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India, Pakistan Engage Heavy In Cross-Border Shelling Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

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At a time when the economies across the globe are under financial strain and countries are under lockdown due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus, one of the worst pandemics in history of mankind, India and Pakistan have surprisingly resumed hostilities along the line of control.

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Both India and Pakistan are under the grip of the virus and at a time when the world is uniting to combat the spread of virus further, India and Pakistan continue to exchange fire with both nations accusing each other of ceasefire violations.

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In the latest incident, a 45-year-old Indian civilian has been injured in the Kathua region in the heavy overnight mortar shelling by Pakistan Rangers. Bodh Raj suffered splinter injuries from a mortar that landed near his house in Manyari area of Hiranagar sector in the early hours on Tuesday.

The Pakistan Rangers opened shelling at 9.35 pm on Monday alongside continuous firing which ended at 5 am on Tuesday. The firing was also reported from Mendhar sector of Poonch where Mohammad Shoukat, a local porter working for the Indian Army was injured.

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Villagers were shifted to underground bunkers till the duration of shelling. Pakistan has intensified shelling in Manyari and adjoining villages to prevent Border Security Forces from constructing counter-infiltration grids, according to India media reports.

This is the fifth consecutive day when India and Pakistan have exchanged gunfire across the International Border blames the media from the Indian side. Pakistan has previously targeted Shahpur, Kirni, Qasba and Mankote sectors. Four days back Pakistan had opened intense mortar shelling in Poonch sector.

However, Pakistan suffered a military casualty some days back in the crossfire when an army sepoy was killed. Wajid Ali, a resident of Dadu was killed in the Shahkot sector.

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“Indian Army troops resorted to unprovoked fire in Shahkot sector along LOC with heavy weapons,” according to ISPR. “During the exchange of fire, one brave soldier Sepoy Wajid Ali, age 20 years, resident of District Dadu, valiantly responding to Indian ceasefire violation (CFV) embraced shahadat.”

The exchange of firing along LOC is surprising given the fact that both the countries had agreed to co-operate with each other against coronavirus pandemic in the recent video conference meeting of all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav Will Not Be Hanged; Could Be Swapped With India: BBC Report

Kulbhushan Jadhav was ‘’arrested’’ in 2016 from Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency. India maintains that Jadhav is innocent and was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar.

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There were reports yesterday that Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national on death-row for charges of espionage and terrorism in Pakistan has refused to file a review petition, a claim rejected by the Indian government. 

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According to latest reports coming out of Pakistan, Mehdi Hasan, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, has said that there is a possibility that Kulbhushan Jadhav will not be hanged and can be swapped for a Pakistani national under the custody of India.

Mehdi Hasan while talking to the BBC said that many people in Pakistan do not want Kulbhushan Jadhav to be hanged.

Earlier, after Pakistan claimed that Jadhav had refused to file a review petition, India outrightly rejected the claims and called it “farce”.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokespersons said Pakistan’s claim reflected its attempt to “mask” its continuing “reticence to implement” the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case in “letter and spirit”.

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He said Pakistan is only seeking to create an “illusion of remedy” in the case and emphasized that New Delhi will do its “utmost” to protect Jadhav and ensure his safe return to India.

Kulbhushan Jadhav was ‘’arrested’’ in 2016 from Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency.  India maintains that Jadhav is innocent and was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar.

The chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that many Pakistani lawyers have also given their opinion on India’s right to file an appeal on behalf of Kulbhushan Jadhav. The review petition can be filed by Kulbhushan Jadhav himself or any of his legal representatives or the High Commission of India based in Islamabad.

As EurAsian Times reported earlier, Kulbhushan Jadhav, as hinted by Mehdi Hassan, could be swapped with  Colonel – Zahir Habib who went missing in Nepal. Pakistan had blamed ‘hostile agencies’ for the disappearance of Col Habib Zahir who went missing from the city of Lumbini on April 2017.

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According to Col Zahir’s family, he had posted his resume on LinkedIn and to a United Nations (UN) website for a job. In response, he got a call and email from one Mr Mark, stating that he had been shortlisted for the job of Vice President. He was asked to visit Kathmandu for which he was sent an air-ticket for an interview on April 6, 2017, and later went missing.

