escort a bus carrying the 10 suspects of militant group Harkat ul Harb-e-Islam
outside Patiala House Court in New Delhi on Thursday. (Photo: Qamar Sibtian)
NCR Lynching Videos Used To Radicalise Mufti
Bodies Divided Over Triple Talaq Bill in India
Makkah World Scholars Call for Unity, Moderation in Islam
Poet Fears for His People As China 'Sinicizes' Religion
Bajwa, NATO’s Gen Miller Agree on Political Solution to Afghan Issue
Has No Military Dimensions, Says Pakistan
Is Wrong To Offer Namaz on Government Land: Deoband Mufti
Sect Is Responsible For Promoting Terrorism in India: Maulana Badruddin Ajmal
‘Abu Huzaifa Al Bakistani’ Is Radicalising Indian Youths Online
sends IS suspects to 12-day police custody
of Indian envoys harassed: ‘No move to scale down diplomatic ties with Pak’
module’ busted: Ten arrested for planning terror attacks remanded in 12-day NIA
Arab Muslim Astronaut to Lead Saudi Space Agency amid Leadership Reshuffle
Council speaker lauds Saudi-Egyptian ties
Parliamentarians Ask for Immediate Approval of Bill to Expel US Forces
Asks Damascus to Send Military Forces to Manbij
Reported Again among Terrorists in Idlib
UAE, Bahrain set to reopen diplomatic mission in Syria
court hands down death sentence to activist, life terms to over dozen
exodus from Daesh’s last Syria bastion
Agong rues Muslim rift, wants state Islamic councils politics-free
Malaysians got hitched in 2017, most divorcees in 30s, new data shows
problem if Islamic teachers posted to Muslim-majority schools, says Sarawak
Ex-Jamaat People Is Stupid’: Dr Kamal Hossain Tells Indian Newspaper
calls for peaceful polls in Bangladesh
'Rediscover' Religious Minorities Ahead Of Coming Elections
operations, U.S. airstrikes leave 15 militants dead in Ghazni
Taliban leaders killed in U.S. drone strikes in West of Afghanistan
spokesman killed in U.S. airstrike in East of Afghanistan
urge US to exit Afghanistan or face Soviet-style defeat
says Kartarpur corridor 'high point of diplomacy' for Imran Khan Government
delegation visits North Waziristan
signs prisoner transfer agreement with UK
committed to peace efforts, COAS tells NATO commander
ex-president Zardari faces travel ban over graft
Militias Say Trump’s Iraq Visit ‘Will Not Go Unpunished’
Militia Violates UN-Brokered Ceasefire in Hodeidah 29 Times In Last 24 Hours
PM Briefs Arab Youth Delegation on Life Under Occupation
Coalition: Houthi militias continue violating Hodeidah ceasefire
monitoring chief awaits response on Hodeidah withdrawal mechanism
govt. bans Israeli agricultural products in tit-for-tat move
settlement expansion deepens apartheid: Palestinian Foreign Ministry
Information Minister: 19 killed in one week of protests
foreign minister, spy chief visit protest-hit Sudan
Burkina Faso police officers killed in ambush
Chadian group attacks forces loyal to Haftar in southern Libya
group attacks forces loyal to Haftar in southern Libya
activists vow not to back down against Bashir
admits Iran’s key role in restoring calm to Afghanistan
to US: Leave Afghanistan or face Soviet-style defeat
Marathon bomber’s lawyers want death sentence tossed
fingerprints all over in war-torn Yemen: NYT
ordered to repatriate children of ISIS fighters from Syria
meets US troops in Germany after Iraq visit
France condemn Israel settlement plan in West Bank
charged with planning terror attack in Sweden
by New Age Islam News Bureau
comments on two lynching videos of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri and Junaid Khan in
Faridabad on social media have helped the Pakistan based terror handlers
identify Mufti Mohammad Suhail alias Hazrath (29) as 'vulnerable'.
videos were also used to radicalise him to form a home-grown ISIS-inspired
module and plan terror strikes, highly placed sources in the National
Investigation Agency told Mail Today.
Wednesday, the NIA in a joint operation with the Delhi Police and the UP Police
nabbed 10 suspects of an ISIS-inspired module Harkat ul Harb-e-Islam, who were
in an advance stage of carrying out series of strikes and attack politicians.
close to the joint operation told Mail Today, "Apart from radicalising the
youths via videos of Babri Masjid demolition and Godhra riots, the videos were
misused to highlight the alleged atrocities with the Muslim community. Suhail
was radicalised using these two videos and he further radicalised others who
have now been arrested."
Thursday, a Delhi court sent all the 10 arrested suspects case to 12 days NIA
custody. The agency has however demanded 15 days custody.
the 10 suspects were produced before the court amidst tight security and with
covered faces. Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey ordered in-camera
proceedings in the case.
and nine other suspects confessed that they were using YouTube to educate
themselves in making bombs and rocket launcher. "So far, no photograph of
any politicians was found who were on their radar. They confronted that senior
RSS politicians were to be targeted," a source said.
DELHI: The passage of the triple talaq bill drew mixed reactions from Muslim
bodies on Thursday, with some terming it "very dangerous", while others
R Ilayas, member of working committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law
Board (AIMPLB), said there was no need for this bill and it has been brought
keeping in mind the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
is a very dangerous bill that will make a civil issue a criminal offence.
will take care of the wives and children once the husband goes to jail?"
also said that instead of gender justice, the bill would prove to be a
"punishment" for men and women from the community.
crore women signed a petition saying they do not want the bill then who are
these Muslim women who want it?" he questioned the government.
executive member Asma Zehra said the move to pass the triple talaq bill was
"unconstitutional" and is an infringement of the constitutional
rights of Muslim women.
law minister (Ravi Shankar Prasad in the debate) was not able to answer
questions posed by the opposition. They are giving examples of domestic
violence act but that is applicable for all religions. Why just target
Muslims," she said.
further said the move will "damage families" and claimed that it is
the aim of the government.
Mahmood Daryabadi, General Secretary of the All India Ulema Council, said when
the Supreme Court has declared triple talaq unconstitutional, why is it even
being discussed here.
government should be focussing on fund for Muslim women and children who will
be left without any source of income once their husband goes to jail," he
Soman, member of the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, welcomed the bill and
further demanded the Muslim Marriage Act on lines of the Hindu Marriage Act
that would deal with other issues like polygamy and child guardianship.
Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the bill which criminalises the practice of
instant triple talaq, with the government rejecting the contention that it was
aimed at targeting a particular community.
opposition, which had been demanding that the bill be referred to a 'joint
select committee', staged a walkout when its demand was rejected by the
before the bill was to be passed by a voice vote, the opposition sought a
division and the bill was passed by 245 votes in favour and 11 against it.
amendments moved by opposition were negated by a division that was insisted by
at an international summit on Islamic unity have been urged to “unify their
ranks to strengthen the values of moderation.”
Pir Muhammad Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistani minister for religious affairs, told
the Muslim World League (MWL) conference in Makkah that “labeling and seclusion
... have weakened and debilitated the Islamic nation.
these times of hardship in the Muslim world, scholars and preachers must unify
their ranks to help strengthen the values of moderation, and promote cohesion
and fraternity between all Muslims,” he said. Scholars at the two-day forum
reiterated that Saudi Arabia is the “heart of Islam” in the modern era, and
praised the Kingdom’s leadership for its services to Muslims.
Abdullah Gholamallah, president of the Islamic Council of the People’s
Democratic Republic of Algeria, said that the conference would help “disperse
enmity and suspicion and instill trust and cooperation.
Muslims dream of a united nation founded on the principles of understanding and
solidarity in the political, social, cultural, and economic fields,” he said.
poet fears for his people as China 'Sinicizes' religion
China -- Cui Haoxin is too young to remember the days of his people's
oppression under Mao Zedong.
39-year-old poet was born after the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, when the
Hui -- China's second-largest Muslim ethnic group -- were among the masses
tormented by the Red Guard.
the years since, the Hui (pronounced HWAY) generally have been supportive of
the government and mostly spared the kind of persecution endured by China's
largest Muslim group, the Uighur.
are signs, though, that that is changing. Cui fears both that history may be
repeating itself and for his own safety as he tries to hold the ruling Communist
August, town officials in the Hui region of Ningxia issued a demolition order
for the landmark Grand Mosque in Weizhou, though they later backed off in the
face of protests.
recently, authorities in nearby Gansu province ordered closed a school that
taught Arabic, the language of the Qur'an and other Islamic religious texts.
The school had employed and served mainly Hui since 1984. And a Communist Party
official from Ningxia visited Xinjiang, centre of Uighur oppression, to "study
and investigate how Xinjiang fights terrorism and legally manages religious
under President Xi Jinping is clamping down on minorities, tightening control
over a wide spectrum of religious and political activity. In some places, a campaign
to "Sinicize" religion has prompted authorities to seize Bibles,
remove the "halal" designation from food products, demolish churches
and strip mosques of loudspeakers and Islamic crescents and domes.
has spoken out against government intrusions. He is working on a novel with a
nightmarish plot: believers are brutalized by demons in a Cultural Revolution
in Hell. "The Muslims resisted and tried to protect the mosque," he
said, describing the work. "They failed."
worries that violence lies ahead.
has dignity. For a person, it is his or her bottom-line." he said.
"If the persecution is too unbearable, if something happens, as I said,
there could be a disaster."
speaks eloquently about his people, who claim descent from Persian and Arab
traders who came to China 1,300 years ago.
10 million Hui living across China generally speak Mandarin -- Cui is a former
teacher of the standard Chinese dialect -- and follow many Chinese cultural
practices. They enjoy relative freedom of worship compared to the Uighurs, some
of whom call the Hui "tawuz," which means watermelon in the Uighur's
or Islamic on the outside, and red or Communist on the inside," writes
University of Toronto professor Isabelle Cote in a study on Uighur attacks on
Hui in Xinjiang from 2009 to 2013. Farther back, Hui served Chinese emperors as
shock troops repressing Uighur rebellions.
Beijing, Arabic signs mark Hui bakeries, teahouses, halal restaurants and a
thousand-year old mosque bustling with activity in the historically Islamic
neighbourhood of Niujie.
