officers inspect the shooting site as dead body of a victim is seen on the
ground behind of the car in front of Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New
Zealand [Anadolu Agency]
Kill At Least 49 People during Friday Prayers at Two Mosques in Christchurch in
New Zealand’s Worst Ever Attack
PM: New Zealand Mosque Gunman Was Australian Right-Wing ‘Terrorist’
Guarantees Protection of Minorities Worship Places: PM Imran
World Reacts with Disgust at New Zealand Mosque Attacks
Muslim Nations to Condemn China's Xinjiang Abuses
Police Assault Muslim Worshipers, Close Al-Aqsa Mosque
Muslim-Dalit Axis Going Back to Haji Mastan’s shot At Redemption
issues red notice for Khashoggi killing
pledges €1.4 billion for Syrian refugees
expresses concerns over Kashmir situation
Begum affair marks the demise of ‘Londonistan’ era
Financing Watchdog Seeks Reduced ISI Role
report raises questions about governance in Pakistan
special envoy for Afghanistan appreciates Islamabad’s ‘important contributions’
India decide to speed up Kartarpur Corridor opening
again demands ouster of ministers ‘supporting extremists’
Arabia Rejects Call For International Probe Of Khashoggi Murder
Russian Armies Launch Heaviest Attacks against Terrorists in Hama, Idlib
surrender at ISIS enclave as SDF advance
Observatory: Russian air raids kill 13 civilians
official: The Kingdom brought perpetrators of Khashoggi murder to justice
court jails nearly 170 people in crackdown on dissent
Urges Muslim Nations to Condemn China's Xinjiang Abuses
Report Intends To Whitewash Israel's Human Rights Violations: PLO Official
rejects Washington's allegations in 2019 'human rights' report
announces additional $397M in aid for Syria relief
Senate votes to rebuke Trump on Yemen, again
strikes 100 Hamas targets in Gaza after rockets fired at Tel Aviv
Palestinian PM faces myriad challenges, say analysts
Palestinian aid faces funding battle without US help
Anantnag, CRPF Resurrects ‘Heaven’ the Movie Hall
chief Masood Azhar stayed in Ashok, Janpath hotels in Delhi in 1994
Isolated, Nations Seeking ‘Other Options’ To Counter Beijing on Masood Azhar
Modi talking to heads of Muslim countries, silent diplomatic operation on
Masood Azhar: Beijing claims it needs more time, Delhi more cautious than
Strongly Reacts To Use of Force By Government In Mazar-E-Sharif City
Special Force Storm Taliban Hideout, Prison, and Drug Lab in Nimroz Province
probe US mistaken airstrike of Afghan army base
3rd Test Cancelled After Team Flees New Zealand Mosque Shooting
leader optimistic about Afghan peace
clashes close to Balkh Police HQ amid rising political tensions
airstrikes kill 31 militants among them al-Qaeda fighters
forces, supporters of regional leader clash inside key city
Who Exposed China’s Muslim Camps is Detained, Even Across the Border
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Use Zakir Naik to Get Malay Votes, G25 Member Tells PH
world reacts with disgust at New Zealand mosque attacks
MA63 review begins, Sabah churches call for complete religious freedom
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Protesters Rally In Sudan’s Capital After Bashir Promises Dialogue
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militants Boko Haram murder Lebanese man in Nigeria
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Kill At Least 49 People during Friday Prayers at Two Mosques In Christchurch In
New Zealand’s Worst Ever Attack
Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that the mosque
shootings appeared to be a well-planned "terrorist attack".
is, and will be, one of New Zealand's darkest days," an ashen-faced Ardern
prime minister also said two explosive devices attached to suspect vehicles
were found and were disarmed.
mosques on target were the Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch and another
one in suburban Linwood.
Clarke, a reporter with TVNZ, spoke with several people inside the Masjid Al
Noor mosque when the shooting began. He told Al Jazeera a man entered with an
automatic weapon and began firing.
gunman - dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun - came into the
back of the mosque and started firing into the people praying there," said
Clarke. It was later confirmed that 30 worshippers were killed at the mosque,
including women and children.
many as 41 people died at one mosque, seven at another and one person died in
hospital, New Zealand's Police Commissioner Mike Bush told reporters,
describing the attack as a "very well-planned event".
said four suspects, including a woman, were apprehended in connection with the
attacks. One of the arrested men had been charged with murder.
have urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.
bulletproof vest and protection gear is seen in this undated photo posted on
twitter on March 12 by the apparent gunman behind Christchurch mosque attack
have also warned worshippers not to visit mosques "anywhere in New
Zealand". A lockdown imposed throughout Christchurch was called off at
about 05:00 GMT.
police officers apprehended four suspects. "There've been some absolute
acts of bravery," Bush said without elaborating.
won't assume there aren't others but I don't have any information to that
effect," Bush told a press conference.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the attack and said one of the suspects
was an Australian national, calling him an "extremist, right-wing, violent
said Australian security authorities were investigating any links between the
country and the attack, but declined to provide further details about the
is such a sad and devastating reminder of the evil that can be ever present
about us," a visibly emotional Morrison said.
Peneha, a witness, said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor
mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the
mosque in terror.
said he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived.
- who lives next to the mosque - said he went into the building to try and
help. "I saw dead people everywhere."
man in the mosque, with blood stains all over his clothes, said he hid under a
bench as the shooting took place. He said about 50 people were inside the
Clarke said some worshippers managed to escape through windows and doors but
"many people had been hit, some as young as 16".
10 to 15 people were seen outside the mosque, "some alive, some
dead", he said.
Ahmed, a wheelchair-bound witness in Christchurch, told Al Jazeera he was at
the back of the mosque and heard the shooting for about seven minutes.
pushed myself at the back where my car was parked and I was behind the car. And
from there I was hearing shooting after shooting," he said.
about 10 minutes, I thought the shooter has left. I pushed myself to get inside
the mosque and it was unbelievable. I saw in the main room on the right-hand
side more than 20 people, some of them dead, some screaming.
saw on the floor hundreds of bullet shells. I saw one guy trying to run out and
he was shot dead."
Mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand: All the latest
attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand - All the latest updates
Al Jazeera English @AJEnglish
Mosques in New Zealand hit by automatic weapon fire with 'a number of
fatalities' as police arrest four suspects. Follow the latest updates here.
Ali, a second witness in Christchurch, said he heard one of the women died.
mosque has segments, you know, he shot inside, went to another room, shot
there. There is the ladies section, he went and shot them. I just heard one of
the ladies died, I am hoping that it is not true," he said.
Nawaz of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand said they have
decided to restrict activities at the mosques.
whole community is shocked. They would never have expected anything like this
[to happen] in this peaceful country. As a result of that [the attack], we are
restricting our activities in the mosque and we are trying to keep safety in
video on social media
of the gunmen shared a live stream of the attack on Facebook and posted content
on Instagram. Facebook said it has taken down the video and was removing praise
for the gunman.
are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in
Christchurch circulating online," a police statement said. "We would
strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage
were reports racist literature was left behind at the scene denouncing
Bush said a number of bombs were detected and neutralised on the attackers'
were a few reports of IEDs strapped to vehicles which we were able to
secure," he said, referring to improved explosive devices.
by reporters whether police considered Friday's carnage a "terrorist
attack", Bush said an investigation was under way.
towards Muslims through media'
portrayal of Muslims is fueling anger against the community according to a 2017
academic research in which 16,000 New Zealanders were surveyed.
to Al Jazeera from Dunedin, the lead researcher, Dr John Shaver of the
University of Otago, said, "Highly educated and leftist-oriented people
normally tended to have a positive attitude toward not just Muslims but migrant
populations in general."
study found that highly educated people, even those on the left, developed
anger towards Muslims through the media. The more they watched the news, the
more prejudiced they became."
officers inspect the shooting site as dead body of a victim is seen on the
ground behind of the car in front of Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New
Zealand [Anadolu Agency]
was, however, careful to add that New Zealand is a multi-cultural society which
is accepting of all groups. "There have been only a handful of incidents
in which Muslims were harassed or their properties vandalized.
here are not like they are in Australia, the US or the West," he said.
Dr Shaver said New Zealand media tends to absorb content generated by US and
European news outlets without providing context.
the western media, the focus is only on the conflicts in the Middle East,"
went on to say that there is very little coverage in the New Zealand media of
the Muslim population in country which is very diverse and has a history of
more than 100 years.
of focusing on the domestic Muslim population, the media focuses on violence
and looks at the community from a western media lens," he said.
shave for Bangladesh cricketers
Cricinfo reporter Mohammed Isam said the members of the Bangladesh cricket team,
who were to play a Test match in Christchurch scheduled from Saturday, escaped
unhurt from the mosque.
Villavarayen, the strength and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh cricket
team, was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying the team was close to
where the shooting occurred, but was safe.
players are shaken up but fine," Villavarayen was quoted as saying.
Entire team got saved from active shooters!!!
Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers
the attack, the third Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh was called off.
'have no place in New Zealand'
Peneha described the scene at Masjid Al Noor as "unbelievable".
don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's
ridiculous. I've lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the
people are great, they're very friendly. I just don't understand it," he
account for just one percent of New Zealand's population, a 2013 census showed.
of those who would have been affected by this shooting may be migrants to New
Zealand," Ardern said.
may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and
it is their home ... they are us. The persons who perpetuated this violence
against us ... have no place in New Zealand."
shootings in New Zealand are exceedingly rare. The deadliest in modern history
occurred in the small town of Aramoana in 1990, when gunman David Gray shot and
killed 13 people following a dispute with a neighbour.
PM: New Zealand mosque gunman was Australian right-wing ‘terrorist’
gunman who killed numerous worshippers in a New Zealand mosque on Friday was a
right-wing “terrorist” with Australian citizenship, Prime Minister Scott
stand here and condemn, absolutely the attack that occurred today by an
extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist,” Morrison told a press conference.
confirmed media reports that the gunman who mowed down worshippers in the main
mosque in the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch was an Australian-born
horrified by the reports I’m following of the serious shooting in Christchurch,
New Zealand. The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are
with our Kiwi cousins.
condemn the violent, extremist, right-wing terrorist attack that has stolen the
lives of so many innocent New Zealanders as they went about their peaceful
practice of worship at their mosques in Christchurch today.
