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Thursday, 30 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 150 of 2019

2249hrs:

I don't normally predict the winners of sporting tournaments - at least not publicly - but on this occasion of the Cricket World Cup, I declared yesterday that England should finally be able to achieve this milestone. 

They have started off explosively enough today, by beating South Africa with more than a 100 runs and 10 overs to spare:

England 311 for 8 (Stokes 89, Morgan 57, Roy 54, Root 51, Ngidi 3-66) beat South Africa 207 (de Kock 68, van der Dussen 50, Archer 3-27) by 104 runs

Courtesy: cricinfo.com 

We have a few robust reasons for supporting England more than any other country in the 10 member competition.

Two of our citizens are represented for a start:

Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

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We must not forget this brutal aspect of the conflict:


Any conflict resolution mechanism will have to address these injustices at the earliest.

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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 149 of 2019

2240hrs:

It is possible...that one can forget a daily habit despite trying to not miss a day for almost a year and a half.

Day 148 of 2019 was one such day.

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Sunday, 26 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 146 of 2019

1838hrs:

Writing before iftaar (breaking of fast in the month of Ramadhan) is rather more contemplative than writing after.

Just like many people in the Western world make new year's resolutions, many of us Muslims make resolutions aplenty for what we need to do after the current month of fasting is over.


Saturday, 25 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 145 of 2019

2203hrs:

All change comes from within. 

Most people want it to come from elsewhere. 

They think if it comes from within, they will die.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 144 of 2019

1923hrs:

The challenges in front of us are far more than the challenges behind us.

We need to be stronger than we have ever been to overcome them. 

Our biggest challenge is making our co-citizens understand that.

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I may not agree with everything in the following tweet but have noticed the absence of Pakistani flags in the funeral crowd simultaneous with no discussion on Pakistani media:




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Thursday, 23 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 143 of 2019

2334hrs:

Make the most of what you have, as nothing is eternal.

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POORA SACH (The Whole Truth): Muzaffarabad Sit-In Protest completes two months. 

Is anyone listening?



This event is unprecedented in many respects. It is also perhaps the most practical, mature and inclusive attempt to improve the quality of activism in AJK. If the public remains steadfast, it will deliver spectacular results.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 142 of 2019

2353hrs:

Forgetfulness can work both ways. Sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad.

Digital storage is the game changer for many ideas and processes.

Increased choice has its restrictions though. Not least is time.

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Have good relations with other humans and nature will take care of the rest:


This is probably what saved my life too.

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I like the following idea and approach:

CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION: A SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION FOR INDO-PAK CONFLICT

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 141 of 2019

1652hrs:

When some of my co-citizens insist that the state of public affairs in AJK is at a much lower level than what I criticise it for, I have to accept them at their word:

Take this following video for example:


A case of openly 'supervised' copying of answers and no procedure for verification of ID at this Local Government Board test centre, whereby the 'applicants' were being 'tested' for their suitability for advertised government vacancies in the press.

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It's about time that certain aspects of Gilgit Baltistan's people's struggle for basic rights is addressed. Many academics and writers of global repute who take interest in the region have also succumbed to tropes generated by the Pakistani establishment:





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Monday, 20 May 2019

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 139 of 2019

1842hrs:

Writing towards the end of a 16 hour fast isn't easy but walking for an hour before that is even more difficult.......both writing and fasting are necessary for the spirit, soul, skin and stomach ...actually today's fast has lasted more than 18 hours as I couldn't get up for Sehri (pre-dawn meal before beginning fast) this morning.

All necessary for the 'Right is Might' war.  

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 138 of 2019

2158hrs:

A writer should never play the fool with idleness.......

Therefore, let's retrace our steps once again and try to work out what went wrong in 1947:



Note: That is Kathua district South of Jammu in J & K.

98 year old Muhammad Siddique narrates his understanding of the events of 1947, when he was 26 years old. His family eventually had no choice but to flee across the border to the newly created Pakistan. He still resides in the city of Faisalabad, Pakistan.

I have noted 3 main parts of the conversation that need attention today:

1) @ 12:27

We heard Pakistan was being made but the Maharajah Hari Singh wanted to keep his population intact - That is, for Hindus and Muslims to continue co-existing where they were and refrain from migration. He even took forceful measures to maintain this policy.