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Indian Politics

BJP Leader, Father, Brother Shot Dead in Kashmir; All Guards Were Missing

The killing of Wasim and his family comes a month after militants killed Ajay Pandita Bharti, a sarpanch in LukBhawan Larkipora area of Anantnag in Southern Kashmir. Bharti, a Kashmiri Pandit had returned to the valley only a few years ago. 

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The safety of political workers has once again come under the scanner after the killing of BJP leader Sheikh Wasim and his family. The death of Wasim and his family comes a month after militants killed another political worker from the Indian National Congress in Anantnag.

A ruling BJP leader, his father and brother were shot dead in Kashmir on Wednesday. The murder took place in Bandipora district yesterday evening after suspected militants gunned down the trio at their shop. The latest killings depict a grim picture of Kashmir and raise concern over the safety of political workers.

The deceased included Sheikh Wasim, a BJP leader, his father Basheer Ahmad and brother Umar. According to police reports, the family was attacked as they stood outside their shop, just metres away from a local police station.

A media report states that Wasim and his family were shot in the head and the succumbed to their injuries en route to the hospital. The culprits were armed with a revolver (fitted with a silencer) and rode motorcycles.

Although Wasim had been granted security detail, none of the eight guards deployed were present when the terrorists attacked. Sources say the guards have been arrested for dereliction of duty and an investigation has been started.

“We are taking a tough (stand) against them for dereliction of duty and failure to protect the life,” Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police Kashmir, said.

The killing of Wasim and his family comes a month after militants killed Ajay Pandita Bharti, a sarpanch in LukBhawan Larkipora area of Anantnag in Southern Kashmir. Bharti, a Kashmiri Pandit had returned to the valley only a few years ago.

The killing of political workers has exposed the grim reality of the current situation in Kashmir. The Narendra Modi led BJP government had made it a priority to wipe out militancy from the region and restore peace and tranquillity. However, the killings indicate that the government has a difficult at hand.

Tributes Pour-In

The cold-blooded murder of Wasim and his family led to politicians and ministers offering their condolences. Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally sought details and extended his condolences to Mr Wasim’s family in a telephonic conversation with Union Minister Jitendra Singh.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to express his grief and extended condolence to the family of the victims.

Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav and BJP President JP Nadda also expressed their shock anger of the killing. Both extended condolences to the family and notes that Wasim’s death was a big loss to the party

Kashmir has seen an uptick in militancy in recent months. However, Indian armed forces have enjoyed the upper hand so far thanks to their alertness and combat superiority. According to data collected by South Asian Terrorism Portal, 138 militants have been killed in 2020 so far. Meanwhile, 14 civilians and 33 members of the armed forces have also lost their lives during the same period.

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Indo-Pak News

Kulbushan Jadhav, Death-Row Convict In Pakistan Has Refused To File Review Petition – Reports

Kulbhushan Jadhav was ‘’arrested’’ in 2016 from Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency.  India maintains that Jadhav is innocent and was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar.

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Pakistan has claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national on death-row for charges of espionage and terrorism, refused to file a review petition. According to reports coming out of Pakistan, Jadhav refused to file a review petition against the death sentence awarded to him by a Pakistani Army court in 2017.

Pakistan’s Additional Attorney-General Ahmed Irfan, speaking at a special briefing arranged by the Pakistani Foreign Office said that an Ordinance had been issued in May that allowed Kulbhushan Jadhav, his legal representative, or a representative of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to file a review petition in line with the International Court of Justice verdict of July 2019.

Irfan said that on June 17 earlier this year, Jadhav was invited to file a review petition in the Islamabad High Court against his sentence, but chose not to do so. Jadhav, instead, “preferred to follow-up” on his pending “mercy” petition.

Irfan added that the Pakistani government had also repeatedly written to the Indian high commission to file the petition and initiate the process for a review before the deadline.

“Pakistan is fully cognizant of its international obligations and committed to implementing the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit,” he said expressing hope that India will follow due legal course and cooperate with courts in Pakistan to give effect to the ICJ judgement.

Kulbhushan Jadhav was ‘’arrested’’ in 2016 from Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing.  India maintains that Jadhav is innocent and was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business.

In May 2017, New Delhi petitioned the ICJ, which stayed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution. In its ruling on July 17, the ICJ said its stay of the death sentence should continue.

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