AM - Mar 15, 2019
Ads info and privacy
people are talking about this
said Australian security authorities were investigating any links between the
country and the attack, but declined to provide further details about the
Australian gunman. An emotional Morrison offered his sympathies to Kiwis.
are not just allies, we are not just partners, we are family,” he said. New
Zealand police said they had detained three men and one woman after attacks on
two Christchurch mosques, but they have not provided their identities.
is such a sad and devastating reminder of the evil that can be ever present
about us,” Morrison said of the attacks.
guarantees protection of minorities worship places: PM Imran
(Dunya News) – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that Islam
guarantees protection of minorities worship places and added that his
government will take full measures for the welfare of the minority community,
Dunya News reported.
he stated while talking to representatives of minorities who called on him at
his office. The delegation included Dr Ramesh Kumar, Sardar Mandal Pal Singh,
Sardar Tara Singh and Ravi Kumar. Minister for Religious Affairs Noor ul Haq
Qadri, and Special Assistant Naeem Ul Haq were also present in the meeting.
Khan said protecting the rights of minorities and their welfare was included in
top priorities of the government. He said that Islam guaranteed protection of
religious places of minorities and added that the government in consultation with
the minorities was taking various steps in that regard.
prime minister said a task force about Evacuee Trust Properties Board was being
set up, which would present its recommendations to the government for
restructuring of the board, end corruption in this department and maintain
was decided that policy matters of the board would handed over to a Board of
Management in which representatives of Sikhs and Hindu community would be
Religious Affairs briefed the meeting that purpose of the board was to
look-after Gurdwaras and Mandirs, Asset Management, promotion of religious
tourism, education, health and shelter homes and policy affairs. He told the
meeting that it was also the mandate of the board to evacuate the Evacuee Trust
Properties from the encroachers.
(Reuters) - Political and Islamic leaders across Asia expressed their disgust
at the deadly shooting at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday as some revealed
their citizens had been caught up in the bloodshed.
timing of the shootings in the city of Christchurch, during Friday prayers, and
the posting on social media of what appeared to be live, point-of-view video
footage of the assault by a gunman added to the distress of many.
strongly condemns this shooting act, especially at a place of worship while a
Friday prayer was ongoing,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a statement.
was earlier cited by media as saying six Indonesians had been inside the mosque
when the attack occurred, with three managing to escape and three unaccounted
ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, told Reuters inquiries were being
made as to whether Indonesians were caught up in the attack. There are 331
Indonesians in Christchurch, including 134 students, the foreign ministry said.
Muslim-majority Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the biggest party in its
ruling coalition, said one Malaysian had been wounded in the attack he
described as a “black tragedy facing humanity and universal peace”.
am deeply saddened by this uncivilized act, which goes against humanistic
values and took the lives of civilians,” he said in a statement.
extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims
and the people of New Zealand.”
Zealand authorities confirmed “multiple” deaths but they did not say how many
or identify any victims.
Zealand media reported “dozens” of dead.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman condemned what he called a “racist and
attack shows the point which hostility to Islam and enmity to Muslims has
reached,” Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter.
have seen many times Islamophobic discourse against Islam and Muslims turning
into a perverse and murderous ideology. The world must raise its voice against
such discourse and must say stop to Islamophobic fascist terrorism,” he said.
founder of India’s All India Muslim Personal Board, a non-government body of
scholars, Kamal Faruqui, said the attack was “highly condemnable”.
anti-Muslim virus is spreading across the world,” he told Reuters.
of all religions should be very worried.”
ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Wahidullah Waissi, said on
Twitter three Afghans had been wounded.
thoughts are with the family of Afghan origin who’ve been shot and killed at
this heinous incident.”
foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal condemned the incident on social
media, using the hashtag #pakistanagainstterror.
people expressed their horror online about a widely disseminated video of a man
apparently indiscriminately shooting people inside a mosque with an assault
video has yet to be confirmed by authorities as being posted by a shooter
involved in the attack.
very sick, that person is brainless and a savage,” said one Indonesian twitter
user who identified himself as Farhan Adhitama.
Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said many of those caught up in the
shootings may have been migrants and refugees.
are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They
have no place in New Zealand,” she said.
urges Muslim nations to condemn China's Xinjiang abuses
The United States on Wednesday voiced disappointment at the failure ofMuslim
nations to jointly take a stand against China's treatment of its Uighurs and
other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.
are, I can say, disappointed about the lack of response from members of the OIC
(Organization of Islamic Cooperation), and the lack of outspoken concern,"
said US Ambassador Kelley Currie who heads the State Department's Office of
Global Criminal Justice,.
was speaking to reporters ahead of a US-sponsored event at UN headquarters in
Geneva focused on allegations of mass-internment of Uighurs in China's restive
she applauded Turkey for its recent strong criticism of China's treatment of
its Muslim minorities, she said Washington had hoped the IOC would have
collectively condemned the situation in Xinjiang as it has done regarding
rights abuses against Muslims in Myanmar and Syria.
statement from OIC foreign ministers earlier this month failed to reflect
concern about the situation, she said, describing this as "disappointing
comments came as Washington released its annual human rights report, in which
it maintained that China had "significantly intensified its campaign of
mass detention of members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang".
more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslims are interned in
re-education camps designed to erase their religious and ethnic identities,"
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said as he introduced the report.
the event in Geneva, Currie and other speakers, including experts and an
alleged former detainee in a Xinjiang reeducation camp, made similar charges,
eliciting a strong reaction from a Chinese diplomat in the room.
strongly object to this anti-China side-event sponsored by the USmission,"
said the diplomat, who didn't give his name, charging that the event was
"obviously driven by a political agenda".
are no so-called concentration camps in Xinjiang," he said, reiterating
Beijing's claims that it is combating separatism and religious extremism
through vocational education.
of the speakers, Adrian Zenz, a China security expert at Germany's European
School of Culture and Theology, meanwhile charged that China's so-called
vocational training centres were "a mask for an unprecedented campaign of
coercive social reengineering".
we are witnessing in Xinjiang is nothing less than a systematic campaign of
cultural genocide," he said, warning that other regions with large Muslim
minorities could soon suffer a similar fate.
"is like a testing ground", he told AFP.
event, which was also backed by Britain, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands,
took place on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council and not before the
main UN rights body itself.
administration of US President Donald Trump decided to slam the door on that
council last year.
of the panelists, John Fisher, who heads Human Rights Watch's Geneva office,
suggested Washington was partially to blame for the lack of broader
international condemnation of the situation in Xinjiang.
of the challenges is that the main state that has been willing to stand up to
China in the past no longer engages with the Human Rights Council," he
is a gap of leadership."
police on Tuesday assaulted and harassed Muslim worshipers at the Al-Aqsa
Mosque compound, using the pretext of a fire in the compound as the excuse for
their invasion of the holy site, according to
Palestinian News Agency Wafa.
fire was discovered in one of the police stations in the compound on Tuesday,
and the worshipers inside the building were assaulted by Israeli police, who
forcefully pushed them out.
described a large police force, stationed at the gates of the mosque compound, which entered the
compound and attacked many of the people inside praying.
Al-Aqsa Mosque, or the Noble Sanctuary, is the third holiest site in Islam,
were violently pushed away from the main gate, the Lion’s Gate (Bab al-Asbat),
as they arrived for the evening prayer, one of Islam’s five daily prayers.
Palestinian worshipers were detained by police, including 3 women, with many
others assaulted. The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance said it transported 4
worshipers to the hospital for injuries related to the assault. The Israeli
police also reportedly attacked their medical crew, and obstructed their
police alleged that worshipers set fire to the police station at the sacred site.
But Palestinian worshipers refuted this claim, stating that the fire was more
likely started by police, to use it as a pretense for closing the Lion’s Gate.
Lion’s Gate closure meant that all gates to the Muslim holy site were closed,
restricting Palestinian Muslims’ freedom of worship. Because of the closure of
the mosque, prayers were held outside the gates, while Israeli police stood
guarding the doors.
is important to note that the Lion’s Gate, and Bab al-Rhama prayer area, was
closed by Israeli authorities 16 years ago, and was re-opened by Palestinians 3
President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly contacted the Hashemite King of Jordan, to
help diffuse the Israeli aggression. Jordan’s Royal family funds the Islamic
Waqf (Endowment), which controls and manages the property.
Abbas denounced the Israeli aggression, and warned of grave consequences for
its actions against Palestinians and other worshipers.
Quds News Network for videos and pictures of the scene, here.
Middle East Monitor posted this video on Twitter of the Israeli forces
attacking and clashing with the worshipers.
Muslim-Dalit axis going back to Haji Mastan’s shot at redemption
by Congress and NCP to bring together disparate outfits in Maharashtra under
the banner of a united opposition have been undermined primarily by one man:
Prakash Ambedkar. Reaching out to Asaduddin Owaisi’s Majlise-Ittahadul
Muslimeen early on and renewing the Dalit-Muslim axis, he has set the stage for
a three-cornered contest in the state.
