Elections Highlight the Rise of Political Islam
Veterans Keep Pakistan Churches Safe during Easter
Arabia Torturing Detained Rohingya Muslims On Hunger Strike: Report
of Internet Hate Crimes Target Muslims in Sweden
Says Over 200 Killed In Fighting Over Libyan Capital
Pakistani Soldier or Civilian Died In Balakot Air Strike’: Indian External
Taliban Militants Killed In Special Forces Raids and Airstrikes
Exists Outside Of Kelantan Too, Lawyer Tells PAS
inquiry probes trafficking camps, migrant graves
leader points to reelection victory as rival rejects results
People, Including Nine Navy Men, Shot Dead In Balochistan
body concerned over violence against Hazaras; calls it a constitutional
hopes India will reconvene meeting on Kartarpur
summons records of NAB cases in which Zardari was acquitted
likely to hamper standing committees if Hamza denied PAC post
Destroyed By Terrorism’ Exhibition Opens At National Museum in Riyadh
Al-Sham Ruins Key Bridge in Hama to Prevent Syrian Army's Advance
shelling kills seven in Syria’s Idlib
chides EU for refusing to take back its members of Daesh
warns of false flag chemical attack in Syria's Idlib
FM lodges complaint against Saudi online newspaper over fake news
denials, Israeli delegation attends Bahrain conference: Report
Frees Frenchman Who Entered Syria to 'Support Yazidis'
defense chief speaks with French counterpart
Converge On Sudan Defence Ministry Sit-In to Demand Civilian Rule
envoy warns of ‘widening conflagration’ amid Haftar's push to seize Tripoli
US, Russia say cannot support a UN call for Libya truce
prime minister steps down as anger mounts over massacre
forces lose strategic airport: Tripoli gov't
Chief Electoral Officer for Action against BJP State Chief for Anti-Islam
passes in celebrations and silence in Bangladesh
Taliban leader Mullah Azizullah arrested in Farah province
Rahmon discuss situation in Central Asia, threats emerging from Afghanistan
bomber blown up by own explosives in Faryab province
slams Western media outlets over negative coverage of Turkish economy
forces shoot, critically injure Palestinian student in West Bank
freezes assets of senior Houthi militia leaders
settler runs over, kills female Palestinian teacher in occupied West Bank
Envoy ‘Disappointed’ By Collapse Of Inter-Afghan Peace Meeting
man arrested after anti-Muslim rant in Texas store
says supports transition in Sudan led by civilians
spoke with Abu Dhabi crown prince on Thursday: White House
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Elections Highlight The Rise Of Political Islam
popular President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) appears to have won a second five-year
term in office this week. But in a sign of the growing role of political Islam
in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia’s next vice president
will be the conservative cleric Ma’ruf Amin.
legislative election results show that Islamist parties have secured a similar
share of the vote as the last election, defying predictions that they would
re-election averts what would have been a worse outcome for Indonesia’s young
democracy, a victory for Prabowo Subianto, a former army general who had
promised to welcome back home the leader of an extremist group calling for
Sharia law from his self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.
the Jokowi-Amin ticket highlights a trend of Islamisation of politics in which
mainstream politicians increasingly wear their religions on their sleeves and
seek to promote Islamic goals, taking some of the oxygen away from explicitly
vice president, Amin is likely to focus on increasing support for Muslim social
groups and Islamic schools and mosques, as well as on accelerating the
development of Islamic finance.
politics has long been a feature of Indonesia’s political landscape, most
notably during the anti-ethnic Chinese riots of the late 1990s.
its focus has largely shifted to religion from race following decades of
funding for conservative schools provided by Saudi Arabia and the efforts of
domestic Islamic groups to tap into growing concerns over inequality.
the situation in Indonesia has parallels to identity-based populism elsewhere
in the world but with a distinctive religious dimension.
Indonesians are overwhelmingly Muslims and vice versa, but the change in how
people identify themselves is changing the country’s secular democracy. While
its young institutions are not under severe threat, they have been weakened by
the Islamization of politics, as well as by some backward steps in the
policies and dynamics are also affected. According to the Pew Research Center,
93 percent of Indonesians believe religion plays a very important role in their
lives, one of the highest levels in the world.
Muslim women in Indonesia feel more social pressure to wear the jilbab than in
the past, though some claim it is more of a fashion trend. LGBT rights have
come under greater threat.
Muslim populism also feeds economic nationalism and shapes the environment for
business and investment in other ways, most notably through the upcoming
implementation of a 2014 law that requires mandatory halal labeling for many
focus of government spending is also affected — both in terms of increased
public funding for religious causes, as well as through greater political
emphasis on tackling the inequality concerns that feed identity politics. This
has made improving health care, in particular, a priority for Jokowi.
addition to the efforts to promote a greater role for Islam in the political
process, there have been instances of whipping up Muslim sentiment in order to
achieve political (not religious) goals, such as during the divisive Jakarta
gubernatorial election of 2017.
Chinese and Christian Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was voted out of office
and then charged with blasphemy by his political opponents following mass
demonstrations led by hardline Islamists.
was one the leading clerics calling for action against Ahok, which should make
him an effective shield for Jokowi against identity politics-driven attacks.
the trend of the Islamization of politics is likely to recede only if
authorities succeed in tackling the underlying inequality that feeds identity
politics, and if Saudi Arabia adopts a different approach to promoting religion
overseas under a new leadership. Neither is likely to occur in the near term.
veterans keep Pakistan churches safe during Easter
extremists in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have effectively declared war on
Easter, but retired Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is ready for battle as he
oversees security operations for 36 churches.
churches belong to different denominations and are spread across Pakistan in
its key cities.
a devout Catholic, works in concert with state security personnel to provide
free security for parishioners at this sensitive time via the Veterans of
Pakistan (VOP), an organization of retired armed services personnel who run
private security companies.
initiative came into being following an attack in 2013 on a 130-year-old church
in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Paktunkhwa province.
least 85 people were killed and more than 140 wounded when two suicide bombers
blew themselves up at the historic church immediately after Sunday service in
what has been described as one of the deadliest attacks on the beleaguered
religious minority in Pakistan.
are a bigger target for terrorists than Hindus. Religious terrorist groups
receive financial support from neighboring India, which, being a Hindu-majority
country, tends to spare temples in Pakistan," said Sharaf, 64.
are paying a high price to fight them," added the devout Catholic, who
served in Pakistan's army for 33 years.
the VOP's main media liaison officer, also designed the standard operating
procedure for any staff who are deployed on Sundays and religious feasts.
works with local police to help organize the provision of vehicles, guards,
commandos and snipers at various churches for the safety of parishioners.
major clients are banks, which are closed on Sundays," Sharaf said.
"However, VOP staff are on duty at churches despite this usually being
their day off. This is our commitment to the well-being of our community.
Despite that, we still make sure we have sufficient manpower available to cover
Sunday Mass at scores of major churches."
costs the group about 2 lakh (US$1,400) a month to protect the churches.
recognition of his efforts for the country, Sharaf won the Sitara-i-Imtiaz
(Star of Excellence) award in 2005.
said one of the biggest challenges his network faces nowadays in safeguarding
Christians across the country is a lack of cooperation from bishops.
original plan was to guard 100 churches but most of them chose not to accept
our offer. Many bishops didn't [take the security threat] seriously. They
didn't even reply to my emails," he said.
authorities have yet to [officially] acknowledge us. They never so much as
offer tea to our staff, or even provide a simple courtesy like preparing dinner
for our (VOP) executives.
bishop even tried to blame our team [for bringing stolen weapons inside a
cathedral] after VOP guards recovered a pistol from someone who was living on
the church premises."
in Pakistan have been on high alert over Easter, Christmas and New Year ever
since a suicide bombing in 2016 struck Lahore's crowded Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park
that Easter. The attack yielded 72 casualties, mostly women and children.
country's security and intelligence agencies foiled another major terrorist attack
planned for Easter the following year in the same city when they captured
Noreen Leghari, a sophomore medical student in Hyderabad, during a military
raid on an Islamic State cell in Lahore on April 15.
few days later, the military released a video clip during which the 19-year-old
confessed she had agreed to blow herself up at a church in Lahore this Easter
as Islamic State continues its bloody campaign to persecute Christians.
her sudden release left Pakistan's Christian community shocked.
planned attacks of this nature are not isolated.
2018, four members of a Catholic family were killed in a militant attack in
Quetta, the capital of restive Balochistan province, a day after the minority
community celebrated Easter.
20 people died, including eight Shia Hazaras, while 48 people were injured when
a powerful bomb ripped through a vegetable market on April 12.
State claimed responsibility for the blast and released a photograph of the
bomber along with his name, saying the attack targeted Shia Muslims.
same evening, two people were killed and at least 10 injured in a motorcycle
bomb blast in Chaman, 97 kilometers northwest of Quetta.
Karachi Archdiocese, some churches have already issued identity cards and car
stickers to community members as part of increased security measures for Good
Friday and Easter.
Pakistan Churches Security Council (PCSC), a body of Christian activists tasked
with protecting churches by making them more self-reliant, has chalked up a
plan to form a community-based security force with the assistance of local
PCSC has been training volunteers from each neighborhood at a church level
Lahore, parishioners have been asked to cooperate with church security teams. A
team of 12 young volunteers, trained by local police in combat skills, has been
deployed to check on worshippers at the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Lahore.
home to most of Pakistan's Christians, has over 2,000 churches.
