Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern (centre) arrives at the ceremony during
a national remembrance ceremony at North Hagley Park in Christchurch. (Marty
Survivor Tells Remembrance Service: ‘I Choose Peace’
Urges New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to Discuss Treatment of Muslims In China
Mufti Decries Muslims’ Unconcern for Environment
Admin OKs Nuclear Tech Sales to Saudi: Report
Backs UN Move against Terror Funding, Points To ‘Serial Offender’ Pakistan
World League, Moscow Sign Deal to Tackle Extremism
Calls for Steps to Promote Interfaith Harmony in Pakistan Society
Minister Brands US Ambassador to Afghanistan a ‘Little Pygmy’ In Twitter Row
Has So Far Occupied Over 85% of Palestinian Land: Report
From Around World Gathering In New Zealand for Remembrance
adds six months to Saudi arms export ban: government
troops accused of training child soldiers in Yemen
planning for chemical provocations in Syria: Russia
extends arms export ban on Saudi Arabia
selling arms to countries bombing Yemen
Slams US Criticism of Muslim Treatment as ‘Absurd’
Urges US to 'Exercise Prudence' After Fresh Move to Blacklist Jaish Chief at UN
on the right track in its fight against terrorism
Gets A New Chief For The Middle East
Russia tensions, producing F-35 without Turkey possible, say US sources
introduces bill banning religious symbols
Virginia man gets life for killing Muslim teen
envoy heads to UK as part of Afghan peace tour
hardly surprised’: India critiques Pak response to Pulwama dossier
militants killed in Kashmir, 30 since Pulwama attack
IS fighters will be handed back: Syrian envoy
terror camps at 22 locations shared by India’: Pakistan on Pulwama dossier
Pakistan want me to lose, Opposition to win: PM Modi
Attends Christchurch Memorial to Honour Victims Of Mosque Attack
Expert: US Plots to Continue Deployment in Region by Golan Heights Decision
Children Killed in SDF-Occupied Camp in Hasaka
Forces on Alert at Borders with Syria to Block ISIL's Traffic
Army Wards Off Tahrir Al-Sham Offensives from Demilitarized Zone
Saudi Khashoggi investigation falls short of intl. standards
Chinese Towns Named Sister Cities to Karachi, Gwadar, Multan
Has No Tolerance for Critics Of Saudi Crown Prince
Failed To Establish Pulwama Attack With Masood Azhar, FO Tells Diplomats
dissatisfied over Pakistan’s compliance with commitments
says PPP won’t accept political victimisation in name of accountability
chief vows help for Balochistan govt, people
Military Could Pose Threat to Country If Aid Ends: Report
'horrific' crimes against Rohingya, Bangladeshis
acting minister of urban development accused of misbehaviour
Taliban group member killed in Ghazni operation
First Vote since Turkey’s Economic Crisis, Erdogan Could Lose Ankara
children killed in year of Gaza border protests, says UN
Strike Kills 7 Iranian, Iran-Backed Fighters in Syria
court rules to keep US consulate worker in jail, says lawyer
offers Arabs handshakes to steal their lands, Iran warns
to wage ‘broad military campaign’ in Gaza if needed: PM
airstrike injures 3 young Palestinians in Gaza: Report
Dead, 16 Wounded In Somalia Bomb Blast, Say Medics
bomb attack claims lives of 15 people in Somali capital
strongly condemns terror attack in Somalia
court orders separatist Igbo chief’s arrest
Muslims rally to help Cyclone Idai victims hundreds of miles from home
by New Age Islam News Bureau
New Zealand: A Maori lament echoed across Christchurch Friday as a survivor of
the New Zealand mosque attacks told a national remembrance service he had
forgiven the gunman responsible for the racist massacre that shocked the world.
attended the service in the grieving southern city, standing silently with
heads bowed while the names of 50 people killed by a self-avowed white
supremacist gunman were read out.
honoured the dead and those who survived the March 15 attacks, including 22
people who remain in hospital, among them a critically injured four-year-old
a traditional Maori cloak, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was joined by
representatives from nearly 60 nations, including her Australian counterpart
who has been widely hailed for her response to the tragedy and received a
prolonged standing ovation when she took the stage, praised the way New
Zealanders had embraced their devastated Muslim community since the attacks.
exists, but it is not welcome here,” she said.
assault on the freedom of any one of us who practice their faith or religion is
not welcome here. Violence and extremism in all its forms is not welcome here.”
hastily organized service was held amid tight security, with Police
Commissioner Mike Bush confirming armed police from Australia were on site to
assist their New Zealand counterparts.
service heard a Muslim invocation, or du’a, and Cat Stevens — the British
singer who shunned stardom in the 1970s and became a Muslim, taking the name
Yusuf Islam — gave a powerful rendition of his hit song “Peace Train.”
the most moving speech came from Farid Ahmed, whose wife Husna was killed as
she rushed back into a mosque trying to rescue her disabled husband.
in his wheelchair before the assembled crowd, Ahmed said he forgave the accused
gunman, Australian Brenton Tarrant.
ask me, ‘why do you forgive someone who has killed your beloved wife?’” he
can give so many answers... Allah says if we forgive one another he loves us.”
Ardern’s theme that extremism should not be allowed to breed extremism, Ahmed
received a standing ovation when he said he chose peace over anger.
don’t want a heavy heart boiling like a volcano with anger, fury and rage — it
burns itself and burns its surroundings,” he said.
want a heart full of love, care and mercy. This heart does not want any more
lives to be lost, any other human to go through the pain I’ve gone through.
why I am choosing peace and I have forgiven.”
mayor Lianne Dalziel said the atrocity was “an attack on us all.”
actions were designed to divide us and tear us apart,” she said. “They have
instead united us.”
the crowd, Azra Chida traveled from Auckland to attend the service, saying she
lost two close friends in the attack.
have come to see their families and pay respect and visit the patients in the
hospital,” she told AFP shortly before the ceremony began.
man Bobby Turner said: “I’m here for solidarity. To show that we care.
was just such a horrible thing to happen. These people were just going about
their business. Prayer is supposed to be about love and peace.”
urges New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to discuss treatment of Muslims in China
rights group urged New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to raise concerns
about reported Chinese government abuses of Muslims during her visit to Beijing
visit on Monday and Tuesday comes two weeks after a gunman killed 50
worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand.
Rights Watch said Friday that Ardern "spoke forcefully in defence of
Muslims' rights" after the attacks and should do so again in Beijing.
prime minister is reducing the length and scope of her China visit in response to
the mosque attacks.
of thousands of Chinese Muslims have allegedly been detained without charge in
internment camps, where relatives and ex-inmates claim they have been subjected
to physical abuse and forced to renounce Islam.
Rights Watch said Ardern should publicly call on Chinese leaders to close the
camps, end the abuses, and permit independent, international observers' access
to the Xinjiang region that is home to China's largest mainly Muslim minority
group, the Uighurs.
members of Muslim groups, including Kazakhs and the Hui have also allegedly
faced internment and other forms of repression.
has so far rejected calls for independent observers and, after first denying
the camps' existence, now says they are voluntary vocational training centres
that provide job skills to ward off religious extremism.
Muslim countries have remained largely silent over the camps and other abuses
against Chinese Muslims, some European nations and the US have become
increasingly vocal in their criticism.
mufti decries Muslims’ unconcern for environment
TOWN: The mufti of Penang has reminded Muslims that it is their religious duty
to preserve the natural environment.
to FMT, Wan Salim Mohd Noor said there were Muslims in Malaysia who seemed to
have forgotten that the Islamic concept of worship covers behaviour in all
aspects of life and in one’s relationship with everything in creation.
said he agreed with environmentalist Maketab Mohamed that Muslims in Malaysia
tended to restrict their worship to specific acts of ritual such as the
canonical daily prayers, fasting and making the pilgrimage to Mecca.
a former president of the Malaysian Nature Society, recently told FMT he
believed Malaysian Muslims, in their zeal for such rituals, had failed to see
the importance Islam places on their obligation to care for the environment.
Salim said a Muslim would be transgressing against the principle of enjoining
good and forbidding evil if he or she were to do something that would hurt the
pointed out that many verses of the Quran forbid believers from damaging nature
and he cited three of them: Al-Baqarah: 60, Al-A’raf: 74 and Al-Syu’ara: 77.
humans are the only agents that spoil the environment through pollution or
irresponsible development, humans must be taught to be more aware of protecting
the environment,” he said.
called for the enactment of better laws and strict enforcement to deter
pollution of water, air and other ecosystems.
that, he said, every Muslim must realise that the quality of his or her faith
could be judged by his response to the destruction of nature. He urged those
holding power to prevent such destruction and those without power to speak up
against it or in some manner show their disapproval.
admin OKs nuclear tech sales to Saudi: report
U.S. Department of Energy has approved six authorizations for American
companies trying to work to create a nuclear infrastructure in Saudi Arabia,
according to a report.
Part 810s authorizations would allow U.S. companies to share details about
their plans to work in Riyadh and information regarding nuclear technology.
companies began seeking contacts with Riyadh in November 2017, according to the
congressional source told the news agency American companies have an option to
request their authorizations remain private and do not land in the department’s
public reading room.
companies that received the Part 810s under the Trump administration have made
such a request, according to that source," the Daily Beast said.
a report submitted last month by the House of Representatives Oversight
Committee, the American firm IP3 developed a proposal to build dozens of
nuclear reactors across the Saudi kingdom.
committee said the plans submitted by IP3 were not a business plan but "a
scheme for these generals to make some money," since many former generals,
diplomats and energy experts were a part of the firm.
Harvey, a senior director at the National Security Council, reportedly ignored
warnings that the transfer of equipment needed to comply with the Atomic Energy
Act, and said former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had already
approved the nuclear transfer deal during the first week of U.S. President
Donald Trump's administration.
served as an adviser to IP3, according to the congressional report.
Wednesday, congressman Brad Sherman grilled Secretary Mike Pompeo about the
authorizations, saying they were being kept secret from the public because they
are related to the transfer of nuclear technology to Riyadh.
you cannot trust a regime with a bone saw, you should not trust them with
nuclear weapons," Sherman said at the hearing, referring to Saudi Arabia.
said the State Department is still looking into the potential assistance Saudi
Arabia would receive, as well as how to prevent the kingdom from developing
are working to ensure the nuclear power they get is something we
understand," Pompeo said in response to Sherman's questions.
backs UN move against terror funding, points to ‘serial offender’ Pakistan
the recognition in the resolution of the essential role of the Financial Action
Task Force (FATF) in setting global standards, India’s permanent representative
at the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin on Friday said the states who are
“apologists” for terrorists will continue to provide alibis to justify their
actions and inaction.
also said ‘serial offenders’ will continue to support terrorism, in a veiled
reference to Pakistan.
are going to be more creative in finding ways to violate the rule book also the
unfortunate reality is the states which are apologists will continue to provide
alibis to justify their actions and inactions to as was done by a serial
offender earlier today,” he noted.
momentum to rein in terrorism is picking up after the US moved a resolution
against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. Now, the UN Security Council has
adopted a resolution to combat the financing of terrorists. It has linked FATF
with the UN.
that the global community is impatient for action, Akbaruddin said, “We welcome
the recognition in the resolution of the essential role of FATF as a saying
goes the proof of the pudding is in its eating, the utility of any resolution
will, therefore, be in its implementation.”
has put Pakistan in the dock for terror financing and after review, there is a
possibility of sanctions to be imposed and Pakistan to be put in greylist.
that effective and sustained efforts at countering terror financing is at the
heart of the issue of addressing terrorism, Akbaruddin added, “Terrorists rely
on resources to sustain themselves and their activities across the world. We,
therefore, welcome this initiative to bring together, in a comprehensive
manner, various existing norms and regulations. It is a milestone in global
efforts to set up a normative framework to criminalize terrorist financing.”
is strategically very important for India that UNSC will collaborate with FATF
to punish states involved in terror financing.
also emphasised that non-compliance of crucial sanction measures in case of UN
proscribed terrorists, entities render all the member states at high risk of
challenges from these terrorist groups/organisations who are well funded and
armed despite international measures.
permanent representative to the UN said, “Nevertheless we the international
community need to be determined to continue evolving our toolbox and go by our
rulebook rather than distracted and stray from our determination. The global
community is impatient for action, going forward, UN collectively needs to do
more and do it more effectively, for its part India will be a willing partner
in this endeavour”
said combatting terrorism is viewed by many states as fundamental security
policies that require global responsiveness. India also termed the UN’s move as
a milestone in global efforts to set up a normative framework to criminalise
said, “Effective and sustained efforts in countering terrorist financing is at
the heart of the issues addressing terrorism, therefore, we welcome this
initiative to bring together in a comprehensive manner various existing norms
story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the
text. Only the headline has been changed.)
