Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has condemned Republicans for linking her to
the September 11, 2001
Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Calls Polygamy an ‘Injustice’
State's Possession of Land in Iraq and Syria Set It Apart From Other
Like-Minded Groups Such As Al Qaeda
Muslim Body Urges India, Pakistan to Talk and Resolve Their Issues ‘Through
Internal', Says India after Islamic Nations' Conclave Adopts Resolution on
Ayodhya Issue with Dialogue': Muslim Civil Society and Art of Living
Jamaat-e-Islami Is Recruiting Volunteers If India and Pakistan Go To War
Submitted In Pakistan Parliament to Endorse Imran Khan for Peace Nobel
‘Crime Minister’ Netanyahu in Hot Water as Opponent Gains in Popularity and
Corruption Charges Loom
US Congresswoman Slams Republicans for Linking Her To 9/11
Muslims Urge Probe into Tory Handling of Islamophobia
Ministers Call For Peace, Stability in Muslim Countries
and alone, children emerge from last IS enclave
Army Resumes Attacks on Kurdish Positions in Aleppo Province
Army Pounds, Destroys Terrorists' Bases in Hama
and alone, children emerge from last ISIS enclave
likely used in attack on Syria town Douma: OPCW
coalition bombs eastern Syrian town with white phosphorus munitions
Muslim Body Urges India, Pakistan to Talk And Resolve Their Issues ‘Through
Family in Assam Has Been Looking After 500-Year-Old Shiva Temple Since
Jets Hit School of Jihad, Says Azhar’s Brother in Audio
says was subjected to mental harassment by ISI
Express service restarts from Pakistan today
used in air strikes had Jaish coordinates fed in, little chance of their
to flush out terrorists underway in J&K's Babagund area
Muslim delegation invites PM Modi to Ajmer Sharif Dargah
curbs: Official says won’t close any mosques
to ask UK, EU parliamentarians to play their part for de-escalation of tensions
government split wide open over Abhinandan’s release
to look into violation of F-16 user-agreement by Pak
mob thought pilot shot down by Abhi was Indian, lynched him’
killed medical student in Karachi during encounter: report
of Pakistani prisoner killed in Indian jail handed over by BSF at Wagah
welcomes Iran’s offer to help settle Islamabad-New Delhi differences
Forces Palestinian Man To Demolish Own House In East Jerusalem Al-Quds
‘top priority’ for Saudi Arabia: Al-Jubeir
launches air strike on Hamas location in the Gaza Strip
government calls on Iran to stop supporting Houthis, as 30 militia killed
condemns UK for listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization
admits failure of US policies in Syria, Iraq
Signs in Statehouse Roil West Virginia, Draw Outrage
Taliban resume talks on draft agreement
says US knows where Daesh leader is, denies Iran, Russia rift
court jails two Iraqis, one Iranian for smuggling migrants
calls Assad regime to destroy chemical weapons
must accept Turkey's concerns: European commissioner
set with Turkey to build confidence: Greece
Brexit will affect British ties with UAE
Chief, Sudanese Spy Chief Met In Munich to Discuss Bashir's Ouster: Report
vows crackdown after siege that killed 20
than 50 people missing after pipeline explodes in southern Nigeria
At least 29 killed in armed bandit attack
sub-commanders killed in Nangarhar airstrike
hosts first trilateral summit between Afghanistan, India and China
endorses peace efforts but calls for elimination of enemies refusing
target army corps, kill 23 soldiers
for non-Malays to be Chief Justice, AG, or minister, says Malaysian Bar
reasons why BN won Semenyih
by New Age Islam News Bureau
imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar calls polygamy an ‘injustice’
grand imam of Egypt’s famed Al-Azhar institution, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, has
described polygamy as an “injustice” for women.
is often an injustice to women and children,” said the influential cleric, in
quotes published on Twitter late Friday by Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s most
prestigious seat of learning.
practice is the result of “a lack of understanding of the Quran and the
tradition of the Prophet,” he added.
also addressed the issue in a weekly Friday television show, telling viewers:
“Those who say that marriage must be polygamous are all wrong”.
added the Quran says that in order for a Muslim man to have multiple wives, he
“must obey conditions of fairness -- and if there is not fairness it is
forbidden to have multiple wives”.
the grand imam’s comments sparked fervent debate on social media, Al-Azhar on
Saturday clarified that he did not call for polygamy to be banned.
his Friday comments, Tayeb called more broadly for the way women’s issues are
addressed to be revamped.
represent half of society, if we don’t care for them it’s like we are walking
on one foot only,” he said in the remarks published on Twitter.
grand imam’s approach was welcomed by Egypt’s National Council for Women.
Muslim religion honors women -- it brought justice and numerous rights which
didn’t exist before,” said the Council’s president Maya Morsi.
State's Possession of Land In Iraq And Syria Set It Apart From Other
Like-Minded Groups Such As Al Qaeda
State looks about to lose its last foothold – on the banks of the Euphrates
near the Iraq border – but while its era of territorial rule may be over for
now, there is near universal agreement that IS remains a threat.
HAS ITS TERRITORIAL DEFEAT ACCOMPLISHED?
State’s possession of land in Iraq and Syria set it apart from other
like-minded groups such as al Qaeda and became central to its mission when it
declared a caliphate in 2014, claiming sovereignty over all Muslim lands and
destruction of the quasi-state it built there has denied the group its most
potent propaganda and recruiting tool as well as a logistical base from which
it could train fighters and plan coordinated attacks overseas.
also freed its former subjects from summary executions and draconian punishment
for breaking its strict laws or, for some minorities, sexual slavery and
wiped out thousands of its fighters. And, financially, its defeat deprives it
of greater resources than any modern jihadist movement has enjoyed, including
taxes on its inhabitants and the proceeds of oil sales.
THREAT DOES ISLAMIC STATE STILL POSE IN IRAQ AND SYRIA?
its previous guise as an al Qaeda offshoot in Iraq a decade ago, IS navigated
adversity by going underground, biding its time to rise suddenly again.
suffering devastating territorial losses in 2017, IS has steadily turned again
to such tactics. Sleeper cells in Iraq have staged a scatter-gun campaign of
kidnappings and killings to undermine the Baghdad government.
group has also carried out many bombings in northeast Syria, which is
controlled by US-backed Kurdish forces, including one that killed four
Americans in January. Kurdish and US officials say it remains a menace there.
Syria, IS fighters are on the brink of losing their last foothold of Baghouz at
the Iraqi border. But they still have a presence in the sparsely populated
territory west of the Euphrates River in an area otherwise held by the Syrian
HAS HAPPENED TO ITS LEADERS, FIGHTERS AND FOLLOWERS?
fate of the IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remains a mystery. The US
government’s top experts strongly believe he is alive and possibly hiding in
Iraq, US sources recently said. Other top-echelon leaders have been killed in
of Islamic State insurgents and civilian followers have also been killed and
thousands more captured. An unknown number remain at large in both Syria and
is putting on trial, imprisoning and often executing IS detainees. The
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) holds many hundreds of Islamic State
fighters and followers.
of the final assault on Baghouz, the SDF said it had 800 foreign fighters and
more than 2,000 IS wives and children in its hands. The SDF has evacuated a
large number of IS followers from Baghouz, so these numbers are now higher.
low-level local operatives have been released in Syria.
SDF complains that Western states are reluctant to take back the foreign
fighters, who are widely seen as a security threat at home but who might be
hard to legally prosecute.
IT STILL ORGANISE OR INSPIRE ATTACKS OVERSEAS?
Islamic State clung to its last scrap of land, the head of Britain’s spy agency
MI6 warned that the group would return to “asymmetric” attacks.
after it began losing ground militarily, IS still claimed responsibility for
attacks made in different countries, though often these have been blamed on
“lone wolves” without its direction.
started years ago to call on followers abroad to plan their own attacks, rather
than focusing purely on ones staged by trained operatives supported by the
early 2018 the head of US military central command said Islamic State was
resilient and remained capable of “inspiring attacks throughout the region and
outside of the Middle East”.
DOES ITS FALL MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL JIHAD?
Islamic State’s core territory was in Iraq and Syria, jihadists fighting in
other countries, notably Nigeria, Yemen and Afghanistan, pledged their
allegiance to it.
those groups will still wear its mantle, especially if Baghdadi is captured or
killed, is an open question, but there seems little chance they will soon end
Qaeda also retains numerous franchises around the world, and other militant
Islamist groups operate in countries where normal governance has broken down.
ideology has long proven itself able to mutate as circumstances change, and
there is no shortage of warfare, injustice, oppression, poverty, sectarianism
and naked religious hatred for Islamist militants to exploit.
Muslim Body Urges India, Pakistan To Talk And Resolve Their Issues ‘Through
foreign ministry says the world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations has
adopted a resolution urging India and Pakistan to de-escalate tensions and
resolve their issues “through peaceful means.”
ministry said in a statement Saturday that at the end of a meeting in Abu
Dhabi, the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation “reaffirmed its
unwavering support for the Kashmiri people in their just cause.”
said the OIC expressed concern over this past week’s “Indian violation of
Pakistani airspace; affirmed Pakistan’s right to self-defense; and urged India
to refrain from the threat or use of force.”
resolution came a day after Pakistan’s foreign minister skipped the meeting to
protest the host’s decision to invite India, a non-member.
family member of a Pakistani prisoner Shakir Ullah, who was killed by Indian
inmates in an Indian jail, sits next to his body in an ambulance arriving from
India at Pakistani-India border post Wagah, near Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday,
March 2, 2019. Indian authorities have handed over the body of a Pakistani
prisoner Ullah who was beaten to death by Indian inmates this month at an
Indian jail apparently in retaliation for the Dec. 14 suicide bombing in
Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers. (K.M. Chaudary/Associated
between India and Pakistan have been running high since Indian aircraft
launched a strike in Pakistan on Tuesday in response to a Feb. 14 suicide
bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 troops.
defense minister has met with the air force pilot who was released from
Press Trust of India news agency reported that Defense Minister Nirmala
Sitharaman met with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at the Indian air force
medical facility in New Delhi on Saturday, with Varthaman debriefing the
minister about his detainment in Pakistan.
news agency said the pilot was undergoing medical tests at the facility.
was captured on Wednesday after his plane was shot down by the Pakistani
military amid high tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals over the disputed
Kashmir region. Pakistan handed Varthaman back to India at a border crossing on
has handed over the body of a Pakistani prisoner who was beaten to death by
inmates at an Indian jail last month apparently in retaliation for a Feb. 14
suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers.
was unclear on what charges Shakir Ullah had been held at the jail.
government officials say border guards received Ullah’s body Saturday at the
same Wagah border crossing in the eastern city of Lahore from where an Indian
pilot was handed over to Indian officials a day before.
pilot was captured this past week after his plane was shot down by the
Pakistani military amid high tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals over the
disputed Kashmir region.
foreign minister says Russia has offered to serve as a mediator to ease
tensions between Pakistan and India.
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Saturday that Pakistan was ready to accept
the Russian offer, but he did not know whether India would agree as well.
said at a news conference that Pakistan wants “peace, we don’t war and we have
said that war is not solution to problems.”
also said a top Saudi diplomat would soon visit Pakistan and India in a bid to
officials said China is also expected to send an envoy to Pakistan and India
Pakistani Cabinet minister says a key train service between Pakistan and
neighboring India will resume on Monday, a sign on easing tensions between the
train service, known as Samjhauta Express, was suspended by Pakistani
authorities this past week, stranding people on both sides.
Saturday, the minister for railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, told reporters that
the train link would be restored on Monday. The train links Lahore with the
Indian border town of Atari.
said Saturday that soldiers from both sides again targeted each other’s posts
and villages along their volatile frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing at
least six civilians and two Pakistani troops.
military says two of its soldiers have been killed in an exchange of fire with
Indian forces near the Line of Control that separates the disputed Himalayan
region of Kashmir between the rivals.
marked the first fatalities for Pakistani troops since Wednesday, when tensions
dramatically escalated between the nuclear-armed neighbors over Kashmir, which
is split between them but claimed by both in its entirety.
army said in a statement Saturday that the soldiers were killed in the Nakiyal
region of Kashmir in the past 24 hours. It said there were reports of troop
casualties on the Indian side.
overnight Friday, a total of at least six civilians have been killed on both
sides of Kashmir.
police say two paramilitary soldiers and two counterinsurgency police officials
have been killed in a gunbattle with militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir,
while troops fatally shot a civilian during anti-India protests.
said Saturday that the fighting began Thursday night in a forested area in the
northwestern Handwara area after Indian troops surrounded the area on a tip
that militants were hiding there.
then, fighting has been on and off. In addition to the fatalities, at least
eight soldiers and police have been wounded.
said a young man was killed Friday when government forces fired at anti-India
protesters who threw stones while trying to reach the site of the fighting.
Several people were also injured in the clashes.
fighting comes amid tensions between India and Pakistan that have been running
high since Indian aircraft launched a strike in Pakistan on Tuesday in response
to a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40
military says Indian troops have fired across the Line of Control into the
Pakistan-controlled portion of the disputed region of Kashmir, killing two
civilians and wounding two others.
casualties Saturday bring to six the number of people killed on both sides of
Kashmir since overnight Friday.
military said in a statement that its troops “gave a befitting response by
targeting Indian posts.”
Indian army said Pakistani soldiers attacked Indian posts at several places
along the militarized line later Saturday.
latest exchange of fire between the nuclear-armed rivals came a day after
Pakistan released an Indian pilot to defuse tensions. Pakistan arrested the
pilot this past week after shooting down two Indian planes in Kashmir, which is
split between the countries but claimed in its entirety by both.
have been running high since Indian aircraft launched a strike in Pakistan on
Tuesday in response to a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir
that killed 40 troops.
of people who were forced to flee border villagers this week amid a dramatic
escalation of hostilities between Pakistan and India have urged the
international community to play its role in resolving the issue of Kashmir so
that they can live peacefully.