Quetta, Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, the apostolic vicariate of
Balochistan province, has built barracks for about 30 Frontier Corps personnel
to be stationed as church guards.
army has been providing round-the-clock security at the church, where nine
people died after armed militants and suicide bombers stormed the building in
Balochistan is Pakistan's largest province. Islamist militants and separatists
have ramped up their attacks on Christians, Shia Hazaras and security forces in
who also serves as a member of a core committee of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
government, said the government is not discriminatory and supports moves to
guard all religions.
army protects places of worship for religious minorities that are designated as
military areas," he said.
system does not work against us. Prime Minister Imran Khan does not
discriminate on the basis of religion. More mosques and shrines have been
attacked in our country than churches."
Joseph Arshad of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Diocese in Pakistan's Northern Province
said he appreciated the efforts of the VOP.
risks are always the biggest challenge when it comes to big religious
events," he said.
are encouraged by the fact the VOP is a joint venture by one Catholic and three
Muslim officers. This kind of collaborative care and protection is priceless.
Respecting and safeguarding Pakistan's religious minorities means we are
protecting our country herself."
Arabia torturing detained Rohingya Muslims on hunger strike: Report
Arabia is torturing hundreds of Rohingya detainees to force them to end a
hunger strike they have staged to oppose their indefinite detention or
potential deportation from the Persian Gulf Arab kingdom, a report says.
to a report by the Middle East Eye on Wednesday, some 650 male members of the
Rohingya Muslim minority began a hunger strike in the Shumaisi detention center
in the western Saudi port city of Jeddah on Saturday, the third such strike in
of them have been in detention without trial or charge since 2012, with some of
them having developed mental health conditions due to their prolonged
authorities accuse most of the Rohingya people of having provided fake
documentation in a bid to enter the Arab country for work and also to flee the
harsh conditions they faced back in Myanmar, their country of origin.
has for decades refused to offer the Rohingya passports. Many of the Rohingya
locked up in the Shumaisi detention center entered Saudi Arabia with
Bangladeshi passports, while others came with documents from different South
Asian countries, including Bhutan, India, Pakistan, and Nepal.
are trying to make it as difficult as possible’
authorities reportedly intend to deport the Rohingya detainees to those
countries, even if they have never been there before. It was not clear whether
the countries would take them, and what conditions await the Rohingya if they
prison authorities have taken away all the blankets and bedding from the center
since Monday and begun “mentally torturing” the detainees, they told the Middle
East Eye through phones reportedly smuggled into the center.
air conditioning is on 24/7, and now they have taken away our pillows and bed
sheets,” said one of them, adding, “We are sitting on our metal bed frames
feeling light-headed and weak from not eating.”
are trying to make things as uncomfortable as possible to stop,” he added.
posted online by activists purportedly showed bare bed frames at Shumaisi,
corroborating the accounts made to the Middle East Eye.
report also said other detainees were forced to stay in “hot rooms,” where they
were told by Saudi security officers that they would be taken out if they ended
their hunger strike.
have put us in a room that is just so hot and telling us to end our hunger
strike,” said another detainee, adding, “I don’t know how long we can last. It
is unbearably hot, but we have no other choice.”
detainees want to be freed from detention and also not to be deported. Nay San
Lwin, a Rohingya activist with the Free Rohingya Coalition, strongly called on
Riyadh to release the detainees.
is the third time that 650 Rohingya detainees have gone on hunger strike to
demand their freedom,” he said.
to Lwin, Saudi Arabia has hosted more than 300,000 Rohingya refugees for
decades, but none of these refugees have come with Myanmarese passports
“because citizenship was taken away from the Rohingya in 1982.”
UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has already expressed its deep concerns regarding the
living condition of detained Rohingyas in Saudi Arabia.
home in Myanmar, the Rohingya faced horrific state-sponsored violence.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or
raped by Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and
August 2017, when many of the surviving members of the community started
fleeing to Bangladesh en masse.
Rohingya, who have lived in Myanmar for generations, are denied citizenship and
are branded illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which likewise denies them
citizenship but which has granted them refuge on humanitarian grounds.
of internet hate crimes target Muslims in Sweden
of the hate crimes in the internet were committed against Muslims in Sweden in
2017-2018, according to the head of online hate speech monitoring group.
at Online Hate Speech Monitor Tomas Aberg said police reports showed rates of
hate crimes committed over the internet doubling during this period, and
tripling in northern cities.
percent of these crimes are committed against Muslims, 22% against asylum
seekers and 21% against African descents," he said on Swedish state TV
channel SVT .
number of such crimes has increased in recent years amid greater use of social
media, Aberg said, adding that these crimes posed a threat to democracy.
noted that hate crimes were generally committed by people over the age of 50,
saying that 83% of the perpetrators were men, while 17% were women.
said 459 people received various sentences for hate crimes last year.
says over 200 killed in fighting over Libyan capital
fighting between Libya’s rival factions for control of the country’s capital
this month killed 205 people so far, the World Health Organization said,
announcing it would deploy medical specialists, including surgeons, to treat
spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that “the number of civilian casualties, and
attacks on civilian property and infrastructure, are worryingly on the rise.”
clashes, which erupted earlier in April, have threatened to ignite a civil war
on the scale of the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi.
fighting has also forced the UN to indefinitely postpone reconciliation talks
planned for mid-April that were meant to try to find a way to pull Libya out of
the chaos that followed Gaddafi’s ouster.
said on Wednesday it would send medical staff to treat the wounded, whose
number has reached 913. It wasn’t clear how many among the dead are civilians.
over Tripoli is pitting the self-styled Libyan National Army based in the
country’s east, which is led by commander Khalifa Haftar, against Tripoli’s
UN says that more than 25,000 people have been displaced in the clashes.
Pakistani soldier or civilian died in the air strike on a terror camp at
Balakot in Pakistan in February, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said
women BJP workers here, she said Indian military was given a “free hand” in the
operation but was clearly told that no Pakistani civilian should be killed and
also there be “not even a scratch” on the Pakistani army.
armed forces were told to target only Jaish-e- Mohammed which was behind the
Pulwama terror attack and they did just that - destroyed their camp and
returned,” the senior BJP leader said.
IAF had struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror training camp in Pakistan on February
26, in response to the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel
said the air strike was carried out in self- defence. “When we carried out the
air strike, we had told the international community that we took the step only
in self- defence,” she said.
said the entire international community supported India over the air strike.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Swaraj said he has emerged as a top international
leader who sets the agenda for the world.
the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, Swaraj said the then Congress-led UPA government
had failed to take along other countries to isolate Pakistan despite the fact
that 40 persons belonging to 14 countries were also killed in the strike.
had objected to the invitation extended to India for a meet of the Organisation
of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abu Dhabi last month, but the host county UAE
snubbed Islamabad, she said.
Taliban militants killed in Special Forces raids and airstrikes
least 24 Taliban militants were killed during the operations of the Afghan
Special Forces and airstrikes which were conducted in various provinces of the
country in the past 24 hours.
to informed military sources, one Taliban fighter was killed and three others
were wounded during an operation of the Special Forces in Nahr-e-Saraj district
Afghan Special Forces conducted a similar operation in Uruzgan province and
destroyed 5 complete IEDs and 10 IED
least 5 Taliban fighters were killed during the Special Forces operations in
Ghazni province, the sources said, adding that the Afghan Special Forces
conducted a raid in northern Parwan province during the same period and
confiscated a small weapons cache.
sources also added that the Afghan Special Forces conducted a clearance
operation near Farah City and arrested 8 Taliban fighters while airstrikes were
also carried out in the province which left 10 militants dead.
Afghan Special Forces conducted an operation in Balkh province and detained 2
Taliban fighters, the sources said.
exists outside of Kelantan too, lawyer tells PAS
LUMPUR, April 19 — Hitting back at those who have criticised her outspoken
views on wearing the hijab, lawyer Latheefa Koya said that they should learn
how Islam is practiced all over the world — and not just in Kelantan.
Lawyers for Liberty executive director said that their understanding of the
hijab is not accurate and they should refrain from making comments on others.
those who have a narrow view on the meaning of the hijab and intimate parts,
please come out of your bubble and learn how Islam is being practiced all over
the world. Islam does not just exist in Kelantan.
understanding of the hijab is not necessarily right. Don’t be arrogant in
telling someone to repent without basis,” she said on her Twitter last night.
was believed to be replying to PAS Youth deputy chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari who
has said her views were dangerous and unbecoming of a Muslim woman.
said it was their narrow mindedness and extremist thinking that has caused Islamophobia.
suggest politicians who have all this while used Islam for their political gain
to repent first.
is your narrow and extremist behaviour that has caused Islam a bad name,” she
said in another Tweet.
had recently come to the defence of three women panellists who are being probed
by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) for their part in a forum
about dehijabing and said it takes more than a piece of cloth on the head to
reflect good behaviour.
said that forcefully imposing the hijab on women was not the way of Islam and
that women should have a choice whether to wear it or not.
Malaysian inquiry into the 2015 discovery of suspected human-trafficking camps
and graves in the jungle heard Thursday police found one of the sites months
before authorities publicly revealed their existence.
public inquiry, which began this week, is examining the conduct of law
enforcement agencies with regard to the discovery of almost 150 graves and
dozens of camps near the Thai border.
authorities announced in May 2015 they had uncovered the sites in the north of
the country, about a month after neighbouring Thailand said it had found bodies
of Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshis at a makeshift camp over the border.
discovery prompted Thai authorities to crack down on traditional sea routes for
illegal migrants coming to the country, triggering a crisis as people-smugglers
dumped hundreds of refugees off the coasts of other countries and fled.
