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Bajwa’s desire for détente with India and including China in talks on Kashmir



The Islamabad Security Dialogue conference was addressed, among others, by Pakistan’s army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa also. He discussed the emerging challenges in international security under the theme “Comprehensive Security: Reimagining International Cooperation”.

His tentative proposal for peace with India suggested trilateral talks involving India, Pakistan and China to create an inclusive peace.

Bajwa’s desire for a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute is very significant in light of recent political  changes in Pakistan. The Shahbaz Sharif government has reinstated the nawaz-Sharif –era Tariq Fatemi to the foreign office. Fatemi is a robust advocate of lasting peace with India.

China’s inclusion

Because of China’s support, Pakistan was able to convince the United Nations’ Security Council to discuss the India-Pakistan Question about the disputed Kashmir  in an en- camera session on August 16, 2021  .

“The India-Pakistan Question” was first placed on the UNSC’s agenda on 22 January 1948. But it  had been lying dormant on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council since December 1971.

China’s initiative has potentially significant implications for India. Be it observed please that China was represented permanently in the UNSC by the Republic of China (Taiwan). After replacing Taiwan from the UNSC, China became very assertive with regard to “The India-Pakistan Question”. To counter India’s actions during the December 1971 India-Pakistan war China cast its first veto against the admission of Bangladesh to the UN in August 1972.

India’s unilateral annexation of the disputed Kashmir

Abrogation of the statehood (Article 370) of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir State, and the Kashmiris hereditary rights (Article 35A) violated the UN”s directive that the status of the state should not be altered.  Even a section of jaundiced media in India expressed ennui at India’s might-is-right initiative.  The Hindu dated August 6, 2019 commented in its editorial “Scrapping J&K’s special status is the wrong way to an end”:

 “The special status of J&K was never meant to be permanent, but it should not have been scrapped without wider consultations. …Additionally, the State is being downgraded and divided into two Union Territories. The mechanism that the government used to railroad its rigid ideological position on Jammu and Kashmir through the Rajya Sabha was both hasty and stealthy. This move will strain India’s social fabric not only in its impact on Jammu and Kashmir but also in the portents it holds for federalism, parliamentary democracy and diversity. The BJP-led government has undermined parliamentary authority in multiple ways since 2014, but the passing of legislation as far-reaching as dismembering a State without prior consultations has set a new low. The founding fathers of the Republic favoured a strong Centre, but they were also prudent in seeking the route of persuasion and accommodation towards linguistic and religious minorities in the interest of national integration.”

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram commented, ‘The government cannot modify Article 370 by using another provision of Article 370. By doing so it made a “fatal legal error” and it would discover this in due course.  The entire exercise of getting Article 370 of the Constitution effectively abrogated has been marked by executive excess’.

Not an integral part

It is obvious that the international community does not regard the disputed state as an integral part of India. There are several United Nations’ resolutions, mentioned heretofore, that corroborate that Kashmir is a disputed territory.

The UNSC Resolutions

Between January 1948 and December 1971, the UNSC adopted 17 resolutions on “The India-Pakistan Question” and endorsed the 1949 Karachi Agreement which established a cease-fire line agreed to by India and Pakistan, to be monitored by the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan.


On 6 January 1948 the UNSC invited both India and Pakistan to present their case. On 15 January 1948, Pakistan responded by expanding the scope of the issue to include Junagadh and the treatment of Muslims in India. On 17 January 1948 the UNSC adopted its first resolution on this issue, calling on both India and Pakistan to refrain from escalating the situation on the ground.


At the recommendation of the United Kingdom, the President of the UNSC (Belgium) was authorized to directly deal with two parties to find a solution by 20 January 1948. On 20 January 1948, Pakistan again requested that the scope of the issue be expanded to include Junagadh and the treatment of Muslims in India.

The Security Council adopted its second resolution on this issue on 20 January 1948. The resolution established a fact-finding UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) of three members (one nominated by India, other nominated by Pakistan, and a third designated by the Indian and Pakistani nominees) to visit the ground in respect of “the situation in Jammu and Kashmir State”.