Changli, who has run a butcher shop in the enclave for the past five years,
said police help provide security for Friday prayers at the mosque.
country has always been pretty supportive to our worship," the 39-year-old
butcher said, standing in front of an Islamic inscription and hanging lamb and
the Hui face prejudice from the Han Chinese majority, they are proud to be
Chinese and have a "positive outlook for the future," said David
Stroup, a University of Oklahoma professor who met Hui across China in 2016.
saw an opportunity in China's Belt and Road Initiative, a $1 trillion trade and
infrastructure initiative that runs across several Muslim-majority nations in central
Asia and Africa, he said. They aspired to become middlemen on a revived Silk
Road linking China with Islamic nations.
was going to be an opportunity for the Hui to play an important role as
ambassadors to the Islamic world," Stroup said.
came as a shock, he said, when new regulations targeted the practices of Hui
alongside those of other religious groups earlier this year. Stroup said the
shift has dampened optimism in a community that saw language and religion as
links to trading partners in the Muslim world.
bubbled up in August in Weizhou, a dusty Muslim-majority town in China's
northwestern "Qur'an Belt."
town's pride and joy is a gleaming white mosque with four minarets and nine
domes tipped with crescent moons that dwarfs a surrounding warren of brick and
issued a demolition order for the Grand Mosque, alleging it had been
"illegally expanded" and adding that 1.07 million yuan ($154,765)
from foreign sources had been received by four local mosques -- financing that
would be illegal under Chinese law.
of Hui flocked to the mosque's courtyard for a rarity in China: a political
protest. City authorities detained AP journalists and prevented them from
conducting interviews at the mosque.
protesters' success was even rarer. The mosque remained unscathed, if draped in
a banner reading in Chinese: "Stick to directives of Sinicized
later, a top Communist propaganda official in Ningxia blamed the incident on
"an oversimplified administrative decision" by local authorities.
originally should not have happened," Bai Shangcheng, director-general of
the regional Communist Party department that oversees religious groups, said at
a news conference in Beijing.
simmered quietly in the Hui community after the mosque incident, according to
Cui, who circumvented China's internet censorship to tweet about the protest
and feed video to a Turkish television station.
late November, the Communist Party-run Global Times reported that Ningxia had
signed an anti-terrorism co-operation agreement with Xinjiang during a visit by
Ningxia Communist Party head Zhang Yunsheng.
has set up a vast security apparatus in Xinjiang with pervasive police
checkpoints and surveillance cameras. By some estimates, more than 1 million
Uighurs and Kazakhs have been detained in internment camps in a crackdown on
extremism. Two former camp detainees have told the AP that some Hui have been
swept up in the clampdown too.
order to close the Arabic language school came early this month, the Global
Times reported. An unnamed expert in Beijing told the newspaper that teaching
Arabic sometimes arouses public concern if it crosses over into preaching
article quoted China's education law: "The State separates education from
is one of the few Chinese citizens disturbed enough -- and brave enough -- to
criticize the Communist Party openly. For that, he has experienced censorship,
detention, and "home visits" by police.
spoke to The Associated Press at his home in Jinan, a city in eastern China
where his family traces its roots back five centuries. Skyscrapers dwarf old
mosques and boisterous halal restaurants with gold domes, Arabic script and
doesn't drink alcohol or eat pork, but neither does he pray five times a day.
His bedside table is stacked with poetry and novels, not religious books.
Hanging in the living room is a framed red embroidery by his mother of the
Islamic profession of faith in yellow Arabic stitching.
was underneath this tapestry that police entered his home earlier this year to
demand he stop criticizing the government online. Cui posts attacks on
Beijing's policies related to Muslims in China and abroad, such as the
government's support of Myanmar despite widespread criticism of its treatment
of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority.
few months later, on Nov. 27, police brought him to the local Public Security
Bureau for a few hours of questioning. A recent Human Rights Watch report said
that China started in November "targeting Twitter users in China as part
of a nationwide crackdown on social media." Cui refused to stop or delete
years ago, Communist Party cadres descended on the historically Hui city of
Linxia to excise "superstitions" in the city in a "struggle
against the privileges of feudalism and religion," according to a 2016
book by Matthew Erie, an Oxford University professor of modern China studies.
Guards lit bonfires with wood from demolished mosques and tombs, Erie writes in
"China and Islam: The Prophet, the Party, and Law." They forced
Muslims to wear signs reading "enemies of the state."
fears the current crackdown on religion will return China to those days of
a teahouse in Jinan, as steam from his jasmine tea mixes with the scent from a
tray of sweets, he recites from his poem "Letter from Prison:"
seems like I can see the bulldozer running wild in the Thousand and One Nights.
angel upon my shoulder urges me: 'Tell the truth under the grey sky.'"
Bajwa, NATO’s Gen Miller agree on political solution to Afghan issue
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday reiterated
Pakistan’s commitment to efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
army chief said this during a meeting with Commander Resolute Support Mission
in Afghanistan General Austin Scott Miller.
two military leaders unanimously agreed on the importance of a political
solution to the Afghan conflict – now in its 18th year.
Miller agreed with Gen Bajwa that only an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led inclusive
process can lead to peace in the war-torn country, said a statement by the
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
two also reaffirmed continuing counter-terror operations and efforts against
terrorist elements and to ensure effective border management.
Bajwa also stated that the country is committed to efforts for peace in
Afghanistan as it is important for peace in Pakistan, added ISPR.
assumed command of NATO forces in Afghanistan in September, arriving as
Washington faces growing questions over its strategy to force the Taliban into
talks to end the 17-year conflict.
US is now a year into its strategy of stepping up pressure on the Taliban by
increasing airstrikes and sending thousands of more troops to train and advise
Afghan forces, but clear signs of success have so far proved elusive.
has now accepted that a purely military victory is not possible and has focused
on forcing the Taliban to the negotiating table.
has no military dimensions, says Pakistan
Pakistan on Thursday made it clear that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC) had no military dimensions.
Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal, during his last weekly press briefing of
the current calendar year, had been asked to comment on a report published in a
section of US media alleging that the CPEC was not only about economy and trade
but had military dimensions as well.
Faisal said the CPEC was an economic project between Pakistan and China. “The
CPEC has helped Pakistan improve its economy, particularly energy and
infrastructure sectors have improved under it. The CPEC is a bilateral economic
project, which is not against any country,” he said.
a question, he said the recent four-nation visit of the foreign minister was
essentially part of the government policy to strengthen relations with all
neighbours and regional countries and added that as part of the same effort the
foreign minister would soon visit Qatar.
spokesman said Pakistan’s long-standing position to give peace and
reconciliation a real chance in Afghanistan had become the basis of an
developments in Afghanistan have all led to this widely acknowledged agreement.
This new opening in Afghanistan and willingness of all countries who agree on
Pakistan’s important role as facilitator has provided us a significant
opportunity to also strengthen our bilateral relations with all the neighbours,
especially for promotion of trade, economic and people-to- people linkages,” he
visit also provided an opportunity to listen to views of the leadership of
these countries for promoting a joint regional approach towards Afghanistan and
explore realistic possibilities of regional integration in economic terms,” he
to another question, he said 341 Pakistani prisoners — 154 of them civilians
and 187 fishermen — were currently incarcerated in Indian jails. Of them 45
prisoners, 12 civilians and 33 fishermen, have completed their sentence.
mission is in contact with India’s external affairs ministry and related state
governments for repatriation of Pakistani prisoners. The Pakistani high
commission also engages with the Indian media to highlight the plight of
Pakistani prisoners. A law firm has also been hired to assist in and facilitate
the repatriation. Where required, NGOs working for prisoners and civil rights
activists have also been engaged to facilitate repatriation of Pakistani
spokesman said there were some problems in getting consular access, adding
“however, our mission perseveres and actively pursues issues of all such
reports of harassment by Indian authorities of Pakistani diplomats posted in
New Delhi, and similar allegations from the other side, he said Pakistan stood
for upholding the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and had always
endeavoured to facilitate the working of the Indian high commission in
Islamabad, within the diplomatic norms, international law and practice. “It
remains our position that the smooth and unhindered functioning of diplomatic
missions is essential,” he remarked.
Foreign Office spokesman urged the international community, especially human
rights champions, to persuade India to immediately halt human rights violations
and atrocities in held Kashmir. He said Indian occupation forces, during the
so-called search and cordon operations, had recently martyred six Kashmiris —
Soliha Mohammad Akhoon, Rasik Mir, Rouf Mir, Umer Ramzan Mir, Nadeem Sofi and
Faisal Javid Khan — in Pulwama district of the occupied territory.
refused to comment on appointment of two former Afghan intelligence chiefs
known for their anti-Pakistan stance as interior and defence ministers by
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
also refused to comment on President Donald Trump’s surprise trip to Iraq to
visit US forces stationed there that was condemned both by Iraqi politicians
and militia leaders, and cancellation of his meeting with the Iraqi prime
minister due to disagreement over the venue, saying “we cannot comment on the
relations between two sovereign nations”.
to confirm the reports that the second round of talks between United States and
Taliban would take place in Saudi Arabia, he said “No. I have nothing more to
say on this issue”.
is wrong to offer namaz on government land: Deoband Mufti
Commenting upon the ban on namaz in the park by Noida authorities in UP, Mufti
of Deoband said it is wrong to offer namaz on government land. Police in Sector
58 of Uttar Pradesh’s Noida has also issued a notice to the companies in the
industrial hub to ensure their employees do not use a park for any religious
activity, including offering namaz on Fridays.
Ahmed of Deoband said if the offering of namaz in park creates controversy or
the place is public or government then devotees should avoid using it for
namaz. Devotees should offer namaz on government or public land only after
reiterated that if offering namaz creates controversy then it is better to
avoid offering namaz there. He said namaz is an obligation but forcefully
offering namaz at some place is not right.
Delhi: AIUDF leader and Assam Jamiat Ulama chief Maulana Badruddin Ajmal while
participating in the debate on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on
Marriage) Bill 2018 (Triple Talaq) held Salafi sect responsible for promoting
terrorism in India.
leader while replying to BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said, “The books referred
by you are not the right books. I will sit with you and refer the correct
books. You have mentioned Salafi sect, this ideology has been held responsible
for promoting terrorism. We don’t follow this sect. I would like to ask the law
minister whether the provision to send Muslims husbands to jail, will it
increase the harmony in the family?”
MP Meenakshi Lekhi during her speech questioned, “Would like to ask those
opposing the Triple Talaq Bill here that in which Surah (Chapter) of the holy
Quran is talaq-e-biddat mentioned? This is not ‘he vs she’, these are issues of
human rights violation.”
Biddat is practiced among Hanafi sect followers which constitute 70% Indian Muslims
whereas Salafi sect which is considered to be pure form of Islam completely
rejects the Talaq Biddat”, added Lekhi.
over 4 hours of heated debate between the government and opposition leaders,
the Muslim Women Bill (Triple Talaq) 2018 which criminalises instant Triple
Talaq, was passed in the Lok Sabha. Several opposition parties including
Congress, TMC, and TDP demanded the government to send the Bill to joint select
Committee. The opposition leaders claim that the Bill in current form will violate
Article 14 and 15.
opposing the Bill the AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said: “All the Muslim women
are against this bill. It is violative of Article 14, 15, 24 and 26. Supreme
Court has decriminalised the relations between two men and two women but you
are criminalising a divorce law. Why there is a provision of imprisonment of
only one year under the Hindu Marriage law for Hindu husbands then why there is
provision for imprisonment for three years under Triple Talaq law.”
28, 2018, 0
DELHI: The self-styled terror module busted by the national intelligence agency
on Wednesday was being controlled by an online entity by the name of “Abu
Huzaifa al Bakistani” who has been handling close to two dozen youths through
various online platforms.
said this entity is recruiting and radicalising youth across southeast Asia to
join the “Islamic State”. After initial contact on Facebook, the youths are
brought on to closed groups on chat platforms like Threema and Telegram.