Dalit-Muslim bonhomie in Maharashtra goes back over three decades. In the
aftermath of the 1984 Bhiwandi riots, smuggling kingpin Haji Mastan Mirza and
Dalit leader Jogendra Kawade made ripples by forming the Dalit Muslim Minority Suraksha
Mahasangh. An ageing Mastan was looking to step out of the shadow of the Bombay
underworld, which was overrun by the Pathans and mill-land Maharashtrian gangs.
was a novel experience in the country’s political history. I was known for
launching a march to rename Marathwada university in Aurangabad after Babasaheb
Ambedkar while Mirza had given up smuggling, performed Haj and wanted an image
makeover,” recalled Kawade, 75, who is now president of People’s Republican
Party of India. “I became founder president while he was co-founder of the
with Congress and wary of Shiv Sena’s increasingly communal rhetoric, some
Muslims saw Mastan as a reformed don who could offer insurance against Bal
Thackeray’s majoritarian threats. “Some of us wanted to project him as a Muslim
Thackeray. We thought he could respond to Shiv Sena in their language,” said
senior journalist Sarfraz Arzoo, who was among those who persuaded him to float
the Mahasangh. “It was galvanising Muslims and Dalits and seemed an alternative
Mahasangh aimed for a vote bank of Muslims and Dalits concentrated in pockets
of Mumbai and its suburbs, to start with.
communities had substantial numbers in Dongri, Nagpada, Byculla, Dharavi and
Sion with no legislative representation.
make up 7% of the state’s population and Muslims account for 11%, much of it in
urban areas. Neither had a strong voice in the Marathadominated Congress or in
the Left, which anyway shunned all talk of caste or community.
the Mahasangh faltered when the Congress-versus-Sena debate took a divisive
turn and the minorities chose to consolidate behind the ruling party. Kawade
said the Dalit-Muslim experiment collapsed after Mastan’s death in 1994. Arzoo said
Mastan himself capitulated to pressure from a Congress politician when his
properties went into litigation. “The Mahasangh died as we couldn’t find a Muslim
leader like Haji Mastan,” said Kawade.
project saw a brief resurrection when former cop Shamsher Khan Pathan along
with Dalit leader Baban Kamble launched the Awami Vikash Party on May 1, 2012.
“I launched it because I wanted to empower Muslims. But now I feel the
community has no political awareness and is destined to remain slaves of
parties which use them as vote banks,” said a bitter Pathan. He is now being
approached to be a spokesperson for the Indian Democratic Alliance and
Rashtriya Bahujan Aghadi, another alliance of Muslims and Dalits. Electorally
though, the best shot may lie with Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi. With
Owaisi backing him, he could upset equations for the two mainstream alliances
in some seats.
Marathas got 10% reservation while the BJP government denied reservation to
Muslims. Dalits and Muslims don’t find much space in Congress-NCP,” Owaisi told
TOI. After the Koregaon Bhima incident, Ambedkar has emerged a credible Dalit voice
while I have never shirked from championing the Muslim cause. We had to come
together,” said Owaisi. “The arrogance of Congress and NCP will backfire and
Sena-BJP will certainly benefit from any split in secular votes.
red notice was issued for 20 suspects related to the killing of Saudi
journalist Jamal Khashoggi last fall in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul,
Turkey's justice ministry said Thursday.
requested a red notice for 18 suspects Nov. 15 and another two Dec. 21, the
ministry said on Twitter.
announced General Secretariat of Interpol published the red notice March 1 in
accordance with Turkey's request.
20 suspects will be searched across the world.
was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives shortly after he
entered the consulate Oct. 2.
offered various, conflicting narratives to explain his disappearance before
acknowledging Khashoggi was murdered in the diplomatic building, seeking to
blame his death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue
that explanation has been roundly rejected outside of the kingdom, as pressure
mounts for Mohammad bin Salman, whom many believe had to have signed off on
Khashoggi's killing, to be held to account.
pledged 1.44 billion euros ($1.6 billion) Thursday for Syrian refugees and
internally displaced people.
Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement that Germany would strongly support the
European Union and UN’s humanitarian efforts to ease the suffering of the
conditions in Syria make voluntary return in safety and dignity a genuine
option, the world cannot leave the people there and in neighboring countries to
cope on their own,” he said.
is why, at this year’s Brussels Conference on Syria, Germany is making
available a total of 1.44 billion euros,” he added.
top diplomat also called on the Syrian regime and other parties to the conflict
to adhere to humanitarian principles.
parties to the conflict must allow full humanitarian access to all population
groups and adhere to the rules of international humanitarian law. The displaced
must be protected against persecution and their fundamental rights and property
rights must be guaranteed,” he said.
in Syria’s Idlib
recent regime shelling and Russian airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province, Maas
warned against a dangerous escalation of an already tense situation in the
in Idlib in particular are a source of grave concern to us. Any renewed
flare-up of the fighting must be avoided at all cost,” he said.
recent attacks inside Idlib’s de-escalation zone killed at least 15 civilians,
according to the White Helmets civil defense agency.
foreign minister on Tuesday expressed conditional concern over human rights
violations in Indian-administered Kashmir and urged Pakistan and India to
resolve the dispute through dialogue.
there are human rights violations [in Kashmir], if there are atrocities, then
there will be a reaction and that reaction, at times, is difficult to contain,”
Heiko Mass told a joint press conference alongside his Pakistani counterpart
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, apparently referring to a terror attack in Kashmir last
month that killed at least 40 Indian soldiers and raised tensions between India
acknowledges Pakistan's efforts toward de-escalating the current tension with
India and Premier [Imran] Khan’s offer for dialogue with New Delhi," he
added, citing Islamabad's quick release of an Indian pilot as a positive step.
who arrived early Tuesday from Afghanistan along with a high-level delegation,
met Qureshi in Islamabad.
his stay in Pakistan, he will meet the country’s top political leadership.
also lauded Pakistan’s efforts to arrange peace talks between the U.S. and
Afghan Taliban to resolve the 18-year Afghan conflict.
said he briefed Maas on the recent tension with India and human rights
violations in Kashmir.
is the main issue between Pakistan and India, and dialogue is the only way to
go forward," Qureshi said.
called terrorism a global challenge and said his country has taken several
steps to eliminate this menace from the region
made huge sacrifices during the fight against terrorism, we lost over 70,000
precious lives with over $120 billion damage to our economy,” he said.
to the top diplomat, in delegation-level talks the two sides discussed
bilateral relations, the regional situation, and efforts for peace in
and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan
in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by
they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in
1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought
intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for
independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
UK’s decision to bar ISIS bride Shamima Begum from her country amounts to a
complete reversal of 20 years of policies that had allowed major cities to
become key centres for radical Islamist groups.
treatment of 19-year-old Ms Begum – and the potential for years of legal
wrangling over her right to return to the UK – has shown how far British
security policy has moved from embracing and monitoring extremists to making
them someone else’s problem. Ms Begum, who travelled to Syria with two school
friends as a 15-year-old, was stripped of her nationality last month as she
sought to return with her new-born son after fleeing dwindling ISIS-controlled
territory in Syria. The baby later died.
decision by Home Secretary Sajid Javid on the grounds of the national security
threat she posed is expected to be challenged in the courts, but has
highlighted how the UK’s policies had changed in response to a home-grown
officials operated an informal a “covenant of security” in the 1990s which
allowed for UK cities to be safe havens for some extremists on the tacit
understanding that they would not carry out attacks on British soil. The
capital was dubbed ‘Londonistan’ because of the number of extremists who set up
Hamza, the extremist hate preacher now in jail in the United States, claimed in
a 2006 criminal trial in the UK that undercover officers told him that he was
free to express his views “as long as we don’t see blood in the street”.
added: “It was Londonistan, not because of me, because of government policy.”
his claims, he was jailed for six years for inciting racial hatred and
soliciting murder and later sentenced to life in jail in the US for supporting
2013, David Blunkett, home secretary under premier Tony Blair from 2001 to
2004, told an academic: “I think there was a presumption…that if you knew who
these people were, then you could monitor them.”
the immediate years before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States,
the UK was more focused on the threat from Irish republican terrorists, said
Prof Michael Kenney, of the University of Pittsburgh and author of The Islamic
State in Britain.
toleration of Islamist groups eroded after 9/11 and changes in policy continued
with the emergence of British-based terrorist plots.
July 7, 2005 bombings of the London transport network, that left 52 people
dead. saw police crack down on extremist preachers, such as Abu Hamza, who used
the Finsbury Park mosque in north London for fiery sermons against the West.
also saw police and security services focus on groups such as Al Muhajiroun,
founded by Omar Bakri Muhammad, a former Hizb ut-Tahrir activist deported from
Saudi Arabia in 1985.
authorities began to look at groups like Al Muhajiroun in a different light
than they had before,” said Prof Kenney. “Before, Omar Bakri Muhammad was seen
as a harmless loudmouth who talked a good game but didn’t really threaten the
internal security of Britain.
policy of tolerance is gone. We have gone to the other extreme. The policy of
tolerance has been turned on its head and is now a policy of extreme
2017 suicide bomb attack on a pop concert in Manchester by the British-born son
of a prominent Libyan member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – a group
supported by the UK to help bring down Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s regime –
further highlighted the flaws of previous approaches to hardline Islamist
counter-terrorist legislation has also been strengthened to confront the threat
and improve the chances of prosecutors to secure convictions of disillusioned
young British Muslims who travelled abroad to join Al Qaida and ISIS.
have been expanded to ensure facilitators, accomplices, suppliers, financial
backers and those “providing bed and board for terrorists”, are more likely to
face successful prosecution, said Alex Carlile, a former independent reviewer
of terrorism legislation.
legislation introduced earlier this year allows for countries in conflict zones
to become no-go areas for Britons who could face prosecution for travelling
move was an attempt to get around the problems of securing evidence in
countries with weak or no government and little prospect of gathering evidence
of stronger counter-terrorism laws are pushing for the re-writing of Britain’s
670-year treason laws to widen the net and bring about increased sentences for
extremists who take up arms against the UK.
has been some tightening up,” the head of prosecutions for England and Wales,
Max Hill, told the BBC. “We do have a pretty good suite of legal tools allowing
us to prosecute.”
the move to strip Ms Begum of her citizenship and other ISIS members could play
into the hands of recruiters and have far-reaching legal implications for the
children of immigrants in the UK, counter-terrorism experts warned.
sisters held with their five children in Syrian refugee camps have also been stripped
of their British citizenship by the Home Office, according to reports.
the first time in my 53 years of age, I feel that we are tier-two British
citizens,” said Haras Rafiq, a British Muslim head counter-extremism think tank
Quilliam. “Imagine how a 15-year-old living in a predominantly Muslim quarter
in Europe must feel.”