Thursday the Malaysian inquiry heard from M. Joeking, a senior police official
charged with guarding the border in part of northern Malaysian, who said
authorities found a camp in January 2015.
hearing from a colleague about the camp in the jungle, he sent officers to raid
the site in northern Perlis state where they discovered wooden cages and
lookout posts, as well as graves and a stretcher to carry dead bodies.
testimony confirmed long-held suspicions that authorities knew about the camps
-- where Rohingya and Bangladeshis were held in appalling conditions after
arriving by sea -- for months before going public.
Ismail, one of the officials overseeing the inquiry, suggested the raid was a
failure as many migrants fled and police rescued only 38 of them.
Joeking responded: "We managed to save 38 people.... We saved lives and
halted the operations of a syndicate."
establishment of the inquiry was announced in January, several months after a
corruption-plagued regime was ejected from power by a reformist alliance.
Indonesia’s Joko Widodo said Thursday his reelection as head of the world’s
third-biggest democracy was all but assured, calling for calm as his firebrand
ex-general rival insisted he had in fact won the nation’s top job.
57, said he had received phone calls from world leaders to congratulate him on
his country’s biggest-ever election, but added he would await the final results
before formally declaring victory.
cited a series of so-called “quick counts” by pollsters, which are based on
samples, that showed him as much as 11% points ahead of Prabowo Subianto.
counts have been reliable indicators in past elections.
“we still have to wait for the numbers from the KPU (General Elections
Commission)”, Widodo told a crush of reporters.
continue to work and maintain our unity and harmony as a nation,” he added.
Subianto insisted that he and running mate Sandiaga Uno, a wealthy financier,
had prevailed, citing voter fraud but without supplying concrete evidence.
Uno and I are declaring victory as the president and vice president,” he told cheering
supporters in Jakarta, ending his speech with shouts of “Allahu Akbar” (God is
Greatest)” and “Merdeka” (freedom).
retired general – who had close ties to the Suharto dictatorship, which
collapsed in 1998 – earlier warned he would challenge the results in court if
he lost, and stage street protests.
supporters of Subianto called for a march near Jakarta’s biggest mosque after
prayers on Friday, Islam’s holy day.
67-year-old, who has long had his eye on the country’s top job, lost to Widodo
in 2014 and then mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to that election.
competing claims came as authorities warned against unrest over Wednesday’s
“smooth and safe” polls, and warned of arrests.
there are any illegal or unconstitutional actions that threaten public
stability and security, (authorities) will take firm action,” National Police
Chief Tito Karnavian said Thursday.
won’t tolerate it.
urge everyone against mass demonstrations, whether it’s to celebrate or to
express dissatisfaction” at the results, Karnavian added.
year’s campaign was punctuated by bitter mudslinging and a slew of fake news
online – much of it directed at the presidential contenders.
said Thursday they had seen a spike in false reports and hoaxes, with some
calling for chaos in the streets and for Indonesians to commit violence in
response to the results.
the capital Jakarta was quiet Thursday after as many as 190 million voters in
the Muslim-majority country cast ballots in the one-day poll – which featured a
record 245,000 candidates –to elect a new president, parliamentarians and local
Subianto was pilloried by social media users who poked fun at his repudiation
of the unofficial results and for kissing the ground as he declared himself
honestly feel sorry for Prabowo, not because he’s lost the election (again) but
because he is surrounded by people who made him a zombie who can’t
differentiate between reality and illusion,” said one Twitter user with 165,000
newspapers called for reconciliation, with top-selling Kompas saying “Let’s
Unite”, while Tempo declared it “One More Time” for Widodo.
At least 14 people were killed in an ambush on several buses travelling between
Karachi and Gwadar in the remote Ormara area of Balochistan province on
to reports, the unidentified assailants intercepted the buses in Buzi Top area
on the Coastal Highway around midnight and offloaded 16 of the three dozen
people, after checking their identity cards.
attack took place as the bus was travelling on the Makran coastal highway
between the port city of Karachi and the Gwadar port in the southwest, local
official Jehangir Dashti told The Associated Press.
said the passengers targeted in the attack were killed after the assailants
checked their identity cards but he could not confirm if all the slain were
travellers were removed from the buses and taken to a second location, where
they were shot dead, early on Thursday morning, said Balochistan Information
Minister Zahoor Buledi.
identified non-Baloch by checking their identity cards and employee cards,”
said Buledi. “They took them to the nearby mountains and shot them dead after
tying their hands.”
of gunmen” were involved in the attack and fled the scene afterward, Dashti
this tragic incident, 14 passengers were forced off the bus, they were lined up
in a nearby open area and killed by the terrorists,” he said.
Pakistani Navy said its sailors and officers who were travelling to work were
also among the slain men. One was a member of the country’s coast guard.
officials told AP, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not
authorised to talk to the media, nine employees of the Navy were among the
bodies were shifted to Ormara Hospital for medico-legal formalities.
forces from the nearby town of Buzi Top were dispatched and had reached the
area, about 600 kilometers (375 miles) from the provincial capital, Quetta, he
Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), an alliance of armed ethnic Baloch separatist
groups, claimed responsibility for the attack in an emailed statement released
who were targeted carried [identification] cards of the Pakistan Navy and Coast
Guards, and they were only killed after they were identified,” said Baloch
Khan, a BRAS spokesperson.
Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar (BRAS), an alliance of three Balochi separatist
organisations, including the Baloch Liberation Army, Balochistan Liberation
Front and Baloch Republican Guard.
Buledi told AlJazeera that the government could not immediately confirm whether
those killed were members of the security forces.
Minister Zia Langove told AFP that a full-scale investigation had been launched
into the attack and to track down the gunmen, who had fled the scene.
incidents are intolerable and we will not spare the terrorists who carried out
this dastardly attack,” he said.
Minister Imran Khan strongly condemned the dastardly act of terrorism took
place in Buzi Top area of Balochistan at Makran Coastal Highway targeting
prime minister sought solicited report into the incident, a PM Office statement
directed the authorities concerned to make every possible effort to identify
and bring the perpetrators of the barbaric act to justice.
prime minister also expressed his sympathies with the bereaved families of the victims.
People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the
incident and said that the government has failed to control the terrorists from
executing their terror bids across the country.
his statement, Bilawal slashed the PTI government and said that the terror
attack once again claimed lives of innocents inside Balochistan’s territory.
demanded the government to bring the masterminds behind these terror attack
under the grip of the law.
of National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights, on Thursday, expressed
concern over the recent violations of human rights including police brutality
in Karachi as well as terrorist attacks on Hazara Community in Quetta and on
the paramilitary personnel on Makran Coastal Highway.
committee took cognizance and expressed their apprehension over the persecution
against a journalist, Shahzaib Jillani, by the law enforcement agencies.
tagged these incidents as a violation of fundamental rights, protected under
the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Bhutto Zardari chaired the meeting held in parliament house.
Committee started with the recitation from the Holy Quran and offered Fateha
for the victims and martyrs of the recent terrorist attacks in Quetta and
Rights Ministry appraised the committee about its working and performance, with
a particular focus on its proactive approach; dealing with the review of the
existing legislative framework; compliance of international obligations by harmonising
domestic laws and coordination with the provincial governments.
ministry also briefed regarding its initiative of Benazir Shelter Home in
Islamabad while talking about its problems regarding resources and funds
available to outreach the victims of human rights violation.
Committee undertook discussion and decided to defer ” The ICT Rights of Persons
with Disability Bill, 2018? moved by the ministry and ” The National Commission
on the Status of Women (Amendment) Bill, 2018? moved by a member of National
Assembly, Aliya Kamran, till its next meeting for further deliberations. Former
senator, Farhatullah Babar, was also recommended to be requested to attend the
meetings as a special invitee.
The Foreign Office on Thursday expressed the hope that India would agree to
reconvene a meeting of the two countries on Kartarpur corridor agreement so
that an accord could be finalised at the earliest.
are keen to hold the meeting to finalise the draft agreement at the earliest …
We hope India will agree to hold a meeting, at the earliest,” FO spokesman Dr
Muhammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing.
had forced the postponement of the last meeting on Kartarpur agreement
scheduled for April 2 at Wagah by refusing to attend the second round of talks
on the pretext of its reservations over the appointment of `controversial’
figures in Kartarpur committee by Pakistan and differences on logistical
elements of the agreement.
had then said that the talks could be scheduled again “at an appropriate time
after receiving Pakistan’s response”.
the first round of talks held at Attari, India had demanded that the minimum
number of pilgrims crossing the corridor to visit the shrine in Pakistan be
raised to 5,000 and on special days like Gurpurab and Baisakhi 10,000 pilgrims
should be allowed. Moreover, Indians wanted the corridor to remain open
throughout the year without any closed days. It was also demanded by the Indian
side that pilgrims intending to visit the shrine on foot should also be allowed
to do so and there should not be any documentation requirements for the
had then regretted Indian decision saying New Delhi did not wait for its
(Pakistani) response and that it (Pakistan) had been trying to find consensus
on the issue.