World League, Moscow sign deal to tackle extremism
Moscow and the Muslim World League (MWL) are to develop closer ties following a
meeting between the body’s secretary-general and the speaker of the Russian
Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa met Vyacheslav Volodin to discuss dialogue and
cultural exchange, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
the meeting, they discussed subjects related to promoting and supporting
dialogue among followers of different religions and civilizations, activating
cultural contacts and exchanges between the Muslim world and Russia and
highlighting the importance of religious leaders in promoting positive
said the MWL secretariat is leading a broad global movement toward promoting
universal harmony and noted its global influential religious power.
signed a cooperation agreement between the MWL and Moscow’s Fund for Islamic
Culture, Science and Education. The agreement focused on tackling extremism and
also addressed the interaction between Muslims and Islamic organizations in
Russia and Muslim-majority countries.
agreement stressed the need for cooperation in the fight against extremism,
intolerance, aggression and hostility among religions, races and ideologies
that could lead to terrorism.
agreement also provided for the urgent need to cooperate among organizations of
a humanitarian nature, in order to ensure communication among different peoples
and cultures. It also stressed the need to start implementing its provisions to
achieve and promote peace and security.
parties agreed to exchange information on the activities of scientific centers,
cultural forums and websites.
fund will act as a mediator for the MWL’s charity work in Russia with Islamic
organizations and institutions.
last year received the coordinator of the Russia-Islamic World strategic vision
group, Dr. Veniamin Popov, and his accompanying delegation in Riyadh.
Russia-Islamic World strategic vision group was established in 2006, in
response to Russia joining the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as an
President Vladimir Putin had earlier said the Islamic world could “fully count”
on Russia’s help and support.
are ready to boost cooperation with our partners in confronting terrorist
forces as well as in search for ways to peacefully resolve regional crises,”
Putin said in an address to participants of the strategic vision group.
Calls For Steps To Promote Interfaith Harmony In Pakistan Society
Speakers at the conclusion of a two-day national conference on Thursday called
for immediate steps to ensure social justice and fair distribution of socio-economic
resources in order to promote an environment of forbearance, tolerance and
co-existence in the society and eliminate the sense of insecurity and injustice
among the religious minorities.
conference titled ‘Challenges to Inter-Faith Harmony in Pakistan: Strategies
and Solutions’ organized by the University Of Gujrat in collaboration with the
Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University Islamabad, and the
Higher Education Commission, Islamabad, under the main theme of ‘Sayeban-e-Pakistan
for Pragmatic Social Inclusion and Egalitarianism’ was attended by a large
number of faculty members, researchers, scholars, lawyers, civil society
members and students.
Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Hanif Khan Pitafi was the chief guest on the
occasion while University of Sahiwal Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nasir Afzal
delivered the keynote address. University of Gujrat Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr
Faheem Malik presided over the session while prominent among those who spoke on
the occasion were Dr Riaz Mahmood, Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic
Studies, University of Gujrat, Dr Arshad Munir Lagari, Chairperson, Department
of Islamic Studies, University of Gujrat, and Prof Dr Zia ul Haq, Director
General, Islamic Research Institute Islamabad. Addressing the participants, the
speakers said that only a tolerant society based on the principles of
interfaith harmony can ensure social inclusion by providing all citizens equal
opportunities to grow irrespective of their religion or faith, adding that
interfaith harmony is the way forward towards peace and prosperity in the
society in line with the spirit of Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative of the
government of Pakistan.
said the terrorist activities and some other inhumane acts all over the globe
have shaken the societies and under this situation, it is necessary to
encourage tolerance, peace, patience and interfaith harmony in Pakistan. They
said being a multi-religion country, it is need of the hour to deal with the
followers of all religions justly and equally in Pakistan. They said lack of
collective common sense, religious misconceptions, unfair and unjust election
procedure for minorities, misinterpretation of jihad, partial and prejudiced
religious discourse, migration of non-Muslims, especially Hindus, from
Pakistan, insecurity of the holy sites of minorities, unjust distribution of
socio-economic resources, absence of non-Muslim literature in national
educational curriculum and misuse of blasphemy laws are some of the challenges to
interfaith harmony in Pakistan, which need to be addressed in the light of
basic Islamic principles and the teachings of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
speakers also highlighted the role media, universities, religious institutions,
government, religious scholars, civil society, judiciary and legislature can
play in addressing the challenges facing interfaith harmony in Pakistan.
minister brands US ambassador to Afghanistan a ‘little pygmy’ in Twitter row
Pakistani Minister has branded the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan a ‘little
pygmy’ in latest Twitter row which erupted following Prime Minister Imran
Khan’s remarks regarding Afghan peace process and establishment of an interim
government in Afghanistan.
Human Rights Minister of Pakistan Shireen Mazari made the remarks in response
to a Twitter post by Ambassador Bass regarding PM Imran’s recent controversial statement.
aspects of #cricket apply well in diplomacy, some do not. @ImranKhanPTI, important to resist temptation
to ball-tamper with the #Afghanistan peace process and its internal affairs,”
Ambassador said in a Twitter post.
response to Ambassador Bass’s remarks, Mazari wrote in her Twitter “Clearly you
little pygmy your knowledge of ball tampering is as void as your understanding
of Afghanistan and the region! Clearly in your case ignorance is certainly not
bliss! Another sign of Trumpian mischief a la Khalilzad style!”
Haters gonna hate! But seriously what diplomatic norms? US dips have been
violating them all day today from Zalmay to this moron!” she wrote in another
Twitter after being accused of violating diplomatic norms.
latest Twitter row between U.S. and Pakistani officials erupted after
controversial remarks of PM Imran Khan regarding Afghanistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier suggested an interim government
setup in Afghanistan to help end the impasse in Afghan peace process.
with local journalists at his office on Monday, PM Khan claimed that the Afghan
government was a hurdle in peace process as it was insisting on direct talks
with the Taliban group.
also added that a neutral interim government can help with the success of peace
process in Afghanistan by holding a free and transparent election.
has so far occupied over 85% of Palestinian land: Report
new report says Israel has so far occupied more than 85 percent or some 27,000
square kilometers of historical territories of Palestine in an expropriation
process which still continues unabated.
Awad, the president of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS),
announced the grim news in a report carried by the Palestinian Ma'an news
agency on Thursday, the eve of the 43rd anniversary of the Land Day.
late March of 1976, Israeli troops killed six Palestinians, wounded 100 others
and detained hundreds more who had held peaceful demonstrations against
Israel’s confiscation of 21,000 dunams (5,189 acres) of their land.
both at home and overseas, have been marking the event known as the Land Day
with rallies and remembrance ever since.
to the report, Palestinians now live on and own only 15 percent of their
said since the Oslo Agreement of 1993, Israel has used the deal’s land
classification of A, B and C to further tighten control, particularly in areas
classified as C with an area of 3,375,000 dunams.
2,642,000 dunams, constituting 76.3 percent of the total Area C, was exploited
by the Israeli occupation directly.
Area A is about one million dunams, and the Area B is 1,035,000 dunams, and the
area classified as “Others” is 250,000 dunams, which include Natural Reserves,
East Jerusalem al-Quds, and H2 in al-Khalil (Hebron), and unclassified areas,
Awad further said.
2018, the Israeli regime confiscated 508 dunams of the Palestinian land through
the expansion of Israeli checkpoints and establishment of military checkpoints
to “protect” its settlers.
total area of land classified as high or medium agricultural value in the
occupied West Bank is 2,072,000 dunams, constituting about 37 percent of the
Palestinians utilize only 931,000 dunams, which constitute about 17 percent of
the West Bank area, the report added.
in the report, Awad said that by the end of 2017, there were 435 Israeli
settlements and military bases in the West Bank, including 150 settlements and
year witnessed a significant increase in the pace of construction and expansion
of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, where Tel Aviv approved the
construction of 9,384 new housing units.
report further showed that the total number of Israeli settlers in the West
Bank was 653,621 by the end of 2017, 47 percent of whom were living in
Jerusalem al-Quds province with a total number of about 306,529.
is while 225,335 of these settlers were living in the parts of Jerusalem
al-Quds which were annexed by the Israeli occupation in 1967.
report concluded that the proportion of settlers to the Palestinian population
in the occupied West Bank is around 22.6 settlers per 100 Palestinians compared
to 70 settlers per 100 Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds province.
want the West Bank as part of their future independent state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories has been a major
sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian talks, which have stalled since 2014.
from around world gathering in New Zealand for remembrance
of governments from around the world are expected to attend a national
remembrance service in New Zealand on Friday for the 50 victims of a mass
shooting at two mosques in Christchurch.
is an event that affected New Zealand deeply. But it was our Muslim New
Zealanders who were targeted. So rightly so, that would be reflected in the
remembrance service,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference.
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will be represented at the service,
but the full list of the attendees from 59 countries was withheld for security
reasons, as the country has been on high alert since the March 15 attack.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the governor general Peter Cosgrove and
opposition leader Bill Shorten will be among foreign leaders attending the
service, Ardern said.
of state from Pacific countries, including Fiji’s President Jioji Konkrote will
also be in attendance, she added.
service will be held in Christchurch in Hagley Park, where tens of thousands of
New Zealanders have gathered since the attack to mourn the deaths. It will be
televised live on state television networks.
Prince William will visit New Zealand next month to honor the victims, his
massacre in New Zealand was carried out by a lone gunman at two mosques.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged
with one murder following the attack and is likely to face more charges when he
is presented in court on April 5.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government on Thursday extended by six
months an embargo on weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, instituted last October
in response to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
ban has faced opposition from within the German government and the European
Union, but has the support of rights groups.
order to halt authorised weapons exports to Saudi Arabia is extended by six
months from March 31 to September 30, 2019,” government spokesman Steffen
Seibert said in a statement.
reacted to Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October
by declaring a freeze on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and other countries involved
in the Yemen war.
has since faced protests by EU partners because the ban has impacted joint
defence projects such as the Eurofighter and Tornado jets.
France and Britain have urged Germany to end the export halt, human rights
groups argue it should stay in place — a view that has many backers among the
centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners to Merkel's conservative
CDU/CSU bloc in the coalition government.
oppose defence exports to dictatorships and into active conflict zones,” SPD
deputy leader Ralf Stegner said on public TV.
bloc favoured resumed sales, at least for joint European defence projects.
unilateral German stop to defence exports, imposed without coordination with
European and Nato partners, would be wrong and dangerous,” its economic policy
expert Joachim Pfeiffer told the Passauer Neue Presse daily.
week, French ambassador Anne-Marie Descotes criticised Germany's
“unpredictable” arms export policy and pointed out that some companies in the
sector were marketing products as “German free” in terms of components.
German security council meeting on Wednesday failed to resolve the issue, media
reports said, leading to further discussions on Thursday.
reported compromise proposal was to give the green light to multinational
defence products with a German share of no more than 20 per cent.
urged "a sensible solution", stressing that the SPD too wants Germany
to cooperate with other European powers on joint defence projects.
reported another idea on the table would be for Germany to hold onto six naval
patrol vessels and a training ship ordered by Saudi Arabia.
group RND said that if the Saudi export stop was extended by six months, the
German state could buy the ships for its navy, customs service and federal
least 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the Yemen war since
Foreign Office minister Mark Field has promised to get to the bottom of “very
serious and well sourced” allegations that British special forces have been
training child soldiers in the Saudi-led war against Yemen.
was answering an urgent question asked in the Commons on Tuesday by the shadow
foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, who suggested the British troops may have
been witnesses to war crimes.
claimed as many as 40 percent of the soldiers in the Saudi coalition were
children, a breach of international humanitarian law.
also said he would be making inquiries with the UK Ministry of Defence in light
of a report that British Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers were injured in a
firefight with the Houthi Ansarullah movement in Yemen.
