NEW ASIAN CONSTELLATION

Atul Aneja

 In an analytical article on the future role of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Atul Aneja writes that the Organization was seeking a greater role in the regional prosperity of the collective. He further writes that the recently held SCO Summit gave India fresh leads to engage with Central Asia.

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CEASE-FIRE ON BORDERS

The daily Srinagar Times writes editorially that it is good news that two operation commanders of India and Pakistan  have agreed to strictly abide by 2003 cease-fire agreement (executed during A. B. Vajpayee’s time) and to see that there are no violations. But, will this arrangement last?

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INDIA LODGES PROTEST OVER UN REPORT

India reacted angrily after the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) sought “establishment of a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir” and asked the governments of India and Pakistan to “fully respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law”, reports Daily The Indian Express.

 

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SENIOR KASHMIR EDITOR SHOT DEAD

Senior Kashmiri Journalist, Shujaat Bukhari, editor of the daily Rising Kashmir, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen  on June 14th  evening as he left his office in Srinagar’s Press Enclave reports daily Indian Express, (June 15, 2018). His personal security officer was also killed in the attack while another security guard was critically injured.

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DELINQUENT MINDSET

Expressing displeasure over failure of the state government to implement its directions on protection and preservation of Dal Lake, the state High Court has directed the government to provide in tabular form the directions issued by it since 2002 and the status of implementation, writes daily Greater Kashmir editorially.

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A CHANGE IN THINKING?

Prime Minister’s short visit to Kashmir on May 22, 2018 was different this time, because his tone was more affectionate and sympathetic, writes daily Uqab. According to the daily, he talked neither about terrorism nor Pakistan. Since the beginning of operation ‘all out’, the situation deteriorated day by day and became critical. More and more civilians were killed, people came out to hold demonstrations whenever counter-militancy operations were being conducted and more and more young men joined ranks of militants. Under the circumstances, it is encouraging if New Delhi has decided to change its approach, try to avoid civilian killings and convince young people to join mainstream.

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INTER STATE – DIALOGUE – NEED OF THE HOUR

In an editorial note, daily Nida-i-Mashriq writes that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has given two suggestions- holding inter-Kashmir dialogue and not deploying security forces around Jamia Masjid on Fridays, to prevent disturbance. As it is, young people get provoked on seeing security personnel and react by stone-pelting. This suggestion is a good one. Mirwaiz’s second suggestion is that to seek a solution to Kashmir, an inter-dialogue among all stake holders, from the two parts, POK, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh should be organised and India and Pakistan should  provide facilities. According to the daily there are difficulties in implementing this suggestion, especially because both India and Pakistan won’t agree. Nevertheless, the initiative must be taken and Mirwaiz should make a beginning.

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SELLING HERITAGE!

World Monument Fund (WMF), an organization dedicated to preservation of endangered architectural and cultural sites around world, had shown interest in Srinagar and Leh, writes daily Kashmir Images. It had shown its concern about preservation of Jammu and Kashmir heritage, saying that traditional structures built to survive earthquakes were suffering as a result of instability and conflict. But people here don’t seem to have any interest in their heritage, and WMP could not enthuse them. Tourism department had said that it would go for cultural mapping of Srinagar, so as to use WMF initiative in preservation of the cultural ethos of the old city. In practice nothing happened except massive loot in truck with some NGOs in the name of preserving city’s heritage.

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ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION?

In an editorial note, the daily Kashmir Uzma writes that we have become insensitive and are no more humane. We have played havoc with our environment, and are completely responsible for environmental degradation. A recent survey rues the state of Wullar lake- the largest fresh water lake of Asia. The lake that was famous for fresh and sweet water, sanctuary of migratory birds, and a defence against floods, has shrunk, being encroached and all the sewage and drainage brought by Jhelum gets deposited there. We have also destroyed other water bodies, Dal, Anchar, Nigen. Our rulers and administrators, instead of protecting these natural sources, have been filling their coffers in the name of protection. This is even an onslaught on Kashmiri Culture.

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RESTORING THE CEASEFIRE

According to daily The Nation, the meeting of the Director General of Military Operations, Pakistan and his counterpart in India, is a welcome gesture of reconciliation, as they have made sincere overtures to restore the 2003 cease-fire on LOC and Working Boundary. It is the beginning of thawing a relationship between Pakistan and India. The current exchange is a refreshing change from Pak-India finger- pointing rhetoric. There have been heartening positive steps that include exchange of prisoners and progress on other bilateral agreements. It goes without saying that any tempering of Pak-Indian ties that allow for peace and stability in the region should be celebrated.

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