Faisal told the media briefing that the next meeting, whenever held, would
specifically “discuss differences related to proposals of both countries for
operationalising the corridor and to align positions to build convergence”.
corridor, which would provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to
Kartarpur Gurdwara, is planned to become operational in November on the
occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Evacuee Trust Board of Pakistan, the spokesman said, was launching a special
coin and postal stamp to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru
reply to a question about the latest round of technical level talks on
Kartarpur Corridor held on April 16, to which Pakistan had agreed despite the
negotiations on the agreement having been put in limbo by India, Dr Faisal said
Pakistan agreed to the talks out of its commitment to operationalise the
talks were conducted in a cordial environment and they had focused on various
technical issues including hydrology. Both sides agreed to share the technical
design/parameters for passage of flood water at the earliest,” he said.
on the Quetta Hazarganji attack and the killing of bus passengers on the Makran
Coastal Highway in Ormara, Balochistan, the spokesman pointed to the arrest of
Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav from the province suggesting that foreign
involvement could not be ruled out.
into the tragic incidents are under way and we are closely monitoring the
situation. If we find any involvement from the Indian side, we will definitely
raise the issue with India and take appropriate measures,” he said.
Faisal asserted that if the foreign involvement was found, Pakistan “will
expose it vociferously, as it has done in the past, and take appropriate counter
measures as well”.
spokesman feared that increased hostilities in Afghanistan could undermine the
progress made towards the peace and reconciliation process.
was responding to a question about the spring offensive announced by the
Taliban, while at the same time holding talks with the US and moving towards
the intra-Afghan dialogue.
the direct talks between the US and Taliban began, chances of peace in
Afghanistan have become brighter. Pakistan believes that all sides must give
peace a chance and continue the dialogue, which is the only way to bring peace
and stability in Afghanistan,” the spokesman further said.
the upcoming intra-Afghan meeting in Doha from April 19 -21, he said: “We hope
that the intra-Afghan dialogue will lead to peace in Afghanistan.”
described the meeting as “a positive development” and expressed the hope that
these talks would lead to durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday summoned records relating to trial
proceedings in the ARY Gold and Ursus Tractors references of the National
Accountability Bureau (NAB) against former president Asif Ali Zardari.
IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul
Hassan Aurangzeb took up the identical appeals filed by NAB against the acquittal
of Mr Zardari in the two references.
the outset of the proceedings, NAB’s additional prosecutor general Jahanzeb
Bharwana informed the court that despite its earlier order of April 21, 2016,
which had summoned the records from the accountability court, the registrar’s
office had not obtained them yet.
have checked from the relevant branch of the IHC, but the records have yet to
be procured,” he said,
Minallah asked him to inform the court of the allegations and explain why NAB
had challenged the acquittal.
Bharwana replied that the case against Mr Zardari was registered by the Ehtesab
Commission and after promulgation of the National Accountability Ordinance in
1999 it was transferred to the Ehtesab Bench of the accountability court.
said that in 2007 the then government introduced the National Reconciliation
Ordinance (NRO) and NAB withdrew the cases from the accountability courts. But
in 2009 the Supreme Court declared the NRO as void ab initio and the cases were
the time, Mr Zardari was holding the office of president of Pakistan and was
enjoying presidential immunity; therefore the accountability court proceeded
against the other accused in the ARY and Ursus references and acquitted them.
After Mr Zardari completed his term as president, NAB proceeded against him as
2011, the trial court acquitted former commerce secretary retired Brigadier
Aslam Hayat Qureshi, then principal secretary to the president Salman Farooqi,
ARY Gold company’s owner Haji Abdul Razzaq, Haji Abdul Rauf and Jan Mohammad
but issued permanent arrest warrants for former federal finance secretary Javed
Talat and director of Swiss company SGS Jens Schlegelmich in the ARY Gold
this reference, the late Benazir Bhutto was the main accused along with Mr
Zardari but her name was quashed after her assassination on December 27, 2007.
to the reference, then prime minister Bhutto, Mr Zardari, retired Brigadier
Qureshi and Mr Farooqi allegedly allowed the owner of ARY Gold, Haji Abdul
Razzaq, to import gold and silver without duties between 1995 and 1997,
inflicting hefty loss to the national exchequer.
the 2013 general elections, Mr Zardari was tried in these references and was
acquitted in the subsequent year.
Ursus Tractors reference pertained to alleged misappropriation in the purchase
of 5,900 Russian and Polish tractors, at a cost of Rs150,000 each, for the
Awami Tractor Scheme. Mr Zardari was one of the main accused along with Ms
Bhutto; however, her name was later removed from the reference.
court acquitted the co-accused in the case, Nawab Yousuf Talpur, a former
agriculture minister who is currently a Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker.
tractors purchase deal allegedly caused a loss of Rs268.3 million to the
Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan and Rs1.67 billion to the State Bank
As the Punjab government sticks to its plan of not appointing Leader of the
Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz the Public Accounts Committee
chairman, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to hamper the
working of the standing committees.
PML-N is wary of possible arrest of Mr Hamza by the National Accountability
Bureau (NAB) if the Lahore High Court does not extend his pre-arrest bail on
April 25 in cases related to money laundering and assets beyond means, Ramazan
Sugar Mills, Punjab Saaf Pani Company.
case Mr Hamza is made the PAC chairman he can stay out of NAB custody (if
arrested) like his father, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz
Sharif, did by holding the (PAC) meetings. Otherwise, Mr Hamza will be at the
mercy of Speaker Pervaiz Elahi’s production order.
PML-N is mulling various options, including resigning from the standing
committees of the Punjab Assembly to pressurise the provincial government and
holding demonstrations outside the offices of the chief minister and law
Minister Basharat Raja had given his word to us to make the opposition leader
PAC chairman. But after Prime Minister Imran Khan asked Chief Minister Usman
Buzdar not to do so, the Punjab government backtracked,” Punjab PML-N spokesman
MPA Malik Mohammad Ahmed told Dawn on Thursday.
have decided to use all available options, including resignations from standing
committees and holding sit-ins outside the chief minister and law minister
offices to press the government to accept our just demand,” he said, adding
that in the previous Shahbaz Sharif’s tenure the PML-N had made then opposition
leader PTI’s Mahmoodur Rashid PAC chairman.
the PTI government should follow the tradition,” he demanded.
the first phase, Mr Ahmed said, the PML-N lawmakers in the Punjab Assembly and
NA would not let the standing committees function.
will not let the Punjab government set an uncalled-for precedent in order to
please PM Khan,” he said and added that the Pakistan Peoples Party had also
asked the government to hand over the PAC chairmanship to the opposition
PML-N parliamentary party is holding a meeting on Saturday to finalise its
strategy in this regard,” Mr Ahmed said.
Minister Basharat Raja could not be contacted for his comment on the issue.
Khan during his visit to Lahore last Sunday had appreciated CM Buzdar for not
making a suspect (Hamza) PAC chairman and also regretted his decision to make
another suspect (Shahbaz Sharif) NA PAC chairman ‘on the advice of someone’.
Destroyed by Terrorism’ exhibition opens at National Museum in Riyadh
A major exhibition using virtual reality technology to recreate historic cities
wrecked by terror groups has opened in the Saudi capital.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi on Wednesday inaugurated the “Cities Destroyed
by Terrorism” expo being staged at the National Museum in Riyadh.
by the Saudi Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Arab World Institute
in Paris, visitors will be taken on virtual tours of cultural and
archaeological sites ruined or under threat of damage by extremist
event’s organizers aim to raise public awareness of the importance of
preserving the Arab region’s heritage and protecting it from potential threats.
who on Wednesday held talks with King Salman on relations between the two
countries, launched the expo – open daily from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. through May
18 - in the presence of officials, ministers, diplomats and intellectuals.
Ministry of Culture has classified “cultural and archaeological sites” and the
preservation of ancient monuments as key areas for future support and
exhibition includes photos, videos and exhibits relating to famous cities such
as Mosul and Nineveh in Iraq, and Aleppo and Palmyra in Syria, all of which
have fallen victim to the forces of extremism and terrorism in recent years.
visual displays and the latest technology, the exhibition seeks to accurately
simulate for visitors what destroyed cities looked like and, in the process,
promote a message of tolerance.
startup Iconem were tasked with mapping the sites. The event’s organizers aim to raise public
awareness of the importance of preserving the Arab region’s heritage and
protecting it from potential threats.
was very dangerous for them, but it was quite important to get the images of
the sites before and after the destruction,” said Aurelie Clemente-Ruiz, the
curator of the exhibit last year.
exhibition is like a memory for this site (Mosul), architecture, heritage of
the entire world. It’s not only (about) the Arab world but it’s really the
heritage for everyone and it’s very important to understand that. It’s part of
our own history that was destroyed in this conflict.”
Mahdi later signed a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between Iraq
and the Kingdom, and briefly joined discussions between his country’s oil
ministry and the Kingdom’s minister of commerce and investment, Dr. Majid bin
Abdullah Al-Qassabi, before leaving Riyadh for an official visit to Jeddah.
sources in Northwestern Hama reported on Wednesday that Tahrir al-Sham
terrorists detonated al-Tuwaineh bridge in Sahl al-Qab which linked the region
to the army-controlled areas.
added that the terrorists are preparing for the Syrian army's possible
operations in Idlib province, noting that they wanted to prevent the army
troops' advance in the region.
sources also said that Tahrir al-Sham is fearful of public support for the
Syrian army and has evacuated the town of Eastern Halban near Ma'arat
al-No'eman and the village of al-Sayadah in the Eastern parts of Jorjanaz
region in contact lines with the Syrian army.
the Syrian army's military operations in the demilitarized zone in Northern
Syria has grown more likely than ever given the militant groups' refusal to
leave the region and their continued attacks against safe zones and army's
a relevant development on Wednesday, the Syrian Army heavily pounded Tahrir
al-Sham terrorists' military positions and movements in Northern Hama and
Southern Idlib, destroying their arms and ammunition depots.
