CAN’T WAIT FOR GODOT

Khalid Isaac

 Prime Minister had given some assurances last year and some measures had been taken. An interlocutor was appointed, who met people but not separatists, who stayed away. Even a unilateral cease-fire during Ramdan did not pay dividends. It is high time that leaders realize that violence is no solution, and they will have to sit and talk, writes Khalid Issac. He writes that a large number of people got killed because leaders told them that ‘azadi’ was round the corner. The separatists must understand international community is not coming to their help. They should think over the options available. UN resolutions are not relevant now. That means they have to adopt a middle path. PM has offered them an opportunity to come forward.

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‘DRUG ABUSE RAVAGING KASHMIR’S YOUNGER GENERATION’

 Zehru Nissa

 During past three years, 10,000 patients have sought help from Government Medical College Srinagar, for getting rid of drug addiction. According to Zehru Nissa, there is a constant rise in patients with psychiatric issues, resulting from substance abuse. In Kashmir, cannabis tops the list of substance abuse, followed by opium and related products. The reality is that there is absence of planned and concrete measures to plug supply of drugs, to create sensitisation and awareness among masses and to set right manpower shortage.

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NO ACCOUNTABILITY FOR JK POLITICIANS

In an analytical article Nida-i-Mashriq writes that it is very much known that politicians of all types and shades are corrupt and so are bureaucrats, who are being supported by these leaders. Why is there no accountability of politicians of the state? The truth is that Delhi provides patronage and also a safe exit. The state may have Ahtisab Commission or Vigilance Commission, but no politician has been so far tried for corruption. That is a record.

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KHAN AND KASHMIR

Javaid Iqbal Bhat

Imran Khan has shown grit and determination and his charisma has remained undiminished. The problem is what can his policy be. In an analysis J. I. Bhat writes that he has been against militarization of civilian areas-in Kashmir and FATA. He has been advocating of talks over Afghanistan. He has been in favour of Musharraf formula because the mainstay of that formula is delimilitarization. If he is able to make progress on a solution, it will be his great achievement. But critics say that he will not go beyond military brief.

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SRINAGAR: A DYING CITY

Streets of Srinagar have become dangerous – broken footpaths, missing signage, potholes. The road infrastructure is weak across the city. Not to talk of smart city, Srinagar is becoming an ugly city with mounds of garbage everywhere. River Jhelum is like a sewage drain of all the towns, cities and villages on its banks. The famous Dal lake is virtually in last throes of death. In its analysis Kashmir Monitor writes that the city known for its spaciousness and cleanliness has become a congested place, not fit for habitation.

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RESTORING THE GLORY OF DAL LAKE?

Governor (now retired) has sought fresh suggestions for restoring Dal lake. Inspite of spending crores of rupees on new machinery and plants, there has been no improvement. Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (Lawda) is responsible for this failure. But people living in the lake (in boats etc) and in settlements on the bank of the lake also contribute to its destruction, because all the sewage and drainage from these settlements go into the Dal Lake. The political parties played vote-bank politics, and allowed all the damage to be caused. Neither were High Court orders followed nor were people shifted to plots allotted to them. The result is that population of Dal is increasing and lake is shrinking and dying. The Daily Nida-i-Mashriq provides a detailed analysis of this phenomenon.

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PRESERVE THIS TREASURE

 The daily Greater Kashmir has drawn attention to the fact that Kashmir has lost 22 hectares of saffron land in two decades. Lack of irrigation at proper time has adversely affected the production. It is a sorry state of affairs and concerned government departments have to take measures to improve production. There is a need to come out with a comprehensive project to sustain the cultivation of saffron on the part of government.

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MAKING PEACE WITH NAYA PAKISTAN

M. K. Narayanan

To be optimistic about future of democracy in Pakistan and alongside improvement in India-Pakistan relations is welcome. But, it needs to be laced with a tinge of realism, writes M. K. Narayanan. According to him, India has had false starts in the past, and hence India needs to assess the situation in Pakistan in greater depth and not jump to conclusion. New Prime Minister Imran Khan has been content with reiterating hackneyed themes viz desire to initiate talks resolve differences, improve trade relations, resolve Kashmir conflict. Many of the ministers on his cabinet are holders from previous administration, and that does not hold much hope for an improvement in India-Pakistan relations. The circumstances under which Mr. Khan succeeded in these elections would suggest that ‘deep state’ in Pakistan played not so insignificant role in his victory. Under the circumstances Mr. Khan seems to have less room to maneuver. India will need to create a framework that leads to realistic outcomes, given that it genuinely believes in peace with Pakistan. Perhaps it would be advisable for Indian state to step back and provide greater scope for people’s initiatives. The  message is for people’s groups in India to engage and engage with whomsoever it is possible in Pakistan with a view to creating a suitable climate for peace and better relations.

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PTI and Indo-Pak peace process

Frank F Islam

With Mr. Imran Khan becoming the Prime Minister, the initial indications from both sides, India and Pakistan are positive, writes Frank F  Islam in Daily Times. Mr. Imran used Twitter to call for a dialogue with India to resolve conflicts, including Kashmir. Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi-expressed similar feelings and called for meaningful and constructive engagement with Pakistan.

Imran Khan has the opportunity to take the lead in resetting relations with India because he enjoys substantial goodwill among Indian opinion makers and secondly because it is believed that he has the backing of Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.

But defining and building a path to peace will not be easy for the two Prime Ministers. The two fundamental issues between two countries are Kashmir and terrorism. Pakistan wants resolution of Kashmir and India urges Pakistan to do more on curbing” cross-border terrorism”. On the basis of past experience, it seems that negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement will be difficult, complex and time consuming. It would be advisable to rebuild the relationship between Pakistan and India with small steps that could help set the stage for a full-fledged peace agreement.

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Skilled women: A distant dream in Kashmir

Bilal Dar

Kashmir is known for its unique handicraft production and has been a part of Kashmiri culture. This sector plays a vital role in income and employment generation. But it has been facing the challenge of industrialization and globalization. Handicrafts work is common in Kashmir and mostly females have learnt the handicraft skills. It can play an important role in women’s empowerment. But they need opportunity, with an environment to develop their talents. Moreover, education and training facilities are must.

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