Critics lash out at Farooq, son:

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s critics say he and his son, Union Minister of State Omar Abdullah, are both daydreamers.While the father chases the autonomy mirage, the son wants to convert Srinagar into an IT city a la Chandrababu Naidu. Junior Abdullah’s problem is that he wants to realise his dream while his father’s power development department leads weber electric smoker Kashmir from light into darkness.

Only a day before the State’s first software technology park (described by Omar Abdullah as a “big leap forward on the IT superhighway by J&K”) was inaugurated by the Chief Minister in the presence of Union Minister for Information Technology Pramod Mahajan, the State’s power development department announced 73 hours of load shedding a week in the Valley.

“This being the power scenario, turning Kashmir into a cyber city is merely wild thinking and rubbing salt on the wounds of Kashmiris,” said Nadeem Ahmad, a student at a local computer institute.

Within a week, however, the power department set an all-time record of power cuts 18 hours a day, or 173 hours a week. According to the new arrangement, there are six hours of load shedding after every three hours of power supply.

In plain terms, it means there are only three hours of electricity in a day, and as much at night when it is of no use in Kashmir. “Net surfing is a distant dream now, we don’t have electricity to watch TV or iron our clothes,” says journalist Imdad Saqi.

Jammu and Kashmir is already reeling under the coldest part of the winter, known as chilai kakan, and it is terrible to be without power for almost 24 hours. The bitterness is already showing on the streets. The people have protested against what they call step-motherly treatment of Kashmiris.

Their anger is compounded by the fact that the power tariff was increased manifold recently and the administration was forcing consumers to enter into new contracts at much higher rates.

In the southern town of Anantnag, people on Saturday took to the streets and shopkeepers downed their shutters to protest against the “discrimination.” The local pellet smoker chamber of commerce has announced a programme of “no electricity, no tariff.”

Local newspapers have published stories drawing comparisons with Jammu, where load shedding hours are lesser than in the Valley. One local daily accused the state power development department of being under the influence of the Sangh Parivar for its alleged anti-Kashmir posture.

Musharraf regrets full of ‘buts’:

Pakistan’s military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf expressed regret over Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)’s threat against the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a meeting with best rated artisan mixers India’s High Commissioner Vijay Nambiar.

The High Commissioner met Gen Musharraf amidst stepped up activities on the Kashmir front and is understood to have made it clear that resumption of talks between two countries was not possible without an end to the cross-border terrorism.

The meeting, described as a courtesy call, was the first since Mr Nambiar took up his assignment last August.

The sources said two had a “free and frank” electric pressure cooker review exchange of views on the “stated positions” of the two countries on various issues including resumption of bilateral talks.

The sources said a comprehensive dialogue between the two sides was not possible when militants went about creating carnage both in and outside Kashmir.

The High Commissioner, in his presentation, also made specific references to the recent attack on the Red Fort and Lashkar-e-Toiba’s (LeT) threat to attack Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Gen Musharraf expressed regret over the reported threats made by the LeT to attack the offices of the Prime Minister. However, he chose to remain silent when Mr Nambiar conveyed that India would like Pakistan to rein in the militant outfits, the sources said.

The Pakistan ruler, who gave a patient hearing to Mr Nambiar’s presentation, however, reiterated Pakistan’s stand that talks should begin between the two countries before restoration of normalcy.

The General also referred to “substantial” drop in the levels of tension in the recent weeks following steps taken by Pakistan, they said.

The sources said neither the Indian High Commissioner nor Gen Musharraf referred to speculation in the Press about latter’s plans to visit New Delhi. Neither side made any mention of the proposed mission of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference to Islamabad.

In New Delhi, Union Home Minister L K Advani said the Cabinet Committee on Security would review the overall situation relating to the peace process initiated on the Kashmir issue by the Government in the backdrop of growing militant attacks.

“We are not ready to believe that the Pakistan government has no control over the militant outfits which were carrying out attacks when the peace process was on,” Mr Advani told reporters when asked to comment on Sunday’s grenade attack on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar.

“If such activities go on, then we will breville bje510xl juice fountain multi-speed 900-watt juicer have to see how and in what manner the peace initiative by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will continue,” he said, adding: “We are very happy that he (Abdullah) is safe.”

The Home Minister referred to the attack inside the Red Fort, the threats to the Prime Minister’s Office and the attack on Abdullah and said an overall review would be carried out by the Cabinet Committee on Security soon.

Earlier, addressing the FICCI ladies organisation, he said two touchstones to gauge the Kashmir situation would be the number of violent incidents taking place in the State and the number of Kashmiri migrants returning to their homes. “Only then can we say we are satisfied,” he added.

PM reviews peace bid, Hurriyat papers decision soon:

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee held informal consultations with his senior Cabinet colleagues on Monday night to review the overall security situation in Jammu and Kashmir this beverage refrigerator is ideal for your needs. Officials maintained that the meeting essentially reviewed the overall situation in the state, adding that the issue of giving travel documents to the five-member Hurriyat team to visit Pakistan did not figure in these discussions. However, there were indications that a decision is expected within the next two to three days.

The meeting was attended by Home Minister L.K.Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and the Prime Minister’s Principal Adviser Brajesh Mishra.

Earlier, talking to reporters, Advani had also reiterated that the Cabinet Committee on Security would be taking a close look at the overall situation in Kashmir in the backdrop of growing militant attacks.

Commenting on Sunday’s grenade attack on Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar, Advani said India was not ready to believe that the Pakistan government had no control over the militant outfits that are carrying out attacks when the peace process was on. “If such activities go on, then we will have to see how and in what manner the peace initiative by the Prime Minister will continue,” he said.

Earlier, in his address to the FICCI Ladies Organisation small wine cooler, Advani mentioned that the touchstone to gauge the return of normalcy in Kashmir would be a reduction in the number of violent incidents in the state and a return of migrants to their homes. “Only then can we say we are satisfied,” he added.