Monday, May 31, 2010

Discontent more in held Kashmir than in AJK: survey

ISLAMABAD: A recent survey has found a higher percentage of discontented people in occupied territory than in Azad Kashmir.
The survey titled ‘Kashmir: Paths to peace’ conducted by British academic Robert Bradnock and released by a UK-based think-tank shows that people living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) consider “unemployment, government corruption and poor economic development” as their three top problems, but the number of discontented people is much higher in occupied Kashmir. The survey was released by the Chatham House think-tank in London last week. It says that for a very large majority of the population in both parts of Kashmir -- 81 per cent -- unemployment is the most significant problem faced by the people. However, 87 per cent people of occupied Kashmir see unemployment as the biggest problem as compared to 66 per cent in Azad Kashmir. The findings show that 68 per cent people in occupied Jammu and Kashmir term government corruption a big problem whereas only 22 per cent in AJK consider it a problem for themselves. Similarly, 45 per cent people in occupied Kashmir and 42 per cent in AJK consider less economic development a major problem. About 43 per cent people of occupied Kashmir describe human rights abuse as one of their biggest problems as compared to 19 per cent in AJK. The survey reveals that 36 per cent people of the occupied Jammu and Kashmir and 24 per cent of AJK consider the Kashmir conflict itself as their main problem. The survey shows that Baramula, Srinagar and Anantnag districts in occupied Kashmir are the worst places as far as incidents of human rights abuses are concerned as 88 per cent, 87 per cent and 73 per cent people of the three districts, respectively, declared it their main problem. In Azad Kashmir, 32 per cent in Bhimber and 31 per cent in Kotli termed human rights abuses as the biggest problem. Dr Robert Wirsing, a US author on South Asian issues, said at the ceremony held at the time of the survey’s release that the water issue had not been covered by the study. In Pakistan, rivers were drying up perhaps more because of climatic changes but also because of construction of dams and hydroelectric projects by India on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers. Dr Wirsing said the water issue needed urgent attention because it might raise tension between the two countries. During the survey carried out in October last year, about 3,800 people in seven districts of AJK and 11 districts of occupied Kashmir were interviewed.

Solution For Kashmir
Times of India May 31, 2010, :Only 2 per cent of the people in Jammu & Kashmir want to be part of Pakistan. As much has been revealed by a first-of-its-kind survey that interviewed 3,774 inhabitants on both sides of the LoC. The study not only comes as a significant blow to hardline Kashmiri separatists, but also makes the question of holding a plebiscite irrelevant. The survey also says that 58 per cent of Kashmiris are willing to accept the LoC as a permanent soft border if it could enable a great degree of people-to-people contact and trade. Only 8 per cent voted against making the current LoC a permanent boundary. These are precisely the lines on which New Delhi and Islamabad had been working to resolve Kashmir when President Musharraf was in power, according to revelations made by Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, who was foreign minister under Musharraf. According to Kasuri, 90 per cent of the spadework had been done on a Kashmir deal. This was before political turmoil in Pakistan, and then 26/11, interrupted the process. Squaring Kasuri's revelations with the poll conducted by a reputed international think tank - the London-based Chatham House - a solution for one of the biggest issues between India and Pakistan is within reach. There's plenty of reason for optimism here, as the evidence suggests that earlier talks between India and Pakistan had been on the right track. A template is already available for resolving Kashmir should New Delhi and Islamabad pick up from where they left off earlier. That's what they urgently need to do, putting the baggage of history behind them.

Jammu and Kashmir Police recruit women
Girls from Sunderbani, quite close to the Line of Control (LoC) between Indian and Pakistan, appeared in large numbers for the three-day long police recruitment drive in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri District. Over 450 girls appeared in the recruitment drive that began on Friday. The young girls were judged on the basis of academic qualification as well as physical strength.
The various parameters of recruitment ranged from physique such as height and other tests of endurance like racing, throwing shot put, long jump and spiriting among others. "I want to get into the police force and want to make my state of Jammu and Kashmir feel proud. And I hope that I will get recruited and will be able to protect my country," said Naseem, a candidate.
The state police have been making efforts in empowering the women to encourage them in joining the forces. "Their qualifications are good and girls are physically fit as well. The girls are physically qualifying than what we had expected. By this, we know that the girls are very serious about their preparations and that's a good sign," said S D Singh Jamwal, Deputy Inspector General of Police. They will get employment in this field and they will also inspire other women to join such a tough job or service and help the nation," he added.
Earlier on May 20, the state police had imparted special arms training to the girls in Rajouri District. (ANI)

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