Tuesday, February 9, 2010

UN Chief appeals to Sri Lanka show restraint and refrain from violence
Concerns over Gen. Fonseka's arrecst
On hearing the reports of the arrest of Sri Lanka's defeated opposition presidential candidate, General Sarath Fonseka by the Sri Lanka military, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday appealed to all the parties in Sri Lanka and their supporters to show restraint and refrain from violence.
The UN chief urged all parties to adhere to the electoral laws and to avoid provocative acts, not only in the election period, but also in the post-election stages.
Responding to the questions from journalists today about the General's arrest Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General said the United Nations was monitoring the situation.
The spokesperson for Mr. Ban said that "the peaceful conduct of the first post-conflict national election and its aftermath is of the highest importance for long term peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka."
The statement was issued following media reports that the Sri Lankan military has arrested Sarath Fonseka, the former army chief who contested the recent presidential elections.
He was arrested by the military police on charges of military offences conducted during his time as the army commander, the Sri Lankan government said yesterday. Military investigations are in progress and a detailed statement will be issued later, the Media Center for National Security said.

Genaral Sarath Fonseka arrested

Genaral Sarath Fonseka arrested

The defeated candidate in Sri Lanka's presidential election, General Sarath Fonseka, has been arrested at his office in Colombo.
Gen Fonseka was defeated by incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa last month by six million votes to four million.
Gen Fonseka rejected the results and vowed to challenge them in court.
The initial allegations brought by the government against Gen Fonseka, 59, were put simply as "committing military offences".
The government had earlier been seeking legal advice on bringing a court martial on charges of plotting to overthrow the administration.
The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says he later learned from National Security Director-General Laxman Hulugalle that the charges against the general relate to the alleged violation of rules preventing the discussion of political matters while being a member of the military.
He was dragged away in a very disgraceful manner in front of our own eyes
Rauff Hakeem,Muslim Congress leader
Mr Hulugalle said the general would be questioned and put on trial in a military court.
Military law still covered Gen Fonseka despite his retirement, he said.
Gen Fonseka was in charge of Sri Lanka's army when it defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels last year after a destructive civil war lasting more than a quarter of a century.
However, he fell out with President Rajapaksa soon after and the pair fought a bitter election campaign.
War crimes
Gen Fonseka's wife confirmed to the BBC that her husband had been detained after the security presence around his office in Colombo had been stepped up during the day.
Gen Fonseka's secretary, Senaka de Silva, was also said to have been arrested.
Gen Fonseka was meeting a number of politicians who had supported his candidacy.
The Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem told Reuters news agency: "He was dragged away in a very disgraceful manner in front of our own eyes."
Mr Hakeem said the action was "authoritarian and vindictive".

Mr Rajapaksa won the election by 57% to 40%
A spokesman for the People's Liberation Front told Agence France-Presse: "The general refused to be taken away. They grabbed him and virtually carried him away after threatening the others. There must have been over 100 soldiers."
The politicians at the meeting said the military police had given no reasons as they made the arrest.
Mr Hakeem said Gen Fonseka had complained that because he was no longer in the military he should not have been arrested by military police.
Earlier in the day, Gen Fonseka had said he was prepared to give evidence in international courts on any war crimes charges brought in relation to the civil war.
"I am definitely going to reveal what I know, what I was told and what I heard. Anyone who has committed war crimes should definitely be brought into the courts," Gen Fonseka said.
Our correspondent, Charles Haviland, says the arrest was dramatic but not unexpected and there must now be questions about whether this is the start of a bigger clampdown on the opposition.
After the election, the government had accused Gen Fonseka of divulging sensitive information to the public, and of plotting both a coup and to assassinate the president and his family.
Gen Fonseka has vehemently denied the charges.
He said he feared an assassination attempt against him and had been told that airports would not allow him to leave the country.
Analysts had predicted a closely fought election contest between the two architects of the government's victory over the Tamil Tigers.
But in the end President Rajapaksa won the vote comfortably - capturing 57% of the vote, while Sarath Fonseka won 40%.


Friday, February 5, 2010


By M Raza Malik
Pakistanis, here and across the globe, have been observing 5th February every year since 1991, as Kashmir Solidarity Day to convey the message that at this time of trial they are with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been rendering matchless sacrifices, for the last 63 years, to secure their inalienable right to self-determination, promised to them by the international community.

The people of Pakistan are bound to express solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren, as they share common cultural, ideological, geographical and emotional ties, which have fastened them into one unity for centuries. There is no denying of this historic fact that the Kashmir dispute is the unfinished part of the partition of the Indian subcontinent and peace in the South Asian region can not be established without resolving it in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.