UK government has a general policy of not discussing the operations of its
special forces but Field seemed determined to provide an explanation to members
had been social media reports from Yemen in February suggesting that British
soldiers had been injured in a firefight, and the Daily Express newspaper
claimed two SAS members had been injured during a “humanitarian” operation.
it was claimed in The Mail on Sunday, a weekly newspaper, that UK special
forces were not just involved in so-called humanitarian operations, but
providing mentoring teams inside Yemen, including medics, translators and
forward air controllers, whose job is to request air support from the Saudis.
It claimed five special forces soldiers have been injured.
Party MP Andrew Mitchell said the allegations were so serious because they flew
in the face of successive assurances given by ministers that the UK was not a
participant in the Saudi war against Yemen, and was only providing general
logistical support to Riyadh.
serious allegations that are authoritative and credible, and fly in the face of
assurances that have been given from the despatch box on countless occasions,”
Mitchell told the Commons.
UK is known to be close to the Saudi military but denies it is involved in
operations against the Houthis in Yemen.
number of Western countries, the US and Britain in particular, are accused of
being complicit in the ongoing aggression in Yemen as they supply the Riyadh
regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and
Saudi-led war has taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that over
22 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, while 8.4 million are threatened
by severe hunger.
to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than
says it is “seriously concerned” that a terrorist group together with the
so-called White Helmets in Syria plan to carry out “chemical provocations” in
the Arab country’s northwestern province of Idlib, one of the last territories
in Syria where terrorists are still active.
Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Vasily Nebenzya said at a UN Security
Council meeting on Wednesday that the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist
outfit and the “White Helmets” — which seeks to portray itself as a “civil
defense” group — are cooperating to stage such provocation.
are seriously concerned by the new information stating that the Hayat Tahrir
al-Sham members with the support of the infamous White Helmets are preparing
new staged events with the use of toxic elements,” he said.
Western-backed White Helmets group is known for its coordination with terror
groups in Syria to carry out staged chemical attacks aimed at falsely
incriminating Syrian government forces and inventing pretexts for possible acts
of aggression on army troops by a US-led military coalition present in Syria
since roughly 2014.
group has been involved in false flag chemical attacks before.
this month, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a
similar warning, saying that the two groups were establishing arms caches in
the northwestern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, the western coastal province of
Latakia, and the western-central province of Hama.
this year, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the White Helmets had
deployed equipment in several hospitals in Idlib to film false flag chemical
attacks and blame them on the Syrian government.
April 2017, a suspected sarin gas attack hit the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun
in Idlib, killing at least 80 people. Accusing Damascus, the US then launched
nearly 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, taking the lives of
about 20 people, including both Syrian soldiers and civilians.
April 14, 2018, the US, Britain, and France launched a coordinated missile
attack against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs with the
purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government’s capability to produce
chemical arms. The strikes came one week after an alleged gas attack on the
Damascus suburb town of Douma. Western countries blamed the incident on the Syrian
government. Damascus rejected the accusation.
Syrian government says it has never used chemical weapons.
surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by
the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
(OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.
his remarks on Wednesday, Nebenzya, the Russian UN envoy, said that the Hayat
Tahrir al-Sham terror outfit was in control of “90 percent” of Idlib Province
and that it continued its attacks against government forces.
has extended its ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the end of
September, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman announced Thursday.
suspension of arms exports to Saudi Arabia will be extended by six months
beyond the March 31 deadline,” Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
underlined that in principle, no new arms deals with Saudi Arabia would be
approved within this period.
coalition government imposed restrictions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia last
year due to Riyadh’s involvement in the Yemen war.
government further sharpened its tone following the killing of Saudi journalist
Jamal Khashoggi in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and halted all
arms exports to the country, including deliveries under an already approved
differences between Merkel's Christian Democrats and their coalition partner
the Social Democrats, the government decided earlier this month to extend the
ban until March 31.
decision was criticized by its European partners the UK and France, which
claimed that Berlin’s arms exports ban had a negative impact on their defense
companies due to various joint projects involving German firms.
Christian Democrat politicians spoke against renewing the ban and argued for a
compromise solution that would address the expectations of the UK and France.
spokesman Seibert said Thursday that Germany would begin consultations with its
partners on the joint defense projects.
coalition government approved nearly €400 million in arms exports to Saudi
Arabia and its allies involved in the Yemen war, local media reported Thursday.
a coalition government agreement last March restricting arms exports to
countries involved in the Yemeni conflict, Berlin has so far approved 208 arms
deals with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt Jordan and
Kuwait, according to German news agency DPA.
deals with Saudi Arabia has topped the list with the government issuing 10
permits worth €255 million, followed by dozens of defense contracts with the
UAE which amounted to €57 million.
parties heavily criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition partner
Social Democrats for the arms deals.
federal government must stop aiding Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen. There
should be no more arms deals with the dictators, neither with Saudi Arabia, nor
with the UAE, which is its close ally in the Yemen war,” the Left Party wrote
Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels
overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched
a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
slams US criticism of Muslim treatment as ‘absurd’
China on Thursday hit back at criticism from the United States’ top diplomat
who called its treatment of Muslims “shameful hypocrisy” after speaking with a
former prisoner from a Chinese detention camp.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the comment after meeting with Mihrigul
Tursun, a member of the Uighur ethnic group who has spoken publicly in the US
about what she said was widespread torture in China’s prisons for the minority
claims the camps are “vocational training centres” that provide language
classes and employment, steering locals away from extremism.
comments are “extremely absurd and grossly interfere in China’s internal
affairs”, said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular
the overall situation in Xinjiang society is stable … and all ethnic groups get
along harmoniously,” he said.
urge the US to respect the facts … and stop the malicious smearing and
groundless accusations against the Chinese side,” Geng added.
many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held
in internment camps in Xinjiang, according to a group of experts cited last
year by the United Nations.
detainees say they were detained for simply following Islamic traditions, such
as having a long beard or wearing a veil.
must release all those arbitrarily detained and end its repression,” tweeted
Pompeo, who had also met with relatives of those detained in Xinjiang.
months denying the existence of the internment camps, Beijing last year
launched a public relations campaign to defend its “training centres”,
organising visits for diplomats and media from friendly countries.
a delegation of three EU officials who visited Xinjiang in January as part of a
carefully organised visit said they had the impression that the people they had
spoken to in a “training centre” were reciting a dictated speech.
Wednesday, Pompeo also criticised Beijing’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road
project after Italy decided to join China’s “Silk Road” infrastructure
accused China of practising “debt-trap diplomacy” with its state-owned or
state-controlled enterprises only looking after their own interests.
US side’s statement is inconsistent with the facts,” dismissed Geng. “No
country sinks into a so-called debt trap because of their co-operation with
urges US to 'exercise prudence' after fresh move to blacklist Jaish chief at UN
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Thursday urged the United States to
act cautiously on the issue of blacklisting Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood
Azhar and avoid bypassing the relevant committee of the UN Security Council,
saying it would only complicate the issue.
comment came a day after the US bypassed the 1267 Sanctions Committee — where
an earlier move to blacklist Azhar had stalled recently — and directly filed a
draft resolution with the UNSC to designate the JeM leader.
during a regular press briefing in Beijing today, Chinese foreign ministry
spokesperson Geng Shuang said the US move was not in line with the resolution
of the issue through dialogue and negotiations.
remarked that this action had undermined the authority of the sanctions
committee as the main anti-terrorism body of the UNSC. "Such an act will
do nothing to facilitate a solution through consultation and will only lead to
further complication of the issue," Geng added.
spokesperson urged the US to "exercise prudence and refrain from forceful
actions" to have the resolution passed.
Beijing's position on the issue, he said since the Chinese side needed more
time to conduct a "comprehensive and thorough assessment", it had put
a technical hold on the listing of Azhar on March 13.
according to the official, was in line with the rules of procedure of the UN
committee and there are precedents of technical holds in such cases.
said the listing of the JeM chief involved a series of complex factors and so
China has been working to seek a proper solution through dialogue and
Security Council should act prudently and play a constructive role by allowing
time and space for dialogue and consultation between parties concerned,"
the spokesperson concluded.
sets up clash
US had on Wednesday circulated a draft resolution to the UNSC that would
blacklist Azhar as a terrorist, setting up a potential clash with China over the
earlier this month put on hold a request to put the JeM chief on the UN
sanctions list, over his alleged ties to Al Qaeda.
request stalled in the UN sanctions committee, prompting the US to turn
directly to the Security Council with the proposed resolution blacklisting
claims that JeM has accepted responsibility for the February 14 attack in
Indian-occupied Kashmir's Pulwama district that killed 40 Indian troops and
stoked tensions between India and Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi denied in a television interview that
this was the case.
draft resolution obtained by AFP condemns the suicide bombing and decides that
Azhar will be added to the UN Al Qaeda and Islamic State sanctions blacklist.
would subject Azhar to a global travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms
remained unclear when a vote would be held on the draft resolution, which could
face a veto from China, one of the five permanent council members along with
Britain, France, Russia and the United States.
is linked to terrorism for “participating in the financing, planning,
facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” carried out by
JeM, according to an annex to the draft.
draft resolution is backed by France and Britain, which joined the US earlier
this month in pushing for sanctions against the JeM leader in the Al Qaeda and
Islamic State committee.
have been four attempts through the UN sanctions committee to add Azhar to the
blacklist. China blocked three previous requests and put a technical hold on
the latest one, which could last up to nine months.
TOWN: Malaysia's emphasis on human security has put the country on the right
track in its fight against terror.
Training Service director Dr Ahmad Nazzan Abdullah said with over 200 countries
globally had experienced terror attacks, no country was spared from terrorism.
however, said with good preventive laws put in place in the country such as the
Internal Security Act (ISA), which was later replaced with the Prevention of
Terrorism Act (POTA), had proven successful in the fight against terrorism.
also have very good de-radicalisation programme, where those who underwent the
programme gave up the extreme ideologies they once adopted after two years.
pro-active counter terrorism approach by our men in blue, networking,
intelligence gathering, surveillance and pre-empt raids, have all contributed
to Malaysia's success stories," he said in his presentation titled
"The Role of Human Security as a Bulwark Against Terrorism: The Malaysian
Experience" at Universiti Sains Malaysia here on Thursday night.
talk was moderated by M. Afi Adli Hasnul.
said there was no point to create the preventive laws and undertake any such
efforts after any attack takes place.
said political security, economic security and social security have all
contributed to the nation's success in fighting terrorism.
his country, the people have their rights and freedoms as enshrined in the
Federal Constitution. The economic wealth pie is also equally distributed among
the diverse races. We also have the Social Contract in place, something not
available in many countries.
is why we have zero terrorist attack here in Malaysia, zero death and zero
damage. We are successful," he added.
a question from the floor, Nazzan said terrorism should not be equated with
Islam or any religion for that matter as no religion condoned violence.
new terrorism, the terrorist organisations had brought religious ideology into
their political ideology.
never asks to go and kill anyone. Suicide bombers who do this in the name of
jihad will not go to heaven. No religion supports the killing of innocent
people. If you detonate a bomb and people die, that is murder," he added.
said despite Malaysia being relatively safe, the people should know about
terrorism as everyone would be affected one way or another.
pointed out an example, that when one boards a plane, they are subjected to
this is a result of terrorism," he noted.
also advised students to not to be easily influenced by extreme ideologies.
is because extreme ideology will finally tell you that violence is the answer.
gets a new chief for the Middle East
Frank McKenzie on Thursday took over the leadership of the US Central Command,
which oversees US military operations in countries including Syria and
a ceremony led by Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, McKenzie
pledged to continue the work done by his predecessor, General Joseph Votel, who
for his part said that while ISIS had lost its “caliphate” and peace talks with
the Taliban appeared to be progressing, the US military presence in Syria and
Afghanistan was still necessary.
is time to bring these conflicts to a conclusion. This won’t be as quick as anyone
would like, but it can be done if we continue to keep our objectives and
interests in mind, trust our partners, and enable our forces,” Votel stressed.