Latif, a laborer who is taking refuge at a government building vacated for
sheltering displaced families, says, “Whenever India fire mortars, it’s we who
Kazmi, a woman whose married daughter lives in Indian Kashmir, was weeping on a
road in Muzafarabad city. She cannot travel to Indian-controlled Kashmir
because of recent suspension of a key bus service by New Delhi.
says people living on both sides of Kashmir often miss funerals and weddings of
their dear ones because of tension between Pakistan and India.
Saturday, people in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir continued fleeing border
villages for safety amid a resumption of deadly shelling.
Pakistani government official says Indian troops with heavy weapons have
“indiscriminately targeted border villagers” along the two countries’ Line of
Control in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing a boy and wounding three
official, Umar Azam, said Saturday that Pakistani troops are “befittingly”
responding to the Indian fire.
says several homes were destroyed in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, which is split
between them and claimed by both in its entirety. India said earlier that Pakistani
fire killed two siblings and their mother on its side.
and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their
independence from British rule in 1947.
exchange of fire came a day after Pakistan handed over a captured Indian air
force pilot to India as a “gesture of peace” to defuse tensions between the
nuclear-armed neighbors over the disputed Kashmir region.
say two siblings and their mother have been killed in cross-border shelling
between Indian and Pakistani soldiers in disputed Kashmir.
police say the three died overnight after a shell fired by Pakistani soldiers
hit their home in Poonch region near the so-called Line of Control that divides
the Himalayan territory of Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
army says its soldiers responded.
have been running high since Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan on Tuesday,
carrying out what India called a pre-emptive strike against militants blamed
for a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40
retaliated, shooting down a MiG-21 fighter jet Wednesday and its pilot, who was
returned to India on Friday in a peace gesture.
Internal', Says India After Islamic Nations' Conclave Adopts Resolution on
Delhi: New Delhi has asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of
India and the issue is strictly internal to the country in reaction to a
resolution on the matter by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in
its two-day foreign ministers’ conclave in Abu Dhabi.
regards the resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, our stand is consistent and well
known. We reaffirm that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and is
a matter strictly internal to India,” spokesperson of the Ministry of External
Affairs (MEA) Raveesh Kumar said.
the Pakistan Foreign Office said the 46th session of the Council of Foreign
Ministers (CFM) of OIC concluded with a resolution that "supported"
Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. "In a resolution, the OIC member states
reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir remains the core dispute between Pakistan and
India and its resolution is indispensable for the dream for peace in South
Asia," it claimed.
resolution also "expressed deep concern" over the alleged human
rights violations in Kashmir, the Pakistan Foreign Office claimed, adding that
the resolution also reminded the international community of its obligation to
ensure implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on the Kashmir
OIC is a grouping of 57 countries, majority of which are Muslim-dominated. It
has usually been supportive of Pakistan and, often sided with Islamabad on the
Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the inaugural plenary of the 46th
session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of OIC on Friday. She was the
first Indian minister to address the OIC meeting.
participation came despite strong demand by Pakistan to rescind the invitation
to Swaraj to address the grouping which was turned down by the host UAE,
resulting in Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boycotting the
attended the meeting in Abu Dhabi on March 1 as the guest of honour at the
invitation extended by the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates.
"We deeply appreciate this historic gesture on the 50th anniversary of
their first meeting," the MEA spokesperson said.
OIC also called for "restraint and de-escalation" in South Asia as
well as the need to resolve outstanding issues through peaceful means, the
Pakistan Foreign Office said.
Ayodhya Issue With Dialogue': Muslim Civil Society and Art of Living
The Ayodhya dispute should be resolved through dialogue between Hindus and
Muslims, demanded the litigant in the Babri Masjid case, Haji Mehboob along
with representatives of the Muslim Civil Society and Art of Living, here on
together on one platform through Muslims Intellectual Forum, they stressed on
the out-of-court settlement to resolve the Ayodhya issue. They also shot a
letter to the president of Jamiat Ulema, Maulana Syed Arshad Madani and All
India Muslim Personal Law Board president, Maulana Syed Muhammad Rabey Hasani
Nadwi to extend support to Shri Shri Ravi Shankar's effort to amicably resolve
the Ayodhya issue and also facilitate talks between Hindus and Muslims.
to mediapersons, litigant Haji Mehboob said, "Political outfits will never
want the Ayodhya issue to be resolved... There are some people from both the
sides who don't want the dispute to be over. Hence, there is a need to bring
intellectuals from both the communities together to hold talks."
cannot bring hearts together, hence Muslim clerics should engage with Sri Sri
Ravi Shankar to amicably resolve the Ayodhya dispute," said the director
of the Art of Living Gautam Vig.
Jamaat-E-Islami Is Recruiting Volunteers If India And Pakistan Go To War
Aamir Khan is homeless, doesn’t know who his parents are and doesn’t remember
much of what happened to him when he was younger. But of one thing he is
certain: the future. He is going to fight a war against India.
Muslims will set India on fire,” he said. “We will kill them and blow them up.
I hope we will win this fight InshaAllah.”
is one of hundreds of men, women and children, young and old, who have signed
up as volunteers to fight, at a registration camp set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami
religio-political party in Karachi.
volunteers are reacting to a series of events triggered on February 14 which
nearly brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war. Tensions were ratcheted
up when a suicide bomber killed 40 Indian soldiers in Indian-Administered
Kashmir’s Pulwama. This was deemed the deadliest attack since 2002.
response, Indian planes violated Pakistani airspace. A day later, Pakistan shot
down two Indian planes. One plane crashed in Pakistan-Administered Kashmir and
its pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan, was captured. However, in an attempt to
de-escalate, Pakistan returned the pilot to the Indian authorities as a
“gesture of peace” and Prime Minister Imran Khan urged for talks.
fortnight’s riveting and nerve-wracking developments were significant for the
Jamaat-e-Islami for whom Kashmir has long been a cause and a rally cry.
the JI registration camp at Hasan Square, an office-bearer, Kabir Ahmed, took
down the names and phone numbers of volunteers. “We need women and blood
donors,” he explained. “Women have given their names as volunteers to protect
buildings, bridges and defense installations.” They were preparing people with
medical and rescue training in case war broke out with India. People who signed
up were told that the party would contact them for training and they may be
asked to work with rescue teams if the need arose. Of course, he added, it was
fine if India “freed” Kashmir through dialogue but if the war were necessary,
then they were ready to fight.
30,000 people have registered in Karachi alone,” said Hafiz Bilal, the
president of the youth wing who happens to be a former student of the
University of Karachi. The youth wing, with over 10,000 members, had organized
the volunteer drive and set up camps in the city. “We take their names, cell
numbers and they all are ready to protect the country with Jazba-e-Jihad
(passion for jihad) and Jazba-e-Shahadat (passion for martyrdom).”
Jamaat-e-Islami has backed a cause to “free” Kashmir for decades with its
leaders attending rallies with Kashmiri leaders, including Hizbul Mujahideen
head Syed Salahuddin and commander Mast Gul. An intelligence official, who
requested anonymity because he is not allowed to comment on political parties,
said that the JI had hosted Kashmir leaders at its offices in the past.
Salahuddin interacted with Jamaat-e-Islami workers at its Karachi office a few
years ago, the official said, adding that these visits give them a chance to
interact with young people and make an impression.
Indian government has banned the Jamaat-e-Islami in Kashmir for “unlawful association”
and for activities “prejudicial to internal security and public order”. India
did this, argued senior JI leader Naeem-ur-Rehman, because it knew “who
provided the resistance” in the Kashmir jihad.
JI has its own interpretation of the recent attack on Indian soldiers as well.
“The Pulwama attack should not be declared a terrorist attack,” Naeem-ur-Rehman
said while talking to SAMAA Digital at his office. “It should be said that the
young man committed an act of jihad against state terrorism.” He said they
considered jihad a religious duty. He added that no civilian was killed at
Pulwama; soldiers were targeted.
is not the first time the Jamaat-e-Islami has rallied behind a cause and
perhaps been seen as influential enough to recruit people. Political analyst
Tausif Ahmed Khan recalled how the party had put up banners and posters across
the country in 1971 (before the creation of Bangladesh). “The Jamaat-e-Islami
ran a similar campaign between September and October, 1971,” he said. “They developed
a junoon in people and we all had seen the result.”
Ahmed Khan was in college in 1971 and remembered JI workers chanting “crush
India” at the time. The problem is that Pakistan is isolated because of such
groups, he argued. “When they talk about jihad, it is taken as proof that
Pakistan interferes in Kashmir,” he added.
the Jamaat-e-Islami has been quite public about its support for leaders of the
Mast Gul was close to the late Jamaat-e-Islami leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed,” said
Brigadier (retired) Asad Munir, a former ISI official. “Qazi Hussain Ahmed used
to take him to roadside rallies across the country.”
Munir and Tausif Ahmed Khan argued that Pakistan needs to act against groups
motivating people, especially young ones, towards violence. For his part, Munir
said that the State should act against groups that motivate people towards
jihad because, “the world does no longer tolerate jihad”.
made this policy is responsible for all of this,” he said.
Digital made repeated attempts to contact government officials for comment.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry was sent a message but he had not responded
by the time this report was filed. This story will be updated accordingly if
and when a response is given.
14-year-old Abu Hurairah was signing up at the Jamaat-e-Islami’s camp with his
mother. She said she could sacrifice her child for Pakistan. “Our life is for
Pakistan,” her son added. “We want Pakistan and India to repair their relationship
because both countries will suffer a loss if they go to war.”
submitted in Pakistan parliament to endorse Imran Khan for Peace Nobel
resolution was submitted in Pakistan Parliament on Saturday to endorse Prime
Minister (PM) Imran Khan for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize due to his
efforts to de-escalate resent tension with India.
Minister Fawad Chaudhry Saturday submitted the resolution in the secretariat of
National Assembly, the lower house.
resolution stated that Khan's decision of releasing Indian Air Force pilot Wing
Commander Abhinandan has de-escalated the hostility between Pakistan and India.
to the resolution, Khan acted responsibly in the current tension and
"deserves the Nobel Peace Prize".
resolution is expected to be taken up on Monday when it is scheduled to convene
is also expected to be passed as the government has majority in the House but
it will be interesting to see if main opposition parties support the move.
refuses to share proof of air strikes in Balakot
DELHI: A top Indian minister said on Saturday the government would not share
proof that “a very large number of militants” were killed in air strikes inside
Pakistan this week, after doubts were raised there were any casualties in the
attack that stoked tensions between the two countries.
flare up appeared to be easing on Saturday after Pakistan handed back a
captured Indian fighter pilot on Friday night, amid efforts by global powers to
prevent another war between the two states.
shelling across the Line of Control continued, said military officials on both
Tuesday, Indian warplanes carried out air strikes inside Balakot on what New
Delhi alleged were militant camps. Islamabad denied any such camps existed, as
did local villagers in the area when Reuters visited.
Wednesday, Pakistan retaliated with its own aerial mission.
said the Indian bombs hit a largely empty hillside without hurting anyone. Some
Indian opposition leaders have asked the government to share evidence of the
a look: India speaks in riddles after Imran’s peace gesture
India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
top lieutenants, said “no security agencies ever share operational details”.
a very irresponsible stand,” Jaitley said at a conference organised by the
India Today media group.
armed forces must have, and our security and intelligence agencies must have, a
full leeway in dealing with situations, and if anybody wants operational
details to be made public ... he certainly does not understand the system.”
dismissed suggestions that the rapid escalation in tensions with Pakistan had
anything to do with India’s domestic politics ahead of a general election due
by May. Pollsters expect the ruling party to benefit from the nationalistic
passion sweeping the country.
Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman crossed into India from Pakistan
at Wagah on Friday night in a high-profile handover shown on live television.
Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met Abhinandan at a New Delhi defence hospital on
Saturday, where he was seen in his air force jumpsuit. He will undergo medical
checks before re-joining active duty, officials said. The pilot debriefed the
minister about his detention in Pakistan.
presented Abhinandan’s return “as a goodwill gesture aimed at de-escalating
rising tensions with India” after weeks of unease that threatened to spiral
into war. Global powers, including China and the United States, have urged
restraint to prevent another conflict between the neighbours.
‘Crime Minister’ Netanyahu in hot water as opponent gains in popularity and
corruption charges loom
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces an increasingly tough time ahead as his
biggest political opponent overtakes him in popularity and as calls mount for
him to resign over looming corruption charges that could effectively end his
military chief of staff Benny Gantz, head of the newly-formed center-left Blue
and White political alliance, has both gained in popularity — past that of
Netanyahu’s — and urged the Israeli prime minister to resign.
I am calling on you to... resign from your position. You can return to politics
with your head up when you prove you are innocent,” he said.
call came after Israeli Attorney General Aluf Avichai Mandelblit announced his
intention to indict Netanyahu for fraud and breach of trust in three separate
cases, and for bribery in one of them, pending a hearing.
is involved and has been investigated in at least three criminal cases.
Case 1,000 involves allegations that Netanyahu received luxury gifts from
international billionaires in exchange for favors. In Case 2,000, he is accused
of conspiring with the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper to undermine a
critical daily. Case 4,000 also involves allegations that Netanyahu offered
incentives to the Israeli telecom provider Bezeq in return for positive stories
in Walla news website.
is the first time that a serving Israeli prime minister is told he faces
a press conference on Thursday, Netanyahu called the allegations a “witch hunt
intended to topple” his right-wing administration, stressing that he intends to
continue as Israeli prime minister “for many more years.” He is running for a
fifth term in the April 9 general elections.
a poll conducted by The Times of Israel on Friday — the first poll since
Mandelblit said he would proceed with the public indictment — showed that more
than two-thirds of Israelis believed Netanyahu should resign if is indicted.
poll, published by the Kan public broadcaster on Saturday, showed that 41
percent of respondents picked Gantz and 40 percent Netanyahu when asked who
they thought was most fit to serve as Israel’s prime minister.
was the first time that Gantz was taking a lead over Netanyahu in the polls.
Gabbay, head of the Labor Party, also called on Netanyahu to “immediately”
resign, saying the prime minister was “shaming” Israel
is ruining everything in order to save himself. The people of Israel don’t want
a corrupt government,” he said.
the Meretz left-wing party called for a special meeting of the Israeli
parliament to discuss Netanyahu’s indictment.
issue is about a corrupt prime minister,” it said in a statement.