Sources in an intelligence agency said that deep tracking of this handle has
led them to believe that Huzaifa is a highly trained Pakistani national who has
been radicalising Indian youths, possibly on behalf of Pakistan’s spy agency,
“Abu Huzaifa” handle has cropped up in several investigations and operations
conducted by various agencies, including the Telangana police’s
counter-intelligence unit which provided crucial inputs for Wednesday’s
operation, multiple sources confirmed.
handle became unusually active last year after the online ID in the name of
‘Yusuf Al Hindi’ suddenly went dormant. Indian Mujahideen rebel Shafi Armar,
who later joined the Khorasan module of Islamic State, was operating that
handle and recruiting Indian youth,” an officer explained.
who belonged to Bhatkal in Karnataka, is believed to have been killed last year
in Syria. He is estimated to have inspired around 1,000 youths, mostly from
South Asia, to come to Syria and fight. His brother, Sultan Armar, was killed
in a drone strike in 2016. Once Al Hindi’s handle went down, there were stray
attempts to radicalise youths using that ID. However, the real trouble began
when Abu Huzaifa handles cropped up on various platforms and began to
successfully brainwash youths.
Indian intelligence agencies began to track Huzaifa handles — which was
operating from behind several proxy servers —in October last year after inputs
of it being a credible threat were confirmed. Sources in the agencies say that
at least a dozen youths from north India are under the scanner as they are still
in touch with this handle and have become part of groups through which jihadi
propaganda is spread.
handle has a very specific style of functioning. “After verifying a target’s
loyalty and his inclination towards jihad, the handle asks them to rope in
like-minded youths. At the next stage, the handler introduces them to one or
two members from another module and motivates them to carry out a strike. They
also give a separate name to each module. ln this case, they had christened the
Delhi-Amroha module as Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam,” an officer explained.
handler also remains on the lookout for youths with criminal backgrounds and
gives them important posts in the module.
Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday sent 10 persons, arrested on the suspicion
that they are part of a module of the Islamic State (IS), to police custody for
12 days, officials said.
Judge Ajay Pandey allowed their police custody till January 8.
members of the IS module, “Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam”, were presented in the court
amid tight security. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) demanded their
custody for 15 days. NIA had arrested them on Wednesday, including the group
leader, as they were allegedly planning terror attacks targeting some political
personalities and security establishments as well as crowded places in Delhi
and the national capital region.
Judge also allowed the family members of six of the accused to meet them in the
court. However, one of the family members was denied the facility as he was not
having his identity proof.
NIA had carried out searches at 17 places — six in East Delhi’s Jafarabad area,
six in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha, two each in Lucknow and Hapur and one place in
others, who are suspected to be members of the group, have been detained and
they are being questioned.
agency had registered a case on December 20 under several sections of the
Indian Penal Code, the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities
country-made rocket launcher, 12 pistols, 112 alarm clocks, 100 mobile phones,
135 SIM cards, many laptops and various electronic gadgets, besides 150 rounds
of ammunition were also recovered during the searches.
NIA also seized 25 kg of explosive material, such as potassium nitrate,
ammonium nitrate, sulphur, sugar material paste, mobile phone circuits,
batteries, 51 pipes, remote control car triggering switch, wireless digital
doorbell for remote switch, steel containers, electric wires, knife, sword,
IS-related literature and Rs 7.5 lakh in cash.
agency arrested Mufti Mohammad Suhail, Saeed, 28, Raees Ahmed, Saqib Iftekar,
26 and Mohammad Irshad from Amroha.
is no immediate move to scale down diplomatic relations with Pakistan, sources
said after reports that Indian diplomats were again harassed last week in
Peshawar. The incident was reported when Indian officials were returning from
Qissa Khwani Bazar and places nearby to Hotel Pearl Continental. Two persons,
who are believed to be intelligence officials and were following on a
motorbike, stopped the Indian officials.
delegation was stopped and questioned for nearly 30 minutes. Indian consular
officials in Pakistan have reported ill-treatment by the Pakistani government
earlier too with many not being given gas connections, their electricity
connection switched off randomly, and their access to the internet blocked. The
Ministry of External Affairs has reportedly taken up the matter with their
Pakistani counterpart. On Thursday, government sources said, “Harassment had
reached unacceptable levels but scaling down diplomatic relationship is not the
also maintained that Kartarpur is a cultural intiative. “It does not mean we
are opening a larger dialogue. Faith cannot be a political issue,” an official
said, adding that India took a significant initiative on Guru Nanak Jayanti.
engagements with China, government sources said the “political relationship”
has not just been restored but heightened. “In the recent past, there have been
four meetings at highest level. Three state councillors have made visits while
special representative talks and defence contacts have been resumed after
suspension last year,” government sources said.
the Doklam standoff in 2017, this year has seen significance improvement in
bilateral relations. However, New Delhi has still raised concern over the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the Belt and Road
Initiative (BRI). The deadlock over the CPEC and the Doklam standoff prompted
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to explore peaceful
development of ties with an informal summit at Wuhan.
Delhi court Thursday granted the National Investigation Agency (NIA) 12 days’
custody of 10 people accused of being members of an Islamic State-inspired
group, which was allegedly “planning to target political leaders, members of security
forces” and others.
NIA arrested the accused — six from Delhi, and the remaining from Uttar
Pradesh’s Amroha and Hapur — on December 26 after carrying out searches in 17
locations, dubbing it as a crackdown on the ISIS-inspired module “Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam”.
“They (accused) were planning to carry out terrorist attacks targeting vital
installations, sensitive locations, crowded places in and around Delhi,” the
NIA submitted to the court.
NIA, which sought 15 days’ custody, submitted that it has seized “sugar
material paste, batteries, wireless digital doorbell for remote switch, (and)
steel containers”, apart from arms, ammunition and explosive material from the
accused. The court granted 12 days’ custody “in the interest of investigation”.
agency said the accused will be taken to different cities to “unearth the
larger conspiracy”, and sought custody. Defence counsels MS Khan and Mohammad
Noorullah opposed the remand, stating that all conspiracies are “already
published in various newspapers”. “There is nothing left,” they submitted.
to the remand application, the accused were planning to execute “violent
explosions” with the help of “explosive devices, Fidayeen terror attacks and
mass terrors” in and around Delhi. “As per information, these individuals are
also collecting materials and chemicals to assemble and synthesise explosive
devices. Information confirms, that they are also planning to target political
leaders, members of security forces and others,” the remand application said.
from explosive materials, arms and ammunition, the NIA said it had seized
“mobile circuits, batteries, remote control car triggering switch, wireless
digital doorbell for remote switch, steel containers, electric wires, sword,
(and) ISIS related literature”.
proceedings were in-camera and after the hearing, MS Khan said: “I argued in
the court that in the remand application, NIA mentioned that the accused were
ISIS-inspired. So there has to (be) a foreign handler, there is no mention of it
in the remand papers. Also, there is no specific allegation on the alleged
modus operandi in the remand papers.”
Arab Muslim astronaut to lead Saudi space agency amid leadership reshuffle
Arabia is to get its own space agency, as King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
orders his 62-year-old son, Prince Sultan bin Salman, to lead the organisation.
Salman was the first Arab and Muslim to travel into space in 1985, helping to
deploy a satellite for the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation with
announcement is part of the first major reshuffle of leadership positions after
the controversy surrounding the killing of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal
Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.
— including the US Senate and CIA — point to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
as the person responsible for the assassination, though Riyadh has maintained
that these accusations are unsubstantiated.
the weeks since the killing, Germany has halted arms sales, while a coalition
made up of France, Canada, Germany and the US have imposed targeted sanctions
on the Saudi elite.
Arabia's embattled foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, who fronted global media
after the scandal, has now been replaced by former finance minister Ibrahim
Assaf was detained briefly in the Crown Prince's anti-corruption crackdown last
year but was released within weeks of his detention at Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton
hotel last year.
was cleared of wrongdoing and without making any payment to the state, as many
others held in the crackdown had to do.
is also a member of the board of national oil company Aramco.
reshuffles to security and intelligence
kingdom will now have three government bodies aimed at improving its
Salman also appointed Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz to replace
Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf as chief of the National Guard, and ordered a reshuffle
of Saudi Arabia's Political and Security Council.
Kalid bin Qirar al-Harbi was named general security chief, while Musaed
al-Aiban was named national security adviser.
al-Sheikh, head of Saudi Arabia's sports committee and a close adviser to Crown
Prince Mohammed, was replaced and named as new chief of the Entertainment
al-Shabana, an executive at broadcaster Rotana, was appointed minister of
is owned by billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was also
detained at the Ritz last year and later released.
agency part of economic diversification
the gulf state seeks to diversify its economy from oil exports, the Saudi
leadership has sought to turn the state into a research and technology
2017, the Saudis pulled off a successful media stunt by giving citizenship to a
robot called Sophia in a bid to showcase their investment in robotics.
Crown Prince has invested over $US1 billion into space exploration, via Richard
Branson's Virgin space companies: Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and
Salman didn't give any specific details about how Prince Salman would steer the
new space agency.
Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh met with Egyptian Foreign
Minister Sameh Shoukry during an official visit to Cairo this week.
the meeting, Shoukry praised the depth and strength of Saudi-Egyptian bilateral
relations and lauded the level of cooperation between the Shoura Council and
the Egyptian Parliament. He also reiterated the role of parliamentary diplomacy
in enhancing bilateral cooperation and stressed Egypt’s full support for the
Kingdom in its quest to maintain stability.
Al-Asheikh also reaffirmed the strength of bilateral relations and praised
Egypt’s efforts in dealing with various regional challenges and making
improvements in the Egyptian economy.
al-Shamri, a member of Sa'eroun faction at the Iraqi parliament, in a statement
on Thursday deplored Trump's surprise visit as violation of Iraq's sovereignty,
ignorance of international laws and continued threat against the neighboring
states, calling on all political groups to immediately approve the bill to
expel the US forces.
Jamal al-Fakhir, another member of Sa'eroun faction, described Trump's visit as
disrespect for the victims of the US-sponsored terrorism in Iraq and the
region, saying that the visit has encouraged the Iraqi legislature to approve
the bill for the immediate pullout of the US forces from Iraq.
Sabah al-Sa'edi, the head of al-Islah faction at the Iraqi parliament, asked
for an emergency meeting of the MPs to be attended also by the prime minister,
commander of the Armed Forces, foreign minister and commander of the army's
chief of staff to deal with the case.
added that withdrawal of the US forces from Syria cannot be a justification for
their deployment in Iraq and turning the country into a base for Washington in
is headed by Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who has long opposed the US
presence in Iraq since Washington's invasion against the country in 2003.
of thousands of Iraqis have died in the conflict, which many analysts call one
of the major US foreign policy debacles in recent history and one of the most
destructive invasions in modern history.
political and popular forces' leaders have condemned Trump's unannounced trip
to Iraq as a violation of their country's sovereignty.
a surprise visit to US troops, Trump on Wednesday landed at an airbase West of
the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where he thanked the soldiers for their service.
Bina bloc, led by Hadi al-Amiri, also objected to Trump's trip to Iraq.
visit is a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms and shows his
disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government," said a
statement from Bina.
did not meet any Iraqi officials during his three-hour-long stay. A scheduled
meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was scrapped and the two
leaders talked instead by telephone.
office said in a statement that US authorities had informed Iraq's leadership
of the president's visit in advance. The statement said the Iraqi prime
minister and the US president held a telephone conversation due to a
"disagreement over how to conduct the meeting".