62, is familiar with Afghanistan after being twice deployed there and has also
served in Iraq.
his confirmation hearing in early December, he voiced concern about a premature
military withdrawal from Afghanistan, where local forces took over at the start
of 2015, succeeding NATO troops helping in the fight against the Taliban.
NATO-member Turkey from the trillion-dollar F-35 fighter jet program would be
challenging due to Ankara’s integral role in the stealthy jet’s production
process, but not impossible, US sources familiar with the situation said.
week Reuters reported that the United States could soon freeze preparations for
delivering F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, a move that would widen the rift
between Ankara and Washington, the latest disagreement in a years-long
the heart of the matter lies Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s
commitment to buy a Russian air defense system that the United States says
would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft, which is built by Lockheed
United States and other NATO allies who own F-35 fighter jets fear the radar on
the Russian S-400 missile system will learn how to spot and track the F-35,
making it less able to evade Russian weapons in the future.
United States has offered Turkey the more expensive, Patriot anti-missile
system at a discount that expires at the end of March, but on the condition
that Ankara drop its plans to buy the S-400.
far Ankara has not shown any willingness to reverse the S-400 purchase, forcing
the United States to explore a future for the F-35 program without Turkey,
which makes parts of the fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays.
US sources familiar with the F-35’s intricate, worldwide production process and
US thinking on the issue say Turkey can be replaced. Officials with the
Pentagon and the Turkish embassy declined to comment.
are about 800 parts that Turkey makes for the F-35, and of them, very few are
sole source,” said a person with direct knowledge of the US position,
explaining that single source parts from Turkey can be replaced by contractors
who had previously bid to make them.
is not too big to fail,” the person said.
or finding substitutes for the Turkish components would slow production for a
three-month period at the Lockheed Martin facility that builds the jets, the
declined to comment.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in December said Ankara plays a significant
role in the production of the trillion-dollar jet and therefore removing it
from the program would not be easy.
sources say several components of the F-35 made in Turkey, can be easily
replaced. For example, the center fuselage produced in Ankara could be made by
Northrop Grumman Corp, which already makes them in California.
the meantime, more Turkish pilots are set to begin training at US air force
bases, joining the Turkish pilots already there and Ankara still hopes to take
delivery of two aircraft in November.
bill introduced Thursday that bans many Quebec public servants from wearing
religious symbols will render Muslims and another religious minorities “second
class citizens,” says the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).
in by the Coalition Avenir de Quebec (CAQ) government, Bill 21 affects public
servants in positions of authority, including teachers, school administrators,
Crown lawyers, police officers and prison guards.
symbols include the hijab, turban and yarmulke.
government said the bill is meant to be secular but the NCCM says the reality
is that the CAQ is targeting Muslims.
the guise of secularism, this legislation is effectively a prohibition on
wearing the hijab in the Quebec public service, given the overwhelming number
of people impacted will be Muslim women,” NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee
said in a statement.
21 has other critics, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
unthinkable to me that in a free society we would legitimize discrimination
against citizens based on their religion,” he said Thursday.
well, the English Montreal School Board said it will not enforce the law and
would instead allow teachers to wear religious symbols at work.
is the fourth attempt by successive Quebec governments to try to get the bill
previous Liberal government introduced a religious neutrality bill that is
still tied up due to court challenges.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault has included a “notwithstanding” clause in Bill
21 that shields the legislation from legal challenges under the Canadian
Charter of Rights.
CAQ government’s use of the notwithstanding clause is a tacit admission that this
bill would not pass constitutional muster,” Gardee said. “The NCCM’s legal team
is undertaking a careful review of the bill to determine what options exist to
challenge this discriminatory legislation.”
man in the state of Virginia was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without
parole for the rape and murder of a Muslim teen in 2017.
pleaded guilty to multiple counts including rape and murder in November, as
part of a plea deal submitted which allowed him to avoid the death penalty.
the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 2017, Nabra Hassanen was walking with a
group of friends to the ADAMS Center mosque during the early hours of the
morning, after grabbing a pre-dawn meal ahead of a long day of fasting.
Martinez-Torres reportedly chased the group with his car, eventually hitting
Hassanen with a metal baseball bat, then put her into his car and took her to a
place near his home. He then proceeded to pull her pants down and sexually
assault her, according to prosecutors.
was later found dead, floating in a pond, according to multiple reports.
of the murder spread across the country, sparking vigils from coast to coast
making national headlines, largely in part due to the fact that it was seen by
her family and friends as a hate crime.
police in Virginia have found no evidence pointing to the act being a hate
Attorney Raymond Morrogh noted the crime had no real motive.
no winners today, but I believe that's the best resolution today," Morrogh
told reporters after the hearing. "This at least gives the family some
finality. It doesn't end their grief and nothing we do ever will."
pain still remains fresh in the hearts of Hassanen's family.
U.S. envoy seeking a peace deal with Taliban visited the U.K. on Thursday as
part of renewed efforts to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
in London to consult with senior officials from Her Majesty’s government in
pursuit of our shared goal of peace in Afghanistan and security for our
countries," Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet.
line with his tour which kicked off on Monday, Khalilzad is expected to visit
Afghanistan, Belgium, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Qatar.
previously held a marathon round of talks with the Taliban in Qatar, and both
parties reached some level of agreement on withdrawal of foreign forces from
Afghanistan and counter-terror efforts.
Ahmad and Rezaul H Laskar
on Thursday said it has found no links between militants detained during a
recent crackdown and the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama, prompting New
Delhi to say that Pakistan continues to be in denial about terrorists operating
from its soil.
Foreign Office said it conducted investigations on the basis of a dossier
provided by India on February 27, which included a list of 90 members of
proscribed groups and 22 locations of alleged training camps, but has
established no links to the Pulwama attack. It also sought additional
information from India. In a response late on Thursday, external affairs
ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India was “disappointed at Pakistan’s
response to our detailed dossier on the Jaish-e-Mohammed’s complicity” in the
Pulwama attack and “the presence of its terror camps and leadership in
Pakistan continues to be in denial and even refuses to acknowledge Pulwama as a
terror attack. It has not shared details of credible action, if any, taken by
it against terrorists or terrorist organisations based in territories under its
control,” he added. The exchange reflected the underlying tensions between the
two sides despite a recent de-escalation. The Pulwama attack, which killed 40
Indian troopers, was followed by India’s air strike on a JeM facility at
Balakot in Pakistan and an aerial engagement along the Line of Control during
which an Indian jet piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was downed.
The spiralling tensions eased after Pakistan freed Varthaman on March 1, though
India has insisted Pakistan should act on terrorists based on its soil. This
was reiterated by Kumar, who said: “Pakistan should take immediate, credible,
irreversible and verifiable actions against terrorists and terror organisations
operating from territories under its control.” Pakistan shared the preliminary
findings of its investigations with India on Wednesday. The Foreign Office said
an investigation team had been formed, a number of people detained and
technical aspects of social media content looked into.
Pakistani investigators also examined the confessional video of suicide bomber
Adil Dar, JeM’s claim of responsibility, Whatsapp and Telegram numbers used to
share videos and messages in support of the Pulwama attack, the list of 90
suspected militants and 22 locations of training camps.
54 detained individuals are being investigated, no details linking them to
Pulwama have been found so far. Similarly, the 22 pin locations [of training
camps] shared by India have been examined. No such camps exist. Pakistan is
willing to allow visits, on request, to these locations,” the Foreign Office
said in a statement. Service providers were requested for data, including
details of activities and contacts of a GSM number provided by India and a
request for assistance from WhatsApp was made to the US government, the
statement added. “Additional information and documents from India would be
essential to continue the process of investigations. Pakistan remains committed
to taking this process to its logical conclusion,” it said.
expressing India’s disappointment, external affairs ministry spokesperson Kumar
said Pakistan followed an “identical script” after the 2008 Mumbai terror
attacks and the 2016 assault on Pathankot airbase.
said it was well-known the JeM, a UN-designated terrorist group, and its leader
Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan.
militants were killed in two separate gunfights with security forces in Kashmir
three militants of a joint group of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lahkar-e-Taiba were
killed in south Kashmir’s Shopian; the fourth militant Danish Ahmad Dar was
killed in north Kashmir’s Handwara in Kupwara district.
first gunfight started in Yawran area of Keller in Shopian after police, army
and CRPF started a cordon and search operation, following inputs about the
presence of militants in the area.
the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the terrorists.
The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight. In the ensuing encounter, 3
terrorists were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of
encounter,” read a statement from the police.
militants have been identified as Sajad Khanday, Aqib Ahmad Dar and Basharat
Ahmad Mir, all residents of Pulwama; while the fourth militant Danish Ahmad Dar
was a resident of Sopore.
were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of terror crimes, including
attack on security establishments and for civilian atrocities,” he said.
police said that Aqib had a “long history of terror crime records” and several
cases were registered against him while Sajad and Basharat were also “involved
in many terror attacks”.
material, including 3 AK rifles, was recovered from the site of encounter. A
mention of the same has been made in the case records for further
investigation,” the police said.
in Shopian took to streets after the gunfight and threw stones on security
forces as the news of militant killings spread. The forces responded by lobbing
tear gas shells and firing pellets to disperse the protesters.
encounter followed in north Kashmir’s Handwara after a cordon and search
operation was launched by police and other security forces in Yaroo area of
to police records, the killed terrorist was affiliated with proscribed terror
outfit JeM and was wanted by the law for his complicity in a series of terror
crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities,” the
forces have been aggressively pursuing militants particularly those from
Jaish-e-Mohammad group after the Pulwama attack.
and India have strong security cooperation and intelligence-sharing and any
India-origin Islamic State fighters captured in the war-torn country will be
handed over to New Delhi, Syrian ambassador Riad Abbas said on Thursday.
efforts by New Delhi to resolve differences between Syria and Israel as well as
in the overall Middle East peace process will be welcomed by Damascus, Abbas
said during an interaction with reporters. He also called on India’s public and
private sectors to invest in the reconstruction of Syria.
envoy’s remarks came against the backdrop of Islamic State members
acknowledging the death of Shafi Armar, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka, on
March 19 during fighting in the terror group’s last remaining stronghold of
Baghouz in Syria.
said he didn’t have details of the situation on the ground but added: “I can
tell you we have cordial and strong relations in intelligence-sharing with
India. We are sharing intelligence on all issues. If the Syrian government
captures any Indian-origin Daesh member, they will hand him over to India.”
appreciation for India’s position on the Syrian crisis, Abbas said, “We have
full faith in the Indian policy towards the Middle East, and we highly trust
the Indian position, especially if they want to play any pro-active role inside
Syria or in the Middle East peace process. We will be happy to see an Indian
is uniquely placed to play such a role as it has never been a coloniser or
aggressor, and was instead a victim of colonisation, he added.
Abbas said, has contributed to the rebuilding of Syria and the government has
now invited firms from India’s public and private sectors to invest in the
country, especially in oil, gas, power, infrastructure such as highways,
airports and cities, and low-cost housing.
public sector has been devastated and it is a virgin country for development.
We are ready to share our mineral and natural resources with friendly countries
for mutual benefits,” he said, adding UN agencies had estimated $400 billion to
$600 billion will be required to rebuild the country.
has said it is investigating 54 people detained over the Pulwama suicide attack
but claimed that no details linking them to the bombing have been found so far.
