present in the Constituent Assembly meeting held here, of them, 30 voted against the Deputy Speaker, Faruque Tahir, while 13 abstained.

AJK Constituent Assembly session has been adjourned until January 19, 2009.

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No confidence motion against AJK PM under discussion

MUZAFFABAD: A no confidence motion against Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister, Sardar Atique Ahmad has been moved in the AJK Constituent Assembly here.

AJK Constituent Assembly is in session with the Speaker, Ghulam Quadir in chair. Muslim Conference (Forward Block) president, Raja Faruque Haider presented the no confidence motion against the prime minister, which is under heated discussions presently. Sardar Yaqub’s name has been suggested for the new leader of the House.

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