2) @ 21:08

Sheikh Abdullah (as head of emergency administration) also insisted that Hindus and Muslims of Jammu should not separate. Further, he (the Sheikh) clarified that we are neither going to become a part of India or a part of Pakistan. We would remain a separate (political) entity. The Maharajah and Sheikh Abdullah seemed to have some mutual understanding on this point.

3) @ 26:48

Not a day passes when Muhammad Siddique does not remember his hometown (Beeru Chak in J & K). He remembers it as a fabulous country where everybody would care for each other and that included Hindus. He doesn't understand what suddenly happened that destroyed everything.

Now, if you read the white Urdu text with a blue background in the top left-hand corner of the embedded video, it translates as:

Migration from district Kathua Jammu Kashmir to Pakistan
An eye-witness account of Hari Singh's false pretensions and oppression of Muslims

There are always at least two ways of interpreting historical narratives. One way is to re-emphasise the difference and hatred of the 'other'. So, in this case a conclusion can be drawn that a Hindu ruler oppressed his Muslim subjects and this video is evidence of that. Hence, making Pakistan was a great idea because it provided a safe haven for Muslims.

The other way of interpreting this video is to try and learn what went wrong so we can avoid separating large populations of people, just because they belong to a different religion from the majority. Why did such events happen so suddenly and spontaneously?

I think the answer lies in the divide and rule policies of the British empire and unfortunately most writers tend to gloss over this aspect by taking an overt 'Muslim' or 'Hindu' stance, thereby blaming each other through vicious propaganda for decades on end. Meanwhile, the British obtained safe passage from the fire they created and have subsequently enjoyed immunity from all responsibility thereafter.

Hence, my pursuit of trying to understand the British attitude to an emerging neutral sovereign State of Jammu & Kashmir in the 1940's.

What steps did they take to forestall it?

Why did they drag the aspirations of both the autocrat and his subjects under the bus named India and Pakistan?     

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Friday, 17 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 137 of 2019

2048hrs:

Once you're in the groove...do not relent.....adopt the killer instinct......finish the job.......there is much else in life.....and death.

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Astonishing?




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Thursday, 16 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 136 of 2019

2204hrs:

Writing everyday is a heavy responsibility.....

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This video is thoroughly compelling and revealing of the Pakistani State's approach to governance:



Dr. Hassan Abbas's invigorating lecture can perhaps be summarised in one phrase:

"We are individually smart but collectively stupid", is how he describes Pakistani society.

To contextualise the above with respect to hydro-projects for electricity generation, the powers-that-be in Pakistan (and by forced extension AJK) make a lot of intelligent decisions in self-interest but have no sense or conscience of the collective consequences of their individual decisions.

There is little thought or intelligence mobilised for public interest in Pakistan. We suffer in AJK too because of the Pakistani State's expansionist designs.

In a land where solar power would be cheaper and provide an immediate return on investment, the Pakistani State is hell-bent on building dams to produce relatively expensive hydro-electricity projects, which have no guarantee of breaking even - let alone making a profit - with all their technical, financial, social and environmental costs borne by others. Thus, it is a means of corruption for the powers-that-be cloaked in national interest. 

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 135 of 2019

2056hrs:

Rest is as important as work.....

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We lost yet another poor young soul on the LOC today. India and Pakistan can count their casualties for whatever they are worth. However, they are collectively nowhere near the figure we lose as civilians (or innocent bystanders to be more precise).

Today's statistic:

Umar Subhani s/o Tahir Subhani - aged 20 of Danna - Smaahni was killed by incoming Indian fire.

The Indians will no doubt claim they were responding to Pakistani fire or an 'infiltration' attempt. The Pakistanis will no doubt describe it as unprovoked and indiscriminate fire from the Indians.

The Pakistanis will try and get us to rally behind them in condemning India. The Indians would do something similar with our citizens on the other side of the divide.

Both countries rely on our respective support to demonise the 'other'. We seem hell bent on collaborating with both enemies to prolong our tragedy. Meanwhile, they seem intent on collaborating with each other to maintain control.

What is Indo-Pak bilateralism if not collaboration?  

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 134 of 2019

2000hrs:

This is the cost of AJK's ambiguity:
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The following is a letter written by Quayyum Raja to the judiciary in AJK, which has recently claimed that it operates at a world class standard:
Quayyum Raja
WHO WINS THE HEARTS AND MINDS?