The February 14 terror attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers triggered a major
stand-off between India and Pakistan.
statement by the Pakistan Foreign Office said they have examined the “22 pin
locations of alleged training camps shared by India and said no such camps
exist”. “Pakistan is willing to allow visits, on request, to these locations,”
the statement said.
dossier had contained extensive evidence on JeM’s involvement in the bombing
carried out by a 22-year-old man from Jammu and Kashmir. It also had
information on JeM’s Pakistan-based chief Masood Azhar and other leaders of the
banned terror group. The dossier was shared after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran
Khan promised to act if “actionable evidence” was provided.
aspects of the information provided by India have been thoroughly examined
including the ‘confessional’ video of Adil Dar, ‘claim’ of responsibility for
the attack, WhatsApp and Telegram numbers used to share videos and messages in
support of Pulwama attack, list of 90 individuals suspected of belonging to a
proscribed organization and 22 pin locations of alleged training camps,” the
Pakistan Foreign Office statement said.
said service providers have been requested for data and a request for
assistance from WhatsApp has also been made to the US government.
Pulwama attack, Pakistan asks India
for more evidence and information
has sought more information and evidence from India to take forward cooperation
in the investigation into the Pulwama attack.
by AMIT SHARMA, Lalmani Verma, Arun Sharma
Opposition parties are competing to “become heroes in Pakistan” where they are
“getting great media coverage” and “applause”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Thursday said “terrorists and their supporters across the border are today
praying they somehow get rid of the chowkidar and the mahamilawati (he calls
the Opposition impure) come to power in Delhi”.
his party’s poll campaign for the Lok Sabha elections with three rallies
Thursday — in Meerut, Rudrapur and Jammu — Modi also trashed the alliance of
Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh,
saying it stood for “sarab” (liquor) which was “harmful for the health” of the
people: “SP-RLD-BSP… yeh sarab aapko barbaad kar degi.” Click here for more
Akhnoor in Jammu, the Prime Minister, referring to the Balakot air strikes,
said: “Today, those running terror mills across the border are scared. They are
living in the shadow of fear.”
the Congress for its remarks post the Balakot air strike, he said: “I am
surprised… what has happened to it? Is it the same Congress whose leader
Vallabhbhai Patel left no stone unturned for the unity and integrity of India
and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose gave the slogan of Azad Hindustan?” He said
Congress leaders, in their hatred for Modi, had stopped looking at national interest.
Meerut earlier, Modi said: “Yeh saare mahamilawati log aaj kaun Pakistan mey
zyada popular hoga, kaun Pakistan mey hero banega, iski spardha mey lag gaye
hain, wahan ki media mey chhaye huay hain, unke naam ki Pakistan me taaliyan
baj rahi hai. Aap bataiye, desh ko Hindustan ka hero chahiye ya Pakistan ka
(The mahamilawati people are competing among themselves to become popular in
Pakistan, become heroes in Pakistan. They are getting great media coverage and
applause in Pakistan. Tell me, does this country need an Indian hero or a
said by seeking proof of the Balakot air strike, the Opposition was letting
down the armed forces: “Kya hame saboot chahiye, ki hame sapoot chahiye? Mere
desh ke sapoot yahi mere desh ka sabse bada saboot hai. Jo saboot maangte hain
woh sapoot ko lalkarte hain (Do we want evidence or brave sons? The sons of my
country are my country’s biggest evidence. Those who seek evidence challenge
the brave sons).”
himself a “damdar chowkidar” (powerful) who was up against “daagdar chowkidar”
(tainted), he mocked the Opposition for questioning him on the air strike: “Why
did Modi hit terrorists in their homes in Pakistan? Why did Modi destroy their
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir attended a national
memorial service in Christchurch to honor the 50 victims of the March 15 mosque
20,000 people attended the high-security event at the city’s Hagley Park,
including dozens of Islamic leaders, government representatives and Australian
prime minister Scott Morison.
the service, Al-Jubeir met with some family members of the victims, as well as
the two injured Saudi nationals Khalid Al-Shadukhi and Aseel Al-Ansari.
also met with New Zealand officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister Winston Peters, and Governor-General Patsy Reddy.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed thousands of the memorial attendees,
who gave her a warm standing ovation.
challenge now is to make the very best of us a daily reality. Because we are
not immune to the viruses of hate, of fear, of other. We never have been,”
Ardern said, in a native Maori cloak known as kakahu.
we can be the nation that discovers the cure. And so to each of us as we go
from here, we have work to do,” she said, while also adding the world had to
end the vicious cycle of extremism and that it needed a global effort.
answer to them lies in a simple concept that is not bound by domestic borders,
that isn't based on ethnicity, power-base or even forms of governance. The
answer lies in our humanity,” she said.
al-Haj told the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website on Wednesday that
the US plans to stir crisis to continue presence in the region, specially Iraq
and Syria, with the aim of meeting Israel's interests.
said given the fact that Washington's support for terrorism is no more
tolerated by the world and the terrorists' continued survival will increase
global pressures on Washington, the US has embarked on recognizing Israel's
annexation of Golan Heights in a bid to find a pretext to continue presence in
President Donald Trump on Monday formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over
the occupied Golan Heights, reversing decades of United State's policy. The
announcement came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House
in a trip.
London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Wednesday
that over 27 children were killed in the camp in the past week for the severe
lack of hygiene, drugs and food.
added that 71,000 people are residing in the camp, saying that 186 children
have been killed in al-Houl since December.
field sources reported that civilians in the camp have held protest rallies
against the SDF for hard living conditions in al-Houl, adding that the
US-backed forces fired at the protestors.
World Health Organization (WHO) announced earlier this month that 73 Syrian
refugees had died in al-Houl camp in the past few months, adding that two third
of them are children.
said about 23,000 people, mainly women and children fleeing hostilities in
rural areas of neighboring Deir Ezzur, had reached the camp over that period.
Syrian people sheltering in al-Houl camp earlier staged massive rallies over
the death of tens of children.
sources from Hasaka province reported that the rallies were held to protest at
SDF's incapability to supply the needs of the displaced community sheltered in
Arabic-language al-Mada newspaper quoted a security source as saying on
Wednesday that the Iraqi forces are still on alert in the Western parts of the
country at the borders with Syria.
added that over 20,000 Iraqi forces have been sent to the Western borders in
the past 3 months, noting that tens of ISIL terrorists have hidden in a
several-kilometer-long tunnel dug from the town of Baqouz in Syria to Baqouz in
Iraq near al-Qa'em region.
SDF claimed last Saturday that the ISIL had no more presence in Eastern
Euphrates after the former's control over Baqouz in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
last Friday, the White House and US President Donald Trump announced that Syria
was now free from the ISIL.
House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the terror
group’s territorial rule had been “100 percent eliminated” from Syria, while
showing a map to reporters that she said displayed the eradication of ISIL’s
so-called caliphate over the last two years, in what was viewed as an attempt
to give the US president credit for the “defeat” of the ISIL.
in the day, Trump took to Twitter and said the ISIL no longer held any
territory in Syria.
is while reports in the past few months said that the US is relocating the ISIL
from Syria to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Syrian army units targeted Tahrir al-Sham's moves from Halfaya, al-Latamineh,
al-Sakhar and al-Sarmaniyeh regions towards the military points in Northern and
Northwestern Hama, leaving several militants dead and wounded and forcing
others to withdraw. Meantime, a military source reported that the Syrian army
forces destroyed the terrorists' hideouts near the towns of al-Latamineh and
Kafr Zita with bomber drones.
in Southern Idlib, the Syrian army forces targeted the terrorists' positions
near Khan Sheikoun, Jisr al-Shaqour, Tahtaya and Basileh in response to their
offensives, killing a number of terrorists and destroying their military equipment.
a field source in Northern Syria reported that the Turkish army has
strengthened its positions in occupied areas of Idlib province by sending a new
convoy of several trucks carrying logistical aid, cement blocks and
prefabricated houses to the region.
a relevant development earlier this month, the Syrian army heavily pounded the
terrorists' military positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib in response
to their attacks on government forces from the demilitarized zone.
Syrian Army's missile and artillery units pounded the movements of Tahrir
al-Sham al-Hay'at and their allies in Tal Osman, Mourek and al-Janabareh in
Northern Hama as well as al-Sahrieh, al-Hawija, al-Sharia'a and al-Sarmanieh in
Western Hama, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.
Southern Idlib, the Syrian army troops also engaged in heavy clashes with the
terrorists who were intending to penetrate into the government forces'
positions from the surrounding areas of Ma'arat al-Numan, Talmanes and
al-Katibeh al-Mahjoureh, killing a large number of them.
United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard,
says Saudi Arabia’s so-called investigation into the murder of prominent
dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi falls short of international standards.
November, the kingdom’s Public Prosecutor indicted 11 unnamed suspects for the
killing, which is believed to have been ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad
bin Salman. Khashoggi, a US-based Washington Post columnist, disappeared after
entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year. He never came
Thursday, Callamard, who is leading an international inquiry into the murder,
called on the kingdom to reveal the defendants' names and charges and the fate
of 10 others initially arrested, denouncing what she called the lack of
transparency of the kingdom’s investigation and legal proceedings.
Government of Saudi Arabia is grievously mistaken if it believes that these
proceedings, as currently constituted, will satisfy the international
community, either in terms of procedural fairness under international standards
or in terms of the validity of their conclusions,” she said in a statement.
current proceedings contravene international human rights law according to
which the right to a fair trial involves the right to a public hearing,” she
Saudi officials were “criminally responsible” if they failed to investigate and
prosecute those responsible for killing the Washington Post columnist,
early January, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights (OHCHR) said it could not assess the fairness of a trial underway in
Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s murder.
response to a question about the Saudi prosecutor's demand for the suspects'
death penalty, the OHCHR Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said the office calls
for an independent investigation “with international involvement."
month, the UN-led probe concluded that Khashoggi had been the victim of a
“brutal and premeditated killing” planned and perpetrated by the kingdom's
said at that time that Saudi officials had "seriously undermined" and
delayed Turkey's efforts to investigate the crime scene at the kingdom's
consulate in Istanbul in October last year.
UN official noted that they had access only to a part of "chilling and
gruesome audio material" of the dissident journalist's death, obtained by
the Turkish intelligence agency.
in February, Turkish presidential adviser Yasin Aktay told the Turkish NTV
broadcaster that “the UN team considers the crown prince of Saudi Arabia the
main person responsible for the killing of Khashoggi."
Chinese towns named sister cities to Karachi, Gwadar, Multan
Chinese cities Urumqi, Puyang and Xi’an were declared as sister cities to
Karachi, Gwadar, and Multan, respectively, at a forum held in Beijing on
Thursday to strengthen the bond of friendship between the two countries.
to a press release issued here, federal Minister for Inter-Provincial
Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza headed a Pakistani delegation at the event during
which Pakistani and Chinese officials signed separate agreements in this
on the occasion, Dr Mirza said Pakistan highly valued its relationship and
mutual cooperation with China.
expressed the hope that people-to-people contact and diplomatic visits between
the two countries would further deepen bilateral relations at political,
social, cultural and economical levels. She underscored the importance of the
One Belt One Road project and termed it a milestone initiative for regional
connectivity. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project was a basic
pillar of Belt and Road Initiative under which most of the early harvest
projects had been completed, especially in the fields of infrastructure and
energy, she added.
minister, on behalf of the people of Pakistan, acknowledged and appreciated
China’s support for Pakistan in the recent situation and playing a role in
de-escalating tension in South Asia.
observed that the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China had given a new
impetus to Pakistan-China friendship and opened up several new avenues of
was informed at the event that the forum would facilitate cooperation in
province-city management, public health, environmental protection, poverty
alleviation, trade and investment, tourism cooperation, urbanisation and
vocational/professional education. It will enhance mutual understanding between
enterprises of the two countries and boost economic and trade ties.