On 21 April 1948, the UNSC adopted its third resolution on what it had decided to call “The India-Pakistan Question” on 22 January 1948. The resolution sought to restore peace and noted that both India and Pakistan desired that accession of Jammu and Kashmir to either India or Pakistan should be decided through a democratic plebiscite.


On 3 June 1948 the UNSC adopted its fourth resolution on this issue. This exhorted the UNCIP to visit the areas of where the conflict between India and Pakistan was taking place and reaffirmed its support for work of the Commission.

When India objected through a letter to the UNSC for mandating the Commission to look at issues not related to the Jammu and Kashmir Question, Taiwan persuaded the UNSC to convey to India that “what the Security Council did…was to tell the Commission to go ahead, to deal first with the Kashmir question, and then, when it deemed it appropriate, to study and report on the other three questions raised by the delegation of Pakistan”.


This resolution terminated the mandate of the UNCIP and called on India and Pakistan to execute a programme of demilitarization in the Jammu and Kashmir State. Subsequently, a UN Representative for India and Pakistan (Sir Owen Dixon) was appointed by the UNSC.


On 30 March 1951, the UNSC adopted its sixth resolution on the issue, proposed by the United States and the United Kingdom. It acknowledged the report of the UN Representative for India and Pakistan, Sir Owen Dixon, which conveyed that without agreement on demilitarization, the proposed plebiscite could not take place in Jammu and Kashmir “State”. The resolution accepted the resignation of Sir Owen Dixon and decided to appoint his successor.

Significantly, the resolution also took note of the proposal of 27 October 1950 to convene a constituent assembly in Jammu and Kashmir made by the “All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference”, and affirmed that such a constituent assembly would not substitute for the “will of the people” through a plebiscite.

 Frank P. Graham was appointed subsequently to replace Sir Owen Dixon. On 29 May 1951, India conveyed to the President of the UNSC that the proposed constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir “is not intended to prejudice the issues before the Security Council or to come in its way”.


On 10 November 1951, the UNSC adopted its seventh resolution on the issue, which took note of Frank P. Graham’s report on the need for demilitarization before taking up the plebiscite and asking him to report within 6 weeks the results of his continued efforts. The report of the UN Representative dated 18 December 1951 was considered by the UNSC on 17 January 1952 .In its decision dated 31 January 1952 the UNSC referred to the UN Representative’s report of “almost insurmountable obstacles” for demilitarization in Jammu and Kashmir and extended his term by two more months to implement his mandate.


On 23 December 1952, the UNSC adopted its eighth resolution on the issue, asking both India and Pakistan to make extra efforts to agree on demilitarization in Jammu and Kashmir. It took note of the reports of the UN Representative dated 22 April 1952 and 16 September 1952, which proposed a 12-point plan for demilitarization, and called on India and Pakistan to “enter into immediate negotiations” to implement this plan.

Following the adoption of the resolution, the UN Representative met India and Pakistan in February 1953 in Geneva. This meeting ended on 19 February 1953 with the conclusion “in agreement with the representatives of the Governments of India and Pakistan” that “there was no ground left” to continue the meeting.

Illegal ratification by Kashmir Constituent Assembly

A second set of three UNSC resolutions were adopted in response to the ultra vires decision on 15 February 1954 of the puppet Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir to “ratify” the accession of the State to India. The “Constitution of the State” was adopted on 17 November 1956, coming into effect on 26 January 1957.


Adopted on 22 January 1957, it reflected the majority view of the UNSC that any action by the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir would not “constitute a disposition” of the State according to the “will of the people” through a plebiscite.

 UNSCR 123

The UNSC mandated Sweden as its President on 21 February 1957 to consult with India and Pakistan proposals “likely to contribute towards the settlement of the dispute”. UNSCR 126: Sweden had nominated Mr Gunnar Jarring to implement the mandate of UNSCR 123. The UNSC adopted a resolution on 2 December 1957 accepting the Jarring Report and asking India and Pakistan to act to implement previous resolutions on the holding of a plebiscite after demilitarization.