Saturday evening, Netanyahu’s opponents took to the streets of Tel Aviv to
demand his resignation.
Tel Aviv, the protesters chanted slogans such as “Corrupt, go home.” They also
waved signs reading, “Crime Minister” and “Time for Netanyahu to go.”
Ramla, near Tel Aviv, Labor activists projected onto a wall of the Maasiyahu
prison a giant message reading “Netanyahu, Israel is ashamed.”
supporter held a rival rally in Tel Aviv.
Israeli law, the prime minister is not obliged to step down unless he is
charged, convicted, and loses all appeals, a potentially lengthy process.
US Congresswoman slams Republicans for linking her to 9/11
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has condemned Republicans for linking her to
the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, saying it's "no wonder" she
is on the "hit list" of a domestic terrorist.
a poster linking the Muslim lawmaker from Minnesota to the 9/11 attack was
reportedly hung in the West Virginia statehouse by Republicans for a
“Republicans Take the Rotunda” event.
poster showed a photograph of the Twin Towers in flames with the words,
"Never forget - you said...." followed by, "I am the proof you
have forgotten," alongside a photo of Omar.
wonder why I am on the 'Hitlist' of a domestic terrorist and 'Assassinate Ilhan
Omar' is written on my local gas stations. Look no further, the GOP's
anti-Muslim display likening me to a terrorist rocks in state capitols and no
one is condemning them!" the Democratic representative wrote on Twitter.
September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of
strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion
worth of property and infrastructure damage.
officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists
but many experts have raised questions about the official account.
believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice
President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in
order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.
pro-Israel US politicians have accused Omar of anti-Semitic comments because
she has been a staunch critic of Israel and its anti-Muslim policies in the
Middle East. She has also repeatedly slammed the main Israeli lobby in the US,
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
on Wednesday night at an event in Washington, DC with fellow Representative
Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Omar dismissed anti-Semitic charges against her,
saying everything they say about Israel is interpreted as anti-Semitic because
they are Muslim.
added that anti-Semitic accusations are brought up to prevent a “broader
debate” about Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians.
and Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress after
winning their seats in November last year.
Muslims urge probe into Tory handling of Islamophobia
Muslim Council of Britain has called for an investigation into how the ruling
Conservative Party handles Islamophobia within its ranks, saying Tories are
mostly ignorant of the discrimination and hate against Muslims.
call issued on Saturday came hours after some insulting comments against
Muslims were posted on a Facebook group page related to senior Tory lawmaker
also came after Dorinda Bailey, a conservative council candidate, posted a
message on the same page supporting a user calling for bombing mosques.
Versi, a senior member of the Muslim Council of Britain, said it had become a
strategy of the Conservative Party to ignore “Islamophobia until it goes away”,
saying a probe should make clear how much the ruling party is gripped by
Islamophobic approaches among its members.
told the Metro newspaper that Islamophobia had become so “expansive” among the
Conservative politicians and party members that Muslim communities were feeling
its impact on a “daily basis”.
under half of Conservative voters believe Islam is a threat to the British way
of life,” he said, citing a report by the Hope Not Hate campaign group.
Conservative party spokesperson said the page launched by followers of former
British foreign minister Johnson was not related to the Conservative Party,
saying, however, that if a member posts insulting comments online the party
will take action.
the accusations come against the backdrop of a clear surge in Islamophobic
behavior in the Conservative Party.
a main candidate of Tory party leadership in future, sparked huge controversy
last summer when he wrote a commentary in the Daily Telegraph and compared
Muslim women wearing burqas to “bank robbers” and “letterboxes”.
article caused hate attacks against Muslim women to increase across Britain, a
country home to nearly three million Muslims.
surge in anti-Muslim approaches among Tory members comes at a time when the
Opposition Labour Party is under immense pressure to dispel members over their
alleged anti-Semitic conduct. The Labour leadership has found it difficult to
convince critics that many of its members only oppose Israel and Zionism and
have nothing against the Jews.
ministers call for peace, stability in Muslim countries
are discussing a range of issues including support for Muslim communities
outside the Arab world.
foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have
gathered in the Capital to discuss various political, economic, religious and
social issues, with peace and stability in the Muslim countries topping the
Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation, who was also announced as the new President for the
46th council of foreign ministers inaugurated the meeting on March 1.
the two-day Abu Dhabi conference, which coincides with the celebration of the
50th anniversary of the OIC, the foreign ministers are discussing a range of
issues including support for Muslim communities outside the Arab world and
combatting hate speech.
UAE welcomes this large number of participating countries and looks forward to
a fruitful constructive dialogue for the establishment of cooperation
programmes that advance the interests of the OIC member states," said
Sheikh Abdullah in his key note speech.
UAE is looking forward to seeing this conference strengthen the role of the
organisation in strengthening the bonds of joint Islamic action and ending
conflicts in Muslim nations."
annual meeting titled "50 Years of Islamic Cooperation: The Road Map to
Prosperity and Development" also saw the ministers tackling the issue of
Palestine and counter-terrorism in addition to discussing 131 draft
support for Palestinians
Abdullah bin Zayed had in his speech delivered a message of support to the
Palestine people to the foreign ministers, reaffirming the country's stance
that they have a right to independence.
reiterate UAE's support for the right of the Palestinian people to establish
their independent state and to exercise self-determination," said Sheikh
said the UAE is closely monitoring the deteriorating situation in Palestine
including the violations carried out by Israel and called on the United Nations
to take action to ensure decent living standards for the Palestine people, and
bring to an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories.
is a religion of peace and discourages violence, hatred and injustices of all
forms. We call for necessary measures to end extremism of all forms and fight
everyone involved in supporting terrorists in any form," Sheikh Abdullah.
also urged Iran review its measures and policies intended to destabilise the
region including financing terror groups and to mend relations with its
neighbours to ensure peace and stability among Muslim nations.
world is facing transformation of challenges and we call upon all nations to
embrace tolerance, fraternity and empowerment of youths and women so as to have
a peaceful future," said Sheikh Abdullah.
Yousef Al Othaimeen, Secretary-General of the OIC, said: "Muslims are
facing a lot of challenges including conflicts, terrorism and poverty and this
needs our combined efforts to find solutions to these problems.
Palestinian people are facing atrocities from the Israelis and they have
intentionally been denied peace. We call upon all nations to implement the
resolutions that grant the Palestinians sovereignty so as end the threats and
killings by the Israels."
to Al Othaimeen, the conflicts and instabilities in the Islamic states like
Syria, Libya, Iraq, Palestine and others, threaten the future of the youths and
the social, political and economic developments in these nations.
would also like to re-affirm the OIC's solidarity and support to all Islamic
states to see that peace and stability prevails everywhere," he said.
OIC is working on the implementation of the ten-year development plan
including; fighting poverty, educating the youth, empowerment of women and
promoting them to higher levels of authority, consolidating families and
ensuring of peace in all nations."
nations deserve peace and stability
Foreign Minister, Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, who is also the outgoing President of
the council of foreign ministers said humanity is above all and that nations
should look forward to seeing peace and stability in all nations.
must all work towards peace, justice, fraternity and human development. Acts of
intolerance, inequality and injustices of all forms should be rejected,"
in a real threat to the entire world and we must fight terror collectively. We
must not allow terrorists to use our territories to kill people and deprive
others of their peace."
Bangladeshi minister said minority Muslims in some states like Myanmar are
marginalized, discriminated and mistreated, and called for the end of such
must find solutions for the root causes of conflicts like that in Rohingya.
Bangladesh has tried to support the Muslims from Rohingya but we cannot solve
this crisis alone. All OIC states have to join hands to end the injustices and
ensure peace in for Muslims in that part of the world," he added.
discussed the latest situation on the repatriation of the Rohingyas as per the
agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar and urged members to extend all
possible cooperation and support to Bangladesh for implementation of the terms
of the agreement.
foreign ministers also discussed the issue of integration and cooperation among
the OIC members in addition to ways of enhancing development opportunities and
inter-cooperation by looking for opportunities to accelerate the pace of
OIC member states will be putting forth draft resolutions on financial support
mechanisms for Palestinians and will continue working on the Development Fund
for Palestine Refugees.
next foreign ministers of OIC meeting will be held in Niger.
AL-ZOR PROVINCE: Hareth Najem fled Islamic State’s last enclave in eastern
Syria wounded and alone.
Iraqi orphan’s family had died two years earlier in air strikes across the
border in al-Qaim region.
had two brothers and a sister. They all died, and then I was by myself,” Hareth
told Reuters, tears filling his eyes.
little sister, I loved her a lot. I used to take her with me to the market.”
in a cattle truck beside another injured boy at a desert transit point for
US-backed forces, he huddled under a blanket.
face was covered in dirt and the side of his head wrapped with bandages
covering wounds incurred days earlier.
was 11 years old when Islamic State (IS) carved out its “caliphate” in Iraq and
Syria, killing thousands of civilians and attracting an array of enemies that
have fought from the air and on the ground to uproot the jihadists.
16, he was among the children swept up this week in the civilian evacuation of
Baghouz, the last shred of land under the jihadists’ control where they are on
the brink of defeat at the hands of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces
of the children are foreigners whose parents brought them to be raised under IS
rule, or child fighters conscripted into what the group dubbed “cubs of the
including members of the Yazidi minority, were enslaved by the jihadists.
have seen their parents die in the fighting or be detained by rival forces.
IS faces territorial defeat, their fate remains uncertain.
SDF investigates all men and teenage boys arriving from Baghouz to determine
possible IS links.
kids have nobody’
20 children crossed the frontline on their own this week, including Iraqis, Syrians,
Turks and Indonesians, said SDF commander Adnan Afrin.
fathers of some were identified as IS fighters and arrested immediately.
kids have nobody. They need somebody to take care of them, to provide mental
health support,” said Afrin, adding that some had gone hungry for a long time.
SDF plans to hand over the children to aid groups, he said.
said his family had been running a market stall when IS overran their town and
they had no links to the group.
his family was killed in an aerial bombardment, he crossed into Syria with
other Iraqis who feared Shi’ite Muslim militias advancing against IS would take
revenge on Sunnis – a fear that other Iraqis have cited as their reason for
entering IS-held Syria.
said he tried to avoid the jihadists and denies attending their schools or
receiving military training.
morality police would sometimes arrest and whip him.
gave speeches at the mosques, jihad and whatnot,” he said. “I was scared of
them. My whole family died because of them.”
he reached Baghouz, he worked in a field in return for a room to sleep in. He
tried saving enough money to go home but said the militants stopped him.
was wounded last week when a shell fell near where he was standing along the
Euphrates River, injuring his ear, hand and stomach.
wants to get medical care and return to relatives still in Iraq.
Turkish Army and Ankara-backed militants heavily pounded the military positions
of Kurdish Al-Bab Military Council in the village of al-Baqouz East of the city
of Al-Bab. The Turkish Army and Ankara-backed militants were stationed in the
village of Olashli West of the city of Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo.
battlefield sources said that the Turkish Army has dispatched around 70
military vehicles comprising military and logistic supplies as well as a number
of soldiers to the war fronts in Northern Syria.
sources said that the Turkish military convoy has arrived in Mourek in Northern
Hama and al-Sarman in the surrounding areas of al-Ma'arat al-Numan South of
Idlib after passing through areas under the control of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at
(the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in full coordination with
the terrorist group.
a relevant development last Wednesday, sources in Syria said that Turkey was
planning to occupy new areas in Idlib to prevent the Syrian Army from
conducting its military operations in the region amid terrorists' continued
attacks in the demilitarized zone.
Turkish Army intends to create six new regions in Tal al-Toufan and Tal
al-Sultan West of Abu al-Zohour and in a road linking Saraqib city to Abu
al-Zohour town in Southeastern Idlib," field sources close to the militant
groups in Syria said.
sources reiterated that the Turkish Army was looking for blocking military
operations against Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at in the demilitarized zone by
establishing presence Idlib province.
report comes as military experts pointed to intensified attacks on safe regions
in Northern Syrian by terrorist groups stationed in the demilitarized zone, and
said that the Syrian Army will most probably conduct its mop-up operations in
the Arabic-language Al-Watan newspaper reported that the Syrian Army's missile
and artillery units heavily pounded Tahrir al-Sham terrorists' military
positions and movements in al-Qasebiyeh, the surroundings of Khan Sheikhoun,
Saraqib, Mogher al-Hanteh, Sakik, Al-Katibeh al-Mahjoureh and near Jisr
Syrian Army attacks came in response to Tahrir al-Sham terrorists' attacks on
the town of Abu al-Zohour in Southeastern Idlib.
Northern Hama, the Syrian Army also shot down two terrorists' drones near
Atshan town and warded off their attacks on Qaleh al-Maziq, al-Sharia and
al-Jamaseh, inflicting heavy losses and casualties on the terrorists.
in another relevant development last Monday, the Arabic-language media reported
that the Turkish intelligence officials and commanders of Tahrir al-Sham
al-Hay'at have been meeting on protecting and keeping the terrorist group in Idlib
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources close to the militants as
saying on Monday that Ankara has set conditions for supporting Tahrir al-Sham
and its continued control over Idlib, saying that they should follow Ikhwan
al-Muslimoun (Muslim Brotherhood) approach.
added that the two sides have reached an agreement that includes a shift of
approach by Tahrir al-Sham. "In return Turkey has promised the terrorist
group that it will prolong the demilitarized zone agreement as long as
possible, will not participate in any joint military operations against Tahrir
al-Sham and will try to prevent such operations."
paper also referred to the Syrian army's airstrikes against the terrorists in
Northern and Northwestern Hama and Southeastern Idlib in response to their
attacks, raising the possibility that military operations in Idlib would soon
terrorist groups stationed in the demilitarized zone in Northern Hama targeted
the Mahrada city with 40 missiles, leaving heavy damage on the city's power
plant and residential areas as well as wounding a number of civilians.
Syrian army units responded the offensive with heavy missile and artillery
attacks, targeting the terrorists' positions and moves South of Mourek town in
Northern Hama and a military convoy carrying weapons and military equipment.