Ambassador to China Masood Khalid and the Executive Vice Governor of Xinjiang
Uygur Autonomous Region, Zhang Chunlin, also addressed the forum.
has no tolerance for critics of Saudi crown prince
to launch probe against journalists for displaying murdered Saudi journalist
Khashoggi’s picture on their social media profile
Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cybercrime Wing has initiated an inquiry
into an alleged ‘social media campaign’ ran by journalists and certain
religio-political parties during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin
Salman to Pakistan in February.
to a notification dated March 13 that has been making rounds on social media,
“A targeted social media campaign was planned/executed against the [crown
prince’s] visit, during which [a] few social media activists and groups
remained particularly consistent/active till the very last day of the visit.”
letter names five journalists — Matiullah Jan, Murtaza Solangi, Azaz Syed,
Ammar Masood, Umer Cheema – activist Waqas Goraya who is based in The
Netherlands, religious outfits Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), Imamia
Students Organization (ISO), Hizbul Tahrir Pak, Tameer-e-Watan Party.
letter, referring to the journalists, stated: “These activists displayed the
picture of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on their social media
profile DPs which conveyed a very disrespectful message to the visiting guest.”
about the groups that will be probed, the letter said: “These groups/party’s
members were found most active on social media against Mohammad bin Salman’s
visit to Pakistan.”
additional directors were asked to submit a report on their inquiries to Deputy
Director Ayaz Khan on a daily basis.
FIA decision was condemned by Solangi, who initially shared the copy of the
notification on his Twitter handle.
the shameful govt of @ImranKhanPTI has a problem with putting the picture of
slain journalist #JamalKhashoggi on your twitter profile and considers it
against the law? Come arrest me, you shameless creatures,” he lashed out at
failed to establish Pulwama attack with Masood Azhar, FO tells diplomats
The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday told foreign diplomats that India’s
allegation that Pakistan-based elements were involved in the Pulwama attack
could not be corroborated by the dossier sent by New Delhi in February.
Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal, in a briefing to foreign diplomats, said
that in order to cooperate with India in the probe, investigators had examined
Adil Dar’s ‘confessional’ video and had also requested details from mobile
service providers of numbers India mentioned in the document to analyse the
exchange of messages.
United States authorities have also been contacted for information of messages
exchanged through WhatsApp, FO officials said.
Faisal told the diplomats that India had sent a dossier comprising six parts
spread over 91 pages, out of which only parts two and three were related to the
Pulwama incident. The others, he said, contained “generalised allegations”.
authorities had detained and interrogated 54 people but so far, no evidence regarding
their involvement in the Pulwama attack has emerged, the spokesperson said. He
also said that the dossier made no mention of Masood Azhar, the chief of
Jaish-e-Mohammad, the organisation which allegedly claimed responsibility for
spokesperson further said that no militant camps had been found on the 22
locations pointed out by India, and offered access to these places on a request
by request basis.
also told the diplomats that more information and evidence was required for
Pakistan to continue its investigation into the Feb 14 attack.
official spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs responded to
media queries regarding Pakistan’s response to the dossier.
statement shared on the ministry’s website said India was “disappointed” with
Pakistan’s response to the report.
[Pakistan] has not shared details of credible action, if any, taken by it
against terrorists or terrorist organisations based in territories under its
control,” the statement read. Additionally, the spokesperson said they were
“hardly surprised” as the “identical script” had been followed by Pakistan in
statement alleged that it was a “well-known fact” that JeM, a UN-designated
terrorist group, and its leader Masood Azhar were based in Pakistan.
no dearth of sufficient actionable information and evidence in Pakistan itself
to take action against them, if there is sincerity and intent to do so,” the
statement read adding that they were examining the paper Pakistan had handed
Expressing dissatisfaction over Pakistan’s inadequate compliance with global
commitments, the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) — a regional affiliate of the
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — has flashed contradictory situations and
poor coordination among stakeholders fighting money laundering and terror
financing as top takeaways of three-day mutual evaluation.
official word was available from the APG or the government on the conclusion of
the on-site mutual evaluation, but in background discussions officials involved
in the process mostly shared pessimism.
sources said the visiting delegation highlighted many contradictory positions.
For example, the Pakistani side was confronted with the statement that mosques
and religious institutions were not involved in terrorism, but data showed most
of the punishments and fines imposed on those collecting donations and
delivering speeches around mosques and related systems.
there was no indication, based on official account, that any of those punished
had any link with Al Qaeda or organisations accused by India of cross-border
terrorism or other proscribed organisations (POs). As such, it did not impress
the APG inspectors as to what was the point for actions against such people.
out poor coordination among stakeholders fighting money laundering and terror
APG also pointed out lack of coordination among law enforcement agencies (LEAs)
at different tiers of the government or active cooperation of certain
intelligence agencies with such LEAs. The delegation also viewed that the
government agencies did not have risk-based approach to take actions on account
of anti-money laundering (AML) or counter-terror financing (CFT) and mostly
operated on a pressure basis.
sources said the concluding day had four detailed sessions with the Pakistani
delegation led by the director general of Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU). The
first session revolved around presentations by the Securities & Exchange
Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over
international cooperation and information sharing for financial intelligence
along with evidences and agreements signed with various countries to share
information regarding immigrants and workers.
another session, the SECP explained steps regarding enforcement and supervision
of the AML/CFT regime in financial institutions, exchange companies and
non-banking financial companies. The FMU explained in the third session
deployment of prevention measures in the financial sector, including details,
nature and actions on STRs generated by banking and financial sectors.
concluding session discussed confiscations of proceeds of crimes relating to
the AML/CFT regime. The sources said the APG appeared least interested in
thousands of STRs issued or proceeds confiscated, but how many of them
pertained to proscribed organisations, particularly eight named under the
United Nations resolutions.
APG termed actions against eight prominent proscribed organisations ineffective
and inadequate. The sources said the APG had got prepared a third party audit
through chartered accounting firms which also highlighted a series of loopholes
asked if the APG issued any formal warning on the conclusion of mutual
evaluation, a senior official replied in the negative, saying the group would
finalise its findings later and perhaps share with Pakistan authorities. He
said Pakistan would separately submit a report within three weeks to the FATF
by taking robust and coordinated actions in the coming days.
FATF would review both the reports in May leading to a decision in June if
Pakistan was prepared to move out of the grey list in September or fall into
the blacklist. Much would also depend on diplomatic efforts and geo-political
considerations, the official said.
Minister Asad Umar, who did not attend APG reviews, gave an update to the
National Security Committee about FATF-related matters and meetings held with
the Asia Pacific Group. The meeting recounted various legislative and
administrative measures taken by the government in dealing with militancy,
combating terror financing, money laundering, hawala-hundi, etc. The prime
minister stressed the need for continued and sustained on-ground effort towards
taking this struggle to a conclusive end.
Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that the party
does not oppose accountability in principle if it is conducted in a transparent
manner but they will certainly not tolerate political victimisation in the name
said in his address to party workers who had gathered at Larkana railway
station to welcome their leader when he arrived at midnight on Thursday that he
was being held accountable in a case that pertained to the time when he was
barely one year old.
referred to the apex court’s comment that he (Bilawal) was innocent and said
that later the comment was not made part of the original order. On whose behalf
his name was implicated in the case, he asked.
have now fixed their eyes on me, Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur but they
cannot frighten us through National Accountability Bureau. We don’t have any
objection to a transparent process of accountability but we will never accept
political victimisation in the name of accountability,” he said.
was highly critical of the move to refer money-laundering cases to Rawalpindi
and spoke about putting in place an effective system for accountability and
fighting corruption instead of using NAB as a tool for political victimisation.
said that he had heard rulers’ cries when Bhuttos’ name echoed in parliament.
After they failed to stop him through rigging in election they were now trying
to sideline him through political victimisation.
said that rulers wanted to roll back the 18th Amendment and impose One Unit but
PPP would oppose the move tooth and nail. The prime minister had announced that
NRO would not be given to anybody but then the same was granted to banned
outfits and retired Gen Musharraf etc, he said.
said that ‘selected’ prime minister’s politics began and ended with NAB.
Accountability should not be done on the basis of one’s association with
Larkana or Lahore, he said before leaving for Naudero House where he was
scheduled to stay till April 4.
Ahmed Khuhro, president of PPP Sindh chapter, said in a statement that Pakistan
Tehreek-i-Insaf government had been taken aback by the rousing welcome accorded
to Bilawal at all railway stations from Karachi to Larkana.
said that Bilawal had chosen to travel by train only to participate in Z.A.
Bhutto’s death anniversary in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto. It was just an
exercise to keep workers ready for ‘train march’ to Rawalpindi later, he said.
Earlier, speaking to workers at Rohri, Sukkur and Gosar-Ji railway stations,
Bilawal said that they were not afraid of NAB nor would they run away from
inquiries. “PPP is not fleeing from accountability, we have no objection to
accountability but revenge in the name of accountability is not acceptable,”
accused the federal government of instituting fake cases against opposition and
blamed the Centre for “robbing” Sindh of Rs120 billion of its share. People had
been drowned in a tsunami of inflation since the day the “puppet government”
came to power. “Khan Sahib, you had promised constructing houses but instead
you demolished peoples’ homes in the name of encroachments and made them
homeless,” he said.
caravan departed for Shikarpur and Larkana after the brief stopover. Strict
security arrangements were made at all railway stations where people were
allowed to enter after complete body search.
senior leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah told media persons at Jinnah Municipal
Stadium on Thursday that Imran Khan had failed to fulfil his promises. Nothing
had happened so far with regard to his slogan of provision of jobs and
construction of houses, he said.
said the government would carry out development works in Sindh if the province
received Rs120bn from the Centre.
only Sindh but Punjab and other areas of the country were also complaining
against Islamabad, he said.
said that since the apex court had endorsed NAB’s modus operandi they respected
Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that Balochistan “is
future of Pakistan and it is our duty to fully assist the government and people
of the province to ensure a shining future for them”.
his visit to the Southern Command’s headquarters here on Thursday, the army
chief was briefed on the security situation in the province, the National
Action Plan, Operation Raddul Fasaad and socio-economic development undertaken
as part of the Khushal Balochistan Programme (KBP).
expressed satisfaction over the overall security situation in the province.
Bajwa hoped that the steps taken under the KBP would help improve the overall
security and socioeconomic indicators in the province.
the army chief visited School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta, and met the
faculty. He said the army had played an important role in reducing internal
security threats as well as responding effectively along the borders.
military could pose threat to country if aid ends: report
The Afghan military could pose a serious threat to the country’s security if
international aid comes to an abrupt halt following a peace deal between the
Taliban and the government, an official US report said on Thursday.
findings come as the US seeks to broker a peace deal between the insurgent
fighters and the internationally recognised government led by President Ashraf
Ghani to end 17 years of war.
are over 300,000 Afghans currently serving in the security forces, most of whom
are armed,” said John Sopko, who heads the Office of the Special Inspector
General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), while presenting his report in
Washington. “If, because of a loss of financial support, their paychecks were
to stop coming, this could pose a serious threat to Afghanistan’s stability.”
invading Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the then Taliban regime, The US has poured
more than $780 billion in aid into the country, 15 percent of which was spent
on reconstruction. Most of the reconstruction funds, 63 percent or $83.1 billion,
were spent on Afghan security services, including salaries, equipment,
infrastructure and training, the report said.
recent years, financial support for Afghan forces has been even more critical,
with $4.8 billion allocated in 2018, or 83 percent of funds set aside for
does not take an advanced degree in mathematics to recognise that if donor
support is decreased or eliminated — whether there is a peace agreement or not
— the Afghan government and its military in particular, will be in dire
straits,” said Sopko.
report warned that if an elusive peace deal is achieved, some 60,000 heavily
armed Taliban fighters will have to be peacefully reintegrated into Afghan
society, “as disaffected former Taliban who may have been expecting a peace
dividend may return to violent and predatory behaviour.”
transnational human trafficking syndicate committed crimes against humanity in
Malaysia and Thailand against tens of thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi
men, women and children, according to a new rights report.
Like Fish” is a 121-page report jointly produced by the Human Rights Commission
of Malaysia and Fortify Rights, a group covering Southeast Asia.
report, released on March 27, is based on a joint investigation including more
than 270 interviews with eyewitnesses, survivors, human traffickers, government
officials and others from 2013-19. The abuses happened from 2012-15.
documents traffickers’ crimes against Rohingya and Bangladeshis including
murder, rape, torture and depriving victims of adequate food, water and space.
Many captives died by suicide at sea.
camps at Wang Kelian on the Thai-Malay border, traffickers denied their
captives access to adequate food, water and space, resulting in deaths, illness
and injury, including paralysis, particularly for those without money.