We all perform some sort of responsibility, but an extra mile taken to help others in difficulties is what counts most. Here is an example:

A fellow Kashmiri Muhammad Riaz and I were tried by a British Crown Court in 1984 in Mhatre Murder case, an Indian diplomat captured by fellow Kashmiris to prevent India from hanging the father of Kashmiri Movement Muhammad Maqbool Butt. The killer escaped and the two of us were charged and sentenced secretly. The British Home Secretary said he would inform us of the final decision, but years went by and he did not.

We were held in top security and refused access to legal representatives. I had no choice but to smuggle a letter to the then British Lord Chief Justice, asking him why we were tried by a court but sentenced by politicians. The Lord Chief Justice in his response, asked me to write a summary of my case and if he saw legal weight in it, he would reopen my case. 

The London High Court quashed our extra-judicial sentences in 1994 but the British Home Minister still refused to release us. I wrote to Chief Justice Lord Bingham on this occasion and he replied to me too, just like his predecessor.

Our case went to the European Court of Human Rights, which ordered our release in August 2004 but because I wanted to return home to AJK via Pakistan, the British and Pakistani governments delayed the administrative process. I was told that the judges were on summer holidays and there was no judge to sign my release until autumn 2005. I was shocked and wrote to the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf. Lord Woolf loved by most ordinary people in the UK, immediately cancelled the holiday of a judge and ordered him to finalise the process.

I was brought to Pakistan by a team of special security from Britain. While there was some provocation at the gate by prison security staff just to see my last reaction, a lady doctor approached me and said, “I know you are going to be very busy with your family and friends and may not have time to buy your medications. This pack of medications is for six weeks and I hope your doctor in Pakistan would arrange for you by then.” 

I had left my home territory (via Pakistan) at the age of 18 and was returning at the age of 46, with little idea of what awaited me here in AJK. Ever since my release, I have been working on human rights while trying to help both individuals as well as reforming our national institutions.

I have recently set up a Human Rights Commission and made some recommendations for education, health, judiciary and democracy. However, it is unfortunate that institutions are neither responsive nor responsible. The main reason is that they are not the right people for the right job. We hardly find officials including judges on their seats, let alone replying to personal letters the way the top British judges replied to me.

I filed a petition in the AJK High Court to include Kashmir studies into the curriculum. One year on, the government has not as yet responded to the court notice, partly because judges are often absent.

This is not just one person’s job. We all have to play our role to improve the system.

Quayyum Raja
President Human Rights Commission AJK-GB
Contact: 03448909960
Email: aqraja75@gmail.com

End of letter....
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Monday, 13 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 133 of 2019

1415hrs:

It was on this day 6 years ago that our most energetic and resourceful citizen of AJK Arif Shahid was gunned down outside his home in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The Pakistani State is yet to respond to the allegation of cold and calculated assassination by its clandestine agencies of a political worker, constantly hounded and interrupted by them for years hitherto. 

Playing innocent and ignorant after the event displays the level of dishonesty involved in managing a country's interests that conveniently and disgracefully use sacred terms to cover their frailties.

London as well as other liberal democratic capitals will increasingly see a rise in frequency of protests outside Pakistani consulates, given the Pakistani State's pathetic approach to cover up its sins:

 

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Saturday, 11 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 131 of 2019

2340hrs:

Travelling from Muzaffarabad to Dadyaal within AJK almost feels like travelling from one end of Europe to the other, except the roads here aren't so good.

It has been a hectic 10 days on the road.......thoroughly engaging though....

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Meanwhile, while we were on the road an intriguing event took place in our eastern-most district (Haveli: also disingenuously described as Forward Kahuta):



Translated thus:

The Pakistani army attacks Haveli police station

According to details received, a day ago in Kahuta (officially Haveli) bazaar an on-duty policeman stopped a plain-clothed Pakistani army subedar (equivalent to old British rank of captain) for violating the one-way traffic rules in the (urban centre of Haveli) and duly wrote out a fine. In response, the Pakistani army subedar started swearing at the AJK policeman and in a fit of rage slapped him too.

The subedar was then taken to Haveli police station where he appears to have been roughed up by the AJK police before being released a while later.

