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Troopers Arrested In Valley Firing

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Srinagar: One person was killed and two others were injured when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) troopers opened fire at people protesting power shortage at a village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district, officials said. Five CISF personnel have been arrested in the case and a probe ordered.

 

The firing took place in north Baramulla district’s Boniyar village, 60 km north of Srinagar, when scores of villagers angry at the long hours of power outages took to the streets and later gathered near the local power station, police said.

 

CISF personnel guarding the station opened fire, killing one protester on the spot and wounding two others.

 

The incident triggered tension in the area and senior civil and police officers were rushed to the spot.

 

Principal Secretary (Home) B.R. Sharma told reporters in Jammu that five CISF men, including Sub-Inspector Krishan Thappa, have been arrested and a first information report (FIR) lodged with the police.

 

“The incident could have been avoided if CISF men had co-ordination with state police,” he added.

 

A police officer in Srinagar said that the five troopers were part of the CISF unit posted at National Hydroelectric Power Corporation’s (NHPC) Uri power plant.

 

Baramulla District Magistrate Bashir Ahmad Bhat told reporters that a magisterial probe has been ordered into the incident.

 

“The additional district development commissioner Baramulla will conduct a magisterial probe into the Boniyar firing incident and submit its report within 15 days,” Bhat said.

 

The Omar Abdullah government has expressed its “deep regret on the tragic firing incident,” an official spokesman said in Jammu, adding it has taken a “very serious view of the incident and has asked the state police to take immediate steps to bring those responsible for the incident to book”.

 

“Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF), whose troopers opened the fire, are not a part of the CI ( Counter Insurgency) grid operating in Jammu and Kashmir and have been hired by the NHPC exclusively for the security of their installations across the state, and are not under the operational command of either the unified headquarters or the state government,” he said.

 

The spokesman said that the state government has taken up the matter with the union home ministry, lodging a serious protest and demanding stern, exemplary action against the officers responsible for the firing incident.

 

The chief minister had dispatched a team comprising Public Health Engineering Minister Taj Mohiuddin, Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani and Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda to the village.

 

Meanwhile, condemning the incident, the Congress sought an inquiry into the incident.

 

State Congress chief Saifuddin Soz, who also hails from Baramullah, said the person killed in the firing was a class 12 student named Altaf Ahmed Sood.

 

The Kashmir Valley has been facing an acute power shortage that the state government attributes to low water flows in the major rivers here and power pilferage by the consumers. Protests have been seen in Srinagar and other towns in the valley.

 

“The (power supply) situation is not likely to improve till the beginning of March,” said an official of the power development department.

 

Meanwhile, in order to augment the existing electric power supply in the Valley during the winter months, the state government ordered operation of the gas turbine unit.

 

“We will generate nearly 80 MW of additional electric power by operating the gas turbines during the peak evening hours,” said an official of the electricity department.

 

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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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SOUTH ASIA

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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