Several hideouts of the terrorists were destroyed and a number of them were
killed in the Syrian Army attacks.
the Arabic-language service of the Russian Sputnik news agency reported that
Jeish al-Izza terrorists also launched a missile attacked Mahrada City in
military source, meantime, pointed to the intensified attacks by terrorists
from the demilitarized zone in recent days, and said that Haras ul-Din
terrorists, stationed near the Turkish-controlled region in the surrounding
areas of Mourek town, attacked residential areas in Souran City with several
missiles. This comes as the terrorists' missile attacks have been extended to
the towns of al-Mahrouseh, Na'or Shatheh and Tal Bazam in Northern Hama.
relevant reports said last Tuesday that Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant
Liberation Board or the al-Nusra Front) had recently delivered 3,000 long-range
and mid-range missiles jointly produced by a number of Arab states in one of
the North African countries to the underground caches of Jeish al-Izza terrorist
group in the towns of Kafr Zita and al-Latamineh in Northern Hama.
Arabic-language service of Sputnik quoted special sources in Idlib as saying
that the operations to deliver the missiles was carried out at night and took
for two days, adding that commander of Tahrir al-Sham for weaponry named Abu
Ahmad al-Checheni has ordered transfer of the missiles from the depots in Idlib
city, Saraqib and Ariha in Idlib province to Jeish al-Izza after coordination
with its commander Jamil al-Salih.
the missile attacks by Jeish al-Izza against the residential areas in the town
of al-Saqilbeh and Mahrada in Northern and Northwestern Hama, a civilian was
killed and 7 others, including a child, were severely wounded and a large
number of houses were destroyed.
on the report, the terrorists stationed in Southeastern Idlib also launched
missile strikes against the Western parts of the town of Abu al-Zohour, killing
7 Syrian military forces and injuring 20 others near the town of al-Sukriyeh.
the Syrian army forces in response targeted the terrorists' moves in Western
Abu al-Zohour, inflicting over 25 tolls on them and smashing their military
Najem fled the last enclave ISIS in eastern Syria wounded and alone. The Iraqi
orphan’s family had died two years earlier in air strikes across the border in
had two brothers and a sister. They all died, and then I was by myself,” Hareth
told Reuters, tears filling his eyes. “My little sister, I loved her a lot. I
used to take her with me to the market.”
in a cattle truck beside another injured boy at a desert transit point for
US-backed forces, he huddled under a blanket. His face was covered in dirt and
the side of his head wrapped with bandages covering wounds incurred days
was 11 years old when ISIS carved out its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria,
killing thousands of civilians and attracting an array of enemies that have
fought from the air and on the ground to uproot the extremists.
16, he was among the children swept up this week in the civilian evacuation of
Baghouz, the last shred of land under the extremists’ control where they are on
the brink of defeat at the hands of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces
of the children are foreigners whose parents brought them to be raised under
ISIS rule, or child fighters conscripted into what the group dubbed “cubs of
the caliphate”. Others, including members of the Yazidi minority, were enslaved
by the extremists.
have seen their parents die in the fighting or be detained by rival forces. As
ISIS faces territorial defeat, their fate remains uncertain. The SDF
investigates all men and teenage boys arriving from Baghouz to determine
possible ISIS links.
20 children crossed the frontline on their own this week, including Iraqis,
Syrians, Turks and Indonesians, said SDF commander Adnan Afrin. The fathers of
some were identified as ISIS fighters and arrested immediately.
kids have nobody. They need somebody to take care of them, to provide mental
health support,” said Afrin, adding that some had gone hungry for a long time.
The SDF plans to hand over the children to aid groups, he said.
said his family had been running a market stall when ISIS overran their town
and they had no links to the group.
his family was killed in an aerial bombardment, he crossed into Syria with
other Iraqis who feared Shi’ite Muslim militias advancing against ISIS would
take revenge on Sunnis - a fear that other Iraqis have cited as their reason
for entering ISIS-held Syria.
said he tried to avoid the extremists and denies attending their schools or
receiving military training. Their morality police would sometimes arrest and
was wounded last week when a shell fell near where he was standing along the
Euphrates River, injuring his ear, hand and stomach. He wants to get medical
care and return to relatives still in Iraq.
chemical weapons watchdog says chlorine was likely used in a suspected gas
attack in Syria's Douma in 2018, stressing that it found no evidence of nerve
agent at the site.
use of chlorine by foreign-backed terrorists is a long-known fact, while nerve
agents are usually attributed to the Syrian government which surrendered all
its chemical stockpile in 2013.
new report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
released on Friday, however, did not assign blame for the incident on a Douma
suburb in 2018.
watchdog said there were "reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic
chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018."
toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine," the Hague-based organization
said, noting that it had found no evidence of the use of nerve agents in the
report was based on a visit by OPCW inspectors to the site of the attack.
watchdog said it had reached its conclusions based on "witnesses'
testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results,
toxicological and ballistic analyses from experts."
Douma attack occurred at a time when the Syrian army was about to win the
battle against the foreign-backed militants there. Witnesses said at least 43
people were killed in the incident.
Western states were quick to blame the Syrian government for the attack, which
Damascus firmly rejected.
week after the suspected gas attack, the US, Britain and France launched a
coordinated missile strike against sites and research facilities near Damascus
and its allies in the war saw the attack as a bid to prop up terrorists,
faulting the invaders for ignoring Syria's repeated requests for an
international probe into the incident.
surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2013 to a mission led by the OPCW
and the United Nations.
reports have previously suggested the use of chlorine against civilians by
on the OPCW report, Russia which has been assisting Syria in its
counter-terrorism fight said that the Douma attack was "staged" by
the White Helmets volunteer organization.
US-led military coalition, which is purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri
terrorist group in Syria, has used white phosphorus munitions in a bombing raid
against an area in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, local media say.
official news agency SANA, citing local sources, reported on Saturday that
US-led military aircraft conducted a bombing attack with white phosphorus
munitions on the farmlands of the town of Baghouz in the volatile province.
US-led coalition and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is
supported by Washington, claim that they are fighting against the Daesh
militants in the Arab country and that Baghouz, which is the last pocket of
territory controlled by remnants of the terror group, is constantly under their
fire and expected to be liberated soon.
flashpoint town is located in the eastern Euphrates River region.
US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be
Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from
the Damascus government or a UN mandate. Washington has long been providing the
SDF -- a predominantly Kurdish alliance of militants -- with arms and
militants, calling them a key partner in the purported fight against Daesh.
so-called US coalition has in several occasions used internationally banned
white phosphorous against various positions in the Arab country, particularly
in Dayr al-Zawr province, drawing condemnations from Damascus.
November 5 last year the US-led warplanes used white phosphorus bombs against
Hajin, located some 110 kilometers east of the provincial capital city of Dayr
al-Zawr, Sana reported.
October 13, SANA also reported that the US-led coalition had dropped
internationally-banned white phosphorus bombs on Hajin. On September 8, two
F-15 warplanes of the US Air Force targeted the same Syrian town with white
June 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that the US-led coalition was
deploying white phosphorous bombs in both Iraq and Syria.
Friday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in
a report that chlorine was likely used in a suspected gas attack in Syria's
Douma in April 2018.
use of chlorine by foreign-backed terrorists is a long-known fact, while nerve
agents are usually attributed to the Syrian government which surrendered its
entire chemical stockpile in 2013.
chemical weapons watchdog, however, did not assign blame for the incident on a
Douma suburb last year.
Western states were quick to blame Damascus for the attack, which the Syrian
government strongly rejected.
and its allies, including Russia and Iran, saw the attack as a bid to prop up
terrorists, faulting the invaders for ignoring Syria's repeated requests for an
international probe into the incident.
family in Assam has been looking after 500-year-old Shiva temple since
A Muslim family is reportedly looking after a 500-year-old Shiva temple located
at Rangamahal village in Guwahati since generations. Both Muslims and Hindus of
the area have firm believe in the deity and throng the temple for offering
prayers and doing rituals.
caretaker, Matibar Rehman, said that the deity of 'Lord Shiva' is like his maternal
A Muslim family looks after a Shiva temple for last 500-year in Rangamahal
village, Guwahati. The caretaker…
ANI (@ANI) 1551540952000
call him Nana (maternal grandfather). It's a 500-year-old temple, our family
looks after the temple. People from both the religions - Hindu and Muslim -
come here to offer prayers," said Matibar Rehman, the caretaker.
perform 'dua' while Hindus perform 'puja' here. Everyone wishes are fulfilled
here," he said.
said that he himself offers 'dua' in the 'Shivalaya' or the Shiva temple.
family has been the caretaker of the temple and is looking after it since
generations. The temple is considered as the epitome of the Hindu-Muslim unity
in the region.
jets hit school of jihad, says Azhar’s brother in audio
DELHI: Countering denials of the Pakistan government and military, Maulana
Ammar, the younger brother of Jaish-e-Muhammed leader Masood Azhar+ , has in an
audio confirmed that Indian fighter jets hit the JeM camp near Balakot in
Khyber Pakhtunwa province of Pakistan.
a recording available on social media, the voice identified as Maulana Ammar
decries the bombing of the “markaz” (a centre of religious learning) and
expresses anguish over India striking a centre where jihad was being taught
rather than the headquarters of an official agency.
the enemy has answered all questions itself when the enemy crossed the
mountains and entered our land and launched attacks on our Islamic centre,”
Maulana Ammar said, adding “This is declaration of war by the enemy.” The
speech is understood to have been delivered a day after the air strikes at a
gathering of clerics at Peshawar.
Indian aircraft did not attack any safe house of any agency. It did not bomb
the headquarters of any agency. They bombed a centre where students were
learning jihad for the assistance of Muslims of Kashmir,” he said. He is heard
saying that the students were learning all about making the distress of Kashmir
their own. “This is not a jihad of any agency, by coming out of its territory
to attack us, India has ensured we start our jihad against it,” he said.
Pakistan establishment and sections of western media have raised doubts over
whether the bombs did strike the target but the recording seems to suggest that
Jaish leadership does acknowledge the hit.
DELHI: Contrary to the impression projected by Pakistan that it treated him
well, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has told the leadership of IAF that
he was subjected to mental harassment while in captivity.
fighter pilot has told the IAF brass that he was all along in the custody of
Pakistan’s notorious external espionage agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence,
which played a lot of mind games with him in order to break his morale even
though he was spared physical torture, official sources said.
said the delay in handing over the IAF pilot to India was part of the
harassment by ISI officers who forced him to record the video where he is seen
praising Pakistan army and slandering Indian media. However, the mental torture
does not seem to have worked. “He seems to be in fine spirit,” said a source
after interacting with Varthaman.
is yet to undergo an intense scan for injuries he suffered while ejecting as
well as in the beating he took from the mob, which had gathered in the area
where he landed after bailing out. “It seems he escaped serious harm. However,
it is for doctors to declare him fit for flying,” said a source.
who was on patrol duty in J&K in his MiG-21, was downed when he entered
Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir while chasing one of the F-16s that had entered
Indian air space to target military installations. However, before his plane
caught fire, he shot down the intruder F-16, a feat which is expected to earn
him a place in aviation legends because of the huge asymmetry between the
ageing MIG and contemporary F-16.
DELHI: The Samjhauta Express train service between India and Pakistan will
resume from Sunday. The train will leave for Pakistan from Old Delhi railway
station on March 3 (Sunday) and the train from Lahore will leave on Monday.
the Indian side, the train runs from Delhi to Attari and from Lahore to Wagah
on the Pakistan side.
along the route had been suspended after the face off between the two countries
post arrest of Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in Pakistan.
The decision to resume the train service comes a day after WC Abhinandan
returned home via the Wagah-Attari border crossing.
DELHI: The computer memories of Spice-2000 precision guided bombs were fed with
satellite images and exact geographical coordinates of the major
Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp at Balakot+ in Pakistan before being loaded on
IAF Mirage-2000 fighters at Gwalior for the February 26 pre-dawn strikes.
when the “clear to launch weapons” signals popped up on the computers of the
Mirage-2000 fighters, which were then — depending on their altitude and angle
of attack — around 2 km to 10 km across the Line of Control into
Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, there was little chance of the 1,000-kg bombs
missing their targets.
their navigation\seeker systems, the fire-and-forget Spice-2000 bombs homed
into the four to six targets selected within the JeM facility around 50 to 60
km away. The error margin was less than 3 metres,” said a top defence source on
“before and after” images captured by the high-resolution synthetic aperture
radars (SARs) mounted on “classified platforms” as well as Sukhoi-30MKI
fighters, which were part of the “strike package”, show the designated targets
were hit with Though an accurate assessment of casualties on the ground is
virtually impossible, the Spice-2000 bombs armed with “digital scene-matching
area correlators” penetrated the roofs of the pre-selected buildings in the terror
facility, which would have “killed all the inmates in them with shock and blast
waves”, said sources.
the IAF also deployed “a decoy package” of fighters ostensibly headed towards
the JeM headquarters in Bahawalpur in the Punjab province to lure Pakistani
combat air patrols away from the actual “strike package” that had the Balakot
facility in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in its cross-hairs in the wee hours of
February 26. This was in addition to the Mirage-2000s and Sukhoi-30MKIs, IL-78
mid-air refuellers and AWACS (airborne warning and control system) aircraft
being deployed from Gwalior, Agra and Bareilly, instead of forward airbases,
which took a circuitous route to the Muzaffarabad sector along the LoC to
retain the element of surprise for the strikes, as was earlier reported by TOI.
decoy package of Sukhoi-30MKIs, in turn, took off from our Punjab to fake a
strike operation towards Bahawalpur.
was taken in by the decoy formation and vectored its fighters in the air towards
it,” said another source.
there was no Pakistani fighter anywhere near the actual strike package … the
closest one would have been well over 150 km away. This also nails Pakistan’s
claim that IAF fighters hastily dropped their bombs without achieving anything,
much like its other factually incorrect statements like it did not use F-16s in
the air intrusion on February 27,” he added.