Syrian Army offensives came in response to Tahrir al-Sham's attacks on the
villages of al-Jaydeh, al-Aziziyeh, al-Rasif and al-Karim in Northern and
Damascus Army's missile and artillery units attacked the terrorists' military
positions and movements near the towns of Shar-e Naz, al-Hawiz, al-Shariyeh,
al-Maziq Castle in Northern Hama.
a battlefield source said that during the attacks, several key military
positions of the terrorists, including arms and ammunition caches as well as
their military equipment were destroyed and a number of militants were killed.
shelling killed seven civilians in Syria’s militant-controlled Idlib region on
Thursday, in the latest violence to threaten a seven-month-old truce, a war
fire targeted a village and an adjacent camp for the internally displaced in Idlib’s
southeastern countryside, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for
women and three children were among the seven civilians killed, the monitor
said. Another 30 people were wounded, it said. Russia and Turkey in September
inked a buffer zone deal to prevent a massive regime offensive on the Idlib
region, near the Turkish border.
the region of some three million people has come under increasing bombardment
since former al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham took full control of it in
January. The UN has expressed concern over escalating violence, warning that
the flare-up is threatening aid deliveries to some 2.7 million people in need.
Apr 18, 2019
UN official has called on countries to take responsibility for their nationals,
including thousands of children of Daesh fighters, who are stuck at a camp
controlled by US-backed militants in northeast Syria.
Moumtzis said on Thursday that home nations must take responsibility for
repatriating children of their citizens who fought along the ranks of Daesh and
other terrorist groups.
is a prime responsibility of states vis-a-vis their own nationals,"
Noumtzis, who is the UN regional coordinator for Syria, told a Geneva news
member states have to do all measures possible to make sure the protection, the
prosecution, the repatriation the rehabilitation and the reintegration of these
women and children in compliance with their obligations under international
remarks come as several governments have been grappling with the problem of
what to do with captured fighters from their country, the women who married
them and their children.
plight at the al-Hol camp in northeast Syria is also a dilemma for several
Western nations, whose citizens fought along the ranks of Daesh and other
foreign-backed terrorist groups.
revoked the citizenship of a teenager who left at 15 to join Daesh in Syria,
while Austria and Switzerland have said they will not help bring home adults
who joined Daesh.
Moumtzis said states had a legal responsibility, especially for children, many
of whom were born in Daesh camps.
right to nationality is really very important under the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights," he said, stressing that "really nobody should be
children do have a father and a mother, (who) have a nationality, and therefore
a solution has to be found."
UN official said the situation is further complicated because most states lack
the capacity to offer consular services or access their nationals in the area.
has to be a concerted effort, this is not about blaming or ‘naming and
shaming’, but it’s really about being practical and finding a way forward that
would find a solution.”
to the UN children's agency UNICEF, about 3,000 foreign children from 43
countries are housed at the al-Hol camp alone, which has taken in most of the
people fleeing territories once held by Daesh.
children are among 10,000 non-Syrian and non-Iraqi nationals kept in a
“restricted” section of the sprawling, Kurdish-run camp where 75,000 people
live in total.
latest UN figures show some 211 children were among at least 260 people who
have died of malnutrition or disease en route to the camp since December,
has once again warned that al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists and the Western-backed
White Helmets "aid" group are gearing up for a false flag chemical
attack in Syria's Idlib Province, the last major militant stronghold in the
Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Thursday that
terrorists with the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, better known as al-Nusra Front,
"along with the White Helmets, are preparing for further provocations
aimed at accusing the legitimate government in Syria of using poisonous
located in northwestern Syria, remains the only large area in the hands of
anti-Damascus militants after government forces -- backed by Iran and Russia --
managed to undo militant gains across the country and bring back almost all of
Syrian soil under government control.
90,000 militants are estimated to be holed up in Idlib, which has a population
of some three million.
September, Russia and Turkey, a backer of a number of militant groups in Syria,
inked a buffer zone agreement in Idlib, which put on hold a massive government
liberation operation in the region, situated near the Turkish border.
a few months later, the so-called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham -- a Takfiri militant
alliance dominated by al-Nusra Front terrorists -- swept through towns and
villages in Idlib Province.
has, on numerous occasions, warned of a false flag chemical attack in Idlib,
which would give the US and its allies a pretext to launch a military attack
against Syrian government positions.
views the so-called White Helmets as a branch of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham operating
under the guise of an aid group.
Russia-based Study of Democracy Foundation Maxim Grigoriev submitted a report
to the UN last December, offering evidence of the White Helmets being engaged
in organ trafficking, terrorist logistics support and looting in Syria.
the past years, Western governments and their allies have repeatedly pointed
the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place in the
April 2018, the United States, Britain and France carried out a string of
missile airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical attack against the
Syrian town of Douma.
surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons in 2013 and has constantly
rejected such claims, which have usually surfaced when foreign-backed militants
are about to take stinging blows on the battleground against government forces.
observers say Idlib is where the foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria will come
to an end.
Russia and Turkey -- which have been mediating a diplomatic process on Syria
since early 2017 -- are set to discuss the Idlib deal during a fresh round of
talks on April 25-26 in Kazakhstan.
from Syria and armed opposition groups are also expected to participate,
according to the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has filed a complaint against a Saudi
Arabic-language online newspaper after it falsely claimed that he had held a
clandestine meeting with a high-ranking Israeli official in the Russian capital
city of Moscow.
lodged the complaint with the General Prosecutor's Office on Thursday against
the owner of London-based Elaph news portal, and brought charges of defamation
and slander against the defendant.
report “greatly damaged the reputation of the plaintiff in addition to his
political and social status as it accused him of contacting and communicating
with the Israeli enemy,” the complaint read.
sources at the Lebanese Foreign Ministry have categorically denied the report,
describing it as “fabricated.”
Constantine, a senior communication advisor to the Lebanese foreign minister,
also told Beirut-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network that
“the report of the alleged meeting between Bassil and an Israeli official is
report is aimed at undermining the Lebanese government's position, which
defends national rights and Bassil's efforts to weather (US President Donald)
Trump's decisions. We will begin to take legal actions against the publishers
of the report, who are part of malicious campaigns against Lebanon,”
Constantine pointed out.
late October 2018, Trump’s administration imposed a new round of sanctions on
the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, targeting individuals and
international organizations that do business with the group.
signed the sanctions legislation – known as the Hezbollah International
Financing Prevention Amendments Act 2018 – against the resistance group.
the past year, we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah –
in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing
even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their
funds. And they are starving for them," Trump said during an event in
Washington, DC, that marked the 35th anniversary of an attack on US marine
barracks in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
is not the first time that Lebanon has filed a complaint against measures taken
by US' regional allies to target the country.
last year, Lebanon lodged a complaint with the United Nations against Israel’s
hacking into the country’s telephone network.
Ambassador to the UN Amal Mudallali, in a letter sent to the UN Security
Council, said that Beirut condemned in the strongest possible terms the
political and diplomatic campaign being waged by the Israeli regime.
campaign is being accompanied by a number of extremely serious acts, of which
the most recent is that Israel has breached the Lebanese communications grid by
hacking into the telephone network and sending recorded messages to peaceable
civilian inhabitants of the southern part of the village of Kfar Killa warning
them of imminent explosions to take place on Lebanese territory that might put
their lives at risk,” the letter said.
Iraq frees Frenchman who entered Syria to 'support
April 18, 2019
An Iraqi court said on Thursday it had released a
French national who spent two months in detention after being transferred from
war-ravaged Syria as it found no proof he fought there.
Instead, the Baghdad court said, their
interrogations had found the unnamed Frenchman travelled to Syria "in
support of the Yazidi cause".
In February, the US-led coalition fighting ISIS
handed to Iraqi authorities 13 French nationals caught in ISIS's dwindling
"caliphate" in east Syria.
All 13 were thought to be members of ISIS's feared
contingent of foreign fighters, and Iraqi President Barham Saleh pledged they
would be tried "according to Iraqi law".
But as Iraqi prosecutors began investigating,
"terrorism" cases were only prepared against 12 nationals.
On Thursday, the Karkh Special Investigations Court
for Terrorism Issues in Baghdad announced it "let go one of the 13 accused
French nationals due to a lack of evidence".
After months of investigations, the court said:
"There was no proof of his involvement in any military activities, and his
entry [to Syria] was in support of the Yazidi cause".
During ISIS's rampage across northern Iraq in 2014,
it slaughtered thousands of members of the Yazidi community and seized its
women and girls as sex slaves.
The atrocities prompted the US-led coalition to
begin a military intervention against ISIS in Iraq, which it then expanded into
Syria by backing a Kurdish-led fighting force.
That force, the Syrian Democratic Forces, attracted
hundreds of foreign fighters who wanted to join the fight against ISIS.
The court found that the French national entered
Syria "legally," but did not say which border crossing he used or
what exactly he was doing there.
It also remains unclear why the SDF or the US-led
coalition handed him over to Iraqi authorities along with suspected militants
if he had been supporting Yazidis, which would have put him on the other side
of the front line against ISIS.
With the collapse of ISIS's self-styled
"caliphate" last month, dozens of kidnapped Yazidi women and children
have been freed.
Turkish defense chief speaks with French counterpart
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar spoke by phone
Thursday with his French counterpart Florence Parly, Turkey’s Ministry of
National Defense said in a statement.