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted Mojib al-Rahman al-Dandan, the
representative of Manbij in the Syrian parliament, as saying on Thursday that as
Damascus and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are holding talks on deployment
of army forces in the town, the residents are also strongly pressuring the
officials to this end.
added that after US President Donald Trump's declaration of withdrawal of
American forces from Syria, the US army retreated from Manbij to Tishrin dam,
noting that Manbij residents want immediate deployment of the Syrian army in
meantime, said that the SDF leaders are also involved in internal differences
as some intend to leave Syria for France and call for the establishment of a
no-fly zone and some others want talks with the Syrian government.
underlined the possibility for the imminent deployment of the Syrian army
forces in the region, and said given the strategic importance of Manbij which
is the main route to the Forat (Euphrates) dam, the army will be able to
liberate all areas in Eastern Syria after regaining the region.
reports said earlier today that the Syrian army was preparing to enter Manbij
as Turkey threatened to occupy the strategic town.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday that tens of military
vehicles, carrying the Syrian government flags, along with hundreds of forces,
including special forces and presidential guards, have been stationed in the
towns in Southern Manbij.
added that the move is in line with army's preparation to enter Manbij and
prevent the Turkish army and its affiliated militants from occupying the
the Arabic-language Arabi 21 news website quoted a spokesman of Manbij military
council as saying that deployment of the Syrian army forces in the town is
supported by Russia and has been coordinated with the Manbij military council.
sources in Northern Syria reported on Thursday that tensions have heightened
between the two terrorist groups in the town of Harem in Northern Idlib.
added that the clashes erupted after Tahrir al-Sham detained a number of Horras
al-Din militants, saying that the former terrorist group surrounded one of the
strongholds of the French members of Horras al-Din.
sources noted that clashes still continue in the region.
in Southern Idlib, one of the commanders of Ansar al-Tawhid terrorists namely
Mohammad Abu Ishaq was killed by the bullet fire of unknown assailants in the
town of Ahsam.
to the reports, fierce tensions are underway between Nour al-Din Zinki and
Tahrir al-Sham terrorists in Western Aleppo.
Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group has engaged in clashes with different rivals in
a relevant development earlier this month, Tahrir al-Sham had stormed Ahrar
al-Sham positions, pushing them back from more regions in Northeastern Hama and
states are preparing to restore their presence in Syria after years of absence
following the outbreak of a foreign-sponsored conflict more than seven years
ago, with Bahrain being the next in the line of countries to reopen its embassy
sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Arabic service of
Russia’s Sputnik news agency that Bahrain’s mission in the Syrian capital would
resume its activities next week.
decided to shut down its embassy in Damascus and to withdraw all diplomats and
staff on March 15, 2012.
Thursday, the United Arab Emirates officially reopened its embassy in Damascus.
Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the
reopening of its embassy “reaffirms the keenness of the United Arab Emirates to
restore relations between the two friendly countries to their normal course.”
move “will strengthen and activate the Arab role in supporting the
independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic
and to prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian Arab affairs,”
the ministry pointed out.
charge d'affaires Abdul Hakim Naimi visited the embassy in the afternoon, and
witnessed his country's flag being raised on the compound in central Damascus.
development is another sign that the incumbent Damascus government is being
admitted back into the Arab world.
December 18, an Iraqi diplomatic source, requesting not to be named, said
President Barham Salih was going to pay an official visit to Damascus.
report came only two days after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the
first Arab League leader to visit Damascus.
official news agency SANA said Bashir was greeted by his Syrian counterpart
Bashar al-Assad upon arrival at Damascus International Airport, before they
both headed to the presidential palace.
two leaders discussed bilateral ties and the "situations and crises faced
by many Arab countries," the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
quoted the Sudanese leader as saying during the meeting that he hoped Syria
will recover its important role in the region as soon as possible.
also affirmed Khartoum’s readiness to provide all it can to support Syria's
appellate court in Bahrain has sentenced an anti-regime activist to death and
passed life imprisonment against more than a dozen other political dissidents
as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed clampdown
on pro-democracy protesters in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
Supreme Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the death penalty for a Bahraini
national and sentenced 13 other activists to life in prison, the
Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported.
added that the court had also given 15 years of imprisonment to eight other
dissidents, five years to another two and three years to two others.
the court stripped 25 other activists of their Bahraini citizenship.
has accused all the defendants of launching an alleged bomb attack in the area
of Abu Saiba, which resulted in the death of a security officer and the injury
of a number of others, the report further said, describing the whole case as
report also said that the rulings were based on the investigations conducted by
security forces and confessions obtained under “torture.”
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
Thousands of civilians, mostly relatives of militant fighters, are fleeing the
Daesh group’s last stronghold in eastern Syria, a war monitor said on Thursday.
to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 11,500 people have fled the area
since Kurdish-led forces broke Daesh defenses and took the militants’ main hub
of Hajjin two weeks ago.
past fortnight saw the biggest exodus” since the launch in September of a broad
offensive against Daesh by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the monitoring
outfit is an alliance of the Kurdish militia which controls northeastern Syria
and local Arab fighters that operates with backing from a US-led military
militant group had already lost all of its major urban centers earlier in 2018
but was clinging to the remote area in the Euphrates River Valley.
SDF launched an operation involving more than 15,000 fighters to smash the
militants’ last redoubt, known as the Hajjin pocket, on Sept. 10.
took the town of Hajjin on Dec. 14, after months of an offensive slowed by
Turkish threats against the Kurds further north as well as fierce
counter-attacks by Daesh fighters with little to lose.
of the displaced are IS relatives,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the
added however that fighters were attempting to blend in with the civilians to
save their lives and that the SDF had managed to detain 700 so far.
said that since the loss of Hajjin, the last town of note in the area, the
militants have been unable to defend their positions and were quickly falling
still controls the villages of Al-Shaafa and Sousa as well as a handful of
hamlets dotting the eastern bank of the Euphrates.
Rahman said he expected the last rump of what was once a sprawling “caliphate”
straddling swathes of Iraq and Syria to collapse in the coming days.
TOWN, Dec 28 — State Islamic Councils are meant to unite Muslims in the country
and protect the sanctity of the religion, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said
the deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong said Muslim Malaysians have become
increasingly “fractured” and called for the Islamic religious institution to be
free of partisan political influence so it can carry out its proper role.
Islamic Religious Councils are the main authority on Islamic religious affairs
after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and they must bring forward issues in a
non-partisan manner to assist the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in his decisions in an
objective manner,” he said in a speech after presenting appointment letters to
Penang Islamic religious council members and state Shariah Court judges at the
Equatorial Hotel here.
lamented the current situation where Muslims are at odds with each other due to
close ties between Muslims are becoming more fractured,” he said.
told the religious councils to fulfil their responsibility to unite Muslims by
keeping clear of politics.
is so that the councils’ role can be seen as neutral and be accepted as without
prejudice by the majority of Muslims.”
Nazrin said state Islamic councils must function collectively as a centre of
Islamic administration and thinking under the direct monitoring of the Yang
the loyalty of council members who are elected is to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
and his approval must be obtained before any policy, order or activity on Islam
is implemented,” he said.
also reminded the councils to cooperate with the democratically elected
government of the day and ensure they do not go against the Federal
Constitution when carrying out their work.
the political scenario in the country, as long as the council’s actions do not
go against the Federal Constitution, the country must acknowledge the council
as an important institution to ensure the sanctity of Islam and the survival of
the ummah are protected,” he said.
LUMPUR, Dec 28 — Fewer Malaysians married last year compared to 2016, but the
good news is that fewer also got divorced, data from the Department of
Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) released today showed.
number of marriages in Malaysia fell from 200,274 in 2016 to 190,532 in 2017,
with the crude marriage rate per 1,000 population also slipping from 6.3 (2016)
to 5.9 (2017).
drop in marriages was seen in both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in
Malaysia, but Muslims still have a higher crude marriage rate.
Muslim-Malaysians, the number of marriages recorded shrunk by 6.1 per cent from
142,712 to 134,008, with the crude marriage rate dropped from 7.4 to 6.8 per
1,000 Muslim population.
comparison, the crude marriage rate among non-Muslims decreased from 4.7 to
figures indicated that men in Malaysia tend to marry and divorce at an older
age, while women tend to do so at a slightly younger age.
median age where Malaysian men and women got married in 2017 was at 29 and 26
the median age for men getting divorced was 37, compared to 34 for women.
figures match the 2017 situation in Malaysia, where those in the 25-29 age
group recorded the highest number of marriages in comparison to other age
groups, while those aged 30-34 made up the largest group of divorcees.
was regardless of their gender.
DOSM data also showed a higher general marriage rate among men, with 47.2 per
1,000 unmarried men aged above 18 becoming grooms, compared to women at 44 per
1,000 unmarried females aged 16 and above.
contrast, the general divorce rate among women was higher than men at 7 per
1,000 married females aged 16 and above calling time on their marriages,
compared to 6.5 per 1,000 married men aged 18 and above.
the number of divorces in Malaysia decreased from 51,642 to 49,965. But the
crude divorce rate remained unchanged at 1.6 per 1,000 population.
falling trend was consistent between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Dec 28 ― Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) president Cobbold John Lusoi
today said his party has no problem with religious teachers from peninsular
Malaysia, provided they are posted to schools in Sarawak's coastal areas or
where the majority of the students are Muslims.
we will strongly oppose the posting of Muslim religious teachers to schools
where most of or all the students are Christian Dayaks in the rural areas,” he
was responding to fears expressed by the Sarawak Evangelical Christian
Association (SECA) over a statement made by Education Minister Maszlee Malik
for religious teachers from Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah to make Sarawak as
their “medan dakwah” or arena to evangelise.
said there is no justification for the Education Ministry to post religious
teachers to schools dominated by Christian students other than to influence
them to become Muslims.
said there were attempts in the past to influence the students through subtle
means to convert into Islam without the knowledge of their parents.
said PBDSB opposes any move by the ministry to post religious teachers to
primary schools in the remote parts of Sarawak which do not have a single Muslim
teachers may be assigned to teach other subjects, like moral education, but
along the way, nothing will stop them from using subtle ways to influence the
students to learn about Islam without the young minds knowing about it,” he
said with the “mandate” given by Maszlee to these teachers to consider Sarawak
as their “medan dakwah”, the possibility of these religious teachers using
subtle ways to influence the Christian students to become Muslims is real.
reminded that these teachers are from the PAS-controlled states of Kelantan and
that in mind, these teachers may well be PAS members and supporters. PAS, as we
all know, is bent on spreading the Islamic faith in the country.
ex-Jamaat people is stupid’: Dr Kamal Hossain tells Indian newspaper
am sorry to say that fielding ex-Jamaat people is stupid,” he told The Indian
Express on Wednesday.
had given it in writing that there will be no support to Jamaat, no bringing in
religion, fundamentalism, extremism etc,” the newspaper quoted him as saying in
a report published on Thursday.
I known (that Jamaat leaders will be given BNP tickets), I would not have been
part of it, but I will not stay a single day if these people have any role in
the future government,” Dr Kamal told The Indian Express.
about the process to form the alliance, Dr Kamal told the newspaper: “I was
just practising law when BNP’s secretary general Fakhrul Islam came to meet me
a few months ago and asked me to lead the front. I was aware of what was
happening throughout the country, so I agreed.”
