Sameera Fazili with Joe Biden, the new US President

The crisis-ridden White House will have two Kashmir women when Joe Biden will take over, next week. After Kashmir born Ayesha Shah, now it is Sameera Fazili who will be Joe Biden’s Deputy Director of National Economic Council. Ms Fazili, a mother of three, will be focusing on manufacturing, innovation and domestic competition. She goes to the White House from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta where she was Director of engagement for the community and economic development. Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed, she had served as a senior policy adviser at the White House’s National Economic Council where she covered retirement, consumer finance, and community and economic development. Before joining the government, Fazili was a clinical lecturer at Yale Law School’s community and economic development clinic, where she helped start a CDFI bank and a local anti-foreclosure initiative, and expanded the clinic’s work to international micro-finance. She also worked at Shore Bank, the nation’s first CDFI bank. She is the second generation American who was born in Williamsville New York to Drs Yusuf and Rafiqa Fazili.


Farhan, a young commercial pilot with his family in Awantipora area of south Kashmir. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

After having one of Kashmir’s oldest air bases, this south Kashmir time has got its twin distinctions now. It will have a run-way – carved out of the existing highway, outside the IAF base, and its youngest pilot is now ready for take-off. Interestingly, it was the noise of the fighter aircraft that would encourage Farhan Majid to dream of flying a machine one day. After a lot of efforts, this boy schooled by the local Mantaqui Memorial School got admission in a flying school and passed. Last week, he got his licence and is now ready to be employed. Farhan’s working parents pooled their resources and sought a Rs 40 lakh loan from JK Bank to her their ward fly into skies.


As heavy snow froze Kashmir, a 22-year-old boy from Srinagar’s Alamgari Bazar set a new record. Working as a delivery boy with a local Amazon courier, when a customer cited urgency, he dropped the keys of his bike and took reins of the horse from his stable. Later, people came to know that the parcel carried some medical equipment for an asthma patient. A brief video of the parcel delivery went viral, Shiraz Ali, the delivery boy an instant hit. A passionate horse-rider, he calls horse Smokey. Amazon India confirmed the video was authentic and recorded in Srinagar. The company got this video out of the circumstances without spending even a penny. Interestingly, people tagging Amazon CEO Jezz Bezos wondered if his company was inspired by popular Turkish series Ertuğrul.


Two sisters Qurat-ul-Ain Zohra and Aiman Zohra along with their parents after they finished their snow sculpture to honour health workers and their fight against COVID-19, after a heavy snowfall, outside their residence in Srinagar, Sunday, January 10, 2021. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Passionate about art, when two sisters put their heads together, a marvel was created out of snow. Expressing gratitude to corona warriors, Dr Qurat and advocate Aiman, through snow art created a sculpture. Depicting female doctor, vaccine and WHO, the sculpture attracted visitors to their Athwajan home. Otherwise, trained as a dentist and advocate, the two sisters run a joint online platform, Makeup by Zohra. Making brides beautiful, they are balancing their passion and profession, perfectly. Besides, art is giving them good returns as well.


Law students protesting against women. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur
Law students protesting against crimes against women. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Crime against minors have traditionally been given priority during the investigation but when it comes to justice, the court proceedings go on for years. It took at least 10 years for a court in Ramban to sentence a man for raping a minor. Last week Liaqat Ali was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 for raping a minor at her residence in 2011. The case was filed at Panthal police station after eight months of crime when the family found that their minor daughter was pregnant. The accused a resident of Sumber who was married to the victim’s aunt, had committed the rape.


Kashmir’s First Gold Hallmarking Centre Thrown Open

Responsible for certification of gold and verification of its purity, Kashmir has its first gold assaying and hallmarking centre. Accredited by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Kashmir Hallmarking Centre (KHC) is Kashmir’s first and UT’s fourth such centre. Funded under the Seed Capital Fund Scheme and sponsored by the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI), the centre is recognized for hallmarking by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Jammu and Kashmir government. It is also registered by the Jammu and Kashmir Indian Calibration Services and Analytical Instruments. This is believed to boost the market involving the purchase of hallmarked gold jewellery items, a trend which has picked the pace.


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in the House of Commons.

Reiterating its “unchanged stance”, the Westminister has said that the situation in Kashmir remains an issue for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, as “laid out in the Shimla agreement.” Terming it a bilateral issue, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) minister Nigel Adams responding to a debate said Britain has no role to play. “People of Kashmir deserve the opportunity to thrive and succeed, so more broadly we welcome the commitment that the Indian government has made to the economic and social development,” he said in his address while welcoming  the release of politicians held in protective custody, but emphasized that “more should be done.”


Dr Bilques gets the first shot at JLNM hospital Rainawari on Saturday January 16,2020.

After the yearlong pandemic-paralysis, Jammu and Kashmir received 80,000 doses of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, from the Pune-based, Serum Institute of India (SII). These were delivered across Srinagar at designated vaccination centres for the inoculation drive that began January 16. To manage the cut off areas like Gurez, Tangdhar and Karnah, the administration has decided to airlift the vaccine. Scheduled to be carried in a phased manner, initially three groups of people, health workers, frontline workers and people aged above 50 will receive the shot.


Lt Governor Visits Family Of Slain Goldsmith

Condoling the demise and giving confidence that culprits will be brought to justice soon, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha visited the family of the slain goldsmith in Sonwar. Accompanied by top civil and police officials, Sinha assured a time-bound probe and said: “Such cowardly acts will not go unpunished.” Operating a successful business in Kashmir from the last over five decades, Satpal Nischal was shot at his Saraibala shop in Srinagar in December. He succumbed on the way to the hospital. The family briefed the visiting dignitary that they are living cordially with locals. Earlier they also rejected “the theory of getting domicile certificate” as the reason of assassination.


Mirza Saaib Beg

Mirza Saaib Beg, a lawyer who quit his job with India’s stock market regular, landed in London for a degree in public policy. He is the first Kashmiri to bag the prestigious Kofi Annan and the Oxford –Weidenfeld-Hoffman scholarship to get in Blavatnik School of Government at the Oxford. Interestingly the Kofi Annan scholarship was given for the first time to five scholars across the world. Beg has been in news even before going to Oxford. In 2015, he started an ultra-cycling campaign to raise funds for securing the education of financially restrained meritorious students in Kashmir. Post-August 2019, he was vocal in his commentary that led to his parting ways from his employer. An alumnus of Iqbal Memorial Institute in Srinagar, Beg has studied law at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad. For LLM, he joined a UK University and has now moved to Oxford.


Banjeet Kaur, the first female auto driver in Jammu and Kashmir is a resident ofUdhampur.

Breaking stereotypes to help her family, a second-year student Banjeet Kaur, 21, became the first female auto-rickshaw driver in Jammu and Kashmir. Residing in Udhampur, she has said that her move is aimed at helping her family to come out of the hardships dictated by the pandemic. Her father, Sardar Gorakh Singh, who used to drive a school bus, lost his job. He then started driving auto-rickshaw to earn a living, following which his younger daughter joined him in making some extra money amid the ongoing crisis.


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