President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, while addressing a joint session of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Assembly and Kashmir Council in the Assembly Hall on January 05, said that settlement of the Kashmir dispute was vital for regional peace. “As world attention is on Pakistan, then together with Pakistan, the world has to talk about the Kashmir problem as well because only then can peace be brought to the region,” he said. “We cannot de-link regional peace from peace in Kashmir ... we have highlighted this thinking in the world and will keep projecting it,” he added.

The President maintained that Pakistan and India should learn to live in peace. “We know that we cannot change our neighbours but they (India) should also know that they can also not change their neighbours.” He hoped that the people of Kashmir would succeed in their struggle.

In order to realize the importance of the Kashmir Solidarity Day one needs to understand the history of India’s occupation on Kashmir, which dates back to the partition of the Indian Subcontinent. According to Partition Plan in 1947, the Indian British Colony was to be divided into two sovereign states: India comprising Hindu-majority areas, and Pakistan constituted by the Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and East Bengal.

The partition plan had given the princely states the choice to accede either to Pakistan or to India, considering their geography and demography. As Jammu and Kashmir was a Muslim-majority state, with 87% Muslim population, it had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. But the then Hindu ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh and the Indian National Congress by announcing Kashmir’s accession with India under a well thought out conspiracy sowed the seeds of destruction of the future of the Kashmiri people. India landed its paramilitary forces in the territory by totally violating the partition plan and against the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiris.

Right from October 27, 1947, the day when Indian forces landed in the occupied territory, the people of Jammu and Kashmir never accepted India’s illegal occupation of their motherland and they have been struggling to liberate it from Indian subjugation. Their liberation struggle forced India to seek the help of the international community to settle the Kashmir dispute. On January 1, 1948, sensing the defeat to its forces, it approached the United Nations Security Council, which in its successive resolutions, accepted by both Pakistan and India, promised that a free and impartial plebiscite would be conducted by the UN and the people of Kashmir would be given the opportunity to decide their future themselves.

On October 27, 1947, the first head of the Indian state, Lord Mountbatten, is on record having said that since the “question of accession [of Kashmir] should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the state, it is my government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir... the question of the state’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people.” The first Prime Minister of India, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose government took the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations, on June 26, 1952, told Indian parliament, “If ... the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain with us, let them go by all means; we will not keep them against their will, however painful it may [be] for us.”

Despite these pledges and commitments by the Indian rulers, the people of Kashmir keep on suffering atrocities at the hands of the occupation troops and their miseries continue unabated. One of the most awful aspects of the Kashmir dispute is the fact that India had taken the dispute to the United Nations itself but later backed away from the promises, it had made before the international community, to resolve the dispute over Kashmir and to let the Kashmiri people chose their destiny by themselves.

It is very lamenting that India claims itself to be the biggest democracy of the world but it continues to suppress the democratic rights of the Kashmiri people with military might. It also describes the Jammu and Kashmir as its integral part in total contrast to the UN resolutions, which describe Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory. Furthermore, the most deplorable aspect of the picture is that while Pakistan demonstrates considerable flexibility in the dialogue process, Indian intransigent approach remains the biggest hurdle in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

History stands testimony to the reality that despite exhausting all its resources, India has failed to deter the Kashmiris from continuing their struggle for securing the right to self-determination. Its forces have broken all the records of human rights violations in the occupied territory. Indian troops have martyred over ninety-two thousand civilians in occupied Kashmir, killing thousands in custody. These killings rendered more than twenty five thousand women widowed and over one-lac children orphaned. The troops have molested around ten thousand Kashmiri women during the past 20 years and have constantly been using the molestation of women as a tool to suppress the Kashmiris’ spirit of freedom. The whereabouts of thousands of innocent Kashmiris, disappeared in troops’ custody, are yet to be revealed. But all these cruelties could not refrain the Kashmiris raising their voice for freedom from Indian bondage.

Thousands of people in occupied Kashmir poured into streets during the second half of 2008 against the transfer of Kashmiris’ land to non-Kashmiris and in 2009 following the rape and subsequent murder of two Kashmiri women in Shopian in May. They conveyed a strong message to India and the international community that the human rights violations would continue to occur in the occupied territory as long as Indian troops were present there.

To reaffirm their political, moral and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir like always, this year too, Pakistanis will hold conferences, seminars, demonstrations and various functions. These activities will be aimed at highlighting various dimensions of the Kashmir dispute besides the state terrorism unleashed by India in the occupied territory would be projected in a factual manner. The observance of the day is also intended to remind the international community that it has a moral obligation to play its role in resolving the dispute over Kashmir in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.