Javid ruled that Ms Begum, from east London, qualified for Bangladeshi
citizenship through her family’s heritage.
international law forbids stripping a passport if this causes statelessness,
the British government said that her eligibility for Bangladeshi nationality
meant it could take away her passport. Bangladesh subsequently said it will not
grant Ms Begum a passport.
decision by the UK was “truly witless and morally gutless,” said Michael
Clarke, associate director of the security studies institute at the University
said that the move would achieve the opposite of trying to ensure the safety of
best way to achieve security for Britons would be “not to have her rattling
around in a refugee camp for the next three or more years” while her appeal
grinds on,” said Professor Clarke.
will mean she remains a cause celebre, focus of resentment,” he said. “If she
is too radicalised and dangerous to have back in the UK now, will she be less
radical and activist after three years of this?”
said that Ms Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to face trial or be
forced to undergo long-term deradicalisation.
has proven successful for women including Hadiya Masieh, who was recruited by
Hizb ut-Tahrir, and Tania Joya, the ex-wife of one of ISIS' most senior
citizenship could provide extra ammunition to extremist recruiters who peddle
the idea of a West hostile to Muslims, said analysts.
we continue with this trajectory we’ll be sowing the narrative for [terrorists]
to reap and use against us,” said Hanif Qadir, who ran a deradicalisation
programme in east London and raised the alarm about the plans of schoolgirls
linked to Ms Begum to join ISIS in Syria.
financing watchdog seeks reduced ISI role
Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international terror-financing watchdog,
has demanded that Pakistan to foster “inter-agency cooperation” to end the
domination of the country’s prime intelligence watchdog in handling proscribed
the new demands seek to discourage the terror networks defined by
pro-establishment security analysts as “strategic assets” from resurfacing with
a new identity and features, the dominant role of Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) is also sought to be minimized.
Afzal Khan, a former finance minister and a senior leader of the Pakistan
Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told Asia Times, “The FATF demand for inter-agency
cooperation is aimed at decentralization of responsibilities and
de-monopolization of anti-terror operations against the proscribed outfits.
This will increase the cooperation and collaboration among agencies fighting
terrorism and coordinate their efforts to come down hard on the forces inimical
to regional peace.
personally believe that [the] Intelligence Bureau should be given added
responsibilities to deal with the banned extremist groups instead of ISI,
because most of these elements start operation with new names and identity and
make a mockery of the state actions,” he added.
some analysts do not subscribe to the notion that the FATF’s new demands
implied trimming the authority of ISI. The term “inter-agency cooperation,”
some have claimed, is borrowed from the National Counter Terrorism Authority
(NACTA) Act of 2013. That act defines the rules for inter-agency cooperation as
“receiving, collating and disseminating intelligence and coordination between
all relevant stakeholders to formulate threat assessments.”
Khattak, a left-wing intellectual, former senator and political analyst, said:
“It is not an agency-specific demand because the FATF is primarily concerned
with terror-related activities and terror funding operations.” He also said the
FATF put emphasis on a term coined by NACTA for giving a boost to
anti-terrorist operations in the country.
the imposition of three more conditions on Pakistan, the FATF took the tally of
such demands to 18, which need to be complied with by May to qualify for a
review on the obligations regarding anti-money laundering (AML) and combating
finances of terrorism (CFT). Besides inter-agency synergy among law-enforcement
agencies, the FATF also asked Pakistan to revise its risk assessment on terror
financing and make improvements in Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) customs
related to monitoring to curb currency smuggling.
has failed to fulfill most of the FATF conditions set to speed up AML/CFT
compliance. The NACTA, for instance, was supposed to devise and implement a
policy for the law-enforcement agencies to initiate financial inquiries against
terrorist groups and their activists as a part of every terror-related
this purpose, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has prepared a
comprehensive policy for conducting financial inquiries. However, the CTD has
not been following the standard operating procedures for financial
investigation. This resulted in an unrestricted flow of funds to Hafiz Saeed’s
Jamaat-Ud-Dawa (JuD), its offshoot Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and
Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM). They continued to collect huge funds, built capacious
training camps and seminaries, and sponsored terrorist attacks in neighboring
countries. Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and police could not track down the
source of funding to these banned organizations despite the fact that the
Financial Monitoring Unit has provided intelligence agencies with a guideline.
pressure by the FATF and the international community on the recent suicide
bombing in Pulwama, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan last
week announced a crackdown on Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s JuD
its its FIF wing. Pakistani authorities also arrested 44 activists connected
with the Maulana Masood Azhar-led JeM and its outfits, including Abdul Raoof
and Hamad Azhar, the brother and son of Azhar.
the clampdown, only two seminaries belonging to JuD and FIF were taken over out
of around 300 religious schools, hospitals, publishing houses and ambulance
services operated throughout the country. As many as 50,000 volunteers and paid
workers are running the JuD charity network in Pakistan. The law-enforcement
agencies have not touched the training camps operated by these groups.
updated list of proscribed organizations compiled by NAPTA and released by
Pakistan’s Interior Ministry revealed that 68 organizations have been banned by
the authorities, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Sipah-i-Muhammad Pakistan
(SMP), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Laskar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), and Sipah-i -Sahaba
Pakistan (SSP), while the ministry has placed JuD and FIF on the watch list.
Surprisingly, the list did not include Jamaat-e-Islami’s Al Badr group, which
was recently shown in a social-media video clip recruiting young people for
Kashmir Jihad (Kashmir holy war).
political observers do not take the latest crackdown on proscribed
organizations seriously. They claim that the fate of the recent action would
not be different from previous half-baked attempts.
is absolutely nothing new in the government action against banned outfits
because the previous such attempts showed that they were just superficial
efforts,” Afrasiab Khattak said. He claimed that some “defense analysts”
astoundingly defend UN-designated terror outfits on TV talk shows, and the fact
that media in Pakistan are under draconian state control makes this even more
imposition of additional conditions on Pakistan coincides with the nomination
of India as a co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group, which put Islamabad in
an awkward situation. In a strongly worded letter to the FATF president,
Finance Minister Asad Umar demanded the appointment of any other member country
for “fair, unbiased and objective” proceedings of the FATF.
Afzal remarked: “It is a genuine demand of the government because India has
never been sincere with Pakistan and they will never spare a chance to keep
Pakistan on its toes.”
The annual US report on human rights in Pakistan raises basic questions about
the country’s political structure, alleging that security agencies have an
undue influence over the electoral process and governance.
military and intelligence services in Pakistan nominally reported to civilian
authorities but essentially operated without effective civilian oversight,”
says the US State Department’s 2018 report on the human rights situation in
was a lack of government accountability, and abuses often went unpunished,
fostering a culture of impunity among the perpetrators, whether official or
unofficial. Authorities seldom punished government officials for human rights
abuses,” the report added.
report noted that “sectarian violence decreased significantly across the
country” in 2018, although some attacks continued. Targeted killings of
religious minorities also continued.
report includes a detailed analysis of the 2018 elections, pointing out that
independent observers noted “technical improvements in the Election Commission
of Pakistan’s management of the polling process itself”. But the observers also
raised “concerns about pre-election interference by military and intelligence
agencies that created an uneven electoral playing field”.
report noted that there were no restrictions on political parties participating
in the 2018 elections, with the exception of those prohibited due to terrorist
agencies, however, used pressure tactics — including threats of prosecution for
corruption — to convince politicians associated with the former ruling party,
PML-N, to switch affiliations prior to general elections,” the report alleged.
that monitor press freedom reported “direct pressure on media outlets to avoid
content regarding possible military influence over judicial proceedings against
politicians and to refrain from reporting on PML-N leaders in a positive way”.
European Union Special Envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia appreciated
Islamabad’s “important contributions” to push for peace in the region.
envoy, who is on a two-day visit to the country, called on Foreign Secretary
Tehmina Janjua at the Foreign Office on Thursday. The two leaders exchanged views
on the ongoing efforts for peace in Afghanistan, said a press statement issued
by the FO.
reiterated Pakistan’s “continued commitment to peace in the region and a
that “peace and stability in Afghanistan was crucial for Pakistan”, he added
Islamabad facilitated talks between the United States and the Taliban in “good
faith and as part of shared responsibility”.
foreign secretary also hoped that the “talks would lead to intra-Afghan
the EU’s role in the efforts, the foreign secretary underscored the importance
of working with the EU to push for peace in the war-torn country.
EU envoy emphasised significance of “peace and stability in Afghanistan for EU
as much as for neighbouring countries” and appreciated Pakistan’s “important
contribution towards peace efforts.”
opportunity is available today that must not be missed at any cost, he added.
this year, a three-day parleys were attended by representatives of the Afghan
Taliban, the US as well as officials from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
was the first time that the Taliban’s military and political leaders attended a
negotiation – something that has renewed hopes of a possible peace deal.
Previously, the Taliban were only represented by their political office in
a ‘cordial environment’, Pakistan and India Thursday agreed to work
expeditiously on opening of Kartarpur Corridor, aimed at facilitating Sikh
pilgrims to visit their holy sites on both sides of the border.
talks held between the delegations of Pakistan and India at Attari Complex,
Amritsar, gave the two sides an opportunity to sort out modalities for the
opening of the corridor between Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan and Gurdwara
Baba Nanak in India for the upcoming 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak
in December this year.
General South Asia and SAARC Dr Faisal led the Pakistani delegation, comprising
high officials of Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Communications,
National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) and Ministry of Foreign
Indian side was headed by Joint Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs SCL Das.
sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and
provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously
operationalizing the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor,” according to a joint statement
issued by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and India’s Ministry of
External Affairs Ministry at the conclusion of the meeting.