Earlier today - that is this morning - 2 to 3 Pakistani army vehicles drove into the compound of Haveli police station, which was already crowded with uniformed policemen. The Pakistani army guys disembarked from their vehicles and burst straight into the police station where they began ransacking whatever they found. They were also violent with whoever came across them. Both policemen and members of the public who were otherwise at the police station were thrashed and beaten.

The public reacted by openly chanting slogans against the wanton terrorism of the Pakistani army. Some people even managed to capture the proceedings on camera.

Afterwards, in light of the incensed reaction of the Haveli public to the Pakistani army, a Pakistani army colonel took the initiative of trying to bring matters under control, a gesture that was accepted by the SHO (Station House Officer) and thus the (hitherto volatile) matter subsided.

Now, the public can decide who was at fault.

End of translation....

Note: Words in brackets are for added clarity in translation
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Earlier in the morning, before leaving Muzaffarabad I had this to say of our week long experience in the capital:



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Friday, 10 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 130 of 2019

2114hrs:

Balancing private interest with public interest is what the State and the public of AJK have yet to master.

Practice makes perfect though....

There can be no higher stake than water in this world.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 129 of 2019

0148hrs:

وطن کی آزادی وخودمختاری کی جنگ لڑنے والے انقلابیوں کے ساتھ تعاون اور مدد کے چھ اہم اصول* ۱۔ حریت وانقلاب کےلیے لڑو ۔ ۲۔ لڑ نہيں سکتے تو لکھو ۔ ۳۔ لکھ نہيں سکتے تو بولو ۔ ۴ ۔ بول نہیں سکتے تو ساتھ دو ۔ ۵۔ ساتھ بھی نہیں دے سکتے تو جو لکھ، بول اور لڑ رہےہیں تو ان کی مدد کرو ۔ ۶۔ اگر مدد بھی نا کرسکو تو ان کے حوصلوں کو گرنے نہ دو کیوں کہ وہ آپ کے حصے کی لڑائی لڑ رہےہیں... آؤ وطن پر موجود سامراجی قبضے کے خلاف عوامی مزاحمتی لڑائی ہر محاذ پر لڑیں. JKMI

I was compelled to translate the above note written in Urdu by JKMI (Jammu Kashmir Mahaaz e Istaqlaal).

"The six important rules for supporting those revolutionaries who fight for our homeland's struggle (war) for freedom and independence:

1) Fight (strive, struggle) for freedom and revolution..
2) If you can't fight, then write.
3) If you can't write, then speak (out).  
4) If you can't speak, then stand in solidarity (with those who do).
5) If you can't stand in solidarity, then help those who write, speak and fight (for freedom).
6) If you can't help them, then (at least) don't let their spirit drop as they are fighting (and fulfilling) your share (of responsibility).

Lets fight against this colonial occupation through public resistance on all fronts."

End of translation....

Note: words in brackets are customarily added by me for clarity in understanding.

I would say that the above note is a great way of breaking down duties of a common struggle against colonialism.

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Judging from how dams are being built in AJK, without due process or concern for the environment and without even lifting a finger towards mitigating measures, is the following of any surprise?


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Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 128 of 2019

2303hrs:

Proceeding ahead at full speed......

She entered the camp a couple of days ago and decided to stay put
Every evening is an engaging one:



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Monday, 6 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 126 of 2019

1053hrs:

Riverside in Muzaffarabad

The morning walk....helps me indulge in clear thinking.

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(Updated 31/05/19 at 0241hrs):

This is an example of what amount to hundreds, if not thousands of videos which I have yet to upload:



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Sunday, 5 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 125 of 2019

0059hrs:

I'm still trying to manage the euphoria of camping at the very spot where I was prevented from conducting a hunger strike for public interest on the 10th of April last year, namely Azaadi Chowk - Muzaffarabad.