The operation to flush out terrorists from the Babagund area of Jammu and
Kashmir's Kupwara district continued for the second day on Saturday, police
encounter began on Friday morning when security forces launched a search
operation in the area in north Kashmir, following information about presence of
operation at Babagund is on, a police official said.
said security forces have cordoned off the area to stop terrorists from escaping.
the encounter began on Friday, there was lull in firing several times during
the day, but terrorists opened fire as soon as security forces advanced towards
a house where they were hiding.
one such lull, the terrorists opened indiscriminate firing on advancing team of
security forces as they were closing in, injuring nine security force
police spokesman on Friday said four security force personnel two cops and two
CRPF personnel including an inspector later succumbed to injuries.
defence officials Friday said two army jawans were also killed in the
between a group of youngsters and law enforcing agencies took place near the
encounter site on Friday in which several protestors were injured in the
security forces' action.
Delhi [India]: A 10-member delegation comprising prominent people from the
Muslim community, led by Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas
Naqvi, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence here on Saturday to
invite him to visit the Ajmer Sharif Dargah on the occasion of ‘Urs’.
the meeting, several issues related to the community and the current situation
in the country were discussed.
to the media after the meeting, Naqvi said, “We congratulate Prime Minister
Modi for his leadership in the success and security of the country. He handed
over a ‘chaadar’ (ritualistic offering) to be offered at Ajmer Sharif Dargah on
the occasion of 807th Urs.”
discussed several issues including the situation in the country over the last
few days. We pray for his (Prime Minister Modi’s) well-being”, said Sayed Moin
Hussain ‘Sarkar’ from Ajmer Sharif Dargah.
Khadim of Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Shikzada Abdul Jrar Chishty said, “We had a good
interaction with Prime Minister Modi. We thanked him for the development of
Ajmer Sharif. Also, we have invited him to Ajmer Sharif and he assured us to
pay a visit there”.
villagers of Tahab in Pulwama moved towards the main mosque of the village to
offer prayers at the break of dawn on Saturday, they were confronted by
paramilitary personnel who asked them to go to some other mosque.
were surprised to find them all around the mosque. They didn’t allow us
inside,” a villager told The Sunday Express. “They said they wouldn’t allow
prayers at the Jamaat masjid. How can anybody stop us from offering prayers at
incident came in the wake of a continuing crackdown against the Jamaat-e-Islami
(JeI) across Kashmir, with detention of over 350 of its activists, notices
issued to schools run by the Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT), a former JeI affiliate,
and the sealing of residences of JeI members.
Thursday, the Union Home Ministry had banned the JeI for being in “close touch
the crackdown intensifies, anger is brewing across Kashmir and the
Muslim-majority districts of Jammu province. The government has picked up
religious leaders from different schools of thought, including the
Jamiat-e-Ahli Hadith (JeH).
of the biggest Muslim parties of J&K, the JeI, set up in 1942, was part of
the electoral politics of the state from 1967 to 1987. The three major
mainstream political parties of the Valley — the National Conference (NC),
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Conference — have termed the ban on
the JeI against “the ideals of democracy”. The NC and PDP have taken to the
streets to demand that the ban be revoked.
Jamaat is not a sect running exclusive mosques,” said a villager of Tahab.
“Here people from all schools of thought pray. Everyone is allowed — a Sufi, a
Tableegi, a Deobandi or Salafi. You can’t seal a mosque by calling it a Jamaat
mosque. We see it as interference in our religion and will resist at any and
Ganai, an advisor to Governor Satya Pal Malik, told The Sunday Express he had
not heard about the Tahab incident. “I very clearly told Mr Vijay Kumar
(Advisor, Security) and he agreed with me, I told the divisional commissioner
also that there is no question of closing mosques because there are no Jamaati
mosques as such,” said Ganai, the lone Kashmiri and Muslim among Malik’s four
added, “In the case of (FAT) schools, due enquiry must be held. As it is, we
don’t have something that is automatically Jamaat-e-Islami.”
situation on the ground, however, is different. On Friday, a day after the
Jamaat was declared “unlawful” by the Centre, deputy commissioners in the
Valley asked police and magistrates to seize all “movable and immovable” JeI
properties. At several places, officials sealed personal properties of JeI
workers, including their residences.
a cold evening, we were thrown out of our house without a reason or a notice,”
said Younis Ahmad, whose father Bashir Ahmad Lone is associated with the JeI.
“This is our ancestral property. How can they seal personal properties?” In
South Kashmir, several JeI activists were asked to vacate houses.
Friday night, officials admitted their mistake in at least Lone’s case and
removed the seal from his house at Harwan.
crackdown on the JeI runs parallel to the raids conducted by the NIA and Income
Tax department. The NIA has raided the houses of separatist leaders including
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Masarat Alam and Mohammad Ashraf
Sehrai. For the first time, the NIA team moved beyond Srinagar and raided the
houses of overground workers and the houses of two active militants in South
the JeI affiliate FAT has not been banned by the government, officials on
Friday sealed at least one school in Bandipore, but removed the seal
immediately after the villagers took to the streets. At several other places,
government-recognised schools run by the FAT received notices. It runs over 300
schools across the Valley with close to 1 lakh students and 10,000 teachers.
teacher at a FAT-run school said, “The government is forcing us on a path that
we don’t want to tread.”
parties in the Valley across the separatist-mainstream divide have said the
crackdown on separatists and the JeI ban would be counter-productive. Said PDP
president Mehbooba Mufti, “Radicalised Hindu groups representing fringe
elements are given carte blanche to spread misinformation and vitiate the
atmosphere. But an organisation that has worked tirelessly for Kashmiris is
banned. Is being anti-BJP anti national now?… The Jamaat-e-Islami has on many
occasions publicly disapproved of violence as a method of political struggle.
Banning this organisation will further shrink the space for politics and
dialogue and it seems the government is now completely depending on force to
subjugate the people of the state.”
Mohammad Sagar, the general secretary of the NC, a rival of the JeI, said, “By
banning the JeI, the government will achieve nothing but give it dissident
glamour… The GoI is closing the space for political dissent.”
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday announced that Pakistan is going to
write to the parliamentarians of Britain and the European Union, asking them to
play their part in de-escalation of the ongoing conflict with India.
made the announcement during a joint press conference with Punjab Governor
Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar.
Punjab and I have taken an initiative, which is to write letters to the House
of Commons' members as well as the European parliament and engage them [for
de-escalation and peace]," Qureshi said.
this press conference and the letters I ask them to play their roles. The world
needs to differentiate between those who want peace and those who want war. The
world is seeing that the Taliban and the US are negotiating. At this hour would
we want to start a war?"
foreign minister said that he had an inkling that India would initiate a
conflict ahead of their elections, due to which his ministry had started
working well in advance.
far as the diplomatic front is concerned, the Foreign Office had been activated
before even the Pulwama attack," he said. "This was because we had an
idea that elections are coming in India and the Modi government was losing its
popularity, a clear indication of which was their losses in five states.
performance compelled them to do something to boost their popularity. In India,
an easy way to do so is Pakistan bashing. So we knew that a misadventure could
happen, through which they could try and regain their lost goodwill.
was not even on the radar when we started briefings. I contacted many foreign
ministers and told them. When I went to Moscow, I told them I'm fearing this,
and my fears kept on proving true, which resonated with them."
negated the notion that international powers are not taking interest in the
Pakistan-India conflict, saying: "The US has started playing its role. I
have talked to Mike Pompeo and the British foreign minister. But understand
India's dilemma. There are question marks on them in their own country. How can
they change their attitude at once?"
minister said that the decision to release the captured Indian pilot was not a
sign of weakness but a gesture of goodwill. "The people in power know that
to return the Indian pilot was not a weakness but a gesture of goodwill and a
peace initiative. This was a message for those millions of Indians who want
peace. Only a segment is creating this frenzy," he said.
said that the decision to release the captured Indian pilot was "Imran
Khan's own initiative and a product of his vision. "There was no
international pressure and we did not affix any conditions," he said.
minister expressed his disappointment of Pakistani inmate Shakirullah's murder
in an Indian jail. His body was handed to Pakistan at the time of Qureshi's
am disappointed at what happened with Shakirullah," he said. "It was
India's responsibility to protect him. They failed to fulfil that
responsibility. When their pilot was caught, you saw what the mob's mentality
was. But Pakistan Army went there at once, rescued him, gave him a bath and new
clothes, served him tea, gave him first aid, which was our responsibility
because these are human and Islamic values."
highlighted that the resolution passed by a joint sitting on the entire episode
had urged Indian parliamentarians to raise their voice for peace.
parliament passed a joint resolution on this issue," he said. "We
have given a united front on several issues, but the most important part was
the last clause. We, as the joint parliament, told our Indian counterparts that
we're playing our part and you should too. There is a large constituency for
peace in India that wants peace and not war.
the Pulwama dossier sent by India, Qureshi said: "It is being examined by
the Foreign Office. After that, we will send them a message to come and sit on
the basis of that dossier."
also paid a tribute to the Pakistani media, whose role throughout the conflict
was "exemplary and responsible". "Indian media, on the other
hand, added fuel to fire, and created frenzy and hype," he said.
foreign minister rejected having insinuated in a TV interview that Pakistan will
have to put its house in order.
does "putting your house in order" mean?" he asked. "It's
about making policies that show that we are a peace-loving nation, which we
have already done. What hadn't been done, has been done. Our house is already
he rubbished reports that the entire parliament was not in agreement at his
decision to skip the Council of Foreign Ministers at the Organisation of
Islamic Cooperation summit due to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj's
were no disagreements in the parliament. The resolution passed was unanimous
and it bears the signatures of Asif Zardari and Raja Zafarul Haq. Listen to
Zardari sahab again, he said 'it's my opinion but I accept the parliament's
decision.' The PPP, more than all, talks about parliament's supremacy so when
parliament decides something, accept it.
Zardari sahab was addressing the parliament, you must have seen that I stood up
and told him that 'your senior leadership is [supporting my decision]. He
replied that 'you should have contacted me'."
anyone wants to do politics, they can. What we did was right," Qureshi
DELHI: There appears to be some dissonance inside Pakistan about the release of
IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from their custody to India
within 48 hours of his capture, exposing some faultlines within Pakistan’s
infamous “deep state”.
mainstream opinion looks at it as a gesture to de-escalate the conflict with
India, sources said within the middle levels of the government, there is
criticism about the haste in giving up an ‘asset’ as valuable as the Indian
foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told an interviewer that Pakistan took
the decision to repatriate Abhinandan without any pressure. However, diplomatic
sources say there was considerable pressure, particularly from the US and Saudi
Arabia. In addition, India had made it amply clear to Pakistan that there would
be serious escalation of the conflict from the Indian side if Abhinandan was
not returned. This included, according to sources, direct communication with
“key interlocutors” inside Pakistan.
difficult to say what was the trigger that forced Pakistan to act —
importantly, the final decision to release him would have been the Pakistan
army’s, not the civilian leadership led by Imran Khan. However, sources said,
two things had to be done to keep events under control.
The Trump administration has said it is examining potential misuse of U.S-made
F-16 fighter jets by Pakistan in violation of end-user agreement during its
recent spat with India.
is the third blow to Pakistan from Washington after US officials first acknowledged
that India has the right to self defence following the Pulwama terrorist attack
and subsequently described Indian strikes in Balakot as counter-terrorism
formulation effectively rejected Islamabad’s contention that India is the
aggressor and Pakistan had the right to self-defense – even though the US and
other nations repeatedly called Pakistan out for hosting internationally
designated terrorists and terror groups.
US-made F-16, which the manufacturing company Lockheed Martin has long been
trying to hawk to India, is the pride of Pakistan’s Air Force. But after the
initial consignment of about three squadrons given in the mid-1980s, mainly as
reward for Pakistan’s support during the Afghan War, was loosely conditioned,
subsequent supplies and upgrades were subjected to tighter end-user scrutiny
after Pakistan illegally crossed the nuclear rubicon and forced Washington to
invoke the Pressler Amendment, resulting in suspension of F-16 sales, even
those it had paid for.
F-16 sales, spare supply and upgrades resumed after 9/11 when the Bush
administration sought Pakistan’s help in the so-called war on terror, there was
greater Congressional scrutiny and oversight on the sales, resulting in
explicit conditions that they be used only for counter-terror operations. The
stipulations were mocked by many lawmakers, who warned the F-16s would
eventually be used by Pakistan against India.
do not believe that these planes will help us or Pakistan in the war against al
Qaeda along the Pakistan/Afghan border, unless al Qaeda has suddenly deployed
fighter jets of their own,'' New York Congressman Gary Ackerman, who moved
legislation aimed at blocking F-16 sales, sneered during a 2006 hearing. In
fact, one Congressional panel scorned the Bush administration’s unrelenting
push for F-16 upgrades for Pakistan, holding a hearing mockingly titled
''Defeating al-Qaeda’s Air Force: Pakistan’s F-16 Program in the Fight Against
hindsight, the lawmakers’ scorn seems well-placed at a time the Trump
administration -- including President Trump himself --has expressed doubts
about Pakistan’s bonafides. ''We are aware of these reports and are seeking
more information on the potential misuse of American-made F-16 fighter jets by
Pakistan against India in violation of the end-user agreement,'' a State Department
official told PTI on Friday, even as a Pentagon spokesman declined to discuss
specific end-user agreement because of non-disclosure clauses.
program to equip Pakistan with F-16s -- ironically titled Peace Gate --
stretches back to 1981 when Islamabad signed a letter of agreement for the
purchase of 40 F-16A/B (28 F-16A and 12 F-16B). The first consignment (2 A’s
and 4 B’s) was delivered in 1983 and the remaining sent in batches till 1987.
September 1989, Pakistan had signed a deal for a further 71 f-16s under Peace
Gate II, III and IV. The aircraft were being manufactured when Pakistan crossed
the nuclear rubicon causing the Pressler Law to kick in.
of those planes, 28 of them for which Pakistan had paid for, was stopped, and
the jets were stored at the AMARC (Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration
Center) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, also known as the Boneyard,
between 1990 and 1994. A stop-work order was issued for remaining 43 planes.
had already paid $685 million on the contract for the 28 F-16s, and insisted on
either having the planes it ordered delivered or getting its money back. The
dispute dragged on for eight years before the Clinton administration reached a
deal in 1998 with the Nawaz Sharief government agreeing to pay $326.9 million
in cash and the remaining in other compensation including wheat and soya bean
oil. Some of the 28 planes were subsequently leased to New Zealand.
