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‘Kashmir Will Remain A Part Of India’

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'Kashmir Will Remain A Part Of India'New Delhi: Kashmir will never secede from India and those who dream of a merger with Pakistan, including hardliner Syed Ali Geelani, will die as Indians, union minister Farooq Abdullah said Thursday. “Kashmir will remain a part of India. Geelani will die as an Indian. And so will others who dream of merging with Pakistan,” said Abdullah, the minister of new and renewable energy who has been chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir thrice.

He was speaking to reporters after releasing a book, “The Caliphate’s Soldiers: The Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s Long War”, a compilation of the Pakistan-based outfit’s history and its targets of domination in India. The book is authored by Wilson John of the Observer Research Foundation and published by Amaryllis.
The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is one of the terrorist groups whose cadres, mostly foreign mercenaries, are fighting Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
The outfit is allegedly backed by Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Abdullah said the LeT was a predominant threat to the world. “If the world has to survive, the world has to destroy the complete network of the LeT. You have to take strong decisive steps to get rid of the Lashkar. Mere talking won’t help.”
He wondered if the slain dictators like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi “were more dangerous than the LeT”.
“I am surprised. Now they are after (Syrian president Bashar) Assad. Then they may go after Iran. But I want to tell you that the LeT is much more dangerous to the world. Unless we destroy it, the world will have to pay a heavy prize,” Abdullah said.
He said the Lashkar was like a cancer and should be “uprooted as is done in cancer surgery, or we will never have the peace in the region”. He was asked if he was responsible for pushing the Kashmiri youth to pick up the gun following alleged mass rigging in the 1987 assembly elections, won by a coalition led by Abdullah’s party.
The former chief minister denied that the polls were manipulated in the favour of the National Conference-Congress alliance then. “It is not so. Some of my ministers lost the election. Don’t blame me for sending the boys across for armed training,” he said.
He said Sallahuddin, the top Kashmiri militant commander now based in Pakistan, indeed lost the election but “Farooq Abdullah is not responsible for the Kashmir trouble. It is because Pakistan wants to have Kashmir and they think it is in their pocket. Their interest in Kashmir is three rivers – Chenab, Jhelum and Indus.”
He said a democratic Pakistan, free from the army rule and the ISI, was in the interest of India. “Pakistan must survive. It is essential.”
-IANS

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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