Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Holdover Benefitting the Close Ties Between Mufti and the Governor

Fayyaz's investigative report fails to mention close alliance between Mufti Sayeed and Governor Vohra going back to the days when the former was the Union Home Minister and the latter was the Union Home Secretary

(Mr. Ahmed Ali Fayyaz, 48, was born in Bodina, Budgam, and received his primary and secondary education in Budgam and later at Amar Singh College, Srinagar. He completed his Master's degree in Kashmiri language and literature from the University of Kashmir in 1987. After working with Rashtriya Sahara and Kashmir Times in 1993-94, and later for 13 years as Srinagar Bureau Chief of Daily Excelsior, he is woking as Resident Editor/ Srinagar Bureau Chief of Jammu-based English daily Early Times ( since April 2009. He is also a filmmaker whose forte in audio-visual media is Kashmir's composite culture, heritage, ecology and social issues. Since February 2008, he has been regularly anchoring Take One Television's bi-weekly hard talk show "Face To Face With Ahmed Ali Fayyaz" which is watched by more than three million viewers in Srinagar, Jammu and other urban areas of Jammu & Kashmir.)

Omar Govt indecisive on IUST VC’s appointment

Srinagar: Even as the State Finance Commission Chairman, Mehmood-ur-Rehman, has completed his second post-retirement assignment in Jammu & Kashmir and his first ever report is now understood to be in the final stage, recommendations of a search committee previously headed by the former IAS officer are gathering dust in the Civil Secretariat for the last 16 months. Paradoxically, the beneficiary of Omar Abdullah government’s indecisiveness over the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor for Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) is none other than a man for whom the PDP patriarch Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was bent upon subverting the law even after his exit from the top office.

Prof Sidique Wahid’s three-year term as the first VC of IUST Awantipore had expired during Governor’s rule on 22nd September, 2008. It could have been extended by two years under the provisions of law but neither Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad nor his successor head of the government, N N Vohra, granted any extension in view of a hostile atmosphere to such proposals in the faculty as well as the student community on the campus.

Days before Prof Wahid’s date of retirement, Governor Vohra, in his capacity as head of the Government (who happens to be the Chancellor and appointing authority for VC) constituted a search committee for appointment of the new incumbent. The search committee, under the Act, comprises four members----one each nominee of Chancellor and University Grants Commission (UGC) and two more to be nominated by IUST’s Executive Council. Founder of IUST, Mufti had reportedly played a key role in Governor’s rule in one particular nomination of the University’s Executive Council, known for his intimate relationship with the PDP patriarch.

In November, 2008, search committee headed by Mr Rehman submitted to the Chancellor a panel of four candidates. Those recommended for the coveted position included former Head of PG Department of Economics and Dean Faculty of Social Sciences at University of Kashmir, Prof Nisar Ali, then Chairman of J&K State Board of School Education and Professor of Law at University of Jammu, Prof Nisar Ahmed Ganai, then Director of Computer Science at KU, Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Pir and a Professor of Jamia Millia Islamia.

Even as the search committee finalized four nominees under Section 2 (clause 1) of the Act, the fourth member recorded his recommendation in favour of his own nominee and a Mufti favourite, Sidique Wahid, whose term had expired on 22nd September 2008 and had not been granted extension by the competent authority.

According to section 2 (clause 4) of the Act “The Vice Chancellor shall hold office for a minimum of three years, extendable upto five years from the date on which he enters upon the office and shall, on expiration of his term of office, be ineligible for appointment to that office”.

Ineligible for a second term by the law governing appointment of VC for IUST, Prof Wahid has now overstayed for nearly 16 months. In Chancellor Omar Abdullah’s government, he has been waiting for his reliever since 5th January 2009. It appears that custodians of the Muslim Auqaf have no time for taking such decisions!

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