I was unable to pay money to the men, they poured boiling water on my head and
body,” said Rahim Ullah, a Rohingya Muslim who was 16 when traffickers tortured
him in a camp at Wang Kelian in 2014.
than 170,000 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, boarded boats bound for Malaysia
and Thailand from Myanmar and Bangladesh. However, in late 2014 and 2015,
traffickers began to target Bangladeshi nationals as well, the report said.
trafficking trade generated about US$50-100 million per year from 2012-15, the
massive scale and horrific severity of these operations were never properly
documented or fully prosecuted. This new evidence demonstrates the need for
accountability,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive of Fortify Rights.
human trafficking has relatively slowed since the 2015 Asian boat people crisis
and an anti-trafficking crackdown, Rohingya and Bangladeshi people remain
vulnerable to the crime, officials and activists say.
to a heavy crackdown since 2015, we have seen a slumber in trafficking, but
given that it is a lucrative business, poor and helpless people like Rohingya
are always vulnerable to trafficking,” Muhammad Nikaruzzaman, chief government
officer at Ukhiya in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, told ucanews.com.
Bazar is home to more than one million Rohingya Muslims who fled various bouts
of persecution in Myanmar including deadly military crackdowns in 2016 and
people, especially Rohingya refugees, remain even more vulnerable to trafficking
today, said James Gomes, regional director of Catholic charity Caritas
2012-15, the condition of Rohingya was relatively better than it is now, yet so
many became victims of trafficking. In recent months, law enforcers have nabbed
traffickers’ boats and rescued potential victims, which means traffickers are
still preying on poor and helpless Rohingya as well as Bangladeshis,” Gomes
report is a warning for governments, aid agencies and anti-trafficking groups,
and a collective, effective and coordinated effort is required to tackle the
threat of trafficking.”
Morshed Chowdhury, an anti-trafficking campaigner in Cox’s Bazar, had similar
acting minister of urban development accused of misbehavior
acting minister of urban development and land Mohammad Jawad Peikar has been
accused of misbehavior, bullying, and threatening the employees of the
directorate of estates.
number of the employees of the directorate of estate have said that the acting
minister has forcefully withdrawn some important documents by forcing his way
into the directorate with his armed guards.
of the senior officials of the directorate have Tolo News that the move was
apparently motivated by Mafia groups involved in land grabbing as they do not
the governmental lands to remain safe and intact, claiming that Mafia circles
have internal influence.
the meantime, a number of directors of the ministry of urban development and
land have expressed doubts regarding the behaviors of the acting minister.
of the director’s of the ministry, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told
Khaama Press that the acting minister has acted against the orders of president
Ghani which was issued earlier to merge the directorate of land with the
ministry of urban development.
source further added that the acting minister is intentionally sparking
discrimination and prefers and gives more value to the employees of the
directorate of land.
key Taliban group member who was involved in facilitation of weapons and
terrorist attacks was killed during the operation of the Afghan armed forces in
southeastern Ghazni province.
a Taliban weapons facilitator was killed during an Afghan security forces raid
in Zanahkan district March 23, 2019. Khadim was responsible for numerous
attacks in southeast Afghanistan targeting civilians and government employees,”
informed military sources said Thursday.
sources further added that Afghan security forces have killed over 45 Taliban
fighters in Ghazni province this month.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the killing of Khadim so far.
is among the relatively volatile provinces in southeastern parts of
first vote since Turkey’s economic crisis, Erdogan could lose Ankara
Akin has voted for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s party for almost 20
years, but the father of three said that will change on Sunday because the
plunging economy has forced him to shut his shop and take on debt.
a market in the Turkish capital last week, Akin clutched his jacket and said
“even this is mortgaged” after the economy tipped into recession following last
year’s currency crisis.
voted for this man (Erdogan) for 20 years. Enough. Let’s hit him with the back
of our hand so he sees what this nation is made of,” Akin said.
said he would vote for the main opposition candidate in Sunday’s local
suggest Erdogan could be defeated in Ankara, the city from which he has ruled
Turkey with an increasingly iron grip since 2003. His AK Party (AKP) could hang
on to power in a tight race in Istanbul, where he was once mayor, but a defeat
in Ankara would be a blow.
psychological factor of losing the capital, losing one of the big cities in
Turkey, could be perceived by voters as the beginning of the decline,” said
political analyst Murat Yetkin.
nationwide local elections are the first since last year’s currency meltdown,
and come as authorities fight a fresh wave of selling in the lira.
currency has bounced back this week, in part because Turkey directed its banks
to withhold lira liquidity in London, a key overseas market, until after
Sunday’s election - blocking foreign investors from betting against the
stop-gap measure may save Erdogan the embarrassment of a currency meltdown on
the eve of voting but economists say that longer-lasting reforms are needed to
return to the strong growth which was a hallmark of the AKP’s early years in
officials say they are anxious about Sunday’s vote. In recent weeks Erdogan has
held up to five rallies per day and described the elections as a “matter of
in Ankara with more than 50 voters two weeks ahead of the vote suggested
several long-time AKP supporters were shifting their views on the party and
looking to punish Erdogan for the turmoil caused by the ailing economy.
is no production, nothing. They brought in the food stands, but will he
(Erdogan) fix the economy with food stands?” said Orhan Akkaya, a local business
manager who said he would no longer back AKP. “They finished the country.”
of the elections, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) formed an
electoral alliance with the IYI (Good) Party to rival that of Erdogan’s AKP and
the nationalist MHP.
Yavas, the opposition candidate, appears to hold a 2 percentage point lead over
his AKP rival Mehmet Ozhaseki, according to polling company Gezici. However, a
poll conducted by the AKP showed Ozhaseki had closed the gap and gained a 1.5
point advantage, a party source said.
was also the CHP’s candidate in 2014, but lost in a vote marred by claims of
voter fraud. Ozhaseki, a former three-term mayor from central Anatolia, was a
minister until he was removed from the post after last year’s presidential and
general elections cemented Erdogan’s grip on power.
to Reuters on his campaign trail, Yavas said he believed he would win in Ankara
because his rival had overlooked the economic struggles of the people.
don’t see the economic hardships in Ankara,” he said. “They don’t come here and
talk with shop owners.”
Erdogan, championed by more pious Turks, has become modern Turkey’s most
popular leader, he is also the most divisive. Secular Turks say his policies
quash dissent and infringe on private lives and personal rights.
it was his unorthodox economic policies, including a buildup in foreign debt
that helped spark last year’s crisis that wiped some 30 percent off the value
of the lira. The contraction in the fourth quarter was the economy’s worst in
nearly a decade.
we expected didn’t happen in the economy, that is a reality,” an AKP official
told Reuters. “While the economy was a gain before, it’s now our weak point.”
there is a big loss (in Ankara)...we may enter a period where there will be
very serious problems for the AK Party.”
Gezici, chairman of pollster Gezici, said three of every four undecided voters
have backed the MHP or AKP in past general or local elections.
fraying economy had left many of them unsure, Gezici said citing his company’s
March 16-17 poll, and added that rather than the AKP’s past successes, voters
were more focused on candidates’ future promises.
I won’t even vote, that’s how fed up I am,” said Huseyin Kilic, another
longtime but disenchanted AKP voter.
from his factory job and waving in the air coins that he said were his last,
Kilic, standing in a street market in the central Ankara district of Ulus, said
he had not yet settled on a favored candidate.
few are writing off Erdogan before votes are counted.
nearly two decades he and his AKP have not lost a local election in Ankara or
Istanbul. The party is leading polls in other big cities like Adana and Konya.
for vegetables in central Ankara, Neriman said she remained committed to the AK
Party, dismissing economic woes.
(the AKP) gave us everything, financially and emotionally. There are no
economic troubles. Are there?” she said. “I am planning on voting for the AK
Party because for years we’ve been so much better off.”
40 children have been killed and many injured in one year of demonstrations
along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the UN said on Thursday,
calling for an “urgent de-escalation”.
of Palestinians have gathered at least weekly along the border in protests that
have led to deadly clashes with the Israeli military.
are calling for Israel to lift its crippling decade-long blockade of Gaza,
while also demanding refugees be allowed to return to homes their families fled
in the late 1940s during the creation of the Jewish state.
40 children have been killed in the protests and “nearly 3,000 others have been
hospitalized with injuries, many leading to life-long disabilities,” the UN
children’s agency (UNICEF) said.
reiterates its outrage at the very high numbers of children who have been
killed and injured as a result of armed conflict 2018,” said UNICEF’s Middle
East director Geert Cappelaere.
called on both sides to “ensure children are not targeted”.
children’s lack of sense of purpose and vulnerabilities or enlisting them into
violence are violations of children’s rights.”
total, 258 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since the
protests began, most during border clashes.
Israeli soldiers have also been killed over the same period.
says its response is necessary to defend the border and accuses Hamas, with
whom it has fought three wars, of orchestrating violence there.
UNICEF statement follows another severe flare-up this week between Hamas and
Israel, with a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip that sparked retaliatory air
strike kills 7 Iranian, Iran-backed fighters in Syria
Syrian war monitoring group says an Israeli airstrike the night before killed
seven Iranian and Iranian-backed fighters in northern Syria.
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that the
airstrike targeted an Iranian weapons depot and also wounded several other
state media said the country’s air defenses responded to an “Israeli air
aggression” targeting positions in an industrial area northeast of the city of
Aleppo city, causing material damage only.
is an ally of Damascus and has offered military advisers, sent allied
militiamen and material support to help the Syrian government force in the
eight-year civil war.
Turkish court ruled on Thursday to keep US consulate employee Metin Topuz in
jail as his trial continues, a lawyer for Topuz said on Thursday, meaning he
will remain in detention until the trial resumes in May.
trial of Topuz, a Turkish translator and fixer for the Drug Enforcement Agency
(DEA) at the US consulate in Istanbul, has deepened strains in the already
fraught ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States.
is on trial for charges of espionage and links to a 2016 attempted military
Iranian foreign minister has called for unity in the Muslim world to counter
plots by the US and the Israeli regime, saying they seek to “steal” the lands
of Arab countries even though they apparently offer handshakes to Arab leaders.
lawless announcement on "Occupied Syrian Golan" after last year’s on
"Occupied Al-Quds" is a sobering reminder for our Arab and Muslim
brethren,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a Thursday tweet.
& Israel will offer you handshakes, but no matter how much you kowtow, they
will still steal your lands. #LetUsUnite,” he added.
Iranian foreign minister made the remarks in reaction to a Monday decree signed
by US President Donald Trump to recognize the Israeli regime’s “sovereignty”
over the Syrian territories of Golan.
US president’s move broke with decades of international consensus over the
border area which the Tel Aviv regime seized from Syria in 1967.
decision was met with negative reactions from the Arab allies of the US, among
others. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait all
criticized Trump’s move.
will have significant negative effects on the peace process in the Middle East
and the security and stability of the region,” said a statement on Saudi state
news agency SPA.
described the declaration as a clear violation of the UN Charter and of
which has been at loggerheads with other Persian Gulf states over its policies,
joined them in rejecting Trump’s move and called on Israel to end its occupation
of the Golan Heights and comply with international resolutions.
League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit had earlier announced that the 22-member
organization "fully supports Syria's right for its occupied
Golan Heights are “occupied territory” belonging to Syria under international
law and the resolutions of the United Nations and the UN Security Council, he
on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani compared the US move with the
behavior of “colonial powers” in the past and called for "closer
cooperation" among countries in the Middle East to counter the US and
Zionist regime's excessive demands and Washington's wrong decisions further
necessitate closer cooperation among regional countries," Rouhani said in
a phone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Tel Aviv is ready to wage a broad
military campaign in Gaza if needed, after a two-day flareup of cross-border
fighting which has left several people injured on both sides.