They discussed cooperation between their countries’
Akar also expressed his sorrow over the massive fire
Monday at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
The iconic landmark was severely damaged by the fire
before it was extinguished following an eight-and-a-half-hour effort by 500
Protesters Converge On Sudan Defence Ministry Sit-In
to Demand Civilian Rule
18 April 2019
Tens of thousands of people headed to a sit-in
outside Sudan’s defense ministry on Thursday to demand that a transitional
military council hand power to civilians, a witness said.
Protesters chanted “Freedom and revolution are the
choice of the people” and “Civilian rule, civilian rule.”
Every road leading to the protest site was full of
people as throngs of demonstrators converged outside the complex in central
“It’s extremely difficult to move closer to the
protest site as there are hundreds and hundreds of people everywhere on roads
leading to the complex,” a witness said.
The sit-in outside the army headquarters has been
the epicentre of the protests for almost two weeks, but numbers had dwindled
there in the days since Bashir was toppled.
Thursday’s rally was not convened by protest
organizers who campaigned for four months against Bashir’s iron-fisted rule,
but was a result of widespread calls by activists and individual demonstrators
on social media networks.
It comes after an opposition coalition called this
week on the military to establish a civilian-led ruling council with military
representation, as well as a civilian government.
The council has said it is ready to meet some of the
protesters demands, including fighting corruption, but has indicated that it
would not hand over power to them.
The Khartoum sit-in was the culmination of 16 weeks
of protests triggered by a worsening economic crisis in Sudan, leading to the
ouster and arrest of Bashir after three decades in power.
UN envoy warns of ‘widening conflagration’ amid
Haftar's push to seize Tripoli
Apr 18, 2019
The UN envoy to Libya has warned of a “a widening
conflagration” in the North African country amid a Saudi-backed push by
strongman Khalifa Haftar to seize the capital Tripoli.
Ghassan Salame said Thursday international divisions
have emboldened Haftar, the leader of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA),
to launch his offensive to oust the government in Tripoli.
Libya has been divided between two rival governments
- the House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the
Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Serraj in Tripoli.
Haftar, who is presumably loyal to the government in
the east, commenced his deadly campaign on April 4 to conquer Tripoli, in a
move rebuked by UN chief Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council.
Salame, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya,
said the fighting south of Tripoli between Haftar's forces and those of the GNA
have reached a “deadlock”.
“After the very first successes of the Libyan
National Army two weeks ago, we are witnessing a military deadlock,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Security Council was divided on
how to defuse the crisis after fresh talks on a draft resolution demanding a
truce in Tripoli failed to yield an agreement.
During the council’s session, Germany which holds
the council presidency proposed the draft resolution but Russia and South
Africa opposed it, arguing that Haftar’s offensive is unlikely to produce a
The council was due to meet Thursday to hear a
briefing on the situation on the ground and consult on the way forward,
according to AFP.
The 75-year-old Haftar who enjoys the loyalty of a
group of armed militia and backing from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates
and Egypt has taken upon himself to protect the government in Tobruk.
Armed forces and militia loyal to the GNA have been
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) on
Thursday, the fighting has so far killed at least 205 people and wounded more
than 900 others.
On Wednesday, the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) reported that more than 25,000 people have been displaced by
Libya has been the scene of increasing violence
since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after
an uprising and a NATO military intervention.
His ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to
chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh
WHO: Death toll from Libya's Tripoli clashes exceeds
In a related development on Thursday, the World
Health Organization said at least 205 people have been so far killed and more
than 900 others wounded in the battle for control of the Libyan capital,
Reporting at least 205 people dead and 913 wounded,
WHO added that its medical and surgical teams were deployed to field hospitals
near the front lines.
Diplomats: US, Russia say cannot support a UN call
for Libya truce
19 April 2019
The United States and Russia both said on Thursday
they could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for
a ceasefire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down
on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution
blaming eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for the latest flare-up in
violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli
earlier this month, diplomats said.
The United States gave no reason for its position on
the draft resolution, which would also call on countries with influence over
the warring parties to ensure compliance and for unconditional humanitarian aid
access in Libya. The United States’ UN mission declined to comment and the
Russian UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes
by the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China – the so-called
permanent five – to pass. It was not immediately clear if Britain would persist
with negotiations on a draft next week.
The United States and Russia made their positions
clear during a closed-door council briefing by UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame,
who diplomats said appealed for a ceasefire, warning that weapons were pouring
into the country and it was heading toward a serious humanitarian situation.
The US reluctance to support Security Council action
is in contrast to Washington’s earlier public opposition to Haftar’s offensive,
which began while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting Tripoli.
Some UN diplomats have suggested the United States
might be trying to buy time as President Donald Trump’s administration works
out how to deal with the latest developments in Libya.
“I think there is a range of views in Washington on
the policy side and they haven’t reconciled them and they’re not entirely
certain where the president is on it,” said a senior UN diplomat, speaking on
condition of anonymity.
“The American system is trying to evaluate all the
scenarios and work out which one is in America’s best interest and just hasn’t
done that yet,” the diplomat said.
Haftar’s forces predicted victory within days, but
Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s government has bogged them down in southern
suburbs with help from armed groups from various western Libyan factions.
A united Security Council informally expressed
concern on April 5, calling on all forces to de-escalate and halt military activity
and specifically calling out the LNA.
In the following days, the council was unable,
however, to issue a more formal statement, diplomats said, as Russia objected
to a reference to the LNA, while the United States said it could not agree to a
text that did not mention Haftar’s forces.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then said in a
statement on April 7 that “we have made clear that we oppose the military
offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s forces and urge the immediate halt to these
military operations against the Libyan capital.”
Mali’s prime minister steps down as anger mounts
April 19, 2019
BAMAKO: Mali’s prime minister resigned along with
his entire government on Thursday following criticism over their handling of an
upsurge of violence in the center of the country and a massacre last month that
left 160 people dead.
A statement from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s
office said he had accepted Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga’s resignation, along with
those of his ministers, two weeks after mass protests erupted over the rising
tide of violence.
Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties
had submitted a motion of no confidence against the government on Wednesday,
blaming Maiga and his administration for failing to clamp down on the unrest.
“A prime minister will be named very soon and a new
government will be put in place after consultations with all political forces”
from both the ruling and opposition sides, the statement from Keita’s office
The president had on Tuesday said in a televised
address that he had “heard the anger,” without explicitly naming the prime
The government had come under mounting pressure over
its handling of violence in the restive Mopti region and especially a massacre
on March 23 in which 160 people were killed in the village of Ogossagou near
the border with Burkina Faso.
Members of the Dogon ethnic group — a hunting and
farming community with a long history of tension with the nomadic Fulani people
over access to land — were accused of being behind the mass killing.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of
Bamako on April 5 to protest against the upsurge of violence, accusing the
government of not doing enough to stop it.
The protest was called by Muslim religious leaders,
organizations representing the Fulani herding community, opposition parties and
civil society groups.
Mali has been struggling to restore stability since
Islamist extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the country’s vast
desert north in early 2012.
While the jihadists were largely driven out in a
French-led military operation that began in January 2013, huge areas are still
in the grip of lawlessness, despite a 2015 peace agreement with some armed
groups that sought to definitively stamp out the Islamist threat.
Since then, militants have shifted from the north
toward the more densely populated center of the country, where they have
sharpened ancient rivalries and ethnic conflicts that date back years.
Jihadist attacks have also spread to Burkina Faso,
Chad and Niger, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Pro-Haftar forces lose strategic airport: Tripoli
Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord
(GNA) on Thursday claimed to have wrested the strategic Tamanhint airbase from
forces loyal to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.
On its official Facebook page, the GNA’s Southern
Protection Force said it had taken control of the airbase, which is located
some 30 kilometers (roughly 19 miles) east of the city of Sabha.
The reported gain comes amid an ongoing
counteroffensive by pro-GNA forces aimed at stopping Haftar’s attempt to lay
siege to Tripoli, where the GNA is headquartered.
A pro-Haftar source, however, denied that pro-GNA
forces had captured the airbase.
“We have not lost control of the airbase,” the
source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to the issue’s
The source went on to say that Thursday’s attack on
the airbase by pro-GNA forces -- involving 15 armored vehicles -- had been
“Fifteen armored vehicles aren’t enough to capture a
fortified position like Tamanhint,” he said.
Held by pro-Haftar forces since May 2017, the
Tamanhint airbase sits on the highway linking Sabha to Libya’s central Jaffra
After two weeks of intermittent fighting near
Tripoli that has left scores dead, Haftar’s forces -- affiliated with a rival
government based in eastern Libya -- have so far failed to capture the capital.
Libya has remained beset by turmoil since
long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody
NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
Kerala Chief Electoral Officer for Action against
BJP State Chief for Anti-Islam Remarks
19 April 2019
Kerala Chief Electoral Officer has recommended
“appropriate action” against BJP State chief PS Sreedharan Pillai for allegedly
making anti-Islam remarks during an election campaign meeting in Attingal Lok
Sabha constituency on April 14.
In his report to the Election Commission, Kerala
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena said Pillai made the remarks
while countering the comments of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M)
general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the
number of people killed during the Balakot air strike.
“Our Rahul Gandhi, Yechury, Pinarayi and all are
saying that, after getting there... The dead bodies... Which caste, which
religion... If they are Islam then there will be a few signs... If only you
remove the dresses only then it can be found out... So after doing all that, we
should come back is what they say,” Pillai had said, according to Meena’s
report to the poll body.