The fact is that the hearts of the Pakistanis throb in unison with their Kashmiri brethren. They feel not only the pain of Indian state terrorism against the Kashmiris but also their sufferings due to natural disasters, the glaring example of which was witnessed after the devastating earthquake of October 2005. The world observed how massively the Pakistani people transported relief goods and provided aid for the rehabilitation to the people in the calamity-hit areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

In the nutshell the 5th of February is a day to pay tribute to the unique sacrifices of the Kashmiri people, who have been carrying on their struggle of freedom with devotion. The observance is also intended to convey India that it cannot hold on Kashmir against the will of the people for long and that it will have to give the Kashmiris the right to live freely.

The writer is a Senior News Editor at Kashmir Media Service and can be reached at

S.B.Dissanayake to contest from Kandy as the organizer for Udunuwara

S.B.Dissanayake to contest from Kandy as the organizer for Udunuwara
Former UNP member S.B. Dissanayaka, who crossed over to the SLFP prior to the Presidential elections, has been appointed as the chief SLFP organizer for Udunuwara and will contest the upcoming General elections from the Kandy district.Speaking to Daily Mirror online Mr. Dissanayaka said that his latest appointment came in the wake of a full presidential pardon.President Mahinda Rajapaksa had granted a full pardon to the UNP dissident, who was earlier sentenced to jail on contempt of court charges by the Supreme Court.S.B. Dissanayake a minister in the then United National Front government was found guilty of having insulted the Supreme Court at a cultivation ceremony in Habaraduwa. He was released on a presidential order before completing his jail sentence.
Read More:

Come June, India will play Pakistan in Asia Cup

Come June, India will play Pakistan in Asia Cup
India, which is vying with Pakistan in almost all sports disciplines at the ongoing South Asian Games in Dhaka, will also take on the rival neighbours in cricket soon, though again at a neutral venue - in the Asia Cup from June 15 to 25.
According to sources in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), the tournament is likely to be hosted most likely in Sri Lanka. Apart from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh is the fourth team in the tournament. When the tournament was last played in Karachi in 2008, the Lankans had defeated India in the final by 100 runs. India last played Pakistan in the Champions Trophy last year in Centurion.
The ACC has reportedly been forced to consider Sri Lanka as a possible venue as the broadcasters and sponsors rejected first choice Malaysia due to weather concerns. However, sources also maintained that the final call on the venue is yet to be taken. "It's a toss up between Sri Lanka and Malaysia," an ACC official told TOI on Wednesday. "Malaysia was a front runner... but as the broadcasters didn't show interest in having the event in Malaysia, we have changed our plans," ACC president Ejaz Butt was quoted as saying recently. Incidentally, Asia Cup will be clashing with the football World Cup and it will be held right after the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
However, ACC doesn't seem too bothered about the timing. "It a championships involving the best in Asia and we are confident it will generate enough excitement," the ACC official added. In the backdrop of Pakistani players being snubbed in the recently held IPL auction, the proposed meeting of the neighbours in Asia Cup will certainly generate excitement. However, It's still too early to talk about the possibility of a bilateral series in near future. "As of now, there is no question of having a bilateral series between India and Pakistan. We don't know what will happen tomorrow. We hope the relationship between the two countries improve, which is very important for cricket," a BCCI official said

Asia Cup in Sri Lanka

Asia Cup in Sri Lanka
Chennai: The Asia Cup ODI tournament will be held in Sri Lanka from June 16 to 25 this year.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Syed Ashraful Huq told The Hindu here on Thursday that only the four Test playing nations of Asia — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — would take part in the event.
Ashraful, in the city to hold discussions with BCCI Secretary N.Srinivasan, said “The matches will be staged in Colombo and Premadasa Stadium is the likely venue. In all there will be six league games and the final.
“In the last edition of the Asia Cup, we had Hong Kong and UAE in the tournament but we had to shorten the format this time because of the lack of time available for the major teams.”
He admitted Malaysia was in contention to host the championship. “Yes, Malaysia was in the running. Eventually, the ACC has settled for Sri Lanka.” — Special Correspondent