On 04 September 1965, the UNSC adopted its 12th resolution on “The India-Pakistan Question”. It called for an immediate cease-fire (1965 War) and for cooperation with the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to supervise the observance of the cease-fire.

 UNSCR 210

This resolution mandated strengthening UNMOGIP to bring about a cease-fire to the 1965 War.


On 20 September 1965, after receiving the report of the UN Secretary General, the UNSC adopted its 14th resolution on “The India-Pakistan Question”. The resolution reiterated the demand for a cease fire and suggested that India and Pakistan use a third party as provided under Article 33 of the UN Charter to resolve their dispute.


On 22 September 1965, the UNSC was informed by its President that a cease fire had been agreed to by India and Pakistan. However, since the cease fire did not hold, the UNSC adopted its 15th resolution on “The India-Pakistan Question” on 27 September 1965 asking both countries to honour the ceasefire.


On 5 November 1965, the UNSC adopted its 16th resolution on “The India-Pakistan Question”. The resolution called on both countries to honour their commitment to cease fire and asked them to meet with the representative of the UN Secretary General to formulate an agreed plan for the cease fire.


The resolution focuses on the cessation of hostilities in Bangladesh and calls for the treatment of the Pakistani soldiers taken prisoner under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, while asking India and Pakistan to “respect the cease fire line in Jammu and Kashmir” supervised by UNMOGIP.


The plethora of UNSC resolutions confirms that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed state. Both at the UN and back at home Nehru kept saying that the accession by the Maharajah or the accession by the puppet Kashmir constituent assembly  does not amount to an accession by plebiscite as required by the UN. The UNSC itself forbade India from changing status of the state from the so-called accession by the puppet Kashmir assembly.

Nehru’s perfidious changing stands on UNSC resolutions

Avtar Singh Bhasin, in his book India and Pakistan: Neighbours at Odds has traced Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s perfidious ever-changing stands on Kashmir.Initially, Nehru forcefully expressed hisresolve that plebiscite was the only solution to determining the future status of Kashmir. He told the Kashmiri leader Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah that independence would be acceptable to him if the Kashmiri people so desired.

 Bhasin says (page 73 ibid.), `On 7 August a day before his arrest, BBC reported a significant passage from his speech on the Martyrs’ Day in the previous month, which had been blacked out in the Indian press: `If I felt that by remaining independent, Kashmir would be well off, I would not hesitate to raise my voice in favour of complete freedom for Kashmir. If I felt that Kashmir’s betterment lay in its accession to Pakistan, no power in the world could silence my voice’.

Bhasin (page 63,ibid.) says Nehru addressed a lengthy letter to him[Sheikh Abdullah] on 25 August 1952 from Sonamarg, where he was then camping. He wrote, ‘If the people of Kashmir clearly and definitely wish to part company from India, there the matter ends, however we may dislike it ‘

Nehru banked on the so-called Instrument of Accession and its authentication by `Constituent Assembly. But in a strange quirk of volte face, Nehru declared, `after consideration of the problem, we are inclined to think that it [plebiscite] should be held under United Nations’ auspices (p. 28 ibid.). He reiterated in New Delhi on November3, 1951 that `we have made it perfectly clear before the Security Council that the Kashmir Constituent Assembly does not [insofar] as we are concerned come in the way of a decision by the Security Council, or the United Nations’(Selected Works of JawaharLal Nehru: Volume 4: page 292), Bhasin p.228). Again, at a press conference on June 11, 1951, he was asked `if the proposed constituent assembly of Kashmir “decides in favour of acceding to Pakistan, what will be the position?”’ he reiterated,  `We have made it perfectly clear that the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir was not meant to decide finally any such question , and it is not in the way of any decision which may ultimate flow from the Security Council proceedings’ (SWJ: Volume 15:, Part II, page 394. Bhasin page 56). He re-emphasised his view once again at a press conference in New Delhi on November 3, 1951. He said `we have made it perfectly clear before the Security Council that the Kashmir Constituent Assembly does not [insofar as] we are concerned come in the way of a decision by the Security Council or the United Nations’.