Pillai made these remarks during the poll campaign
meeting organised for BJP candidate Sobha Surendran.
The CEO, in his report dated April 16, said no
permission was taken for the BJP meeting and a complaint has been registered in
the Attingal police station in Thiruvananthapuram district.
“It appears prima facie a case of violation of
Section 123(3A) and Section 125 of the
Representations of People Act, 1951. Accordingly, appropriate action may be
taken in the matter,” Meena said in his report sent to Deputy Election
Commissioner Sudeep Jain.
On Wednesday, the CEO had informed the High Court
that strong action would be taken against Pillai in the case.
A petition seeking a directive to the Election
Commission to take action against Pillai was filed by CPI(M) leader V
Easter passes in celebrations and silence in
Like many Christian university students in
Bangladesh, Maria Marandy, an ethnic Mahali Catholic from northern Dinajpur
Diocese, faces a tough choice at Easter: respect the academic calendar or skip
classes to reunite with family.
"Easter is a time for spiritual renewal, and
family and community reunions, so I never want to miss it. But that happened
twice because I had exams knocking at the door, which was sad," Marandy,
who studies philosophy at Dhaka University, told ucanews.com.
She left her family to move to the capital in 2014
and says she often has to spend Holy Week alone as Christmas is the only
Christian festival recognized as a public holiday in Bangladesh.
In contrast to Christmas, when many people join
Christian friends and neighbors at seasonal feasts, and Christmas lights
brighten up churches, shops and hotels, Easter passes quietly in most parts of
However, it takes on a special meaning for Marandy's
predominantly Christian ethnic group, which is concentrated in the north of the
Easter Sunday is a day of forgiveness, family
reunions, cultural feasts and reconciliation for Mahali Christians, she said.
"After Sunday Mass, all of the villagers gather
in one place, where they seek forgiveness for the wrongs they have done to each
other over the year, and reconcile. Then they eat together and enjoy cultural
shows," Marandy added.
"Like Jesus, Mahalis also rise from their old
selves on Easter Sunday, so the feast has more significance to us than
Traditions rekindled, faith renewed
Sagar Sonjib Corraya, a 42-year-old Bengali
Catholic, has been living in the capital since 1993. He hails from the Bhawal
region of Dhaka Archdiocese, one of the country's oldest Catholic strongholds.
Corraya feeds his family by working for the
Dhaka-based Weekly Pratibeshi, the only Catholic magazine that enjoys nationwide
For him, Easter is a time to renew his faith and
celebrate time-honored cultural traditions with his kin in Gazipur district of
"Ever since I was a child, I've enjoyed our
traditional way of observing Easter — attending a liturgy for four days and
reuniting with relatives after a long absence," he said.
"We commemorate how Jesus died and then rose
from the dead three days later to free us of our sins. This is the foundation
of our faith."
Catholics in Bhawal's eight parishes eat a special
platter of parched rice, molasses, sweets, custard and bananas on Easter Sunday
— a centuries-old tradition that is believed to have migrated over from
In the 16th and 17th centuries, European
missionaries evangelized in various parts of present-day Bangladesh and the
Indian state of West Bengal. Most of the early converts were lower-caste
"This Easter platter is very unique and we are
proud to keep alive this age-old tradition passed down from our
forefathers," Corraya said.
Silent night, holy night
In Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Christians account
for less than half a percent of its population of 160 million people.
Most of the country's 600,000 Christians are
Catholics concentrated in eight dioceses.
Despite their small numbers, Christians are highly
regarded by people of other faiths due to their contributions to education,
health care and social development.
For years, Christian groups have urged the
government to list Easter Sunday as a national holiday, but to no avail.
However, the campaign experienced something of a
breakthrough this year as the Education Ministry declared it a holiday,
bringing cheers from Christian students and their parents.
Speculating on the rationale behind the reversal,
observers note how the Islamic feast of Shab-e-Barat (Night of Emancipation)
falls on April 21 this year. Such proximity made it impossible for officials to
ignore the Christian holiday, they contend
"I hope the government will realize one day
that Easter Sunday is major religious feast for Christians and give it its
due," said Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi.
For years, Protestants organized a popular Sunrise
Liturgy on Easter Sunday in front of the nation's parliament, an event that
drew crowds of thousands.
However, the government withdrew its permission for
the program in 2016 citing "security concerns" amid a spike in
Islamic militancy, according to William Proloy Samadder, the secretary of
Bangladesh Baptist Church.
The liturgy now takes place not on center stage but
in the wings — at a small playground in central Dhaka, with a significantly
"It was a beautiful public display of Christian
devotion to God, but we can't do it anymore due to the restrictions,"
Samadder said. "We still participate in other events, though, to show our
fraternity with our brothers and sisters."
The other programs include a pre-dawn, open-air Mass
and a common meal organized by another Protestant group in the teeming capital.
Prominent Taliban leader Mullah Azizullah arrested
in Farah province
18 Apr 2019
A prominent leader of the Taliban group identified
as Mullah Azizullah has been arrested in western Farah province of Afghanistan,
the Ministry of Interior announced Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Interior Ministry Nasrat Rahimi
said the Taliban leader Mullah Azizullah alias Zekriya was arrested during an
operation in Farah.
Rahimi further added that Mullah Azizullah is a
prominent leader of the Taliban group who was involved in major destrutive
activities in Helmand, Badghis, Herat, Nimroz, and Farah province.
The anti-government armed militants including
Taliban have not commented regarding the arrest of Mullah Azizullah so far.
Putin, Rahmon discuss situation in Central Asia,
threats emerging from Afghanistan
The Russian President Valdimir Putin has held talks
regarding the security threats emerging from Afghanistan during a meeting with
the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, it has been reported.
“We thoroughly discussed the security situation in
Central Asia, including threats and challenges coming from Afghanistan,” Putin
was quoted as saying in a report by Russia’s TASS News Agency.
In his turn, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali
Rahmon said “Tajikistan is a buffer zone preventing the spread of security
threats coming from that region.”
Rahmon further added that Dushanbe called for
resolving Afghanistan’s problems peacefully.
“Tajikistan is interested in a stable and prospering
Afghanistan,” the Tajik leader emphasized.
This comes as the growing instability in the
northern provinces of Afghanistan has sparked concerns among the officials of
Central Asian countries having borders with Afghanistan.
The Russian and Tajikistan forces launched joint
military exercises close to the border with Afghanistan in mid-July last year.
Suicide bomber blown up by own explosives in Faryab
17 Apr 2019
A would-be suicide bomber was killed in an explosion
triggered by the explosives strapped to his body in northern Faryab province of
Afghanistan, officials in the Ministry of Interior said.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said
the incident took place on the main highway going towards Qaisar district.
Rahimi further added that the slain would-suicide
bomber has been identified as Mullah Idrees who was looking to carry out a
suicide attack in Faryab province but was killed an explosion triggered by own
The anti-government armed militants including
Taliban have not commented regarding the incident so far.
This comes as Taliban have intensified attacks in
northern Faryab province during the recent days, specifically after announcing
its spring offensive last Friday.
Erdogan slams Western media outlets over negative
coverage of Turkish economy
Apr 18, 2019
The Turkish president has lashed out at Western
media outlets for launching a "smear campaign" aimed at painting a
gloomy picture of Turkey's economy, which is in the throes of currency
fluctuations, vowing that his country will stand firm in the face of such
Speaking at a business forum on Thursday, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan singled out the Financial Times (FT), a day after the London-based
international business daily questioned the Turkish central bank's management
of foreign currency reserves.
The newspaper had reported that Turkey’s central
bank had "bolstered its foreign currency reserves with billions of dollars
of short-term borrowed money," sparking fears among observers and
investors that the country -- one of the Middle East's largest economies -- may
not be capable of defending itself in the event of a currency crisis.
The Turkish national currency, lira, weakened around
two percent against the US dollar in the aftermath of that report.
“There is a smear campaign against us. Some Western
media outlets are in efforts to describe our economy as collapsed, finished,"
Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News quoted Erdogan as saying.
Erdogan insisted that the economy "is standing
strong" despite the media campaign, adding, "Whatever you do,
whichever headlines you put on your papers, Turkey will stand tall and continue
its path. We are now used to this media, these rag papers."
“The dose of such attacks against us rises as we
speak out more powerfully over global injustice. Hey, Financial Times, have you
ever acknowledged the fact that Turkey hosts more than 4 million Syrians?”
The FT report said Turkey's foreign reserves were
much lower than the $28.1 billion officially reported in April if the
short-term borrowing was stripped out of the calculation. In reaction, the
Turkish central bank acknowledged short-term operations may impact reserve
figures, but said its accounting was in compliance with international
Last month, the lira lost nearly six percent of its
value in a single day amid investor concerns over foreign reserves as well as
worries that the Ankara government had resorted to unorthodox ways to shore up
the currency before the March 31 elections.
Turkey went into recession at the end of last year,
according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, after two successive quarters
of falling economic growth were recorded -- which is how recession is defined.
The Turkish currency first took a nosedive last
August, when the US imposed sanctions on Ankara and heavy tariffs on imports
from Turkey amid a political dispute between the two NATO allies.
The trade row led to a 30-percent slide in the
lira's value, prompting the central bank to raise interest rates, a policy
which helped the currency regain some of its values.
Turkey's economy woes are blamed as one of the main
reasons behind the major losses suffered by Erdogan's ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP) in March 31 local elections despite an overall victory.
