Political uncertainty as Kashmir Assembly dissolved

Updated 22 November 2018
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Political uncertainty as Kashmir Assembly dissolved

  • The dissolution came immediately after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti faxed a letter to Malik claiming the support of the NC and the Congress Party for the formation of a government
  • Jammu and Kashmir needs a firm administration to deal with terrorism and not a combination of terror-friendly parties: BJP

NEW DELHI: In a surprise move, Jammu and Kashmir Gov. Satya Pal Malik dissolved the local Assembly Wednesday night, paving the way for fresh elections in the troubled Indian state.

The dissolution came amid reports of a joint move by two mainstream political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC), to stake a claim to form a state government with support from the Congress Party.

The dissolution came immediately after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti faxed a letter to Malik claiming the support of the NC and the Congress Party for the formation of a government. She claimed the support of 56 of the Assembly’s 87 members.

Shortly after that, Sajjad Lone, leader of the People’s Conference party, sent a letter to Malik staking a rival claim to form a government with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has 25 seats in the Assembly.

“Jammu and Kashmir needs a firm administration to deal with terrorism and not a combination of terror-friendly parties,” the BJP tweeted immediately after the dissolution.

“The best option in such a scenario is to go for fresh elections at the earliest. This Assembly cannot produce a stable government.”

NC leader Omar Abdullah criticized Malik for dissolving the Assembly, saying: “It can’t be a coincidence that within minutes of Mehbooba Mufti’s letter staking a claim, the order to dissolve the Assembly suddenly appears.” Abdullah added: “Justice has not been done to us.”

PDP spokesman Rafi Ahmad Mir told Arab News: “The decision to dissolve the Assembly is undemocratic.”

But Dr. Hina Bhat of the BJP told Arab News that “an unprincipled alliance” was “trying to come to power in (the state capital) Srinagar to inject uncertainty and delay the election. Let there be a fresh election so everything will be clear.”

Srinagar-based scholar Dr. Siddiqi Wahid told Arab News: “New Delhi is very serious about bringing in a Hindu-majority government in Srinagar. The dissolution is the first indicator of that.”

He added: “People in Kashmir have lost all sense of surprise at this kind of political maneuvering.”

 Prof. Sheikh Showkat Hussain of the Central University of Kashmir told Arab News: “To say that this is a mockery of democracy would be an understatement.”

 He said: “Already there’s a strong sense of alienation among people, and the insurgency is strengthening in Kashmir. When you launch this kind of onslaught on democracy, it triggers more alienation.”

He added: “The trust deficit that already exists gets magnified, and people lose what little faith they have in the system. It gives separatists the chance to claim that the electoral system here is a farce.”


Canadian court frees Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer (CFO), is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters December 6, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 min 41 sec ago
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Canadian court frees Chinese Huawei executive

  • A Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada said on Tuesday

VANCOUVER/BEIJING: A Canadian court on Tuesday granted bail to a top executive of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. while she awaits a hearing for extradition to the United States, a move that could help placate Chinese officials angered by her arrest.
Meng Wanzhou, 46, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, faces US accusations that she misled multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions.
Justice William Ehrcke at a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday granted bail to Meng, subject to a guarantee of C$10 million ($7.5 million) and other conditions.
China had threatened severe consequences unless Canada released Meng immediately.
A Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada said on Tuesday. The Canadian government said it saw no explicit link to the Huawei case, but analysts had predicted retaliation from Beijing. Two sources told Reuters the person detained was former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, who now works for a think tank.
Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s former ambassador to China, asked by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. whether the Kovrig detention was a coincidence, said: “In China there are no coincidences ... If they want to send you a message they will send you a message.”
Meng was detained as part of a US investigation on Dec. 1 as she was changing planes in Vancouver. ($1 = 1.3317 Canadian dollars)