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After Kashmir row, Pakistan axes Commonwealth meet

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Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday refused to host the 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference after declining to change its stance on not inviting the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly.

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Ayaz Sadiq

The announcement was made by National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who said Pakistan would not compromise on its stand on Jammu and Kashmir which it considers a disputed territory.

India had threatened to boycott the meet, scheduled here from September 30 to October 8, if an invite was not extended to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly Speaker, Kavinder Gupta.

Pakistan, which supports a dragging separatist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, had argued that it cannot invite Gupta as that would amount to legitimizing the state legislature. India refused to accept this.

Radio Pakistan reported that the National Assembly decided not to host the Commonwealth meet after a tele-conference with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on Wednesday.

The National Assembly Secretariat said Pakistan had agreed to host the conference “with a view to strengthening democracy, dialogue and cooperation” among the developing countries in the grouping.

“At no point had the Pakistan parliament shown even a distant sign of flexibility on its principled and historic stand on Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.

“The unsettled dispute remains (a) flashpoint … and is very much alive on the United Nations agenda.”

India, the world’s largest democracy, had urged the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to shift the conference venue to another country if Pakistan remained inflexible.

(IANS)

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Snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir to Help Bring Pollution Down in Neighbouring States

Lotus said early snowfall in happening for the second year in succession in Kashmir

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Snowfall, Jammu, Kashmir
The snowfall will peak in the night on November 7, MET said in a statement. Pixabay

Jammu and Kashmir is likely to receive snowfall in the next two days, which could help bring pollution down in neighbouring states.

“The snowfall accompanied by winds will bring down the particulate matter in the air to great extend,” Sonam Lotus, Director of the J&K Meteorological Department, told IANS.

“The active western disturbance and its interaction with cyclone MAHA, currently located in East Central Arabian Sea, is likely to cause moderate to heavy snowfall and rain in plains of J&K, and Ladakh during November 6-8. The snowfall will peak in the night on November 7,” MET said in a statement.

Lotus said early snowfall in happening for the second year in succession in Kashmir. “It’s good for agriculture, but could damage standing crops,” he said.

Snowfall, Jammu, Kashmir
“The snowfall accompanied by winds will bring down the particulate matter in the air to great extend,” Sonam Lotus, Director of the J&K Meteorological Department, told IANS. Wikimedia Commons

The MET has alerted the J&K administration about the likely disruption in road transport, especially through passes, like Zojilla, and on the Srinagar-Jammu-Leh-Manali Highway and Mughal road, due to landslides, low temperature and heavy snowfall.

The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is the main link between Kashmir and the rest of the country.

Last year, the highway remained blocked for several days, cutting Kashmir from rest of the country and causing shortage of essentials in the Valley. Normally, the government stocks up essential supplies ahead of the winter, especially for areas like Tangdhar, Gurez and Ladakh. Most of these areas remain disconnected due to heavy snowfall.

Last year also, Kashmir witnessed snowfall in November. Normally, snowfall begins after November on the upper reaches of Kashmir. The 40-day peak winter season called ‘Chila-e-Kalan’ begins from December 20. Snowfall during the period last longer and is a major source for drinking water in summers.

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The lack of adequate snowfall causes shortage of drinking water in Kashmir in some areas, especially those that are not connected to the drinking water system. (IANS)