Security Council disowned as just a non-binding mediator

It is flabbergasting that during the period 1947 to 1952, Nehru kept harping commitment to plebiscite. Then there was a sudden metamorphosis in his compliant attitude.

Bhasin points out that `there was a perceptible shift in his [Nehru’s] stand on July 24 1952` about the future of the State _ `if the decision of the Security Council was at variance with that of the Constituent Assembly’. Nehru said, `Unless the Security Council functioned under some other Sections of the Charter, it cannot take a decision which is binding upon us unless we agree to it. They are functioning as mediators and a mediator means getting people to agree (SWJ, Volume 19, page 241. Bhasin page 56).disadvantageous it may to India’.

Concluding remarks

By flouting the UNSC resolutions, India qualifies as a rogue state subject to sanctions. Including China in trilateral talks on Kashmir could lead to a durable solution. A a permanent member of the UNSC, China could agitate the  “The India-Pakistan Question” again at a time and manner of its choice.

Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing free-lance for over five decades. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of seven e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues in Focus (ISBN: 9781301505944). He holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law.

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South Asia

Politics of Pakistan: A Riot or an Opportunity



On 14th August, 1947 Pakistan appeared on the world map as the largest independent Muslim state of that time. Sixty-five million people out of Ninety-five million population were Muslims. Despite of the shared religion of its majority, Pakistan is still struggling to build a national identity. Earlier, linguistic and cultural diversity were a hurdle but, in the Common Era political imbalance, rivalry and groupings left Pakistan with nothing but social, political and economic crisis with no future of stability.

Division of Sub-continent into India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan was a kick start to the largest demographic movement in history. Unfortunately, Muhammad Ali Jinnah died when Pakistan was less than a year old. The politics of Pakistan has not been less than a roller coaster ride. Till date the State has been ruled by 27 different Prime Ministers where some of them ruled twice and even thrice. Adding to that, the state has been under dictatorship four times since its independence. This political chaos has badly affected the economy of Pakistan. Not that Pakistan is a barren landlocked country with no reservoirs or no beneficial source to strengthen the economy, but, the political riot has played a vital role in paralyzing the social and economic bodies. Pakistan’s politicians have obediently followed the tradition of blame game since independence. Political representatives have always considered it necessary to blame the opponents for unstable environment in rather than being united against the state issues. The truth is that none of the political party could ever succeed in fulfilling the objectives of their five-year plan.

Due to sudden change of government, corruption, fragile institutions, the country’s economy suffered harsh weather. In 1980’s the economic growth was an impressive 6.3% which had a sharp decline during 1990’s and dropped to 4.9%. By the end of dictatorship the growth decelerated to 1.7% in 2008 and political instability accelerated to -2.4%. During the regime of PPP, the Nation succeeded in nothing but increase in economic instability, rise in corruption, inflation, and unemployment. PPP has set Karachi as a portrait of their inefficiency which the city witnesses every year during monsoon season. In 2013, the biggest political parties of Pakistan, PMLN and PTI fought the elections and undesirable results ended in a 126 days long dharna in the Capital of Pakistan with the inclusion of rallies, aggressive speeches and corruption cases against the opponents to hold them responsible and throw them out. The dramatic political unrest forced the country to lose hundreds of millions, foreign trust, foreign investment as well as paralyzing the Capital of the state. Nawaz Sharif was proven guilty and sent to jail, PMLN succeeded in making the institutions fool and Nawaz Sharif flew to the UK for medical treatment. In 2018, the ineligibility of Nawaz Sharif, Panama leaks and support of the number of people of the nation gave Imran Khan a chance to win the majority vote in National assembly. Forced to habit, the opposition instead of efficiently working with the government for the welfare of state, jointly formed PDM to demolish PTI’s government. Protests, long march, boycotts became the fate of Pakistan and which couldn’t affect the government much but, to lead to vote of no confidence in April, 2022 which resulted in Imran Khan’s removal. PTI blames PDM for joining hands with US in their regime change strategy. Even during PTI’s government, the instable economy was in the destiny of Pakistan. Currently, Shahbaz Sharif is the Prime Minister of the State and the economic conditions are nowhere near to a betterment; a total chaos.