2015, this is the first joint statement between Pakistan and India, this time
on Kartarpur Corridor talks.
statement read that the meeting, held in a cordial environment, discussed the
modalities and the draft agreement for facilitation of pilgrims to visit
Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, using the Kartarpur Corridor. It was agreed to hold
the next meeting at Wagah on April 2 as the Indian delegation will visit
Pakistan. This will be preceded by a meeting of technical experts on March 19
at the proposed zero points to finalize the alignment, the joint statement
sides also held expert-level discussions between the technical experts on the
alignment and other details of the proposed corridor.
Director General South Asia and SAARC Dr Faisal said Pakistan is continuing
with the spirit of constructive engagement and flexibility. Talking to media at
Wagah border prior to cross over to Attari, Dr Faisal said the step is in line
with Pakistan’s sincere efforts to deescalate the situation for regional peace
and stability. He expressed hope that the initiative of Prime Minister Imran
Khan will not only facilitate Sikhs, especially from India, but in the current
vitiated situation, it can be a ‘step forward in right direction from conflict
to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship’.
is a small town in Narowal, some four kilometres from the Pakistan-India
border, where the founder of Sikh religion Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18
years of his life. Subsequently, Gurdwara Darbar Sahab was built at the site on
the Pakistan side and Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in India, which are visited by
thousands of Sikhs every year.
People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Thursday reiterated his demand
that the government remove at least three ministers from the federal cabinet
who allegedly have ‘long-held ties’ with the proscribed organisations.
knows that three ministers in the federal cabinet have a long history of
contacts with the banned outfits,” the PPP chief said during a press talk here.
“One minister’s video went viral on social media. He can be seen assuring them
[leaders of a proscribed party] that ‘we will not take action against you until
our government is in place’,” he said. “The other minister made inductions into
the PTI from UN-banned organisations like HUM (Harkatul Mujahideen al-Islami)
during the elections. He then said on the floor of the House that ‘if you are
speaking against banned outfits and the National Action Plan then that is
against the country’s interest,” he continued. “The third one not only has a
long history of being associated with the banned outfits but has also helped
run militant outfits and training camps,” he added.
doubt your intentions [of the promised crackdown against proscribed
organisations] because you were allied with proscribed organisations when you
fought elections,” Bilawal said, referring to the ruling party. “Folks with
such mentality should not be in the ‘Naya Pakistan’ cabinet. Until you remove
them, we will keep doubting you,” he maintained.
than helping the poor, the government is involved in the economic killing of
the poor,” Bilawal said, adding that the government should sack non-performing
ministers and show seriousness in resolving issues of the masses.
Arabia rejects call for international probe of Khashoggi murder
Arabia on Thursday reiterated its rejection of calls for an international, independent
investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, insisting it was
well equipped to bring the perpetrators to justice.
head of a Saudi delegation speaking before the UN Human Rights Council in
Geneva insisted that his country was taking all the “measures required for us
to resolve this heinous crime”.
Al-Aiban, who heads Saudi Arabia's human rights commission, stressed though
that any calls to “internationalise” the investigation “amount to an
interference in our domestic affairs”.
was in Geneva presenting his country's response to a review of its rights
record before the council last November, during which it faced a barrage of
criticism from countries over the Khashoggi murder.
presentation came after 36 countries last week issued a joint statement
demanding justice following the killing, in an unprecedented rebuke of the
oil-rich kingdom at the rights council.
a Washington Post contributor and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,
was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Arabia initially said it had no knowledge of his fate.
has since blamed rogue agents for Khashoggi's death and the kingdom's public
prosecutor has charged 11 people over his murder.
Khashoggi murder: What we know about the Saudi suspects
insisted that his country was “horrified by what has happened pursuant to this
told the council that most of the recommendations Riyadh had received regarding
how to pursue the Khashoggi case during the so-called Universal Periodic Review
(UPR) in November were already guaranteed by its constitution.
suspects, he said, “were entitled to a fair trial... and none of their human
rights have been violated, and they have been subjected to no form of torture
or cruel and inhuman treatment”.
are entitled to legal council, and they have also been informed of their rights
to resort to the services of council during the investigation phase and during
the trial,” he said.
said that there had so far been three hearings, and that the accused and their
lawyers had been present.
a look: Jamal Khashoggi understood power. That’s why he’s dead
also said “representatives of international organisations as well as NGOs and
other stakeholders... were able to monitor and see how the court cases were
unfolding,” but did not specify which organisations had been permitted into the
he said Saudi Arabia could not accept recommendations during the UPR for the
country to allow international experts to participate in the investigation and
to oversee the process.
Arabia is a sovereign country... Such demands made upon us are tantamount to
the international community doubting the integrity of our judicial apparatus
and doubting the independence of our judiciary,” he said.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday that the Russian and
Syrian fighter jets launched airstrikes against the terrorists' hideouts in
al-Tamane'ah, al-Nayrab, Saraqib, Kafr Amim and Ma'arat Hormat in Southern and
Eastern Idlib as well as their positions in Northern and Northwestern Hama.
sources described the Wednesday attacks as the heaviest airstrikes by the
Russian and Syrian air force units since September, saying that a large number
of terrorists were killed and wounded in the offensive.
with the airstrikes, the Syrian army forces warded off the terrorists' attacks
from Kafr Naboudeh, al-Sakhar and Murak against the military points.
also targeted the militants' moves from the towns of Ma'arat, Hormat al-Khowin,
al-Zarzour and al-Tamane'ah towards the military points in Southeastern Idlib
with heavy missile attacks, leaving heavy damage on them.
Syrian army units in response to the terrorists' attacks on safe regions in
Aleppo and Lattakia, launched strikes against their positions in al-Khalsah,
al-Hamirah in Southern Aleppo and regions near Jisr al-Shaqour and Lattakia
Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the Russian Aerospace Force
has destroyed a weapons depot belonging to the Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at terror
group in the Syrian province of Idlib.
pinpoint airstrike was carried out on Wednesday in coordination with Turkey.
air raid "targeted a weapons depot belonging to the Tahrir al-Sham
al-Hay'at terror group in the city of Idlib," the defense ministry added.
to information confirmed through several channels, militants earlier brought a
large number of combat unmanned aerial vehicles to the facility, which they
planned to use for attacks on Russia’s Hmeimim air base," the statement
a relevant development on Wednesday, the Syrian army pounded and destroyed a
command headquarters of Tahrir al-Sham amid fierce attacks by terrorists on
their military positions.
Damascus army attacked the terrorists' military positions and movements in
al-Habit and around Babilon town, destroying a meeting of militant commanders
and killing all those present at the venue.
military source also confirmed that the Syrian Army troops have destroyed a
command center of Tahrir al-Sham together with several military vehicles in
Harash Abedin town in Southeastern Idlib, inflicting heavy casualties on the
Northern Hama, the Syrian Army troops engaged in heavy clashes with terrorist
groups who had concurrently attacked the Syrian Army's military positions near
the town of Mahradeh and the al-Jadideh town in Northern Hama, inflicting heavy
losses on the assailant terrorists after warding off their attack.
extremist group’s militants accompanied by women and children surrendered to
the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their hundreds on Thursday as the
extremists lost ground to a US-backed assault on their last shred of territory,
the SDF said.
of the men could be seen limping as they crossed out of the enclave at Baghouz
along a dirt path over a rocky hill, accompanied by weeping children and fully
veiled women, dragging suitcases and backpacks behind them.
of the men were wounded or on crutches. Many were believed to be foreign, SDF
fighters said. Children were hoisted onto shoulders to get them up the hill,
and strollers left behind.
commander Adnan Afrin said the number of evacuees had yet to be determined as
people were still emerging but it was in the hundreds, adding to the many
thousands who have streamed out of Baghouz in recent weeks.
surrender took place during a pause in the US-backed offensive that began on
Sunday to seize the final patch of populated ISIS territory - which once
spanned a third of Iraq and Syria, including the cities of Mosul and Raqqa.
artillery fire had pounded the enclave as warplanes flew overhead.
SDF said the extremists had deployed more than 20 suicide bombers in three
counter-attacks in the last two days.
said at least 112 militants had been killed since it resumed the assault,
including more than 15 on Thursday morning.
ISIS leaders are believed to be in Baghouz, according to a US defense official.
US government experts strongly believe group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is
alive and possibly hiding in Iraq.
air strikes killed at least 13 civilians, including six children, Wednesday in
Idlib province, in the first such raids since a September truce deal, a monitor
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said around 60 people were
also wounded in the air strikes that struck several areas in the northwestern
province, which is Syria’s last major rebel bastion.
the past 24 hours Russian aircraft have carried out dozens of raids targeting
several regions in Idlib province, including the city of Idlib and the town of
Saraqeb,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
are the first Russian air strikes against the province” since an accord struck
by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip
Erdogan in September last year.
truce deal was meant to stave off a planned offensive by the regime and its
Russian backers that aid groups feared could spark the eight-year-old Syrian
conflict’s worst humanitarian crisis to date.
the deal, opposition backer Turkey would exert its influence over anti-regime
groups in the Idlib region to have them pull back fighters and heavy weapons
from a demilitarized zone.
of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission (HRC), Dr. Bandar al-Aiban, has said
the Kingdom brought perpetrators of Khashoggi murder to justice and they have
attended three hearings with their lawyers.
the United Nations Human Rights Council, Dr. al-Aiban said “we are horrified at
Khashoggi killing” and that it was a “heinous crime” and an “unfortunate
al-Aiban also said that the Kingdom rejects calls to “internationalize” the
investigation into Khashoggi killing as amounting to interference in domestic
Arabia has accepted as many as 453 human rights recommendations, either full or
in part, during the past 10 years. In a report published on its Twitter account
on Wednesday, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) detailed the Kingdom’s
cooperation with the UN mechanisms.
court in Bahrain has handed down prison sentences to 167 anti-regime protesters
as the ruling Al Khalifah regime does not shy away from its heavy clampdown on
political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the tiny Persian Gulf
High Criminal Court sentenced 56 of the defendants to ten years in jail each
after finding them guilty of “attacks on police officers.” The remaining
majority of defendants received one-year terms. The court acquitted four people
in the case.
documents obtained by Reuters showed that the sentences had been handed to the
defendants at a trial on February 27.
defendants had been detained for six months before being released on bail in
of the defendants came to the court when the sentences were announced because
they feared being arrested,” said one lawyer, who declined to be named.
lawyers involved in the case said they had filed an appeal.
defendants had been arrested at a 2017 sit-in in support of distinguished Shia
cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who had been stripped of his citizenship by the
Manama regime, outside his home in the northwestern village of Diraz, situated
some 12 kilometers west of the capital.
regime forces killed five protesters and arrested hundreds more in a raid on
rights group Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said the
majority of those arrested have been subjected to “the most atrocious torture.”
is a massively unfair trial which has passed completely unnoticed ... this
trial is a textbook example of the culture of impunity that prevails in
Bahrain,” Director of Advocacy at BIRD, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, said.