Israelis should know that if a comprehensive campaign is required, we will
enter it strong and safe, and after we have exhausted all of the other
possibilities," Netanyahu said after visiting the Gaza frontier, where he
met some Israeli commanders.
comments came after two consecutive nights of heavy Israeli bombardments, which
wounded several Palestinians but were responded to with a rocket attack from
the enclave. The attack wounded seven Israelis in Mishmeret, an agricultural
town north of Tel Aviv, on Monday, and forced Netanyahu to cut short his visit
to the US.
resistance groups on Wednesday fired rockets into Israel in response to the
regime’s airstrikes on several areas, including the town of Khan Yunis and the
Rafah border crossing south of Gaza City.
sources in the Gaza Strip say Israeli airstrikes on Rafah damaged residential
homes and electricity network.
rockets fired from Gaza have turned into a major security challenge for
Netanyahu ahead of Israel's April 9 election. In power for a decade and beset
by corruption allegations, he is facing his strongest electoral challenge from
a centrist coalition led by a former general.
Israeli military has deployed artillery and tank brigades along the so-called
buffer zone with Gaza.
military will resort to a very strong hand against anyone trying to confront
our troops," Israeli security cabinet minister Arye Deri told Army Radio.
UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process expressed concerns
Tuesday over the escalation of violence.
am concerned that we may, once again, be facing another very dangerous
escalation of violence in Gaza, with potentially catastrophic
consequences," Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council.
last two days show how precariously close we came to the brink of war once
plan mass rallies
Gaza, organizers have announced plans for a massive protest on Saturday along
the border to mark the first anniversary of weekly demonstrations at which
Israeli forces have already killed more than 260 Palestinians.
26,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries ever since the anti-occupation
protest rallies, known as the Great March of Return, began in the Gaza Strip on
March 30, 2018.
United Nations Human Rights Council said last week that Israeli troops may have
committed war crimes by using excessive force against the protests.
least three young Palestinian men have been wounded after an Israeli warplane
fired a missile towards a crowd of Palestinian youths in the besieged Gaza
Strip, a report says.
were targeted east of Jabaliya in the northern parts of the blockaded enclave
on Thursday afternoon, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported, citing local
were allegedly launching incendiary kites and balloons when the Israeli missile
landed near them, it said.
wounded, the report said, were taken to the Indonesian Hospital, also in
northern Gaza, to receive due medical treatment for their “minor injuries.”
Israeli spokesperson confirmed the airstrike in a statement.
kites and balloons has become a new mode of resistance since Palestinians began
their weekly protests near a fence separating the Gaza Strip from the occupied
territories on March 30 last year.
officials try to put a criminal spin on the protests, claiming that kites and
balloons launched by Palestinians have burned thousands of acres of farmland,
forests and nature reserves in the regions around the Gaza Strip.
Thursday, Israeli authorities continued to seal off the Kerem Shalom crossing.
land crossing between the southern Gaza Strip and the occupied territories is
the main export-import terminal for inhabitants of the enclave.
officials also banned Gaza fishermen from working off the coast of the besieged
territory for the fourth day in a row, said head of Palestinian Fishermen Union
Zakariya Bakr said.
imposed a limit of three nautical miles on fishing in the waters off the Gaza
shore until August 2014, when Palestinian fishermen were allowed to go out six
miles under a ceasefire agreement reached after a deadly 50-day Israeli war in
the same month.
fishing zone is supposed to extend to 20 nautical miles under the Oslo Accords.
The Oslo Accords were signed between the Israeli regime and the Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO) during the early-mid 1990s.
May 2017, Israeli authorities increased the fishing area for Gaza fishermen to
nine nautical miles.
the past few years, however, Israeli forces have carried out more than a
hundred attacks on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and
confiscating several boats. Furthermore, they time and again prevent Gazan
fishermen from doing their job.
have been running high in Gaza since March 30 last year, when the "Great
March of Return" protests started, demanding the right to return for those
driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression.
clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with
Washington’s relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem
than 260 Palestinians have so far been killed and at least 26,000 others
wounded in the Gaza clashes, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
dead, 16 wounded in Somalia bomb blast, say medics
least 11 people died when a bomb exploded on a busy street and ripped into a
nearby restaurant in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Thursday, medics said.
death toll we have confirmed so far is 11 people, with 16 others wounded,” said
Abdulkadir Abdirahman Adan, director of the Aamin Ambulance service, adding
that the toll could still rise.
added: “There could be more losses.”
described scenes of devastation, with several people wounded as they were
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.
Mogadishu is regularly targeted by the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab
insurgents, who have been fighting for over a decade to topple the government.
attack took place on the busy Maka al-Mukarama road, once of the main highways
through the seaside capital, an area busy with businesses and travelers.
said several cars and three-wheeler motorbikes were destroyed by the force of
bombing is the latest in a recent string of blasts in the capital, which has
been hit regularly by al-Shabaab attacks.
fighters fled fixed positions they once held in Mogadishu in 2011, and have
since lost many of their strongholds.
they retain control of large rural swathes of the country, and continue to wage
a guerrilla war against the authorities.
least 15 people have been killed and several others injured in a car bomb blast
on a busy street in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, officials and witnesses say.
Thursday afternoon explosion on Mogadishu’s Maka al-Mukarama road sent a huge
cloud of smoke into the sky and destroyed two restaurants and cars parked in
Abdirahman Adan, director of the Aamin Ambulance service, told AFP that 15
people had been killed, as well as several more wounded by the blast.
car bomb struck a restaurant along the road," said Abdulahi Osman, who was
nearby to the explosion, adding, "This really was a disaster."
security officials and witnesses earlier reported bodies lying on the ground.
"There was a heavy blast – presumably caused by a vehicle loaded with
explosives," said Adan Abdikadir, a government security officer.
blast is the latest in a recent string of bombings in the capital, which has
regularly been the target of attacks by al-Shabab terrorists.
Saturday, two explosions and a gunfight between al-Shabab militants and
security personnel claimed the lives of at least 15 people in central
this month, a deadly car bomb explosion claimed by the Takfiri group hit near
the presidential palace in the capital.
militant outfit was forced out of Mogadishu with the help of African Union
forces in 2011. However, it still wields control in large parts of the
countryside, and every now and then carries out deadly attacks against
government, military, and civilian targets in the capital as well as regional
terrorist group has fought successive Somali governments as well as neighboring
governments in Kenya and Uganda.
has faced instability and violence since 1991, when the military government was
recent years, the Pentagon has also stepped up airstrikes against alleged
positions of al-Shabab militants in the country in the wake of President Donald
Trump’s approval in 2017 of expanded military operations there.
Foreign Ministry on Friday strongly condemned a terror attack in Somalia's
capital Mogadishu that killed at least 11 people.
have received the news with deep sorrow that the terrorist attack perpetrated
in Mogadishu, resulted in loss of many lives and left several others
wounded," the ministry said in a statement.
least 11 people were killed and 16 others wounded in a car bombing in Mogadishu
on Thursday, according to officials.
Nigerian court on Thursday ordered the arrest of an Igbo separatist leader
after he repeatedly failed to appear for his treason trial proceedings.
court directed security forces to produce Nnamdi Kanu, chief of the Indigenous
People of Biafra (IPOB), a movement that seeks to carve out a separate homeland
for the country's ethnic Igbo population.
Kanu can be produced in court, Judge Binta Nyako said the "only
option" was for proceedings to continue in his absence.
the absence of any reasonable explanation for his absence, I hereby revoke his
bail and order that a bench warrant be issued for his arrest," she added.
cited Kanu's failure to honor the conditions attached to his temporary freedom
-- including refraining from addressing a political rally or making
inflammatory comments -- and withdrawing all of his sureties who said they
could not account for him anymore.
is suspected to have fled Nigeria following an army crackdown on his house in southeastern
region of the country. The crackdown followed his alleged training of armed
forces and continued ethno-religious incitement as shown in footage promoted by
footage purportedly showed him in Israel threatening to balkanize the country
-- a treasonable offence under the Nigerian law.
least four other IPOB members are standing alongside Kanu on trial, which has
adjourned proceedings until June 18.
Briton-Nigerian, Kanu was first arrested in the capital city of Abuja on his
arrival from Britain in 2015 for secessionist activities and ethnic incitement
against other tribes, raising tensions in the deeply fractured country.
Samsadin sits in a white cap and long, cream, Islamic jubba, offering water and
rissois – breaded prawns with green chili – to guests for free. His small halal
takeaway joins on to the yellow and white Jumma Mosque in downtown Maputo, the
capital of Mozambique.
are my friend,” the 47-year-old says. “There is no price. Tomorrow we are going
to die, we must make life easy.”
hospitality of the deputy of the Mozambican capital’s oldest mosque is not
unique. In the past fortnight, members of the Muslim community around the city
have clubbed together to help thousands of their compatriots some 1,200
central Mozambique, Cyclone Idai has left a scene of carnage rarely witnessed
before in the southern hemisphere. More than 450 people have been killed,
hundreds of thousands lie in displacement camps and officials have confirmed
the first cases of cholera as fears rise that a new disaster is about to
unfold. In Sofala Province, the area worst affected, the city of Beira is 90
per cent destroyed and the town of Buzi lies underwater.
has spread around Maputo through chatter, WhatsApp and Facebook that there is a
group of Muslim men coordinating a significant relief effort for victims of
Salim, a 24-year-old of Pakistani descent who works in his father Mohammad’s
utilities shop, says they have already given some of their goods to the aid
drive, pointing in the direction of the group’s centre, calling them the
“Communidad Musulmana” - Portuguese for Muslim community.
10-minute drive away from the Jumma Mosque, the coalition of Muslim men, who
call themselves “the Muslim movement to support the victims of Cyclone Idai”,
host a meeting of about ten people at their community centre to plan for the
organisations have grouped under one umbrella to join forces and help Beira to
defend itself from the aftermath of Idai. In this coalition, there are around
70 staff members in Maputo and a wider network of up to 400 volunteers in Beira
that will help its delegations to deliver aid in the country's fourth city.
the day the men meet, a ship is leaving Maputo port for Beira, loaded with 400
tonnes of goods in 14 large containers, sent by the movement after their
campaign raised funds to the tune of $300,000 (Dh1.1mn).
get the deliveries to the ship, the men have hired trucks, while some locals
have offered transport for free. All of their plans are being coordinated with
the Mozambican government and the local authorities in Beira, meaning the
efforts of this Muslim movement are being endorsed at the highest levels of
men began with a press release, then took to social media and started to
contact companies as part of what they say was an “aggressive” campaign.
response was very, very good,” says Farook Jassat, the 60-year-old spokesman of
have people who donate two, three dollars and we accept because that is their
intention and that is their willing power, so we don’t refuse. For everything
coming in, we want the spirit to be there, and it is there.”
aid delivered to Beira included foodstuffs such as rice, water treatment,
corrugated sheets for damaged roofs, and mosquito nets because of the
increasing threat of malaria as the floodwaters begin to stagnate.
will give to all the population without discrimination,” the spokesman says.
estimates vary wildly, at least a fifth of Mozambique’s population is Muslim.
Mr Jassat says the community has a strength grounded in its religion, one that
promotes giving to others. “Help one and help a nation, that is our philosophy,
that is our principle,” he explains.
movement’s next aim is to reach 500 tonnes of goods. They hope the road from
Maputo to Beira will be cleared soon so they can dispatch aid at a quicker
rate. The movement has been frustrated by the inability to contact people
inside Beira, too, with the city sitting in virtual darkness at night because
of the lack of power after the cyclone hit.
impressive is that the men who sit around the movement’s office have given up
their day jobs to assist the aid mission. “We are all business people, some
work in companies but we have all given up this to allocate our time to this
need,” Mr Jassat says. For those who don’t own their own companies, their
bosses have been flexible and “most of them have accepted” their time off to
what is driving them to drop their daily lives in the untouched calm of Maputo
to help thousands of people so far away?
are Mozambicans and we are Muslims, so our duty is to help and do whatever is
possible,” he says as his fellow movement members nod in approval. “We are here
in Mozambique and we have to help our own nation.”
the urgency to help Beira’s needy is immediate, there are concerns that aid
agencies will forget about Mozambique and leave when the next disaster arrives.
But both the movement and the deputy of Jumma Mosque say they will not abandon
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