Dr Kamal, the Indian newspaper wrote: “More than three decades after he played
a key role in bringing Sheikh Hasina from her exile in India to mount a
challenge against Zia-ur-[Rahman], this veteran of Bangladesh politics and once
a close aide to her father stands as Prime Minister Hasina’s principal
challenger in the country which will hold elections on Sunday.
Kamal Hossain, former law and foreign minister in Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s
Cabinet between 1971 and 1975, and, almost four-and-half decades later, now
head of the Jatiyo Oikyo Front (National United Front) — the main opposition in
Bangladesh’s fiercely-contested election.”
the BNP’s poor track record with India,
he told The Indian Express: “BNP has told India that we have been wrong. When
Khaleda Zia went to India, she told them. It was part of their rehabilitation
process, she began to correct (the position).”
also criticised the practice of dynasties ruling in Bangladesh and other South
Kamal had the conversation with The Indian Express “just minutes after” after a
police team met him to discuss his security.
meeting followed Dr Kamal’s harsh criticism of the law enforcers for “favouring
ruling party candidates in the election”.
Oikya Front has alleged widespread attacks on and police harassment of its
candidates and supporters before the election.
am no challenger. I am just an 80-year-old man… I am just working to restore
the rule of law, democracy in the country,” Dr Kamal is quoted by The Indian
Express as saying.
am waiting for the election day. The election day is a liberation day. It will
be second liberation day if it’s free and fair election,” he told the
Dr Kamal had apologised following intense criticism for asking a Bangladeshi
reporter to “shut up” after facing questions on the Jamaat on the Martyred
Intellectuals Day. He later ducked questions on the same issue.
court has cancelled the Jamaat’s registration with the Election Commission, but
around two dozen leaders of the party are contesting in the polls as candidates
of the BNP’s Jatiya Oikya Front alliance with the ‘paddy sheaf’ symbol.
quarters have criticised the BNP for giving the Jamaat, including family
members of its leaders convicted of war crimes, the opportunity to contest in
Mahbubur Rahman, a member of the BNP’s policymaking body the National Standing
Committee, has termed “unfortunate” his party’s alliance with the Jamaat, which
opposed Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in the 1971 Liberation War.
Bangladesh’s deadly election campaign entered a final full day on Thursday amid
international concern over events, UN Secretary General appealed for calm.
sides launched new salvos in their war of words ahead of Sunday’s polling.
Minister Sheikh Hasina accused the opposition of organising bomb attacks while
the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said “the state” was aiding an assault
on the opposition.
least six people — four from the BNP and two from the Awami League — have been
killed since the campaign started on Nov 8. The BNP and its ally
Jamaat-e-Islami say more than 11,500 of their followers have been arrested and
thousand of activists, including candidates, injured in attacks by ruling party
Secretary General Antonio Guterres “calls on all stakeholders to ensure an
environment free of violence, intimidation and coercion before, during and
after the elections, so as to enable a peaceful, credible and inclusive poll”,
said a spokesman.
“must feel safe and confident in exercising their right to vote. Civil society
and electoral observers should be fully supported to play their role in the
process”, the UN leader added through his spokesman.
Hasina, seeking a third straight term and a record fourth in all, has shrugged
off opposition complaints of authoritarianism and said she needs more time to
implement her ambitious economic plans.
focused a speech broadcast by video late Wednesday to supporters in Dhaka on
the impressive economic growth of the past decade.
'rediscover' religious minorities ahead of coming elections
(AsiaNews) – As Bangladesh’s general elections approach (30 December), political
parties have focused on defending the rights of religious minorities in the
predominantly Muslim country.
recent days the main political camps have released their election manifesto.
Both plan to set up a cabinet-level ministry to protect the rights of minority
her part, incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina celebrated Christmas with
1,500 Christians. Her party, the AWAMI League, issued an 84-page platform. It
includes the creation of a national minority commission and the adoption of a
special law for their security. The League also wants to institutionalise
democratic processes, strengthen the National Human Rights Commission and the
Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as guarantee the right to study and work of
this last point, the prime minister added that she is committed to the “needy
among tribal people” and that her government “will preserve tribal cultures.”
main opposition party, the Bangladesh National Party, has taken a similar line
in its nine-page manifesto. The latter includes a balance of power between the
president and prime minister, the appointment of a deputy parliamentary speaker
from the ranks of the opposition, the granting of work permits to foreign
workers, and an end to money laundering through changes to the tax laws.
showed her support for minorities by hosting a group of Christians at her
residence on Christmas Eve. On that occasion, the prime minister said that
everyone is entitled to their beliefs in Bangladesh.
excellent environment now exists in Bangladesh to practise one’s religion,” she
said. At the same time, “We can all honour the religion of others”.
least fifteen militants have been killed during the operations of the Afghan
National Defense and Security Forces and U.S. airstrikes in southeastern Ghazni
203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military in the South East said at least 7
militants were killed during a clash between the security forces and Taliban
militants in Qarabagh district.
to a statement released by 203rd Thunder Corps, the coalition forces also
carried out an airstrike in Aab Band district of Ghazni, leaving at least 4
statement further added that a vehicle of the militants was also destroyed
during the same airstrike.
the meantime, four militants were killed and a M-16 rifle was confiscated
during other clashes which took place in center of Ghazni and in the vicinity
of Qarabagh district, the 203rd Thunder Corps said.
prominent local leaders of the Taliban group have been killed during the
airstrikes conducted by the U.S. forces in western Farah province of
to local security officials, the two prominent Taliban leaders killed in the
airstrikes were the in charge of the operational activities of the group in
the meantime, the 207th Zafar Corps of the Afghan Military in the West in a
statement said the Afghan force conducted operations with the coalition air
support in Shindand district of Herat province.
statement further added that the airstrikes were carried out against the hideouts
of Mullah Akhtar and Mullah Ewaz in Zer Koh area of the district.
disclosing further information, the 207th Zafar Corps said at least 7
motorcycles and two vehicles of the militants have been destroyed in the
airstrikes and the enemies were forced to retreat from the area after the
spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) Sul Aziz
Azam has been killed in an airstrike of the U.S. forces in eastern Nangarhar
province of Afghanistan.
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East said Azam was killed in an
airstrike which was conducted two days ago in Nangarhar province.
to a statement released by 201st Silab Corps, the airstrike was carried out in
the vicinity of Pacher Agam district.
statement further added that Azam was also involved in recruiting militants for
the terrorist group and was involved in killings of innocent civilians.
ISIS Khurasan militants have not commented regarding the killing of Azam so
The Taliban warned the United States Thursday it would face the same fate as
the Soviet Union in the 1980s if it did not leave Afghanistan, as Washington
considers slashing troop numbers.
a taunting message sent on the 39th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of the
war-torn country, the Taliban said US forces faced “humiliation” and could
“learn a great deal” from the experience of their Cold War foe.
Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, ending a decade-long occupation and
precipitating a bloody civil war and the emergence of the Taliban.
heed from the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan and abandon thoughts of testing the
mettle of the already proven Afghans,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said
in a statement in English, Dari and Pashto.
said any future relations between the Taliban and the United States should be
based on “sound diplomatic and economic principles” rather than conflict.
Taliban have not formally responded to the news that Trump had decided to
withdraw roughly half of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan.
a senior commander told AFP that the group was “more than happy.” The Taliban
have long insisted on the withdrawal of foreign troops as a condition for
engaging in peace talks.
White House has so far not confirmed the widely-publicized move that left
foreign diplomats and Afghan officials in Kabul stunned and dismayed.
came last week as US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with the Taliban in Abu
Dhabi, part of efforts to bring the militants to the negotiating table with
was the latest in a series of meetings between US officials and representatives
of the Talian that began in the summer.
says Kartarpur corridor 'high point of diplomacy' for Imran Khan government
Pakistan on Thursday described the Kartarpur corridor as the "high point
of diplomacy" for the Imran Khan government while admitting that there was
"no progress" on the contentious issues with India.
office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal also said that the Kashmir issue remained
"on top of Pakistan's priority".
the weekly media briefing here, Faisal said that the Kartarpur corridor was the
"high point of diplomacy for Pakistan's new government, along with Afghan
said Prime Minister Khan in a letter to his Indian counterp art Narendra Modi
in September gave a detailed roadmap to move forward but New Delhi failed to
said that despite India's refusal to start a dialogue, Pakistan went ahead with
the groundbreaking task of opening the Kartarpur corridor.
Minister Khan in November laid the foundation stone for the corridor linking
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh
faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur
district to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.
was very positively received all around the world, especially by the Sikh
community. We are actively working to develop infrastructures at
Kartarpur," Faisal said.
said, however, there was "no progress" on contentious issues with
India and the Kartarpur corridor was the only positive development.
were not successful...we made an effort but they were not reciprocating. You
can say it was not successful," the spokesman said.
the violence in Kashmir, he said Pakistan would "observe Kashmir solidary
on February 5, 2019 in London where the foreign minister will be present."
said 341 Pakistani prisoners were in India, including 154 civil prisoners and
187 fishermen. He said 12 civil and 33 fishermen have completed their jail
terms and Pakistan is working to bring them back.
a question about India's role in the Afghan peace process, Faisal said,
"India has no role in this".
said Pakistan wanted to develop peaceful ties with all neighbours and foreign
minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's fournation visit this week was to explore
possibility of a win-win framework for regional connectivity, economic
development with the objective economic growth and prosperity.
A delegation of religious scholars and ulema visited Miramshah and Mir Ali
areas in North Waziristan tribal district where they were briefed about return
of peace and normalcy in the region.
delegation also visited local garrison where they were briefed about the
prevalent environment in North Waziristan, army’s operation against militancy
and endeavours for socioeconomic uplift of people of the area.
delegation included Mufti Abdul Raheem, Allama Amin Shaheedi, Allama Arif
Hussain Wahidi, Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, Mufti Mohammad Naeem, Mohammad Raghib
Hussain Naeemi, Pir Mohammad Aminul Hasanat, Allama Iftikhar Hussain Naqvi,
Maulana Zahid Mehmood Qasmi, Dr Qibla Ayaz, Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khalil and
Mohammad Yaseen Zafar. Local ulema, including Maulana Abu Rizwan Mohammad Alam,
Maulana Qari Mohammad Roman and Maulana Sabirullah, also joined the delegation.
officer commanding 7 Division, Major General Mumtaz Hussain, while interacting
with ulema highlighted the measures being taken for development and economic revival
in North Waziristan. The delegation appreciated the efforts and resolve of
security personnel against militancy.
the delegation drove through Miramshah city, witnessed Sarbankai Model Village,
Miramshah bus stand, reconstructed market, DHQ hospital, Army Public School and
Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed a prisoner transfer agreement
to facilitate prisoners from both countries by allowing them to serve their
sentences in their home countries.