US State Department, in its latest annual human rights report published on
Wednesday, said that authorities were still investigating the “circumstances
surrounding the death of five protesters during a May 2017 security operation
to clear protesters outside the house of Shia cleric Isa Qassim.”
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
report intends to whitewash Israel's human rights violations: PLO official
high-ranking member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) says a US
decision to drop Israeli-occupied designation from the Golan Heights and
Palestinian territories in its latest annual human rights report is meant to
whitewash the Israeli occupation and human rights violations against the
the release of the so-called human rights report by the US State Department, it
is now abundantly clear that [US President Donald] Trump’s administration is
gearing all branches of the government to whitewash the Israeli occupation and
its pervasive violations of human rights,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the
Executive Committee of the PLO, said in a statement released on Thursday.
added, “The report also de-contextualizes the reality by omitting the
inescapable fact of Israeli occupation of Palestine, reflecting this
administration’s infatuation with an alternative yet fallacious version of reality
senior Palestinian official further denounced the report for describing
Palestinians as mere “residents,” saying the account negates Palestinian
people’s national identity and deep roots in their homeland. “This is both
morally and politically reprehensible,” Ashrawi said.
intention of this publication is clear. It is to exonerate Israel from its
indisputable human rights violations, while deliberately attempting to depict
the racist policies and attitudes of the Israeli regime as benign despite the
fact that they deny the Palestinian people’s humanity, nationality, and
narrative,” she said.
noted: “In its zealous pursuit to justify and mainstream the right-wing agenda
in Israel, the Trump administration has made a mockery of the human rights
report and reaffirmed its complicity in the promotion and support of human
rights violations against Palestinian people. The legal and political standing
of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights as territory under Israeli occupation
is indisputable under international law. Under the Trump administration, these
facts have been discarded and denied in these reports. However, denial of facts
cannot alter reality nor change the legal and standing moral obligations of
states under international law to respect and ensure respect of human rights.”
Trump administration has spared no effort to reassert its destabilizing role
and hostile agenda in the region in collusion with Israel. It is futile to
engage with such disruptive actors, especially given their aversion to facts
and their demonstrable hostility to the Palestinian people’s national and human
rights. However, the Palestinian leadership and people will continue to engage
with partners who share our values and commitment to international law and
peace based on respect, dignity, and justice," she concluded.
its so-called Country Human Rights Practices for 2018 published on Wednesday,
the US State Department dropped references to the Israeli-occupied Golan
Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later
occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international
community. The regime has built dozens of settlements in the area ever since
and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against
the Syrian government.
change in US language and terminology in regard to the West Bank and Gaza Strip
is a cause of concern for Muslims as it reflects Washington’s intentions about
supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state envisaged by interim peace
agreements in the 1990s.
believe the Trump administration is turning its back on Palestinians and its
international obligations towards the establishment of a Palestinian state to
further serve and defend Israel's interests.
an interview with Press TV last November, American political analyst Mark Glenn
said the neoconservatives in the Trump administration want a greater Israel and
pursue furtherance of the Israeli empire.
US Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul also said in an interview
that neoconservatives had taken over US foreign policy.
dismisses the Iran section of the US administration's annual "human
rights" report as untrue and politically motivated, saying Washington has
turned into the "biggest violator" of the Iranian people's human
rights by slapping the nation with unlawful economic sanctions.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was referring to the so-called
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, in which the US State
Department has once again leveled a host of unfounded accusations of rights
abuses against the Islamic Republic.
report, which was released on March 13, claimed that Iran's human rights record
had "remained extremely poor and worsened in several key areas." The
report also singled out Washington's other adversaries, including China, Russia
and North Korea like in previous years.
to the US rights claims, Qassemi said "the issues mentioned in this report
regarding the situation of human rights in our country are merely [based on]
political, biased and untrue analyses of certain developments inside Iran,
about which the US is not eligible to comment due to its indefensible and dark
human rights record."
Iranian further blasted the White House for unleashing a campaign of economic
pressure and sanctions against the Iranian nation and said "the US
administration has been the biggest violator of the Iranian nation's human
White House, he added, "has stopped short of no measure in breaching the
rights of Iranians."
said the unilateral sanctions -- which were reinstated after Washington's
withdrawal from a 2015 multinational nuclear deal with Iran, formally known as
the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- run contrary to international
law and court rulings as well as reports by independent human rights
further listed a number of Washington's brazen human rights abuses in different
corners of the world from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories to the
United States announced Thursday that it will be providing more than $397
million in additional humanitarian aid to further assist relief efforts
responding to the Syria crisis.
new funds will be used to assist non-governmental organizations like the UN
Human Rights Council (UNHCR) and the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund
(UNICEF) in providing food, shelter, medicine and education to 12 million
people in Syria as well as nearly 6 million refugees living in nearby
United States calls for immediate, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access for
all people in need in Syria,” the State Department said in a statement.
United States reaffirms its support for freedom of movement for all displaced
people and the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees and internally
displaced persons in a process that is free from coercion.”
has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar
al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.
then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million
others displaced, according to UN officials.
estimated 83 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line, according to the
bulk of the funds, or around $135 million, will be going to Syria, where they
will be used for not only food and shelter but also “critical relief supplies
and much-needed counseling and protection programs” for the most vulnerable
people in the country.
addition to Syria, the countries receiving U.S. aid as part of the Syrian
relief efforts include Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
U.S. will also be giving nearly $81 million in aid to Turkey, which hosts the
most Syrian refugees of any country in the world, at 3.5 million. Those funds
will be directed towards supporting schools and psychosocial programs for
refugee communities in the country.
the new funds, Washington has now given roughly $9.5 billion to aid Syrian
relief efforts since the conflict began, according to the State Department.
announcement of additional aid comes a day after the UNHCR issued a joint
statement with two other UN agencies calling for increased funding towards
relief efforts inside Syria as well as the regional refugee and resilience
program, which supports countries that host Syrian refugees.
Senate voted Wednesday to pass a legislation that called for the end to the
U.S.'s support to the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen.
going through a Republican-led legislature, the legislation, led by Senator
Bernie Sanders, passed with a 54-46 vote, according to CSPAN.
was the second time the legislation passed in four months.
who has publicly declared he will be running for president in 2020, announced
the vote Tuesday, saying on Twitter "U.S. participation in this war has
not been authorized by Congress and is therefore unconstitutional."
Arabia has been leading a coalition of countries against Yemen's Houthi rebels
since 2015, when Riyadh and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air
campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains that began in 2014.
campaign has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its health and
sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe it as one of the worst
humanitarian disasters of modern times.
becoming fully effective, the resolution must pass the House of Representatives
and be signed by U.S. President Donald Trump, who will most likely veto it. The
bill will then go back to Congress where it would need to gather enough votes
to override the veto.
House passed a similar resolution on Yemen last month but it was not able to
reach the Senate because of a procedural issue.
bill previously passed in December during the previous Senate session, serving
as not only a rebuke to Trump for his continued support for the Saudi-led
coalition's efforts in Yemen, but also the administration's stance on the
killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed shortly after he entered
the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Arabia initially denied any knowledge of his whereabouts, but following a
rising number of contradictions in its narrative sought to blame the
journalist's death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue
explanation fell flat for many, including congressional leaders, who insist
Khashoggi's high-profile murder could not have been carried out without Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's blessing.
AVIV: Israeli military aircraft bombed at least 100 Hamas targets in the Gaza
Strip early on Friday, hours after two rockets were launched at Tel Aviv in the
first such attack since a 2014 war.
the overnight exchanges, sirens sounded again in Israeli border towns after
dawn. The Israeli military confirmed two more missile launches from the Gaza
Strip toward Israel, but said both were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome
news media reported strikes throughout Gaza, from Rafah in the south to the
north of the densely populated coastal strip that is home to two million
of the Israeli strikes were reported to have targeted facilities used by Hamas’s
security forces. The buildings had been evacuated as a precaution, as the
Islamist militant group had expected an Israeli response.
ministry officials in Gaza said two people, a man and a woman, were wounded
when their house was damaged in Rafah in the early morning.
said powerful explosions from the air strikes rocked buildings in Gaza and lit
the skies over targeted sites.
Israeli military said it was targeting “terror sites” in Gaza. It said rocket
sirens were sounded in Israeli communities near the Gaza border.
Thursday night, the sirens howled farther north, in Tel Aviv, Israel’s
commercial capital, set off by what the military said were two incoming,
longer-range rockets from Gaza.
salvo caused no casualties or damage, missing built-up areas. But it rattled
Israeli nerves ahead of an April 9 election in which Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term on the strength of his national security
were heard in Tel Aviv and witnesses said interceptor missiles had and
detonated - although the military said no rockets were shot down.
was the first such attack on the city since the 2014 Gaza war between Hamas and
Israel. There have been several smaller rounds of fighting since, reined in by
Egyptian and UN mediations.
was basically a surprise,” military spokesman Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis
told Israel Radio on Thursday.
that interview, Manelis said Israel did not yet know who had carried out the
rocket launches. But another Israeli military spokesman laid the blame on Hamas
carried out the rocket fire against Tel Aviv yesterday evening,”
Lieutenant-Colonel Avichay Adraee said.
denied involvement, saying the launches took place as its leaders met Egyptian
delegates about efforts to secure a long-term ceasefire with Israel.
Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, two smaller Gaza armed factions,
also denied responsibility.
analysts speculated that Palestinian militants opposed to any deal between
Hamas and Israel were behind the launchings.
flare-up of Thursday and Friday drew a U.S. statement of support for Israel.
and other terror orgs in Gaza continue to fail their people day after day &
drag Gaza further & further down by constantly choosing violence,” Jason
Greenblatt, the White House’s Middle East envoy, said on Twitter. “This method
will never work. Ever!”
Bennett, a right-wing member of Netanyahu’s security Cabinet whose party is
competing against the veteran prime minister’s for votes in the looming
election, demanded that Israel resume its assassination of Hamas chiefs.
time has come to defeat Hamas once and for all,” he said on Thursday night.
also faced pressure from the center-left opposition, whose leading candidate,
former General Benny Gantz, said: “Only aggressive, harsh action will restore
the deterrence that has eroded” under the prime minister’s watch.
have been high for the past year along the Israel-Gaza frontier since Palestinians
began violent protests near Israel’s border fence that have often drawn a
lethal response from the Israeli military.
200 Palestinians have been killed in the demonstrations and about 60 more
Palestinians have died in other incidents, including exchanges of fire across
the border. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinian fire.
one-year anniversary of the start of the protests is on March 30.
Friday, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing said in a statement that it declared full
alert among its fighters to respond to Israeli attacks.
CITY: Mohammed Ishtayeh, the man charged with forming a new Palestinian government,
faces many challenges.
the “heavy legacy” of predecessor Rami Hamdallah, who headed the national
reconciliation government that emerged between Fatah and Hamas in 2014, he
knows he cannot count on the support of Gaza’s ruling faction.
is not just Hamas he must win round. The majority of Palestinian political
factions wasted little time rejecting his appointment, calling it a move by
President Mahmoud Abbas that “violated the national consensus.” Moreover, the
new prime minister must also contend with a growing financial crisis, partially
as a result of Israeli tax policies, which has not been made easier by
increased tensions between Israel and Hamas in recent months along the border
Zaki, a member of Fatah’s central committee, told Arab News that Ishtiyah
possessed leadership qualities that would enable him to succeed, despite his
mandate coming in “very difficult circumstances.”
stressed, though, that unless it had a “very clear” long-term vision, any
government he formed would probably fail.
Bahar, the first deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, claimed
any government of Ishtayeh would be “unconstitutional and illegal.”
also a senior Hamas figure, called the coming government a “separatist” entity,
seeking to “split the West Bank from the Gaza Strip ... and strengthen internal
divisions and eliminate any glimmer of hope in achieving national unity.”
Abu Zarifa, a senior member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of
Palestine, justified his faction’s refusal to support Ishtayeh, saying his
government would “widen the circle of difference and division in Palestine.”
The UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees said on Thursday it needed
$1.2 billion in funding for 2019 as it faced its first full year without US
Kraehenbuehl, who heads the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinians
across the Middle East, said it had had to turn to countries as poor as
Afghanistan last year for help after Washington withdrew its funding in August.
is no US funding for the first time and no indication that they are
reconsidering,” he told Reuters on the margins of a donors conference for
can’t think of a time, even in the 1950s, 60s or 70s, when we were without the
US ... they built schools, health centers and that is very important to
recognize,” Kraehenbuehl said.
decision to pull all funding further heightened tensions between the
Palestinian leadership and the administration of US President Donald Trump.
at the time cited US and Israeli criticism of UNRWA’s method of counting people
as refugees — which they say has created a growing number of agency
provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees across Jordan,
Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of about
700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled fighting in the
1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.
states, Norway, Turkey, Japan and Canada stepped in with funding last year,
while Afghanistan donated $1 million, Kraehenbuehl said.
said it was unlikely that all donors would give the same amounts again this
year, putting an increased burden on Europe.
said Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the
resulting tensions with the Palestinians, had prompted the US to halt funding
warned of the risks to 280,000 school children in Gaza who depend on the UN
do they go if they no longer have access to UNRWA education? What happens? We
know: the levels of frustration (in the region) will grow,” he said.
is crucial to keep children in school to have a personal horizon in the absence
of a political horizon,” he said, referring to the stalled Middle East peace
tense Anantnag, CRPF resurrects ‘Heaven’ the movie hall
Inside the forbidding iron gates manned by CRPF jawans, on a screen a little
way in, Shahid Kapoor arrives on a Royal Enfield to woo ladylove Shradha Kapoor
with Gold Tamba, to loud whistles and cheers in the packed cinema hall in Anantnag.
years on, this lively scene returned to one of the Valley’s most turbulent
areas of south Kashmir, allegedly a “safe haven” of more than “200-odd
terrorists from Pakistan” and local militants, reportedly why the Lok Sabha
election to this seat has been spread over three days: April 23, 29 and May 6.
March 6, CRPF revived the 70mm screen in its office at the 40 Battalion
headquarters which had been reduced to rubbles in a grenade attack in 1991. The
building was a commercial property which was converted into a cinema hall,
Heaven, by local businessmen in 1989.
an emotional comeback for the theatre. Heaven is synonymous with Kashmir and
appropriately named by its owners. It was in shambles for 30 years. We went
around Delhi looking for a screen, Dolby speakers, film rights and projectors
last year. We cleaned up the doors and made way for the same lights, re-painted
the ticket window. That's the film poster of Batti Gul Meter Chalu," says
Ashu Shukla, commandant, 40 Battalion, CRPF.
movie was a hit here," he grins.
last movie screened here was Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Kalia in 1991, which
still ignites the love for Bollywood among locals.
theatre has been opened to civilians; the seating capacity, including balcony
seats, is 525.
have done our bit to revive the cinema hall to give force personnel an evening
of enjoyment but also an avenue for locals, especially younger generation, that
such a culture existed," said Shukla.
the first few weeks, the CRPF has decided to screen the movie "on the
house" but later may keep the rates very nominal, not beyond Rs 30-Rs 50.
must have this continue for a long time. I’ve already seen Paltan and Batti Gul
twice here," said Khaleel, who works in the neighbourhood.
concerns and routine encounters have pegged back the plans to screen the movie
daily and restrict it for a weekly screening.
board with the Indian tricolour flags welcomes the moviegoers. "Reopening
of Heaven Cinema hall, Ashajipora, Anantnag.
50 years of 40 Battalion 1988-2018".
days when the theatre is closed for civilians, there's always a hark back to
hotel in Delhi’s posh Chanakyapuri area, which houses the diplomatic enclave,
was the first stop of Masood Azhar, the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammad, when he
first arrived in India in January 1994 and dodged immigration officials’
queries about his Portugese passport by claiming he was a “Gujarati by birth”.
Pakistan-based terrorist, who was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir within the next
two weeks, had also stayed in capital’s hotel Janpath and visited Lucknow,
Shahranpur and Islamic seminary Darul-uloom Deoband, according to his
whose JeM was responsible for a series of terror strikes in India including the
attack on Parliament in 2001 and a CRPF convoy in Pulwama last month, had
arrived in India on a fake Portuguese passport after visiting Bangladesh.
spent two days in Dhaka and thereafter travelled to Delhi by Bangladesh
Airlines (Biman), reaching the IGI Airport in early hours of January 29, 1994.
The Immigration officials at IGI commented that I did not look like a
Portuguese but when I replied that that I was a Gujarati by birth, he did not
hesitate to stamp my passport.
hired a taxi and asked (the driver) for a good hotel. I was taken to the Ashok
hotel in Chanakyapuri where I stayed,” according to the interrogation report
available with the security agencies here.
the night, Azhar told his interrogators, that he rang one Ashraf Dar, a
Kashmiri, who came to the Ashok hotel along with Abu Mehmood, a member of
terrorist group Harakat ul-Ansar.
expressed my desired to visit Deoband to pay obeisance at the graves of
Deobandi intellectuals. As such Ashraf Dar escorted me in his Maruti car,
accompanied by Abu Mehmood to Deoband. We stayed in Darul-uloom Deoband for the
night. After offering prayers at Deoband, next morning we went to Gungoh and
then proceeded to Saharanpur,” the report said.
Saharanpur, Azhar stayed for the night at a mosque of Tabliq-ul-Jamat and at
none of these places, he had revealed his true identity. On January 31, 1994,
he came back to Delhi by the same car after staying overnight at Khan Ji of
Maulana Masir-ul-ullah Khan at Jalalabad.
reaching Delhi, Azhar stayed at hotel Janpath located near Connaught Place.
Since his flight to Srinanagr was booked for February 9, he decided to visit
one Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi alias Ali Mian at his madrassa in Lucknow.
Azhar went to Lucknow in a bus on February 6 or 7, 1994, where again he did did
not disclose his identity.
he could not meet Ali Mian and another another person whom he intended to meet,
Azhar returned to Delhi by bus. This time, he stayed at hotel Sheesh Mahal in
Karol Bagh. In all Delhi hotels, Azhar registered himself in the assumed
identity of Portuguese national Vali Adam Issa.
Delhi, on February 8, 1994, I visited the Centre of Tablig-ul-Jamat at
Nizamuddin but did not meet any particular person. I had also purchased 12
compasses (to give direction of Mecca) from Nizammudin to offer them as gift to
militants in the Kashmir valley,” he told the interrogators.
his arrival in Srinagar on February 9, 1994, Ashraf Dar escorted him to Madrasa
Qasmian in Lal Bazar where a room was arranged for him.
in the evening a militant, Sajjad Afghani, came to meet him along with his
deputy named Amjad Bilal of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, who was armed.
morning, on February 10, he was escorted by Afghani to a place called Matigund
where all Pakistan/PoK terrorists gathered.