The fake promises of every government has left the nation with nothing but empty bank accounts, economic collapse, inflation, extreme foreign debt, intolerance and extremism among its own people. The prime reason to every government’s failure is more or less their self- priorities. It was and is never about the betterment of state and its people but the authority, rivalry and seat. Every government without any discrimination focused on plans which would temporarily benefit the Nation during their tenure but, later due to huge foreign debt and IMF instructions, the country suffers inflation and hurdles in development of the country. Moreover, every new government finds the work of the former useless and terminate the projects, plans and policies initiated by them. This restricts the foreign investors from huge investments as more political instability leads to more economic deceleration.

Another huge drawback is that every government demands the state’s institutions to work their way, for example; the security departments’ ultimate duty is to protect the state from internal and external threats but what they do nowadays is to arrest the opponent leaders, raid their houses, protect red zone and blindly work under government’s thumb.

The biggest threat to Pakistan is its own poisonous politics. The political parties do not find their victory in providing the Nation with excellence and betterment but, the lust of power and hatred has forced the public to witness a psychotic political behavior. Election campaigns, days of protests in Islamabad, societal unrest and cyber-attacks have become a trend which has divided the Nation into groups.

Pakistan is on the verge of losing everything. IMF and other states have either denied or are delaying in providing aid to the country and the major reason is the political unrest but, a bitter reality is that politics cannot be ignored as it plays a prime role in connecting Pakistan on national and international levels. Political stability shall be the ultimate goal as it would help in formation of beneficial policies and would allow the institutions to work in a normal way which would only make Pakistan a healthy developed state. This 75th year and the years coming ahead can be good for Pakistan if elections are truly conducted on their time and the losing parties instead of creating a chaos, aids the ruling party in running the affairs of Pakistan smoothly.

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Seventy-Five Years of India’s Independence



If anyone had asked Jawaharlal Nehru as he made his midnight speech on August 15 and freedom dawned, how he visualized India 75 years hence, he would have described a Fabian paradise of equality and plenty.  Would he be disappointed?

The neo-liberal agenda, far removed from socialism, introduced by Manmohan Singh a few decades later was designed to invigorate the economy.  He lowered taxes, privatized state-run industries and encouraged foreign investment.  It did spark an economic boom but the withdrawal of the state from healthcare, education, banking and credit made it a country obsessed with profit.

If cities boomed, rural areas were left to stagnate.  GDP grew but the growth favored the upper 50 percent — the lower half did not enjoy a similar access to education or healthcare or have the same mobility.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), a quarter of the world’s undernourished people now live in India and a fifth survive on less than $1.90 per day.  WFP has been working in India since 1963, and it reports that in the last two decades per capita income tripled yet the minimum dietary intake fell, and the gap between rich and poor actually increased despite this high economic growth.

Nehru’s ideal was a country of different faiths and different ethnicities, speaking many languages but living harmoniously and sharing a common Mother India.  Instead, unbalanced growth at the cost of the lower half of the population has led to scapegoating and the major target is the sizable Muslim minority.

The blame game now includes historical revisionism blaming Mughal emperors from India’s glory days when the exquisite Taj Mahal was constructed, the arts flourished and India generated almost a quarter of the World GDP.

This game also chides the Hindu Rajput princesses that Mughals married or the respected Hindu advisers that served the Emperors.  The much decried last great Mughal emperor in this blame game is Aurangzeb who extended the empire to almost India’s southern tip, ruling a vast area stretching into Afghanistan and its borderlands in Central Asia. 

The Aurangzeb narrative excludes a simple fact:  the majority of Aurangzeb’s advisers were Hindu.  A Hindu chronicler, Bhimsen Saxena, penned a memoir titled Tarikh-i-Dilkusha or a history that warms the heart, describes life as a soldier in service to the Emperor for more than a quarter century.  He may rail at Aurangzeb’s tactical or strategic errors but is forever loyal.  Hindu generals, nobles and advisers … they were not on the outside looking in, they were an integral part. 