Secretary (r) Maj Azam Suleman Khan and British High Commissioner to Pakistan
Thomas Drew signed the UK-Pakistan Prisoner Transfer Agreement in the federal
to the British High Commission, the agreement was approved during British Home
Secretary Sajid Javid’s visit to Pakistan in September, and it is a new version
of a former treaty between the two countries. It added that the agreement takes
care not to undermine the severity of the sentences of the prisoners.
agreement is expected to allow the inmates space to reassimilate into their
societies when released.
the signing ceremony, Drew said that he is “delighted to sign this updated
prisoner transfer agreement, which will allow prisoners to serve their sentence
closer to home”.
of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that
Pakistan was committed to efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
was talking to Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General Austin
Scott Mille, who called on him in Rawalpindi.
the meeting, the two military men discussed matters of mutual interest
pertaining to regional security and ongoing Afghan reconciliation process.
agreed that political resolution of Afghan situation was imperative, and
underlined that only an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led inclusive process could
lead to peace in the region.
also reaffirmed the need for continuing harmonised efforts against terrorists
and for effective border management.
Russian Ambassador to Pakistan, Alexey Yurevish Dedov also called on the COAS
on Thursday. Both leaders discussed matters related to regional security and
bilateral cooperation, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
visiting dignitary conferred Order of Friendship, Medal for Courage in
Salvation and Medal for the Common Wealth in Rescue to 10 officers and two
soldiers of Pakistan Army in recognition of their cooperation, commitment and
audacity during a search and rescue operation at Latok-1 to rescue Russian
mountaineer Alexander Gukov, the ISPR statement said.
Russian mountaineer Alexander Gukov was rescued by Pakistan Army from 20,650
feet on Latok I peak in the Biafo glacier region in July 2018. The rescue
mission, which spanned over six days, was carried out by the Army Aviation
under the most hostile and challenging conditions.
Army successfully rescues Russian climber from Karakoram peak in death-defying
Pakistan announced Thursday it would ban former president Asif Ali Zardari from
traveling abroad following allegations of money laundering, as the nation
marked 11 years since his wife, prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was
minister Fawad Chaudhry told reporters in Islamabad that Zardari and his sister
Faryal Talpur were among 172 people involved in cases of money laundering and
use of fake bank accounts.
the 172 names ... will be added to the ECL (Exit Control List),” he said.
co-chairman of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party and who was president
from 2008 until 2013, has long been the subject of corruption allegations, and
is widely known in Pakistan as “Mr Ten Percent.”
announcement coincided with the 11th death anniversary of his spouse and
two-time former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a gun and
suicide bomb attack during an election rally in the garrison town of Rawalpindi
on December 27, 2007.
this week Chaudhry said a joint investigation team (JIT) had found evidence of
how Zardari allegedly laundered money through fake bank accounts and companies.
hope Zardari will now take the JIT seriously,” he said Thursday, adding that
his government would not spare anyone involved in plundering national wealth.
Minister Imran Khan, who came to power in July, has vowed to squash rampant
corruption and recover billions siphoned from the country as his government
scrambles to shore up Pakistan’s deteriorating finances and fast-depleting
foreign exchange reserves.
travel ban comes days after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to
seven years in prison for corruption on Monday, the latest in a long string of
court cases against him.
Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from politics for life over graft allegations
in 2017, ousting him from power. His Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was defeated
by Khan in the July polls.
Pakistani court established a commission in September to investigate the
scourge of corruption, finding that at least $400 million had passed through
“thousands of false accounts,” using the names of impoverished people.
militias say Trump’s Iraq visit ‘will not go unpunished’
affiliated with Iran in Iraq threatened to respond to American President Donald
Trump’s visit to Iraq on Wednesday.
Ahl al-Haq and Harakat al-Nujaba said Trump’s visit to Al Asad Air Base in
Anbar “will not go unpunished.”
al-Nujaba said it will not allow turning Iraq into an American base that
threatens neighboring countries and called on the Iraqi government to expel
American troops from the country as their presence harms the country’s
al-Saadi, head of the parliamentary reform and reconstruction bloc, called for
holding an emergency parliamentary session to discuss the presence of American
troops in the country.
Iraqi official had revealed that the American army established two new military
bases west of Iraq near the Syrian borders.
move comes less than a week after President Trump decided to withdraw American
troops from Syria.
to media reports, Farhan al-Duleimi, a member of Anbar’s provisional council,
said that the first base was established north of Rumana sub-district in
al-Qaim district in the vicinity of the Syrian border. This is located around
360 kilometers west of Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar governorate. As for the
second base, it was established east of al-Rutbah, which is around 310 km west
of Ramadi and near the Syrian border.
militia violates UN-brokered ceasefire in Hodeidah 29 times in last 24 hours
The Houthi militia have violated the UN-brokered ceasefire in the Yemeni port
city of Hodeidah 29 times in the last 24 hours, the Arab coalition said.
coalition also said that the Iranian-backed Houthis continue to violate the
truce in Hodeidah, and that they have been bombing areas populated by civilians
resulting in injuries.
warring parties in Yemen’s nearly four-year war reached a ceasefire deal at
UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden earlier this month. The truce began last
week Tuesday but the Houthis continue to violate it.
UN Security Council last week unanimously approved the deployment — for an
initial 30 days — of an advance monitoring team led by retired Dutch General
Patrick Cammaert. He is chair of a Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC)
that includes representatives from both sides of the conflict.
team, which the United Nations has said will not be uniformed or armed, will
oversee the truce and troop withdrawal from Hodeidah city and three ports.
United Nations will also provide support for the management of and inspections
at the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa; and strengthen its presence in
the main port used to feed Yemen’s 30 million people, has been the focus of
fighting this year, raising fears abroad that a full-scale assault could cut
off supplies to nearly 16 million people suffering from severe hunger.
PM briefs Arab youth delegation on life under occupation
The four-day “Towards Victory for Jerusalem” conference in Ramallah, featuring
a delegation of youths from seven Islamic countries, concluded on Thursday.
conference, co-sponsored by the Arab League, was held under the patronage of
Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association and Olympic
Committee, and secretary-general of the Fatah Central Committee.
— who came from Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, Libya, Kuwait, Qatar, and Mauritania —
toured various areas of Palestine, and spent Dec. 25 in Bethlehem. Before the
conference’s final session, they were guests of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami
Hamdallah in Ramallah.
government press release said that Hamdallah “gave a review of the political
situation and the suffering under occupation and he spoke about efforts toward
national reconciliation as well as international efforts to create a mini state
called on Hamas “to respond positively to the reconciliation initiative of
President Mahmoud Abbas so that Palestinians can face these efforts against the
Palestinian cause in a united way,” the statement said.
about Jerusalem in the opening session, Rajoub said that Palestinians and Arabs
are united over Jerusalem.
is consensus about the Arab context of Jerusalem, which Palestinians — both
Christians and Muslims — continue to defend,” he said. He went on to praise
“the heroes” who have defended the city over the years, and referred to
Jerusalem as “a mosaic of Palestine where Muslims and Christians are living
together and fighting for the city’s independence.”
delegates also heard speeches from a number of leaders and experts from
Jerusalem. Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Islamic Christian Committee for
Jerusalem and the Holy Sites, told Arab News that the delegates visited
historic sites in Jerusalem and Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron and witnessed
firsthand the reality of life for Palestinians.
told the delegates that it is great to see active young people from Arab
countries coming to visit their peers in Palestine and that (there should be)
further visits that aim at strengthening relations with Jerusalem and
Arab Coalition said on Thursday that Houthi militias have violated the Hodeidah
ceasefire 29 times in the past 24 hours.
coalition said that Houthi violations included the use of mortars, RPGs,
thermal missiles, improvised explosive devices and sniper shooting.
violations targeted civilians and caused injuries.
ceasefire monitoring chief awaits response on Hodeidah withdrawal mechanism
joint committee tasked with monitoring the ceasefire in Yemen’s Hodeidah will
resume its meetings on Thursday. The meetings will be chaired by retired Dutch
General Patrick Cammaert, head of the UN monitoring team, and attended by a
legitimate government delegation and a Houthi delegation.
is waiting for a response on his Wednesday proposal pertaining to the mechanism
of withdrawal from Hodeidah’s city and port.
Governor of Hodeidah Walid Al Qudaimi said Cammaert proposed the Houthis’
withdrawal from the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Isa and from the city by
no longer than next Tuesday, based on the Sweden agreement.
said Houthi representatives in the redeployment committee tried to provide a
different interpretation of the Sweden agreement, which frankly stipulates the
Houthis’ withdrawal from the city of Hodeidah and its ports, adding that
Cammaert is the one who implements the agreement and specifies the parties that
added that Cammaert will on Thursday submit a “special mechanism to monitor the
ceasefire” which has been in effect since December 18 amid continuous
violations by the Houthis.
said that Cammaert will later discuss the plan of military redeployment with
each party and hand his notes to them. Meetings will resume until executive
steps are taken.
Palestinian government says it has decided to put a ban on the entry of Israeli
vegetables, fruits and poultry into the Palestinian markets in response to an
Israeli ban on the import of corresponding Palestinian products.
Palestinian cabinet, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, announced the decision
following its weekly meeting in Ramallah City, in the central occupied West
Bank, on Thursday.
accordance with the principle of protecting the local produce and the
Palestinian farmer, in order to achieve the government’s policy of supporting
the steadfastness of the Palestinian farmers, and in light of the unilateral
Israeli decision to prevent the entry of Palestinian vegetables and fruits into
Israeli markets, the government decided to prevent the entry of all kinds of
vegetables, fruits and poultry into the Palestinian markets,” the statement
week, the Israeli regime banned Palestinian agricultural products after the
Palestinian government decided earlier not to allow Israeli livestock into Palestinian
markets in a bid to protect the domestic livestock farmers.
to official data, Palestinian vegetable exports to the Israeli market in 2017
reached nearly 56 million US dollars, and fruit exports hit 5 million dollars.
comes as Palestinians have been calling for a ban on Israeli goods, urging
people worldwide to unite against Tel Aviv and put an immediate embargo on
a decade ago, a coalition of worldwide organizations established an
international campaign, known as the BDS, which advocates boycott, divestment
and sanctions against Israel.
BDS aims to initiate “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets
its obligations under international law” and end its occupation of Palestinian
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
Palestinian Foreign Ministry says the Israeli regime’s continued land
expropriation and settlement expansion policies in the occupied territories are
threatening the entire culture of peace, deepening apartheid and destroying the
so-called two-state solution.
ministry, in a statement released on Thursday, called on the United Nations,
the International Criminal Court and the so-called advocates of human rights
and peace to defend their eroding credibility, stop double standards and take
international legal measures to hold the Tel Aviv regime accountable for its
statement added that Israel was pressing ahead with its expansionist settlement
projects, and moving to create armed settler militias in order to carry out
more attacks and crimes against Palestinian people as well as their homes and
further noted that Israel’s ruling right-wing Likud party was attempting to win
the support of extremist and pro-settlement groups by pushing up several
Judaization projects and offering packages of financial facilities to settler
communities throughout the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem al-Quds.
Tel Aviv regime is exploiting the absolute American bias and the international
silence to implement its colonial plans aimed at Judaizing and annexing large
parts of the occupied West Bank and administering Israeli law on them.
will lead to the creation of new realities that are impossible to overcome in
any future negotiations,” the statement pointed out.
on Thursday, the so-called Israeli Civil Administration approved plans for the
construction of 1,451 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank, and
advanced plans for the construction of 837 additional units.
than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations
Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and
completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian
territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major
sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement
expansion on Palestinian territories.
backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” last year,
saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.
people have been killed so far in Sudan protests, in addition to the injury of
219 civilian and 187 army militants, Sudanese Information Minister announced on
minister of Information and spokesman for the government said that the Sudanese
Public Prosecution opened an investigation to find out who is responsible for
shooting the protesters.
is witnessing protests in several cities that began on December 19, after the
government's decision to make the price of bread three times higher in a
country suffering from economic stagnation, and ruled by President Omar
al-Bashir since three decades.
