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Death in Kashmir

Abdul Ghani Lone, the Hurriyat leader and chairman of the People's Conference, was assassinated in Srinagar on May 21, 2002 during a gathering commemorating the death anniversary of his friend, the Kashmiri leader, Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq, also slain by assassins 12 years ago. What follows is an outspoken and detailed interview given by Lone to the writer. The interview, published here for the first time, took place at Lone's residence in Srinagar in June 2001. Lone addresses frankly the 'colonial attitudes' of India and Pakistan toward Kashmir and the ways in which the Kashmir policies of both countries have consistently failed the people of Kashmir.

Afghanistan Interview with Nodari Simoniya

as "quite often any benefits derived from careful assessments are lost at the stage of appeal". Reflecting this apprehension, the trend of reform in other states has been to eliminate or contain the role of the councillors in the valuation process. The Bengal Municipal Act (BM Act) which the present amendments seek to emulate specifically excludes the commissioner of the ward from which an objection petition is filed from hearing such objection. The BM Act also authorises the setting up of a Municipal Assessment Tribunal with the stipulation that its members "shall be appointed by the state government from among persons other than any commissioner or officer or other employee of a municipality recommended by the commissioner of a municipality". The constitution of the Review Commit- tee under the CVB Act so far was no doubt somewhat inconsistent with the spirit of the provision of the BM Act relating to the constitution of ARCs and the Municipal Assessment Tribunal. As pointed out in the NIPFP study referred to earlier, hearing of appeals by a body which does the original valuation was patently wrong. Total exclusion of popular representatives from the valuation process was also not quite justified. But that did not call for bringing the councillors into the process of determining the assessments case by case and diluting the character of a body which ought to be above politics.

Afghanistan An Interview with Shafi Rastgo

Shafi Rastgo SHAFI RASTGO is the pseudonym of an Afghan intellectual who has been intimately involved in a variety of capacities in the war that followed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. However, recently, following the assassination of two Afghan colleagues and the discovery that certain Afghan fundamentalist parties had a specific assassination "death list" against democratic intellectuals and professionals, he had to flee Peshawar. He, is now in Europe, temporarily in exile from Pakistan, where he sought refuge a decade ago.

Afghanistan Whose War Is It Anyway

Lawrence Lifschultz The March 5 decision to attack Jalalabad was a joint Pakistani-American decision. Did the choices that now present themselves as realistic alternatives not exist last February and March? Or was it necessary that thousands more should die before such alternatives could be considered viable? It is unfortunate that Benazir Bhutto signed on to 'stay the course' with an American policy which was flawed, confused, and improbable in its conception.

The Great Depression Revisited

Lawrence Lifschultz The Great Depression: Delayed Recovery and Economic Change in America 1929-39 by Michael Bernstein; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Afghanistan Edging Closer

 Afghanistan: Edging Closer Lawrence Lifschultz GENEVA: The seventh round of the Geneva 'proximity' talks adjourned on May 23 after three weeks of what negotiators termed a 'marathon effort' to conclude an agreement. The talks will resume on July 30 after the Pakistan and Afghan delegations have consulted their respective governments and allies. Speaking to journalists at the end of the session, Diego Cordovez, the UN mediator who has presided over the negotiations for more than four years, said that unlike the past where he had been criticised for undue optimism, he was now authorised to say unequivocally that both parties to the negotiations believed "substantial and significant'' progress towards concluding an agreement had been made. He said, "The document is almost complete. The wording of only two paragraphs remain outstanding,'' The May session was designed to hammer out a settlement of Afghanistan's civil war, which among other elements would lead to a withdrawal of Soviet forces. Most of the three-week session concerned the precise textual development of what is known as the 'fourth and final instrument'. The text of the first three instruments, relating to the principles of non-interference, the declaration of international guarantees, and the basis for the voluntary return of refugees were settled during the negotiations last year, The fourth instrument contains crucial provisions which will link the terms of withdrawal with simultaneous enforcement of non-interference across international borders. There are nine sections to the fourth instrument. The textual wording of seven parts has been settled by the two sides. Although the UN negotiator, Cordovez, and the respective delegations from Pakistan and Afghanistan, refused to discuss the unsettled elements, an Asian diplomatic source in Geneva in touch with the proceedings identified the final two as concerning the procedure for verifying the settlement once it is underway, and the actual time-frame in which Soviet forces will be withdrawn.

AFGHANISTAN- The Choice Ahead

would make capital out of this brutality, especially considering that the chief ihinister's own people are probably involved in it. But in AP the Congress(I) is the only party that can make such capital, for the other opposition parties are too much beholden to NTR for the measly seats they have in the Assembly or Parliament. They have therefore been content with making condemnatory statements. The Congress(I) appears to be on the road to making a big issue of it. Legend has it that when a similar massacre took place in Belchi during Janata Party's rule, Indira Gandhi rode into the village on an elephant to comfort the bereaved. Vengala Rao, the Congress(l) chief over here, was either unable to procure an elephant or realised that the heavy beast would find it difficult to navigate the muddy black soil of the cotton tracts in these monsoon months, and so chose a more modern mode of transport. Neither he nor his party is doing anything to help the refugees who have camped in the church at Chirala, but they are out to pull down the state government if they can.

Independent Baluchistan-Ataullah Mengal s Declaration of Independence

Ataullah Mengal's 'Declaration of Independence' Lawrence Lifschultz The plight of small nations or nationalities situated in crucially strategic regions on the borderline bet- ween two great systems has ever been one of tragedy, threat of extermination, and an all-too-familiar manipulation of local aspirations towards self-determination by more powerful and cynical regimes. Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest province, presents a modern version of the classical dilemma of a small nation under siege. The dilemma is further aggravated by the developments preceding and since the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

Bangladesh Anatomy of a Coup

Lawrence Lifschultz Kai Bird When, on the night of August 14, 1975, Shaikh Mujibur Rahman teas killed along with a targe number of members of his family and friends, it was put out that the assassins had acted unilaterally, with no larger political objective than of ridding the country of a tyrant. Unspecific talk, about 'foreign involvement' in the assassination or, more explicitly, of CIA involvement, was, on the basis of evidence available then, rightly dismissed as specious propaganda.

Bangladesh Anatomy of a Coup

Bangladesh: Anatomy of a Coup Lawrence Lifschultz Kai Bird When, on the night of August 14, 1975, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed alongwith a large numbers of members of his family and friends, it was put out that the assassins had acted on their own, with no larger political objective than of ridding the country of a tyrant. Unspecific talk about 'foreign involvement' in the assassination or, more explicitly, of CIA involvement, was, on the basis of evidence available then, rightly dismissed as specious propaganda.

Abu Taker s Last Testament-Bangladesh The Unfinished Revolution

Bangladesh: The Unfinished Revolution Lawrence Lifschultz The story of Abu taker's life cannot be summed up easily or simply, nor can the sequence of events which brought it to an abrupt heroic close. The time involved spans more than half a decade- It has been a complex period of extraordinary violence and brutality.
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