Issue of UN presence in Kashmir debated by India and Pakistan at United Nations Security Council (UNSC); UN rules out termination of UN Observer Group in Kashmir; Budget session of Jammu and Kashmir likely to commence soon; Review of AFSPA recommended by
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  • JANUARY 21-27

    According to reports, India and Pakistan clashed at the UN Security Council over the relevance of the UN Military Observer Group on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir with New Delhi saying it has been overtaken by 1971 Shimla Accord and Islamabad insisting the force still had a role. The exchange of words occurred during a UN Security Council open debate on peacekeeping, organised by Pakistan under its current Presidency of the 15-nation powerful UN body.1 Menawhile, a spokesperson for UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the force can be terminated only by a decision of the 15-nation body.2

    In another development, according to reports, in a major fillip to the ongoing demand for revocation of the contentious Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from conflict zones such as Jammu and Kashmir and North-Eastern states, Justice J.S. Verma committee set up by the government to look into laws for sexual crimes following heinous gang-rape of a young girl in Delhi, has recommended the need to review the law. The three member panel that also includes Justice (retired) Leila Seth and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam suggested that the armed forces, including paramilitary forces, should be brought under the purview of a common law while operating in conflict zones as the panel felt it necessary to check the cases of women being sexually exploited. 3

    In other developments, according to reports, asserting that dialogue is the only way forward to resolve issues, J &K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on January 25 asked separatists to open channels of communication with the Centre and discuss political issues threadbare to seek amicable solution. The Chief Minister said in his televised address to the people on the eve of Republic Day that political issues cannot be resolved by gun or money but across the table through dialogue. 4

    According to reports, after a month-long hostility and escalation of tension along the Line of Control, the cross-border trade and travel is likely to resume from January 28. The cross-LoC bus service and trade would resume along Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch district. 5

    Reports noted that Jammu and Kashmir government on January 22 fixed February 28 as the tentative date for commencement of the annual budget session of the state legislature. 6