Pakistani pilot shot down by Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan
Varthaman in Wednesday’s dogfight died after being beaten up by a Pakistani
lynch mob, a London lawyer has claimed quoting close contacts in the Pakistan
Air Force. The mob reportedly mistook him for an Indian pilot.
F16 was shot down by Abhinandan flying a MiG-21 Bison when the “two sons of air
marshals met mid-air over the Nowshera sector on Wednesday”, according to
Pakistani-origin UK-based immigration lawyer Khalid Umar. He said the F16 was flown
by Wg Cdr Shahzaz Ud Din, also the son of a Pakistani Air Marshal.
had in its Friday edition cited unconfirmed reports that the Pak pilot was the
son of an Air Marshal, like Abhinandan. The paper had deliberately not named
him or said he was dead.
continues to categorically deny any of their jets were shot down, that any of
their pilots were killed, or that they had used F-16 planes in Wednesday’s “air
strikes” when Pakistan violated Indian airspace.
A police team investigating the death of a medical student last week at a time
when some policemen were engaged in an encounter with robbers has come to the
conclusion that the girl was killed by bullets fired by the law-enforcement
told Dawn on Saturday that after thorough examination of the evidence, careful
reading of a forensic report about spent bullets found at the crime scene and
perusal of eyewitness accounts, the inquiry team — headed by DIG Arif Hanif of
Crime Investigation Agency and comprising DIG Dr Amin Yousufzai, SSP Nouman
Siddiqi and SSP Dr Samiullah — concluded that Nimra Baig was hit by bullets
fired by the policemen during their encounter with the bandits in North
inquiry team found that the policemen fired “several shots” and one of the
bullets hit Baig, who was travelling in a rickshaw, said the sources.
said the bullet that hit the student of Dow University of Health Sciences was
fired from a distance of about 1,000 yards.
place where the incident took place was deserted and was enveloped in darkness.
the exchange of fire with the policemen one armed suspect was shot dead while
another one was arrested in an injured condition.
inquiry revealed that the bandits had fired more than seven shots, prompting
the policemen to retaliate.
details of the inquiry may be made public soon, but the main finding is that
the girl lost her life in firing carried out by police.
definitely it was unintentional and accidental fire,” said a source familiar
with the findings.
had initially claimed that Baig, 20, was killed by bullets fired by the
robbers, but the post-mortem examination carried out at the Jinnah Postgraduate
Medical Centre revealed that the bullet in question had been fired from a
had claimed that during a routine patrol, personnel of the Shahrah-i-Noor Jehan
police station saw two armed suspects roaming around suspiciously on a
motorbike. When the policemen challenged the suspects they opened fire and
tried to flee.
were chased by police and an exchange of gunfire took place near Andaa Mor,
within the remit of Sir Syed Town police station.
claims, however, failed to convince the victim’s family members who called for
an independent inquiry into the incident.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah ordered an inquiry into the tragedy.
Sindh Assembly also called for a detailed investigation into the incident.
Additional IG Karachi Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh formed the investigation team.
body of a Pakistani prisoner killed in India's Jaipur Central Jail was handed
over to Punjab Rangers at the Wagah-Attari border by the Indian Border Security
Force (BSF) on Saturday.
deceased's family was present at the border to receive his body. Punjab's
additional home secretary, retired Captain Fazeel Asghar, was also present as a
representative of the Punjab government.
will be laid to rest in his home town Daska in Punjab's Sialkot district, according
to his brother.
prisoner, identified as Shakirullah, was beaten up by inmates and died on
February 20. The release of his body comes after 12 days of his murder.
to Shakirullah's family, he was arrested in 2003 after mistakenly crossing the
had lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani High Commission seeking clarity
from Indian authorities regarding the incident.
Foreign Office in a press release on February 21 said that they had been
informed that Shakirullah had sustained injuries following a
"scuffle" between fellow inmates in the television room of the jail,
"which proved fatal".
FO noted that as per some Indian media reports, Shakirullah was lynched.
is incomprehensible how a 'scuffle' between prisoners in an established
Government set up was allowed to escalate to the extent that Mr Shakirullah
sustained fatal injuries," the statement said.
to The Hindu, the deceased was undergoing life imprisonment after his
conviction in a terror-related case in Jaipur in 2017.
reportedly received serious head injuries caused by a blunt object after an
"altercation" with other inmates, the publication added.
release of the deceased prisoner's body comes a day after Indian Air Force
(IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman — who was captured by Pakistan after his MiG
21 Bison aircraft was shot down by a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jet — was handed
over in a gesture of peace to India at the Wagah border.
are 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails, whereas 347 Pakistanis are
languishing in Indian prisons, according to the lists exchanged by the two
countries on New Year’s day.
must answer questions'
Foreign Office issued a statement following the repatriation of Shakirullah's
Government of Pakistan condemned the incident and requested India to
immediately provide the details of inquiry of the murder and post-mortem
report, which have not been provided so far," read the statement.
reiterates its demand that the culprits must be taken to task, findings of the
inquiry and post mortem report may be shared urgently and to ensure [the]
safety of all Pakistanis, especially Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails to
prevent recurrence of such tragic and reprehensible incidents," it added.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, urged India to provide answers
regarding the incident in a statement posted on Twitter.
military spokesman has welcomed Iran’s offer to play a mediatory role and help
resolve the differences between India and Pakistan amid escalating tensions
between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
is what we expect from our friend and brotherly country of Iran,” Major General
Asif Ghafoor told IRNA on Saturday.
a telephone conversation on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad
Zarif told his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi that Tehran
was ready to work with Islamabad and New Delhi to help resolve their
differences through dialogue.
was scheduled to talk to Indian Foreign Minister Vijay Keshav Gokhale over the
phone later in the day.
expressed his gratitude to the Iranian government for the offer adding that
countries like Iran, Turkey and China can to a great extent help resolve the
in a statement on Saturday, Pakistani Embassy in Tehran called on the Islamic
republic to play an active role in resolving tensions between Islamabad and New
Delhi and help find a diplomatic solution to the problem.
between India and Pakistan have escalated dramatically since February 14, when
Indian paramilitary forces on the New Delhi-controlled side of Kashmir were hit
by a deadly bomb attack orchestrated by Pakistan-based militants.
tensions reached a peak on Tuesday, when India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale
said his country had conducted “preemptive” airstrikes against what it
described as a militant training camp in Balakot near Kashmir, shortly after
the Pakistani military accused New Delhi of violating its territory in the
to an Indian government source, some 300 militants, were killed in the strikes.
which has extensive diplomatic and trade ties with both countries, has advised
them against escalating the situation.
has been split between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947. Both
countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought three wars over the territory.
troops are in constant clashes with armed groups seeking Kashmir’s independence
or its merger with Pakistan.
forces Palestinian man to demolish own house in East Jerusalem al-Quds
authorities have forced a Palestinian man to demolish his own house in East
Jerusalem al-Quds as the occupying regime is continuing with its land
expropriation and settlement expansion policies in the occupied Palestinian
territories irrespective of international outcry.
Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that Hussam al-Abbasi was forced to
demolish his house, a third-floor apartment in a three-story residential
building in Ra’s al-Amud neighborhood on Saturday morning.
added that the demolition was carried out upon an order by the Israeli
municipality of the city that claimed the building lacked a construction
license, which was impossible to obtain from the Israeli regime.
told Ma’an that he had been summoned by the municipality of the city and was
ordered to demolish his own house or else the municipality would fine him for
further said that he had chosen to demolish his house himself in a bid to
minimize damage on two other apartments and other families living in the
building. He said his 70-square-meter apartment was built a year ago.
living in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds are regularly forced to demolish
their own houses upon orders by the Israeli municipality of the city to avoid
paying exorbitant demolition fees to the municipality.
Israeli authorities frequently demolish Palestinian buildings and structures in
the so-called Area C, with Bedouin and herding communities being particularly
vulnerable to that practice.
C, which is under full Israeli control, makes up more than 60 percent of the
entire occupied West Bank. Eighty-eight percent of the area lies in the
strategic Jordan Valley, which comprises a third of the West Bank.
1967, the Israeli regime has been enforcing the draconian policy of demolishing
the houses of Palestinians it deems to be behind fatal attacks against Israeli
settlers. The practice, however, was temporarily halted from 2005 to 2014, with
the exception of 2009, when scores of homes were sealed and razed in East
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
UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the
occupied territories in several resolutions.
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
DHABI: Saudi Arabia will be relentless in its pursuit of a Palestinian state
according to 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital, the Kingdom’s
minister of state for foreign affairs told his Islamic counterparts at a
meeting in Abu Dhabi.
Al-Jubeir headed the Kingdom’s delegation to the 46th session of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers, which
emphasized that the Palestinian cause is a priority for the Kingdom and would
not rest until the establishment of a Palestinian state.
of the most important challenges facing the world is terrorism and extremism,
he also told fellow delegates, and expressed the Arab group’s disappointment
about the continued coup from Iran-backed Houthi militias against Yemen’s
legitimate government. He reiterated the group’s support for the UN special
envoy’s efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis and said there was
also support for efforts to reach a political solution that safeguarded the
unity of Syria.
remarked that Iran continued with its terrorist activities and aggressive
behavior in the region, by fueling sectarian tension and interfering in the
affairs of other countries.
STRIP: Israeli military officials said on Saturday that they had struck a Hamas
target in southern Gaza Strip, after balloons carrying explosive devices
drifted into its airspace.
of Palestinians had been demonstrating in recent weeks on the border lines, and
on Friday three people were injured, including a medic and a journalist.
Yemen’s Foreign Minister has called on Iran to abide by the principles of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and to stop supporting the Houthi
militia, who have been at war with the Yemeni government since 2014.
Al-Yamani urged the Iranian regime to stop funding the militia and to stop
providing the group with weapons, in his address to the 46th Ministerial
Conference of the OIC in Abu Dhabi.
said Iran must stop destabilizing the region by supporting armed groups, and
respect the principles of international law.
said the Houthis were stalling the implementation of the Stockholm agreement,
and refused to withdraw from Hodeidah in order to open a humanitarian corridor.
has hindered the work of the United Nations, he stressed, who brokered the
agreement between the warring sides in Sweden in December last year.
legitimate government does not recognize the attitude of failure to implement
the agreements made in Sweden because failure will bring us back to the
battleground in Hodeidah and will undermine the momentum created by the
Stockholm agreement, and the international support to resolve the Yemeni crisis
will be lost,” Al-Yamani said.
criticized Britain for its decision to list Hezbollah as a terrorist
organization, saying on Saturday it ignored the Tehran-backed group’s role in
said on Monday it planned to ban all wings of Hezbollah, which is deemed a terrorist
organization by Washington, due to its destabilizing influence in the Middle
East, having previously proscribed its external security unit and its military
British measure signifies deliberately ignoring a large part of the Lebanese
people and the legitimacy and the legal position of Hezbollah in Lebanon’s
administrative and political structure,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman
Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
condemned the decision on Friday, saying the move showed “servile obedience” to
the United States.
addition to ... helping preserve Lebanon’s territorial integrity over recent
decades, Hezbollah has been one of the pillars of the fight against terrorism
and terrorist groups such as Islamic State in the region,” Qasemi added.
Solomon, a US veteran national security reporter, told Al Arabiya on Friday
that there will likely be a split in European countries’ response to Britain’s
decision to ban Lebanese Hezbollah group and classify it as a terrorist
author of The Iran Wars, said that Hezbollah, the Lebanese government, and the
Iranians might try to “drive a wedge between certain European countries, and
split the British from the rest of the powers in Europe in order to keep
operating as they have.”
who is currently an adjunct fellow at a think tank, added that most European
countries will not follow Britain’s decision in order to avoid complications
with Iran and keep up trade, despite US sanctions and a pull for a more “direct
conflict with Iran.”
said that the countries in Central and Eastern Europe would be more likely to
build a coalition against Iran and classify Hezbollah as a terrorist
added that the United Kingdom’s decision is important in terms of maintaining
its “diplomatic relations” with the US and limiting Iran’s trade with Europe.
Trump administration has “turned the screws more, the financial screws
particularly, on Iran and its allies, including Hezbollah”, Solomon said.
president on Saturday criticized his country's foreign policies in Iraq and
Syria, saying that his administration will focus on fixing up America's
infrastructure rather than fighting "endless wars".
his two-hour speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC),
Donald Trump said that Daesh will be defeated "hundred percent" in a
day or two and reiterated his administration's firmness to pull American
will leave a small group of guys and gals [soldiers] but we want to bring our
people back home. It is time," Trump said in the annual event in National
would be in Syria for 4 months but we ended up 5 years. Just funny."
slammed the Middle East policies of former U.S. governments, recalling his
first-time visit to Iraq in 2017 when they had to turn off all the lights at
the military plane before landing for security purposes.
of this. We spent seven trillion dollars in the Middle East and we can't land a
plane with lights on, 20 years later. How bad is that!" Trump said.
also criticized his former defense secretary James Mattis and other generals in
Syria and Iraq for being too slow in finishing Daesh and said that he learns
more about what is going on from the soldiers than generals.
president added that he is not going to be a president who will sit behind his
desk, hinting direct involvement in all military policies and commitment to
major withdrawal from the Middle East.
anti-Muslim poster outside the West Virginia House of Delegates chamber falsely
connecting a freshman congresswoman to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has drawn
strong rebukes from local and national lawmakers, while causing the resignation
of a Capitol staffer and the reported injury of another.
sign, which loomed over a table loaded with other Islamophobic flyers on a “WV
GOP Day” at the legislature Friday, bore an image of the burning World Trade
Center juxtaposed with a picture of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat
and one of the first Muslim congresswomen ever elected. “‘Never forget’ — You
said,” was written over the Twin Towers. On Omar’s picture, a caption read, “I
am the proof you have forgotten.”