The AKP, for the first time in years, lost mayoral
seats in the political center, Ankara, the third-largest city of Izmir and,
above all, Istanbul, which is Erdogan's home city and the country's economic
Israeli forces shoot, critically injure Palestinian
student in West Bank
Israeli military forces have shot and critically
injured a Palestinian student after skirmishes broke out between a group of
young protesters and Israeli soldiers in the central part of the occupied West
Local Palestinian sources, requesting not to be named,
said clashes broke out on Thursday afternoon following the funeral procession
of 42-year-old Palestinian teacher Fatima Suleiman, whom a settler had run over
and killed in the Khirbat al-Dayr district of the town of Tuqu’, located 12
kilometers southeast of Bethlehem, earlier in the day.
Israeli forces used live rounds, rubber-coated
bullets as well as tear gas bombs to disperse the protesting Palestinian
Israeli forces detained one of the students, and
opened fire at him from point-blank range as he attempted to flee, critically
injuring him in the thigh, the sources noted.
Israeli forces then prevented Tuqu’ residents from
helping the student, and did not allow Palestinian paramedics to reach him to
provide first aid.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed
new tensions ever since US President Donald Trump announced his decision on
December 6, 2017 to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and
relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.
On December 21, 2017, the United Nations General
Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that called on the US to
withdraw its controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli
In an attempt to prevent the passing of the resolution,
Trump threatened reprisals against countries that backed the measure, which had
earlier faced a US veto at the UN Security Council.
Turkey freezes assets of senior Houthi militia
ANKARA: Turkey has frozen the assets of three senior
Houthi leaders in line with UN Security Council sanctions, the country’s
official gazette said Thursday.
The decision is valid until Feb. 26, 2020, and
affects Abdulmalek Al-Houthi, Abd Al-Khaliq Al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya
The Iran-backed Houthi leadership and former Yemeni
President Ali Abdullah Saleh were sanctioned and blacklisted by the UN in 2014
for obstructing peace, security and stability in the country.
Ankara temporarily froze the assets of Saleh and his
son in Turkish banks and other financial institutions, including safes, about
two years ago. It has extended the duration of this freeze.
Saleh amassed between $32 billion and $60 billion
through corruption and stashed assets in at least 20 countries during his 33
years in power, according to a UN report.
Experts are divided about Ankara’s real intention.
Selim Sazak, an analyst and doctoral researcher at
Brown University, said Ankara should have carried out these actions years ago.
“I think this is an effort to remove one of the
problems in the relationship while Ankara is trying to negotiate a face-saving
solution for the S-400s, while ensuring some arrangement in northern Syria that
would perhaps permit Turkish troops into YPG-controlled territory,” he told
Sazak said a senior minister was in the US capital
last week to meet officials and that the decision to freeze assets might be
connected to that visit.
“It is known that the US Treasury hasn’t been happy
about Turkey’s inaction on Yemen sanctions. I would be surprised if it didn’t
come up in the diplomatic meetings. So, they’re probably patching up that
For others, the move would contribute to the further
isolation of the Houthis by blocking financial resources.
Oubai Shahbandar, a Turkey-based defense analyst,
said the sanctions were an important message to the Houthis.
“Until they renounce terrorism and accept a peace
process with the Yemeni government, the Houthis will continue to be viewed as
pariahs by the international community. This latest measure adds more pressure
as Houthi resources dry up,” he told Arab News.
Earlier, the UN Security Council expressed “grave concern”
that agreements reached four months ago between the warring parties in Yemen
had not been carried out and called for their implementation “without delay.”
The warring parties could start withdrawing forces
from Hodeidah within weeks, a move needed to pave the way for political
negotiations to end the war, the UN special envoy said on Thursday.
Israeli settler runs over, kills female Palestinian
teacher in occupied West Bank
A female Palestinian teacher has lost her life after
an Israeli settler ran her over in the central part of the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian sources said the 42-year-old victim,
identified as Fatima Suleiman, was fatally struck in the Khirbat al-Dayr
district of the town of Tuqu’, located 12 kilometers southeast of Bethlehem, on
Thursday morning, Arabic-language Shehab news agency reported.
There have been a series of “hit-and-run” incidents
targeting Palestinians in different parts of the West Bank over recent months,
with most of them going uninvestigated by Israeli authorities. Some of such
events have resulted in fatalities.
Muhammad Awad, head of the Palestine Red Crescent
Society (PRCS), told Palestinian Arabic-language Ma'an news agency that a
20-year-old man, identified as Hamza Shihadeh Najajra, had been struck on Route
60 near Gush Etzion settlement, which lies directly south of Jerusalem al-Quds
and Bethlehem in the West Bank, on April 8.
Awad added that Najajra, a resident of Nahalin
village, had been critically injured in the head and taken to a hospital in
Jerusalem al-Quds to receive medical treatment.
On November 22 last year, an Israeli army vehicle
ran over a young Palestinian man in the West Bank, inflicting injuries on him.
The incident occurred as the 21-year-old victim,
identified as Rashed Abu Aram, was attempting to cross a road in al-Khalil
Two Palestinian workers, identified as Oqab Raji
Mahmoud Abed al-Hafith and Ameer Hayel Raji, were struck near the village of
Kafr Laqif, located 22 kilometers southwest of Nablus, on October 14, 2018.
They were transferred to a nearby hospital to receive medical treatment.
US envoy ‘disappointed’ by collapse of inter-Afghan
KABUL: The US envoy for peace in Afghanistan
expressed disappointment on Friday after the collapse of a planned meeting
between the Taliban and a group of Afghan politicians in Qatar that exposed
some of the deep divisions hampering efforts to end the war.
A 250-strong delegation of Afghan politicians and
civil society figures had been due to meet Taliban officials in Doha at the
weekend. The event was abruptly canceled on Thursday amid arguments over the
size and status of the group, which included some government officials
attending in a personal capacity.
“I’m disappointed Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative
has been delayed,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghan
reconciliation, said on Twitter. “I urge all sides to seize the moment and put
things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all
The collapse of the meeting before it had even
started, described as a “fiasco” by one senior Western official, laid bare the
tensions that have hampered moves toward opening formal peace negotiations.
Khalilzad, a veteran Afghan-born diplomat, has held
a series of meetings with Taliban representatives but the insurgents have so
far refused to talk to the Western-backed government in Kabul, which they
dismiss as a “puppet” regime.
The Doha meeting was intended to prepare the ground
for possible future talks by building familiarity among Taliban officials and
representatives of the Afghan state created after the US-led campaign that
toppled the Taliban government in 2001. A similar encounter was held in Moscow
President Ashraf Ghani’s office blamed Qatari
authorities for the cancelation, saying they had authorized a list of
participants that differed from the one proposed by Kabul, “which meant
disrespect for the national will of the Afghans.”
“This act is not acceptable for the people of
Afghanistan,” it said in a statement on Friday.
Sultan Barakat, director of the Center for Conflict
and Humanitarian Studies in Qatar, which had been facilitating the meeting,
said there was no disagreement about the agenda.
“Rather, there is insufficient agreement around
participation and representation to enable the conference to be a success,” he
Preparations had already been undermined by
disagreements on the government side about who should attend, as well as by
suspicions among rival politicians ahead of presidential elections scheduled
The Taliban derided the agreed list of 250
participants as a “wedding party.” Some senior opposition figures who had been
included refused to attend.
The Taliban also objected to Ghani’s comments to a
meeting of delegates that they would be representing the Afghan nation and the
Afghan government, a statement that went against the insurgents’ refusal to
deal with the Kabul administration.
US man arrested after anti-Muslim rant in Texas
A man in the state of Texas was arrested after
entering a store and going on a racist tirade, verbally attacking a Muslim
worker by calling him a "f***ing Arab."
When the man, who was identified as Joey Christian,
walked up to the counter and confronted an employee and asked him what his name
was, the employee said his name was "Mo".
"What the f*** kind of name is that?"
Christian asked in response. "What is your actual real name? Mo
"It's Mohammad," the employee said.
Christian, 38, then proceeded to walk away from the
counter, appearing visually frustrated and saying "F***ing Arab. Goddamn
A woman that was recording the encounter Tuesday
confronted the man, to which he responded, "You know what? I really don’t
give a f*** what some b***h has to say."
"I really don’t give a sh*t about some goddamn
Arab that I’ve been killing their goddamn kind for f***ing six months,"
Christian said. "Actually two years. Six months in the last country I was
"People like this are the reason our country’s
going what it’s going to," Christian went on. "Because I've been
killing his kind for longer than you’ve probably been alive."
"His kind, I’ve been killing for almost 20
years," he added.
The end of the video shows Christian walking outside
and being confronted by a police officer.
He was arrested for public intoxication, abusive
language and disorderly conduct, according to a Friendswood Police report.
"Shoutout to the lady that recorded this,
called the cops on this man and got him arrested," the employee said on
US says supports transition in Sudan led by civilians
The United States supports a democratic and peaceful
transition in Sudan led by civilians who represent all Sudanese, the State
Department said on Thursday, as protesters in Khartoum kept up demands that the
country's military hand over power to civilians.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said
Sudan remained labeled by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism, and
emphasized that Washington’s policies toward Sudan would be based on “our
assessment of events on the ground and the actions of transitional
Trump spoke with Abu Dhabi crown prince on Thursday:
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump spoke by phone
on Thursday with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the
United Arab Emirates, the White House said in a statement.
The two leaders discussed Washington’s “continued
support for the United Arab Emirates’ national defense, strengthening alliances
in the region, and the impact of the Administration’s crippling sanctions on
Iran,” the statement said.
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