Egypt's foreign minister on Thursday voiced support for Sudan's embattled
government, as Khartoum grapples with demonstrations against price hikes in
which a disputed number of protesters have been killed.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and intelligence chief General Abbas Kamel
arrived in Sudan's capital on Thursday for talks with President Omar Al-Bashir
and other officials at a time when angry crowds have held anti-government
rallies in Khartoum and other cities.
is confident that Sudan will overcome the present situation," Shoukry told
reporters after he met Bashir at the presidential palace in Khartoum.
is always ready to support Sudan and the ability of Sudanese people as per the
government of Sudan's vision and policies," he said.
"stability of Sudan means (the) stability of Egypt," Shoukry said in
what were the first remarks by a top regional Arab official in support of
Bashir's government since protests began on December 19.
visit of the two Egyptian officials comes after the protests evolved into
deadly clashes between riot police and protesters angered by a trebling of bread
prices to three Sudanese pounds (about six US cents).
authorities say eight demonstrators have been killed, but Amnesty International
has put the death toll at 37, citing "credible reports".
and Khartoum have recently sought to iron out their differences in a bid to
improve relations roiled by a longstanding border dispute and an impasse in
talks over Ethiopia's Nile dam.
Dec 28 (AFP) Ten police officers were killed and three wounded in an ambush in
northwestern Burkina Faso on Thursday, the west African country’s security
toll is 10 officers who have lost their lives and three wounded,” the ministry
said in a statement, adding that a police convoy from the Toeni region and
reinforcements from the Dedougou area had been ambushed.
officers were attacked while heading to the village of Loroni, near the border
with Mali, after a school there had been attacked and textbooks torched by
armed assailants, a security source told AFP.
wounded, including two in serious condition, were taken to a hospital in
Dedougou, the source added.
Faso has been increasingly hit by deadly attacks over the last three years.
began in the north of the country but have since spread to the east, near the
border with Togo and Benin.
Wednesday, a police officer died during an attack on his station in the
northern town of Solan.
attacks are attributed to the jihadist group Ansarul Islam, which emerged near
the Mali border in December 2016, and to the JNIM (the Group to Support Islam
and Muslims), which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
groups are believed to be responsible for more than 255 deaths since 2015.
Chadian armed group attacked a military camp of forces loyal to General Khalifa
Haftar in southern Libya on Thursday, killing one and injuring 13 others, a
local official said.
the toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in the NATO-backed uprising in 2011,
fighters from neighboring Chad and Sudan joined the ensuing turmoil. Competing
Libyan armed factions frequently accuse each other of deploying mercenaries
from sub-Saharan Africa.
attack took place near Traghen, 902 kilometers (560 miles) south of Tripoli and
about 400 kilometers north of the border with Chad.
spokesman for the Traghen municipality said the man killed was a fighter loyal
to the Haftar-allied, eastern government in Libya.
disputed elections and an escalation of fighting in 2014 there have been two
governments in Libya, the UN-backed government of national accord (GNA) based
in Tripoli and a rival government in the east.
attack on the military camp on Traghen’s outskirts was thwarted by mid-day, the
spokesman Khalid Chataoui said, noting that hospitals in the city are
underequipped to treat the injured.
was no comment from Haftar's Libya National Army (LNA) on the attack.
A Chadian armed group attacked a military camp of forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa
Haftar in southern Libya on Thursday, killing one and injuring 13 others, a
local official said.
the toppling of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in the NATO-backed uprising in 2011,
fighters from neighboring Chad and Sudan joined the ensuing turmoil. Competing
Libyan armed factions frequently accuse each other of deploying mercenaries
from sub-Saharan Africa.
attack took place near Traghen, 902 km south of Tripoli and about 400 km north
of the border with Chad. A spokesman for the Traghen municipality said the man
killed was a fighter loyal to the Haftar-allied, eastern government in Libya.
disputed elections and an escalation of fighting in 2014 there have been two
governments in Libya, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based
in Tripoli and a rival government in the east.
attack on the military camp on Traghen’s outskirts was thwarted by mid-day, the
spokesman, Khalid Chataoui, said, noting that hospitals in the city are
underequipped to treat the injured.
was no comment from Haftar’s Libya National Army (LNA) on the attack.
east-west division has split key institutions and produced a deadlock between
the rump parliaments aligned with rival, shifting military factions.
Tuesday, three suicide bombers attacked Libya’s Foreign Ministry building in
from the attackers, three people were killed and at least 21 injured in the
attack, according to the Health Ministry.
activists say they have waited decades for the nationwide protests that
currently threaten the rule of President Omar Al Bashir and have no intention
of stopping despite the violent response from security forces.
catalyst for the unrest has been Sudan’s shattered economy, but activists say
they also harbour longstanding grievances for crimes committed against them,
their families and communities.
El Zein is a human-rights lawyer who has defended political detainees since the
1980s, making her family a target of the government. Her brother has been
arrested for his political activism three times since Mr Al Bashir seized power
in 1989, while her other brother was dismissed from the police force just days
after graduating from police college.
El Zein's husband is also a human rights lawyer and critic of the regime,
putting him on the government's radar. After protests broke out in the Nile
state of Atbara on December 19, he suspected that security agents would come
looking for him. He packed some belongings and went into hiding that same
evening without telling his wife where he was going.
weren’t even in the protest, but security agents often summon well-known
activists whenever there is unrest,” said Ms El Zein, 51. “Security agents
knocked on our door the night after he escaped. They left after I told them
that I don’t know where he is.”
alone with her son, Ms El Zein has joined protests in Khartoum despite the risk
of reprisal. Rights groups say security forces have killed at least 37 people
during protests so far and arrested hundreds, some of whom were later released.
The protests have erupted in a half dozen cities across the country and appear
to building momentum, with another planned in the capital on Friday.
demonstrations are a response to the accumulation of years of repression and
economic theft by Bashir’s Islamist regime,” Ms El Zein said.
Lain, an activist from the western state of Darfur, which was subjected to a
state-sponsored genocide beginning in 2003, has also joined the protests and
says the state crackdown is amplifying the unrest.
December 25, he attended a march towards the presidential palace in the centre
of Khartoum. The demonstrators wanted to deliver a petition demanding that Mr
Al Bashir step down as president.
Sudanese Professional Association organised the march, which was backed by two
of Sudan’s largest political parties, the Umma and Democratic Unionists. Yet
the demonstration was quickly dispersed by tear gas and live ammunition.
Security forces also reportedly beat protesters with batons.
just responded to the killing by throwing stones and chanting, ‘Freedom,
dignity and justice, the people want the downfall of the regime',” Mr Lain told
close friend was shot in the head and is still in hospital, he said.
violence has not dissuaded protesters from mobilising. Asil, a women’s rights
activist who did not disclose her last name, said the government was cutting
internet services, making it difficult for protesters to organise and to
contact journalists and rights groups.
the challenges, she says her family has been waiting for such mass
demonstrations since 1989. She also has a personal score to settle: three years
ago, she was detained and beaten by security forces for speaking out against
female genital mutilation, a custom still widely practiced in Sudan.
government has arrested so many of us, including children,” Ms Asil told The
National. “But all my family and relatives are still protesting, and we will
remain together until the government of Bashir falls.”
is the only fate that Obama Mousa envisions for Sudan. As a boy, many of his
friends and family were killed and raped by the Janjaweed, a state-sponsored
militia that spearheaded the genocide in Darfur. And with essentials such as
meat, fava beans and fuel now unaffordable for most Sudanese, Mr Mousa hopes
the president will step down soon.
suspects Mr Al Bashir will not relinquish power until he secures a safe exit.
Without one, he could be handed over to the International Criminal Court, which
issued a warrant for his arrest in 2009 for crimes committed in Darfur. One
option could be Qatar, whose emir reportedly phoned Mr Al Bashir on December 22
to offer his support.
Mousa says his people will continue to protest peacefully.
Pentagon has acknowledged Iran’s key role in restoring peace and stability to
war-torn Afghanistan, backtracking on Washington’s earlier claims that Tehran
supports the local Taliban militant group.
seeks a stable Afghan government that is responsive to Iranian goals, the
elimination of ISIS-K, the removal of the US/NATO presence, and the protection
of Iranian concerns, such as water rights and border security,” the US
Department of Defense said in a report sent to Congress this week.
Pentagon also admitted Iran’s influence in Afghanistan, saying that Tehran
pursues “a multitrack strategy” of engaging with the Afghan government and
seeks to boost bilateral economic ties with Kabul.
involvement is most prominent in western, central, and northern Afghanistan,
where local Afghans share common history, culture, religion, and language with
Iran,” according to the report.
report comes as Iran has announced it is engaged in negotiations with the
Afghan Taliban to help settle the existing security challenges facing the
announcement came after US President Donald Trump had ordered a withdrawal of
nearly half of the American forces stationed in Afghanistan, more than 17 years
after Washington and its allies invaded Afghanistan.
invasion overthrew the Taliban regime. But US forces have remained bogged down
there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Trump.
militants have warned that they will be stepping up their attacks until the US
forces fully withdraw from Afghanistan after more than a decade and half of
the Daesh terror group has also taken advantage of the chaos to establish a
foothold in Afghanistan, further complicating the Afghan government’s efforts
to uproot terrorism.
a visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday, Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s
Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said Tehran had been holding a series
of talks with the Taliban group “with the knowledge of the Afghan government”
and would continue to do so in the future.
made the comments during a meeting with Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan president’s
national security adviser in the capital Kabul.
by a number of high-ranking security, military and political officials,
Shamkhani paid a one-day visit to Afghanistan, where he met with senior Afghan
officials, including President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah
and former president Hamid Karzai.
his talks with Karzai, Shamkhani slammed Washington’s double standards in its
so-called fight on terror, describing the US presence in the region as a main
cause of instability and insecurity.
for his part, praised Iran’s support for Afghanistan, saying the Afghan people
and government are confident that the Islamic Republic would play effective
role in promoting peace in Afghanistan.
an address to the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan last month, Iranian Foreign
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the international community to
facilitate “inclusive” dialog between the Afghan Taliban and the government in
a bid to restore peace to the conflict-plagued country.
Taliban militant group has warned the United States it would face the same fate
as the Soviet Union in the 1980s if it did not leave violence-wracked
spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement on Thursday that US forces face
"humiliation" and could "learn a great deal" from the
experience of their Cold War foe.
heed from the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan and abandon thoughts of testing the
mettle of the already proven Afghans," said the statement issued on the
39th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of the war-torn country.
Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, ending a decade-long occupation and
precipitating a bloody civil war and the emergence of the Taliban and other
in the statement, Taliban spokesman added that any future relations between the
Taliban and the United States should be based on "sound diplomatic and
economic principles" rather than conflict.
Taliban have previously said the presence of foreign troops is the biggest
obstacle to peace in Afghanistan.
Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the withdrawal of some 7,000 troops from
Afghanistan. The figure accounts for about half of the total number of American
boots on the ground in the country.
Taliban have not formally responded to the partial US troop withdrawal. But a
senior commander recently told media outlets that the group was "more than
Kabul government has stepped up efforts to convince the Taliban to end the
17-year militancy amid Washington’s failures on the battleground.
State Department's special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has said he held
"productive" meetings in Abu Dhabi with Afghan and international
partners "to promote intra-Afghan dialogue towards ending the
said the Taliban’s demand remained an agreement over the withdrawal of foreign
forces from Afghanistan. The US, meanwhile, has sought assurances from the
militant group that its forces would not be attacked.
meetings are the latest in a flurry of diplomatic efforts aimed at putting an
end to the war in Afghanistan which began with the US invasion 17 years ago.
United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the September 11
attacks and overthrew the Taliban regime. But US forces have remained bogged
down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now
Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s convictions or death sentence should
be tossed because it was impossible for him to get a fair trial in the same
city where the shrapnel-packed, pressure cooker bombs exploded, his lawyers
told a federal appeals court on Thursday.
a 500-page brief filed in the 1st US District Court of Appeals, Tsarnaev’s
legal team outlined a host of other problems with his 2015 trial, during which
the defense admitted from the outset that he and his older brother carried out
the attack. His appellate lawyers are also pointing to issues with jurors,
certain testimony from surviving victims and the defense’s inability to tell
jurors about links between Tsarnaev’s brother and an unsolved triple killing in
lawyers argue the trial court judge’s “first fundamental error” was denying the
defense’s repeated requests to move the case out of a city that was
“traumatized by the bombings, ordered to shelter in place during the manhunt,
saturated by prejudicial publicity and united in the Boston Strong movement.”
case should not have been tried in Boston,” the attorneys wrote.
was sentenced to death just over two years after he and his brother set off
bombs near the Boston Marathon’s finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three
people and wounding more than 260. He was convicted of all 30 charges against
him, including conspiracy and use of weapon of mass destruction.
admitted at his sentencing that he committed the attack— saying “If there’s any
lingering doubt about that, let there be no more” — and apologized to victims
and their loved ones. The defense had sought to portray Tsarnaev as an
impressionable teenager who was lured by his brother into participating in the
now 25, is behind bars at the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. His
26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a gunbattle with police a few
days after the bombing.
lawyers pushed several times to move the trial, arguing the intense media
scrutiny and number of people touched by the bombings in Boston would taint the
jury pool. But US District Judge George O’Toole refused, saying he believed a
fair and impartial jury in the city could be found.
three judge panel of the 1st Circuit agreed, noting that other high-profile
terrorism cases such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing took place in the
cities where the attacks occurred.
the dozens of other issues Tsarnaev’s lawyers are raising on appeal are two
jurors they say should have been dismissed for lying to the court about their
online comments and discussions about the case before the trial.
juror said in Twitter posts that that she was “locked down” with her family and
retweeted another post calling Tsarnaev a “piece of garbage,” but told the
court she had not commented on the case or been asked to shelter in place, the
attorneys say. On the day of Tsarnaev’s sentencing, the juror changed her
Facebook profile picture to an image that said “BOSTON STRONG,” the attorneys
lawyers are also challenging the judge’s refusal to allow the defense to tell
the jury about evidence tying Tamerlan to the killings of three people in the
Boston suburb of Waltham in 2011. The defense sought to use the killings to
underscore their argument that Tamerlan was the mastermind and coerced his
brother into participating in the attacks.
have said Tamerlan’s friend, Ibragim Todashev, implicated him in the killings
of three men whose bodies were found sprinkled with marijuana, their throats
cut. Todashev was shot to death by an FBI agent after authorities said he
charged another investigator with a pole while being questioned about the
evidence that Tamerlan was a cold-blooded killer who convinced a friend to join
him in his crimes strongly supported the defense’s central argument in
mitigation: 26-year-old Tamerlan, a former New England Golden Gloves
heavyweight boxing champion, was a violent man who planned and led the
bombings, and Jahar, his 19-year-old younger brother, who had no history of
violence, participated in it only under Tamerlan’s influence,” his lawyers
U.S. had access to records of Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes in Yemen, and
Saudis “often ignored” no-strike lists provided by Washington, The New York
former senior State Department official said that the United States had access
to records of every airstrike over Yemen since the early days of the war,
including the warplane and munitions used,” the NYT reported in an article,
titled Arms Sales to Saudis Leave American Fingerprints on Yemen’s Carnage,
published on Tuesday.
said “American fingerprints are all over the air war in Yemen,” where the
strikes killed over 4,600 civilians.
has been dogged by conflict since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the
country, including the capital Sana’a, forcing the government to take up
temporary residence in the coastal city of Aden.
2015, Saudi Arabia and several of its Arab allies launched a massive air
campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
the same time, American efforts to advise the Saudis on how to protect
civilians often came to naught. The Saudis whitewashed an American-sponsored
initiative to investigate errant airstrikes and often ignored a voluminous
no-strike list,” it reported.
to the article, Tom Malinowski, a former assistant sectary of state, said the
Saudis were given “specific coordinates of targets” that should not be struck
but they continued to strike those targets.
struck me as a willful disregard of advice they were getting,” Malinowski was
quoted as saying. “In the end, we concluded that they were just not willing to
listen,” he added.
the U.S. military continued its support for the airstrikes, the article read.
casualties in November
that the U.S. support for the Yemen conflict came under scrutiny after Saudi
journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in early
October, the article said the incident “ended American air-to-air refueling of
coalition warplanes in November but has otherwise continued to support the
month, the Senate voted to end American military assistance to the war
altogether, a sharp rebuke to the Trump administration, but the bill died when
the House refused to consider it,” the daily recalled.
added that the death toll was rising and November was the most violent month in
Yemen since January 2016, when the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data
Project started to track casualties in the country.
were 3,058 war-related fatalities in November, including 80 civilians killed in
airstrikes,” it said.
article also quoted Daniel L. Byman, a professor at Georgetown University, who
said: “This war has been a strategic disaster for the Saudis.”
judge in Belgium has ordered the government to repatriate six children of ISIS
fighters and their mothers from Syria.
children, all aged under six, are currently in a refugee camp under control of
Kurdish forces in the northeast of the war-torn country.
has so far resisted calls to intervene but on Wednesday national news agency
Belga reported that the Flemish-speaking Court of First Instance had ordered
the government to take "all necessary and possible measures" to
return them. It must do so within 40 days or face fines of 5,000 euros a day
children’s mothers, Tatiana Wielandt, 26, and Bouchra Abouallal, 25, are both
Belgian citizens and were married to ISIS militants fighting in Syria. After
their husbands disappeared, they were locked up in the Al Hawl camp near the
and Abouallal were sentenced to five years in prison in absentia by a court in
Antwerp earlier this year for participating in terrorist activities.
two women have made it known that they want to return to Belgium to face their
punishment rather than remaining in Syria.
the downfall of ISIS in most of Syria and Iraq, European nationals fighting
with extremist forces are beginning to make their way home.
are worried that the returning fighters will encourage further extremist
attacks on European soil.
nations have argued that they cannot intervene in an area where Kurdish rule is
not internationally recognised.
the Kurds said they cannot take responsibility for 584 women and 1,250 children
in their zone.
Belgium, where more than 400 adults are thought to have left the country to
join ISIS or Al Qaeda since 2013, the government is reluctant to take back
children of fighters.
rights groups say there are around 160 Belgian minors trapped in Syria in need
of assistance from the Belgian state.
President Donald Trump and his wife Melania have greeted American troops in
Germany, his second visit to US troops overseas in the last day.
his way back from meeting US troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on Wednesday,
Trump stopped at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for refueling and met with
service members there.
slowly made his way down a rope line at the US Air Force base in southwestern
Germany, shaking hands, chatting and posing for photos.
president’s earlier visit to Iraq was his first to US forces overseas. Both
visits were unannounced.
lawmakers criticize Trump visit
political and militia leaders condemned Trump’s visit to the Al Asad Air Base
as a violation of Baghdad’s sovereignty.
lawmakers said a meeting between Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Adil
Abdul-Mahdi was canceled due to a disagreement over venue. Trump had asked to
meet at the military base, an offer which the Iraqi leader declined.
American leadership was defeated in Iraq and wants to return again under any
pretext, and this is what we will never allow,” said Falih Khazali, a
politician allied with the Bina bloc in Iraq’s Parliament.
al-Khazali, the leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq fighters, said on Twitter,
"Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (US)
military forces. And if they do not leave, we have the experience and the
ability to remove them by other means that your forces are familiar with."
European Union (EU) condemned Israel’s recent approval for the construction of
homes to expand Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Thursday.
Israeli authorities recently approved plans to build 2,191 Jewish-only housing
units in the occupied West Bank.
emphasizes the Israeli decision undermines the viability of the two-state
solution and the possibility of lasting peace in a written statement.
European Union’s position on Israeli settlement construction and related
activities is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal
under international law” the statement reads.
France condemned the decision of Israeli administration to build about 300
additional houses to illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Foreign Ministry condemned the move saying: "The settlements'
establishment do not correspond with UNSC resolution 2334. The settlements
endanger the two-state solution, which is the only solution that would allow
for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians."
also requested the Israeli administration to review the decision.
plan for the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank came
prior to early elections in April 2019.
for 82 new homes in the Ofra settlement near Ramallah -- where a shooting
attack occurred earlier this month -- have also reportedly received the green
to Palestinian figures, roughly 640,000 Jewish settlers now live on 196
settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval) and more than 200
settler outposts (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank.
prosecution authority said on Thursday it had charged three men with planning a
terror attack in Sweden, warning the plot could have caused serious damage had
it not been prevented.
three are suspected of "obtaining and storing large amounts of chemicals
and other equipment with the aim of killing and wounding other people,"
the prosecution authority said in a statement.
the terrorist crime had been carried out, it could have seriously hurt
Sweden," it added.
trio were also charged, along with three other people, with financing terrorism.
Prosecutors accuse them of sending money abroad to fund ISIS's operations.
six have denied the charges against them. The trial is expected to open on
men, aged between 30 and 46, originally hail from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan,
according to Swedish paper of reference Dagens Nyheter.
residency status in Sweden could not immediately be verified.
of the six have been in custody since a police raid in Stromsund, 600
kilometres (375 miles) north of Stockholm, in late April.
sixth man is not in custody.
the April raid, neighbours told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper they saw police
removing about 15 large plastic containers from a shed on an empty property.
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These lines are good. "It is a very dangerous bill that will make a civil issue a criminal offence.
Who will take care of the wives and children once the husband goes to jail?" he said.
He also said that instead of gender justice, the bill would prove to be a "punishment" for men and women from the community.
"Four crore women signed a petition saying they do not want the bill then who are these Muslim women who want it?" he questioned the government.
AIMPLB executive member Asma Zehra said the move to pass the triple talaq bill was "unconstitutional" and is an infringement of the constitutional rights of Muslim women.
"The law minister (Ravi Shankar Prasad in the debate) was not able to answer questions posed by the opposition. They are giving examples of domestic violence act but that is applicable for all religions. Why just target Muslims," she said.
She further said the move will "damage families" and claimed that it is the aim of the government."