Sri Lanka’s Independence Commemoration in France

Sri Lanka’s Independence Commemoration in France

The 62nd Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka was commemorated at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Paris with special religious observances at the Embassy premises yesterday (4th February 2010).
Clergy representing all the main religions in Sri Lanka participated in theceremony and invoked Blessings on His Excellency the President, the Cabinet of Ministers, armed forces, the Public Service, the country and people.
The National Messages of Sri Lanka’s President, Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were read out at the ceremony.
Sri Lanka President in his message recalled with gratitude the role played by patriots in the struggle for independence and also paid tribute to the heroic troops and their families for the sacrifices made in the battle against terrorism. Special mention was also made of the friendly nations from the East to the West, who understood and supported Sri Lanka ‘to achieve the objective of true freedom for our country and people’.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka in his National Message opined that ‘the value of freedom is deeply felt when it is lost, more than when it is enjoyed.’ He called on ‘all citizens of the country to unite to bring a brighter future to our motherland.’
Marking the Anniversary of Independence, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama pointed out that ‘rising from the shackles of colonialism sixty two years ago and annihilating and almost three decade long grip of terrorism from our shores eight months ago,’ ensured the celebration of independence with a sense of oneness and pride. He also observed that ‘a new era of peace and hope has dawned for the country with a renewed mandate for the continued leadership of President Rajapaksa, that too with the beginning of a new decade.’
Addressing the gathering the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in France, Lionel Fernando noted that independence was being celebrated under one writ after a considerable period of time and this bade well for the future as the country was about to embark on a new era of development and reconciliation.
A special alms giving was also arranged at the Embassy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Celebrating Sri lanka independence

Celebrating Sri lanka independence
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse hoists the national flag during the island's 62th Independence Day celebrations outside the highly venerated Temple of the Tooth in the central town of Kandy on February 4, 2010. Sri Lanka, which won independence from Britain in 1948, marks the first national celebration following the crushing of Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009. AFP
62nd Independence Day has special significance - President

The 62nd anniversary of independence we mark today has special significance being the first such celebration of our freedom since the defeat of terrorism in our country last year, and also as it takes place soon after our people have expressed their firm and resounding commitment to democracy, stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Independence Day message.
The freedom from colonial rule that we gained 62 years ago is now more meaningful, the President added.
As we move into the new era of peace in our country, we are ready to face the challenges of the future. It is necessary that we give equal priority to the tasks of national reconciliation and the building of trust among all sections of our people, as well as to development that will take us to our rightful place in the community of nations, he continued.
On this historic and significant anniversary of freedom, let us re-dedicate our nation to the ideals of peace, tolerance, mutual trust and progress, in the democratic tradition our people have cherished and protected as the oldest democracy in Asia, President Rajapaksa further stated.
Following is the full text of the message :

Sri lanaka celebrate 62th Independence day

Sri lanaka celebrate 62th Independence day

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the nation at the Independence Day celebrations in Kandy a short while ago gave an assurance that he will use his fresh mandate to regain what the island has lost during the war.

While noting that this is the first celebration since the defeat of terrorism, President Rajapaksa also said that he will rebuild the country especially the areas which were devastated during the 30 year conflict.Later speaking in Tamil, the President said that now the people can live in peace and in safety and go anywhere they wish with no fear or restrictions.

He also said that the country should solve its own problems through dialogue. He also urged the Tamil people not to forget their motherland and said the people should not be misled for petty political gain.President Rajapaksa added that he had not taken any decision which would betray the country and that all his decisions were in the best interest of the nation.

President Rajapaksa says Tamils should work with govt.
Sri Lanka's president called Thursday for minority ethnic Tamils to work with the government to settle their differences but said there would be no self-rule for them, as the country celebrated its first Independence Day since the end of a 25-year civil war.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was re-elected last month by a wide margin, largely because of support from the country's Sinhalese majority, said Tamil leaders should not "misguide" people or harbor political ambitions based on ethnicity or region.
"Let's solve our problems ourselves through discussions," he said in the Tamil language.
Sri Lanka received independence in 1948 - emerging from more than four centuries of colonial rule by the Portuguese, Dutch and then British - and ethnic Tamils have since complained of systematic marginalization in governance, jobs and education.
Those grievances led to the birth of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, known as the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group that fought for decades for an independent state for Tamils in the north and east. The war, which ended in May with the defeat of the rebels, left some 80,000 to 100,000 people dead and many Tamil areas in ruins.
There have since been calls for the government to reconcile with Tamils by offering them a degree of self-rule in provinces where they constitute a majority, but Rajapaksa rejected that Thursday.
"Hereafter, we will not entertain narrow divisions based on race, religion, language and political ideology in terms of regions," he said. "There is no one called a minority in this country, all those who love the country are children of mother Lanka."

He said he intends to give some power to all villages in the country to enable people to look after their own affairs.
"Certainly everyone will get equal facilities. This is what you call equality, this is what you call equal rights," he said.
The main celebration for Sri Lanka's 62nd independence anniversary was held in central Kandy town, near the sacred Temple of the Tooth. The town was also the seat of the country's last kingdom before it fell to the British in 1815.
In contrast to previous years' celebrations, Thursday's military parades were low-key - without the display of heavy guns and artillery - and the general public was allowed to attend. In the past, attendance required a special invitation by the government.