This is my facebook entry from earlier this morning:



Just for those of you who can't read the text of the fb post, here it is:

A lot can change in less than a year. I was prevented from conducting a hunger strike at Azaadi Chowk on the 10th of April 2018. The 'Save Rivers - Save Muzaffarabad' Movement began its sit-in protest on the 25th of March this year. I didn't have to lift as much as a finger to realise my dream of citizen control of public space this time. The people of Muzaffarabad have exceeded my expectations.
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How the evening pans out in Azaadi Chowk, Muzaffarabad:

In deep discussion with the public
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Here are examples of what was written - in blood - at Azaadi Chowk in Muzaffarabad yesterday:



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Saturday, 4 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 124 of 2019

0433hrs:

Wild Berries from the Southern tip of Poonch at Chechan - "Aakhrey" in local parlance

I began preparing for my latest trip to Muzaffarabad on the 29th of April but I could not leave Dadyaal before 1500hrs (3pm) on (Thursday) the 2nd of May. It took a further 36 hours to arrive in Muzaffarabad, just over an hour ago at c. 0300hrs (3am). Its a long story which I'll try and tell in pictures:

Midday at Azad Pattan (yesterday)

Nightfall at Kokraal - Mong (yesterday)

I missed the Tithwal March towards the LOC in Neelam on 'May Day', which I understand invoked - yet another - brutal response from the AJK police. Political activists have been severely injured and others arrested for protesting against the 'super-imposed' restrictions on freedom of movement in Jammu & Kashmir. Having spent so much time travelling and repairing our vehicle on multiple occasions, I am yet to fully acquaint myself with what happened.

I'm even more gutted for missing out on the following yesterday: 





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In due course, we will compare many aspects of governance in the Dogra era (c. 1820 to 1947) to what we've experienced post 1947. Perhaps most often quoted is the following agreement in 1904, made between the Maharajah of Jammu & Kashmir and the British Indian Empire, which can be formally described as the 'Upper Jhelum Canal Water Agreement':

Source: 'Kashmir: Taareekh ke Ainey me (Urdu) by Professor M. Arif Khan - Page 67 

Let me translate the above:

Through the important articles (and clauses) of this agreement, the Maharajah managed to secure his legal and constitutional rights in totality. knowledge-able sources while referencing articles (and clauses) in the agreement describe it thus:

1) In the spirit of the 1904 agreement, Upper Jhelum Canal and the land secured for it will always remain the property of the 'Darbaar' (viz. The State of Jammu & Kashmir).

2) All materials secured for the construction of Upper Jhelum Canal - for example - gravel, stones, sand etc. will not be taxed as long as they are utilised within the State. All material that is used (exported) outside the State will be subject to collection of royalty by the State.

3) Crops, properties and agricultural land that are affected will be compensated (collected through the State) accordingly.

4) To facilitate travel for the residents of the State - to and from the State - bridges and pathways will be constructed in appropriate places.

5) Within the State, the availability of water will remain continuous and without charge (free).

6) Any officer of the Department of Irrigation - for the purpose of canal regulation - can assign (exercise) judicial powers of the State government. However, only on the condition that any decision of such an officer can be appealed against and heard by the Chief Judge in Jammu, whose decision will be final subject to approval (assent) of the Maharajah Bahadur.

7) The State's tehsildaar or any officer of higher rank can at any time examine the (water) headworks at Mangla.

8) While conducting the survey of Upper Jhelum Canal, all practical steps possible will be taken to ensure every place considered sacred by the public will be protected and preserved.

9) During construction of the canal within the State territory all such laws related to food and beverage products will be followed.

10) If the Darbaar (The State of J & K) wishes to build (any) industry then electricity etc. will be provided free.

End of translation...

Note: Any words in brackets are for added clarity in the translation.

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This following picture tells more than a thousand stories:



We have an old proverb that spans most of the Urdu/Hindi speaking world (including us): "Behens ke aagey bheen mat bhajhao." It translates as, "Do not play the flute in front of a buffalo." What is implicitly meant is that there's no point explaining something to the targeted audience. In our case, the lack of telecommunications on or near the LOC is not something the Pakistani State would be particularly concerned about. Hence, the creative style of activism on the part of the AJK public to make their point.

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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 121 of 2019

0029hrs:

This is a little interesting....


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Always good to be updated on our farthest corners too!


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Your mental approach is everything:

Read Charissa Enget's answer to Why is there so little kindness left in the world? on Quora

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This is news from yesterday but highly relevant in the context of Pakistan's stance on Jammu & Kashmir:




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This piece of news doesn't leave much else to imagine about Pakistan's role in Jammu & Kashmir:



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Daily Diary (DD) - Day 296 of 2019

2216hrs: Intrigue continues............I'm still playing catch up...... .......