For centuries, religion was not a divider.  Adherents of the two principal faiths worked together, lived together, married each other, and fought together including in 1857, during what the British called the Indian Mutiny and Indians refer to as the First War of Independence.

Thereafter, the British instituted systems and processes to develop rivalry and resentment, including quotas for intake into the prestigious Indian Civil Service as well as the lower level jobs.  The rivalry progressed into mistrust, then riots and killings, eventually into two countries fighting wars, and then to a nuclear stand-off and a divided Kashmir.

North versus South, East versus West, a continent is difficult to govern.  Have we heard this story before?

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The two Punjabs



Even in the midst of tensions between India and Pakistan, people to people linkages between both countries – with both Punjabs (Indian and Pakistani) as key stakeholders – have given reason for cautious optimism.

While cultural commonalities and the emotional attachment on both sides has been the driving force for Punjab-Punjab initiatives, the potential economic benefits of improved relations have been repeatedly reiterated not just by the business communities, but political leaders (especially from Indian Panjab)

In recent years, ties between both countries have steadily deteriorated. After the Pulwama terror attack in 2019, economic linkages between both countries have got severely impacted, and this has taken its toll on the economy of Panjab (India). India imposed tariffs on Pakistani imports, and revoked Most Favoured Nation MFN status to Pakistan in February 2019, while in August 2019, trade links via the Wagah (Pakistan) -Attari (India) land crossing were snapped after the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. The suspension of trade ties between both countries has had a serious impact on the economy of the border belt of Punjab (India) with over 9,000 families being impacted as a result of job losses in the tertiary sector.

Developments of the past few months

The one glimmer of hope has been the Kartarpur Religious Corridor which was inaugurated in 2019 (in 2020 this was closed due to the covid 19 pandemic but re-opened in November 2021). The Corridor connects Dera Baba Nanak (Panjab, India) with Darbar Sahib (Kartarpur, Narowal, Pakistan) which is the final resting place of Guru Nanak (the founder of the Sikh faith). Devotees from Panjab (India) can pay obeisance at Darbar Sahib (Kartarpur) without a visa, though they do need to carry their passports. While the number of people crossing over, via the corridor, is way below the initial target of 5000, it has helped in promoting people to people ties as well as re-uniting a number of separated families. There has been a growing demand for easing out visa procedures for individuals over the age of 75 years and those from separated families (some of the individuals reunited at Kartarpur have been issued visas) which has been backed strongly by civil society organisations – as in the past.

 The phase from 2019-2022 has been witness to people to people linkages, especially with regard to religious tourism, but interactions between state governments of both the Punjabs, or what is referred to as ‘paradiplomacy’ unlike earlier years has been restricted. After the re-opening of the corridor in  November 2021, then Chief Minister of Panjab (India) Charanjit Singh Channi, and other political leaders from the state, paid obeisance at Darbar Sahib (Kartarpur), while also flagging the need for resumption of trade via the Wagah-Attari land crossing — though to no avail. 

There have however been calls for resumption of trade from sections of Punjab’s political class, business community as well as farmers from Indian Punjab. Pakistan which has been buying essential commodities including wheat at exorbitant prices could purchase the same from Panjab (India) and the Punjabi farmer could benefit by getting much higher prices for his produce.


In conclusion, even in the midst of strained ties between both countries, the Punjab has played an important role in trying to reduce tensions and build bridges between both countries, and the role of civil society, business community on both sides and the diaspora needs to be acknowledged. In the 75th year of independence while ties between New Delhi and Islamabad remain strained developments of the past few months, in the realm of people to people contact have given reason for hope as a result of the tireless efforts of civil society and some individuals committed to peace. The next stage of this should be easing out of visa regimes especially for certain categories of individuals – specifically those over the age of 75 who want to visit their ancestral homes. Resumption of trade via the Wagah-Attari land crossing will benefit not just Panjab (India) but other parts of North India and the Pakistani consumer. If both countries can focus on giving a greater fillip to people to people linkages and economic ties — with the Punjabs taking the lead – ties  between India and Pakistan could be less frosty.

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