Saturday, the West Virginia’s Republican Party condemned the appearance of the
anti-Muslim flyers and posters.
party supports freedom of speech, but we do not endorse speech that advances
intolerant and hateful views,” West Virginia Republican Party Chairwoman Melody
Potter wrote in a statement, which added that they did not approve of the sign
and had asked the exhibitor to remove it. No one acknowledged permitting the
group responsible for the display, ACT for America, has been designated by the
Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Onlookers outside the House
chambers Friday snapped photos of the poster and the additional literature.
Writin’, And Jihadin,’ The Islamization of American Public Schools,” read one
of the pamphlets. Another flyer warned of “The Four Stages of Islamic
phone number listed for the organization went straight to a voicemail box that
was full and could not accept messages. The answering machine message described
the group as “the nation’s largest nonprofit grassroots organization devoted to
promoting national security and defeating terrorism.”
House delegates denounced the group just as the body convened. One lawmaker
admitted to getting so mad that he kicked a House door open, which resulted in
a doorkeeper being physically injured, according to the speaker of the House.
Another delegate grew furious, saying he had heard a staffer make an
sergeant of arms of this body, that represents the people of the state of West
Virginia, said, ‘All Muslims are terrorists.’ That’s beyond shameful,” said
Del. Michael Angelucci, a Democrat, his voice rising to a shout. “And that’s
not freedom of speech. That’s hate speech, and it has no place in this house.”
sergeant of arms, Anne Lieberman, resigned later Friday. She has declined to
comment after being reached by phone by The Associated Press.
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw questioned how things had gone so wrong.
owe it to ourselves; we owe it our constituents; we owe it to the men and women
and children and families that we represent to do better than we are,” Hanshaw
Talks between the United States and Taliban representatives resumed in Doha on
Saturday as America’s chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad reported slow but
steady progress toward an eventual peace in Afghanistan.
negotiators went on a two-day recess on Thursday “for internal deliberations…
after three days of solid talks,” he tweeted.
continue to take slow, steady steps toward an understanding and eventually
peace” in Afghanistan, he added.
Khalilzad, who is leading the US team in the talks, said both sides would
continue to focus on four key issues: the withdrawal of US forces from
Afghanistan, the Taliban’s cooperation in fighting Al Qaeda and the militant
Islamic State (IS) group, a ceasefire and the inclusion of all Afghan factions,
including the government, in the talks.
talks continue in Doha, there is also progress on forming a national team in
Kabul ready to engage in intra-Afghan dialogue and talks with the Taliban,” Mr
sources in Qatar told BBC that the initial draft of an agreement between the
two sides was ready and could be finalised in this round of talks.
sources said that representatives of the United Nations and the Norwegian
government were providing technical support to the negotiators.
New York Times reported on Friday that the negotiators in Doha were working on
a plan that calls for the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan in five
plan, prepared by the Pentagon, requires all foreign forces to leave
Afghanistan during this five-year period, the report added.
Taliban officials told journalists that so far there’s no agreement on the
timing of the withdrawal.
was also not clear if the Taliban were willing to talk to the Afghan government
officials. Despite repeated requests from Kabul, the Taliban continue to refuse
to engage with the Afghan government. The United States, however, insists that
any final agreement on Afghanistan must include the government.
United States also insists that a complete ceasefire is necessary for the
success of the peace process.
Kabul, the Afghan government expedited efforts to form an “all inclusive
national team” to join the talks in Doha, the Afghan media reported on
reports said that former Afghan envoy to Islamabad Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and
former deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai were in Doha for
consultations with Ambassador Khalilzad on issues around the peace talks.
two Afghan officials have gone to Doha with a proposal that suggests forming a
large national team for talks with the Taliban. Former Afghan president Hamid
Karzai is likely to lead this team.
says the US and Turkey know the whereabouts of Daesh leader Ibrahim
al-Samarrai, also known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
an interview with Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen television channel on Friday,
Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja'afari said terrorism is used as a tool
by its sponsors and financiers.
also accused the US-led coalition, which is bombarding what it calls Daesh
positions, of transferring Daesh elements.
authorities arrested hundreds of terrorists on its borders with Niger, and
after interrogating the terrorists it was revealed that they had come from
Aleppo’s countryside, wondering who transported these terrorists from Syria to
the Algerian-Niger borders," Ja'afari said.
and Turks know where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is."
Syrian envoy further denounced a recent deal clinched between the US and Daesh,
under which Washington received “tens of tons of gold" in exchange for
allowing terrorists out of Syria's Dayr al-Zawr Province.
started its campaign of terror in Iraq and Syria in 2014, occupying territory
in the two Arab countries and establishing a self-proclaimed “caliphate.”
Takfiri outfit was gradually stripped of all the land it had occupied, but
Daesh remnants are now believed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border region.
said the West is working "to prolong the crisis in Syria" and that
the administration of US President Donald Trump is seeking to keep up
"investing in terrorism" in Syria and Iraq in order to pursue its agenda
in the region.
also hailed relations between Syria, Iran and Russia as "excellent,"
noting that talks about a rift among the trio are just "media
is the interest of the Arabs in creating hostility with an important country
like Iran? What is the interest of the Persian Gulf states in a war that Arabs
and Iranians are fueling and Israel is watching?" he asked.
stressed that relations with Iran and Russia serve Syria's interests and that
Damascus would not "compromise" its ties with Tehran in any
Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Ali
Movahedi Kermani said on Friday that certain Arab countries had offered $200
billion to President Bashar al-Assad to cut ties with Iran.
the Syrian president did not succumb to the threats and temptations,” Ayatollah
Kermani told worshipers during Friday prayers in Tehran.
cleric said Assad’s visit to Tehran on Monday marked a turning point in the
solidarity of the "resistance front” consisting of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah
and other anti-terror groups.
visit sent a clear message to Israel and the US that the Islamic Republic will
stay in the Arab country as long as needed, Ayatollah Kermani added.
slams UK's blacklisting of Hezbollah
Friday, Syria strongly denounced a decision by the UK government to put
Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations.
source at the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the move confirms Britain’s
"deep-seated historical hostility against the Arab nation, as Britain is
the godfather of fragmenting the Arab nation."
UK, he added, has "a dark history of enslaving people and usurping their
rights," harbors extremists and has been a main partner in all forms of
aggression against the Arab nation.
French court on Friday jailed two Iraqis and one Iranian man for organizing
illegal migrant boat journeys across the English Channel.
32-year-old Iraqi, considered the group leader, received an 18-month sentence
from the court in Boulogne, on the northern French coast.
two accomplices, a 30-year-old Iranian and a 39-year-old Iraqi, were each
jailed for a year and all three men were banned from French territory.
border police were first alerted when the manager of a boat supply store
contacted them in December over suspect sales of inflatable dinghies, a vessel
of choice for people smugglers transporting migrants and refugees from France
subsequent enquiry implicated the three suspects in the organization of migrant
boat runs from several northern French ports, including Calais and Sangatte.
500 people - most of them over the last two months of 2018 - attempted to cross
the Channel to Britain last year, compared with just 13 known attempts in 2017.
in December despatched a navy ship to help coastguard boats watch over the 33
km of sea that separate France and Britain at its narrowest point.
also responded by announcing broader surveillance measures in early January.
number of Channel crossings was just a tiny fraction of the 55,756 successful
attempts made across the Mediterranean to Spain that were recorded by the UN’s
refugee agency in 2018.
Foreign Ministry on Saturday called on Syria’s al-Assad regime to reveal its
chemical weapons program and destroy all its chemical weapons under
to a Foreign Ministry statement, what happened in Syria was not an isolated
event, where many people were "brutally" murdered and wounded,
referring to the report of an international chemical weapons watchdog -- which
confirms chemical weapon use in Syria's Douma region on April 7, 2018.
will put effort to stop use of chemical weapons worldwide, including Syria, in
United Nations Security Council next week, the statement said.
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released a report
on Friday and said it found "reasonable grounds" that chlorine was
used as a weapon in the Douma district of Eastern Ghouta, Syria.
chemical attack took place on April 7, 2018, leaving at least 78 civilians
of the chemical weapons by the Syrian regime caused the withdrawal of the opposition
from the region and forced the evacuation of civilians.
has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the al-Assad
regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.
European Union must accept Turkey’s internal security and terrorism concerns,
an EU commissioner said Saturday.
and Europe need each other,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, commissioner for migration,
home affairs and citizenship, told Greece's Delphi Economic Forum.
stressed that Turkey has fulfilled many criteria for visa liberalization under
the 2016 migrant agreement.
the pact, Turkey agreed to take stricter measures against human smugglers and
discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea, while the EU pledged
visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, provided that
Ankara fulfills criteria set out by Brussels.
said Turkey’s membership would be “beneficial for both EU and Turkey” and have
“a positive impact on Greece”.
how Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first to reach out to Turkey after
the 2016 defeated coup, Avramopoulos said Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan “didn’t move away from EU.”
Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.- based leader Fetullah
Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people
martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
and Turkish representatives have decided to meet to seek ways to build
confidence, Greece’s defense minister said Saturday.
continue our efforts to prevent tension [in the Mediterranean],” Evangelos
Apostolakis told the Delphi Economic Forum in Greece, but gave no date for the
added that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan had discussed security issues at a meeting on Feb. 5.
its recently renamed northern neighbor, Apostolakis said: “NATO membership for
Northern Macedonia suits our national interests.”
Macedonia changed its name from Macedonia in order to remove the Greek veto
from its NATO and EU membership.
has been a divisive force in British life for more than two years but if there
is one element of common ground between the factions it is that London’s long
relationship with the Gulf will emerge reinvigorated.
ambassadors based in London have spoken of the opportunity for a trade deal
with the Gulf Cooperation Council. A deeper investment relationship appears
possible. Political and cultural ties look set to deepen as British
policymakers re-orientate from a reliance on European integration.
Al Mazroui, the UAE ambassador to the UK, told The National that the UAE would
entrench its role as a global hub for Britain in the wake of the country’s
departure on March 29.
the UK is in or out of the EU the relationship will always be strong, cordial
and fruitful – it can only grow stronger and stronger,” the ambassador, who
arrived at the Court of St James in 2016 after a stint as the UAE
representative to the EU in Brussels. “Brexit is an internal matter for the UK
but outside the EU there is an opportunity to strike a deal for a free trade
agreement, though this is dependent on our position in the GCC as a whole.”
Mazroui points out that the UAE is in the top handful of Britain’s trading
partners, alongside the EU, and as such the relationship is well placed to
withstand developments in the weeks ahead.
UK is our strong partner and the UAE is number three, four outside the EU in
terms of trade and exports. The UAE is a hub and considers its market as two
billion people with the best of infrastructure for exporting goods. I don’t
think they will find a better destination for tourism or for the British people
living in the region.
elements are vital in our relationship with the UK.”
ministers have used the concept of Global Britain as the post-Brexit platform
for overhauling foreign policy. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, is in the
region on visit that both combines a specific mission to promote peace
negotiations in Yemen and wider efforts to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia,
Oman and UAE.
to parliamentarians after taking up his role last year, Mr Hunt stressed the
importance of the strategic relationships Britain enjoys with the Gulf
countries. He said that it was important to maintain all Britain’s enduring
a country with global reach, we have relationships with all shapes and sizes of
countries,” he said. “If we are going to have a positive role in the Middle
East, as we aspire to, we have to have partnerships with many different
visits to the region have included trips by Liam Fox, the international trade
secretary, and Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary. Mr Williamson has
spoken of how Brexit will see the British security presence grow around the
world, particular in the vibrant Pacific and Indian Ocean regions where
historic links are strongest. In a February speech he spoke of the importance
of British military facilities at Dubai's Al Minhad airbase, as well as
permanent bases in Bahrain and Oman.
has its greatest opportunity in 50 years to redefine our role,” he said. “As we
leave the European Union. And, the world changing so rapidly it is up to us to
seize the opportunities that Brexit brings. We will build new alliances,
rekindle old ones and most importantly make it clear that we are the country
that will act when required. We should be the nation that people turn to when
the world needs leadership.”
relation with Saudi Arabia has been most in the spotlight in recent months and
the government has provided an overarching defence of its close ties with
have a relationship with Saudi Arabia that is complex and many-layered. It certainly
has a security and intelligence element, which has led to the saving of a
number of British lives over recent years, so that is an important factor in
all this,” Alistair Burt, the Middle East minister told MPs last year. “It is
not leverage; it is very much a partnership. As was seen in the visit of the
Crown Prince, this relationship goes across the board, well beyond defence and
security issues, to trade, culture and a variety of things, bearing in mind the
changes coming over Saudi Arabia.”
Jones, a Conservative MP who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the
UAE, has also spoken regularly of Brexit as a new outlook for London. “Brexit
provides the United Kingdom with a unique opportunity to renew ties with the
wider international community,” he said. “In my view, for too long the UK has
been constrained in its outlook by the European Union.”
Wearing, an expert in Gulf politics, points out that trade with the Gulf has –
almost uniquely for the British economy -- been in surplus for Britain for
decades. This has seen British business take a leading role in local markets
“The states have been trying to build their economies, to develop
infrastructure and build-up their education systems. British exporters have
trying to help them do these things - there is all kinds of goods and services
that have been provided,” he said.
aspect of this is that the sophisticated British military equipment industry
has thrived on local contacts, a factor that enabled London to retain a global
military role. “One of the main strategic priorities of the British state in
the context of being usurped by America and cope with loss empire has been to
be a global military power,” Mr Wearing told a Chatham House interviewer last
month. “To have an arms industry can be costly unless your exporting.”
in all it means that Britain’s relationship with the regional states is
hard-wired into international policy. “This is a relationship that has
developed over 200 years,” he added.
Quilliam, a senior fellow at Chatham House, wrote late last year that Britain’s
ties with the UAE were shifting as international relationships develop,
especially with the rise of the dynamic Asian economies, particularly China, as
well as in recognition of Russia’s evolving global role. “There are deep
historical ties between the UK and the families governing the seven emirates,
but the nature of the relationship has changed over the years. The economic
power that came with the arrival of oil money has allowed the UAE's leaders to
build new military and economic relationships,” according to Mr Quilliam.
the British the friendship with the UAE has been bedrock of its regional
presence for decades. “Indeed, there is a lot at stake,” he added. “The UAE is
the UK's largest export market in the Middle East and its fourth largest export
market outside the EU. The UK exported £9.8 billion of goods and services in
2016, which marked a 37 per cent increase from 2009.”
the prospect of a Brexit that would disrupt trade with Europe and harm
Britain’s economic outlook would have global repercussions for the country’s
brand and its international influence. Sir John Sawers, a former head of MI6,
warned that a loss of prestige comparable to that suffered in the tumultuous
1970s was on the cards.
chief, Sudanese spy chief met in Munich to discuss Bashir's ouster: Report
head of Mossad met his Sudanese counterpart in Germany last month as part of a
secret plan by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE to oust President Omar al-Bashir,
the London-based Middle East Eye has reported.
Gosh, the head of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS),
met with Mossad chief Yossi Cohen on the sidelines of the Munich Security
Conference on February 15-17, it cited a senior Sudanese military source as
meeting was arranged by Egyptian intermediaries with the backing of Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates, the leading online news outlet added.
to the source, the three Arab countries consider Salah as “their man” to
replace Bashir and put an end to his three-decade rule in Sudan.
is a consensus that Bashir will go within the ruling party and the army,” said
the source, “The battle is about who is coming after.”
has strong links with the Saudis, the Emiratis and the Egyptians. They want
Bashir out, and they want their man in his place,” the source added.
who has been facing months of protests across the country, was not aware of the
“unprecedented” meeting between his intelligence chief and Cohen, the sources
to the news website, Gosh also met with European intelligence chiefs during his
stay in Munich.
is well known in Washington, where he earned a reputation during the 2000s as a
spy chief with whom the CIA could work, even visiting the US in 2005.
report by the Africa Intelligence website last month also said that the CIA had
identified Gosh as its preferred successor to Bashir if the Sudanese
president's position became untenable.
a report by a Persian Gulf state embassy in Washington, the website said that
the CIA was not working to bring about regime change because the Sudanese
government was providing valuable intelligence.
the embassy report said the CIA would work to ensure that Gosh replaced Bashir
if the protests could not be contained.
December, Sudan has been rocked by a wave of protests calling on Bashir to step
January, Bashir was quoted to have lamented that he had been advised to
normalize ties with Israel because a normalization would help stabilize growing
unrest sweeping Sudan.
embattled president declined to specify who gave him the advice but said in a
meeting with the religious leaders in the capital Khartoum that he believed
“sustenance is in the hands of God.”
has forged close relations with Saudi Arabia in recent years, reportedly
sending troops to Yemen to help the kingdom's invasion of the impoverished
media reported in November that the Tel Aviv regime was actively working to
establish diplomatic ties with Sudan, as part of wider efforts to upgrade
relations with central African countries.
Somalia: At least 20 people died in an attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu,
which saw Al-Shabab insurgents battling security forces for nearly 24 hours
before the siege ended, officials said Saturday.
the standoff ended, the government vowed to step up efforts to fight the
extremists, with the deadly siege the latest in a long line of bombing and
assaults claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked group.
Somali government will never stop its war on Al-Shabab, our aim is to be done
with them, whatever the cost,” Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire told reporters
late on Friday.
premier also praised the courage of the elite soldiers who he said had rescued
35 civilians used as “human shields” by the assailants.
attack began on Thursday evening at around 1800 GMT, when a Shabab militant in
a car blew himself up, causing a huge blast that ripped the front off a major
hotel and left several cars in flames on the busy street.
fighters then stormed inside a building housing a restaurant, where they were
quickly surrounded by police.
pulled five bodies from the wreckage immediately after the explosion, but the
recovery of more bodies was blocked for hours by the ensuing fighting.
shooting continued until officials finally declared an end to the siege late
teams have recovered one more dead body after the operation was over and this
makes the overall number of the confirmed dead 20,” Aamin Ambulance director
Abdikadir Abdirahman told AFP on Saturday.
least 112 people were admitted to the city’s three main hospitals, medical
a press conference, Somali security forces held up photos showing the alleged
bodies of four of the attackers.
a statement posted on a pro-Shabab website, the militants confirmed that four
of their number had been killed, adding that others had managed to escape.
said the fighters waged a “martyrdom-seeking” operation against a “luxury hotel
inhabited by government officials and security service officers.”
said the initial car bomb attack occurred as the street was filled with people
relaxing after a day at work.
explosion was so powerful that it tossed several vehicles into the air that
then burst into flames.
whole area was in flames,” said Abdisamed Mohamed, a witness.
Shabab emerged out of the Islamic courts system that once controlled central
and southern Somalia. The group is believed to have between 5,000 and 9,000
2010, the Shabab declared its allegiance to Al-Qaeda.
following year, its fighters were chased out of Mogadishu by the 22,000-strong
African Union peace-enforcement mission, AMISOM.
A local official says more than 50 people are missing after a leaking oil
pipeline exploded and caused a stampede in southern Nigeria.
Nembe Chiefs Council spokesman, Chief Nengi James-Eriworio, tells The
Associated Press that the blast early Friday caused massive oil spillage in the
Nembe kingdom in Bayelsa state.
Nembe trunk line is operated by the Port Harcourt-based Aiteo Group and carries
crude to the Bonny export terminal. The pipeline is jointly owned by Agip,
Oando and Shell Petroleum Development Company.
is yet to comment on the explosion. It is not immediately clear if the pipeline
has been shut down.
least 29 people were killed in an attack by armed bandits in Nigeria's
northwest Zamfara state, police said in a statement released on Saturday.
were ambushed on Thursday night as they were on their way back from a market in
Shinkafi district of Zamfara, said Mohamed Shehu, police spokesman for Zamfara
which is ravaged by criminal gangs linked to organized crimes and cattle
found 13 bodies at the scene while 16 others were recovered from the bushes in
the area, Shehu added.
were civilians including women who were escorting the traders from Shinkafi to
Kwari village, according to the police spokesman.
Taliban sub-commanders were killed during an airstrike in eastern Nangarhar
province of Afghanistan.
military sources said Saturday “Two Taliban sub-commanders, Mula Zanzir and
Maulawi Shafiq and 5 other Taliban fighters were killed in an air strike in
Hisarak district of Nangarhar on February 28.”
sources further added that Zanzir was responsible for recruiting and Shafiq for
directing fighters to carry out attacks against Afghan civilians. Zanzir and
Shafiq opposed peace in the Nangarhar region.
month, more than 43 Taliban fighters have been killed in Nangarhar, the sources
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the report so far.
first trilateral summit between Afghanistan, India, and China was convened in
capital Kabul on Saturday.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan in a statement said the summit was
chaired by deputy foreign minister Edris Zaman and was attended by the
Ambassadors of India and China.
statement further added that Mr. Zaman described both India as historic and
good neighbors of Afghanistan and emphasized that more focus should be made on
training the civilian and military staff as well as demining, energy,
agricultural development, transport, regional connectivity, joint trade chamber
between the three countries and other areas which have high economic priority
for the three countries.
newly-appointed governor of Kandahar Hayatullah Hayat has endorsed ongoing
efforts but in the meantime has called for the elimination of the enemies
refusing the pleas for reconciliation.
also showed his support to the Afghan security forces at the 205th Corps
headquarters along with local tribal elders and religious scholars, and
leadership from the 205th Corps. The over-arching topic for the event was peace
with a parade that was attended by over 150 local civilians and children to show
their support for their local security forces who protect their province.
General Shafiqullah, the executive officer to the 205th Corps welcomed the
Kandahar Governor and addressed the crowd.
brothers, sisters, mothers, and elders who have supported us are all welcome to
the 20th Corps; the door is always open,” he said, “We will be vigilant, never
sleep, and provide security. Soon peace will prevail.”
residents adorned the 205th Corps with flowers and praise to show their support
to Security Forces, Provincial Governor Hayat addressed his province and the
parade of security forces who were in attendance.
you so much from the bottom of my heart. You chose this career, you could have
left for anywhere else in the world but you chose to stay and be defenders of
Hayat went on to appeal to the people of Afghanistan to support and ask for
President wants peace and our people want peace. I hope these talks lead to
peace. We must destroy and kills our enemies who do not want peace.”
Afghan official says Taliban fighters have attacked a corps of security forces
in their camp in southern Helmand province, killing at least 23.
Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said on Saturday that 16 other
forces were wounded in the attack that ended on Friday night in Washer
Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said the insurgent group was responsible
for the attack, which came as Taliban negotiators met for talks with the US
peace envoy in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar.
LUMPUR, March 2 — Nothing in the Federal Constitution prohibits a non-Malay or
a non-Muslim from holding any official positions in the executive, Parliament,
or the judiciary, the Malaysian Bar said today.
peninsular legal body said the appointments of Attorney General Tommy Thomas,
Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng were
made in accordance with the Federal Constitution and their ethnicities and
religious backgrounds were totally irrelevant.
Malaysian Bar firmly believes that these appointments were just and beyond
reproach,” Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said in a statement.
Article 136 of the Federal Constitution holds that all persons in the service
of the Federation shall be treated impartially. Race and religion are thus not,
and must never be, determining factors in making appointments.”
de facto law minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz from Umno allegedly said on
the Semenyih campaign trail that the appointment of non-Muslims as the AG,
Chief Justice, and finance minister was causing fear among Malays.
pointed out today that the amount of experience the three men had in their
relevant fields spoke for themselves.
assuming their respective offices, they have been performing their duties in
accordance with their oaths of office. Remarks with regard to their racial or
religious backgrounds, and that of any other employee of the Federation, are
irrelevant and irresponsible, and must cease,” he said.
Kenneth Tee and Jerry Choong
March 3 — Barisan Nasional (BN) unexpectedly wrested Semenyih from Pakatan
Harapan (PH), even though PH is now in federal government and has been
administering Selangor for over a decade.
Semenyih by-election was Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (PPBM) first test
after the 14th general election; an indication of how much Malay support the
party could get for PH as PPBM was formed as a Malay-only vehicle specifically
for that purpose.
BN’s Zakaria Hanafi defeated PH candidate Muhammad Aiman Zainali with a
majority of 1,914 votes in a race that PAS made way for BN. Semenyih had a
healthy voter turnout at about 73 per cent, the highest of all by-elections
since the May 9 general election.
the 14th general election, PPBM had won the Selangor state seat with a majority
of almost 9,000 votes in a contest featuring both PAS and BN. Combining both
PAS and BN’s vote share then would still come up to about 2,000 votes short of
what happened? These are three reasons why political analysts believe PH lost
the race, its second by-election defeat since the 14th general election.
combination of Umno and PAS in pushing for Malay-Muslim interests, which gained
traction in the previous Cameron Highlands by-election, has been subsequently
affirmed in the Malay-majority Semenyih state constituency that comprises 68
per cent Malay voters.
is a good term, as it is simply a re-manifestation of the 75 per cent of Malay
voters who voted for either Umno or PAS in GE14, now that the two parties are
in 'bed' together," said Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the Singapore
Institute of International Affairs.
PAS now lending its support to Umno, it seems very likely the preservation of
religion and race will become the narrative in the months to come.
pollster Merdeka Centre executive director Ibrahim Suffian said the BN win will
further cement the identity politics of both parties.
the attacks by some PH leaders on PAS regarding the allegations of receiving
Umno money will likely anger and embolden PAS supporters, rather than repel
should take note that all the decades BN have attacked PAS, the support for its
leaders have never diminished but instead made them stronger,” he said.
PAS already announcing its decision to skip the upcoming Rantau by-election,
whose incumbent is Umno acting president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Ibrahim said
it was very likely an Umno-PAS pact will take place again.
will make the fight for the Malay hearts and minds the central theme of
politics in our country even more prominent going forward,” he said.
Ibrahim, BN's victory was a clear sign that the public has gotten tired of PH’s
difficulty in delivering their GE14 election manifesto.
(voters) do not want the blame game on Datuk Seri Najib Razak and BN to
continue, but rather concrete plans and action on how to address these issues
such as cost of living,” he said.
PH campaign had repeatedly attacked the former prime minister as he stumped for
BN in Semenyih, the second outing for his working class “Bossku” persona.
Kebangsaan Malaysia associate professor Kartini Aboo Talib Khalid echoed
Ibrahim, saying BN's victory was more because of PH’s failure to deliver their
voters are getting tired of the PH new government who [has] yet to deliver the
promises and a few compelling comments from Tun M himself that the current
government is a bit off and ineffective,” she said referring to Prime Minister
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
pointed out that BN's victory in Semenyih was attributed to Zakaria’s
and foremost, Zakaria is an activist and well known among the voters in
Semenyih,” she said.
though PH’s 30-year-old Muhammad Aiman is also a local, he was widely seen as
“awkward” and lacked the eloquence of a representative.
Aiman's shortcomings were even acknowledged by PPBM president Tan Sri Muhyiddin
Yassin, who said the young man’s presentation should not be an indication of his
in the campaign trail, Muhammad Aiman found it difficult to approach voters as
he was not seen much in public prior to the announcement of his candidacy.
who is former Umno Kampung Sesapan Kelubi branch permanent chairman, was seen
as a party strongman.
a former party branch chief, Zakaria possessed the required grassroots support
to back him up and found it easy to campaign among those already familiar with
ability to communicate effectively was also seen as a necessary trait for a
person who is required to convey the concerns of the people.
BN and PH carried the flag of consociation that connects all major races and
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African
Muslim News, Arab
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in Islam, Islamic
In Arab, Islamophobia
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Women and Feminism
// The grand
imam of Egypt’s famed Al-Azhar institution, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, has
described polygamy as an “injustice” for women//
This is a very great statement after 1400
years, especially against the backdrop that his great prophet who had multiple
wives. Surely the Grand Imam has broken the ice. There will be no more name
calling among the wives, less poverty and more education to the children. This
single statement, if approved by the ulema and the umma, can take Islam to the
higher level with other religions. We fondly hope the Grand Mufti of Mecca and
the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran will follow suit.