(the terrorists) were happy about my visit and merger of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami. I had taken their addresses and letters so that
I can communicate their welfare to their families on return to Pakistan,” he
told the interrogators.
returning from Matigund, accompanied by Afghani and one Farooq, a militant of
Matigund area, who was armed and had a wireless set, the car developed some
trouble and stopped.
Azhar and his accomplice boarded a three-wheeler and proceeded to Anantnag.
After travelling for about 2-3 km, the auto rickshaw was stopped by the Army
personnel, according to the report.
started running and opened fire which was returned by the Army men.
isolated, nations seeking ‘other options’ to counter Beijing on Masood Azhar
permanent members of the UN Security Council are considering “other actions” to
counter Beijing’s persistent opposition to the designation of Jaish-e-Mohammed
(JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist even as China said on Thursday
that it needs more time to “study” the issue .
Wednesday, China used a “technical hold” at the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda
Sanctions Committee to block the latest move spearheaded by France to list
Azhar, whose group claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack of
February 14. The hold is valid for six months and can be extended by three
months. The other 14 members of the Security Council supported the listing.
Security Council diplomat said: “If China continues to block this designation,
responsible member-states may be forced to pursue other actions at the Security
Council. It shouldn’t have to come to that.” The diplomat did not elaborate on
the “other actions” that could be taken by permanent members of the Security
other UN officials familiar with rules for listing terrorists said the stalled
proposal can be escalated to the Security Council for an open discussion and
would be an unprecedented move and a public rebuke of China. Beijing will then
be forced to “defend its defence of a well-known terrorist in full public view”
as open Security Council proceedings are telecast live, they said.
did not co-sponsor the Masood Azhar listing as it wanted this to be part of
global coalition against terror and not reduced to an India-Pakistan issue. The
proposal was kept straight and narrow so that China would come on board. The
remaining members of the Security Council are most disappointed by the Chinese
block,” said a second UN diplomat. Hindustan Times learns that India spoke to
China ahead of the meeting and, in an attempt to make the listing more
diplomatically palatable to Beijing, ensured that the location of Masood Azhar
was not mentioned in it. Masood Azhar lives in Bahawalpur in Punjab, Pakistan,
and is directly responsible for six major terrorist attacks against India, with
the Pulwama car bombing, which killed at least 40 paramilitary troopers, being
has been critical of the opaque process by which the Sanctions Committee lists
terrorists. Its proceedings and decisions are confidential and members don’t
have to explain their decision. If the designation is put before the Security
Council, China will be forced to take a stand publicly, in full view of those
watching the live feed as it “either defends its opposition to the designation
of a man who is undeniably a terrorist or gives up”, the officials said.
Security Council diplomat – who spoke for France, the US and Britain, which
backed the latest proposal to list Azhar – criticised Pakistan for depending
“on China to protect it from the listing of Pakistan-based terrorist groups and
about the reason for blocking the move, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson
Lu Kang said this was in line with the rules of the Sanctions Committee.
UNSC 1267 committee has clear standards and procedures for designating
terrorist organisations and individuals. China conducts thorough and in-depth
assessment of these applications and we still need more time. That is why we
put forward the technical hold,” he said.
hopes the action of the committee “will help relevant countries to engage in
dialogue and consultation and prevent adding more complicated factors into
regional peace and stability”, he said. The technical hold will give China
enough time to study the issue and enable stakeholders to have a dialogue, he
HT learns that the listing proposal blocked by China contains only one new
line, previously approved by the UNSC in its February 21 Pulwama attack
resolution, which has been added to the US’ January 2017 proposal on the
listing of Azhar (which too was blocked by Beijing). Lu further said, “Only a
solution… acceptable to all sides could fundamentally provide a chance for a lasting
solution to the issue. China is ready to communicate and coordinate with all
sides, including India, to properly handle this issue.”
is engaging with heads of all Muslim countries to build diplomatic pressure on
Pakistan as Islamabad continues to allow terrorism breed on its soil.
Minister Narendra Modi, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Foreign
Secretary Vijay Gokhale have been actively talking to all heads of the Muslim
world since last one week, India TV has learned. These include Saudi, Oman,
Iran, Maldives, Bangladesh and Turkey. All these countries have extended
support to India.
is working on the silent diplomatic operation amid deteriorating ties with
Pakistan, that has continued to provide safe havens to terrorists since ever.
Thursday, it was China that blocked India's bid at UN Security Council to
designate Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. This was
for the fourth time China obstructed the listing of Azhar.
2009, a proposal was moved by India to designate Masood Azhar.
2016, India again move the proposal with the P3- the United States, the United
Kingdom and France in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar,
mastermind of the attack on the Pathankot air base in January 2016.
2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again.
Shubhajit Roy, Sowmiya Ashok
day after China put a technical hold on a proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammad
chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations Security
Council, New Delhi was cautious in its response to what it sees as a deeply
complex relationship with China.
of the consensus evolved from Astana to Xiamen to Wuhan that “differences
cannot become disputes”, sources said that Delhi’s calibrated response to
China’s technical hold was a “carefully thought-out response.”
of State (External Affairs) Gen (retd) V K Singh tweeted, “Is China’s stance on
Masood Azhar a reflection of the soft position that some leaders &
political parties have taken?
us for the 4th time at the UN, China is not setting the right example for the
global fight against terrorism.”
the outrage on social media and the flak from the Opposition in an election
season, this was a much mellowed response by a government representative.
its part, China, on Thursday, said that it needed more time to assess the
proposal. Its Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that the United
Nations Security Council 1267 Committee has “clear standards on the procedures
of designating terrorist organisations and individuals”. “China conducts
thorough and in-depth assessment of these applications and we still need more
time so that is why we put forward the technical hold,” he said.
on this hold, Lu said: “Our action is to make sure this committee will have
enough time to study the matter and so the relevant sides could have enough
time for dialogue and consultation…I said earlier that only a solution that is
acceptable to all sides could fundamentally provide a chance of lasting
solution to the issue. China is ready to communicate and coordinate with all
sides including India to properly handle this issue.”
also noted that China’s actions were “in line” with the rules of the committee.
“China sincerely hopes that the relevant action taken by this committee will
help relevant countries to engage in dialogue and consultation to solve the
problem and prevent adding more complicated factors into regional peace and
stability,” Lu said.
Delhi’s response, top government sources pointed out, was evident from the
Ministry of External Affairs statement which did not name China and just said
it was “disappointed” by this outcome.
that the sanctions committee was not able to decide on Masood Azhar “on account
of a member placing the proposal on hold,” it said: “We are disappointed by
this outcome. This has prevented action by the international community to
designate the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a proscribed and active
terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist
attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February 2019.”
said this was the first time such a proposal was moved after the informal Wuhan
summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Consider the last statement on the issue by the Indian government when China
had stalled Azhar’s listing in November 2017.
are deeply disappointed that once again, a single country has blocked
international consensus on the designation of an acknowledged terrorist and
leader of UN-designated terrorist organization, Masood Azhar. India strongly
believes that double standards and selective approaches will only undermine the
international community’s resolve to combat terrorism. We can only hope that
there will be a realization that accommodating with terrorism for narrow
objectives is both short-sighted and counter productive,” the MEA had said
year before, in 2016, India had come out with blistering attack, naming China
in the statement four times and calling out the “Chinese block” for “double
standards” in the fight against terrorism.
MEA had then said: “We note with concern China’s decision to block the proposal
to list Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist…(it) is an unfortunate blow to
the concerted efforts to effectively counter all forms of terrorism, and
confirms prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism…This
decision by China is surprising as China herself has been affected by the
scourge of terrorism…We had expected China would have been more understanding
of the danger posed to all by terrorism and would join India and others in
fighting the common challenge.”
in 2016, when China had put a technical hold, New Delhi had said that it was
“disappointed” and had criticised what it called a “selective approach”.
said that the “multi-layered relationship” with China makes it difficult to
“rock the boat.”
want the elections to get over and the new government to take charge, before
any such measures are taken,” a South Block source told The Indian Express.
China, the next engagement with be in Osaka in Japan for the G-20 summit in the
later half of June and then an informal summit in India when Xi is expected to
come to India. That patience is wearing thin in Delhi was evident as Ex Dy NSA
Arvind Gupta sought for “re-examining the Wuhan spirit”.
who heads the Vivekananda International Foundation, tweeted: “We need to
re-examine Wuhan spirit…How to weaken China Pak nexus? Back to the drawing
board! China’s tech hold at UNSC committee on Masood Azhar listing was
disappointing but entirely expected. Shows depth of China-Pak strategic nexus
at India’s expense. India should take calibrated long-term action on economic
front to show displeasure. Mere statements not enough.”
Chinese Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu, to a question on India and China’s
relations following the Wuhan summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that China is “full of sincerity” and is
ready to work with India.
strongly reacts to use of force by government in Mazar-e-Sharif city
candidate and former National Security Adviser Mohammad Haneef Atmar strongly
reacted to use of force by government in replacing the police chief of Balkh
province which resulted into sporadic clashes in provincial capital
Mazar-e-Sharif city this afternoon.
a statement released in the aftermath of breakout of violence in Mazar-e-Sharif
city, Atmar said the government’s approach to use force will strengthen
instability and create further opportunities for armed enemies, accusing the
government of adopting a policy of coup d’etat.
further added that the latest development in Mazar-e-Sharif city could threaten
security belts in Balkh and its neighboring provinces, emphasizing that the
actions which have been taken in contrast to agreements and illegal moves
without considering the goodwill of nation’s affairs is not only a electoral
approach but is aimed at hurting relations of people and ongoing peace efforts.
the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces for their efforts in ensuring
peace and stability under the leadership of an extrajudicial government, Atmar
warned the military action by the government and Special Forces of Police is
aimed at eliminating the security arrangements in place for Balkh and sparking
enmity and hatred among people against National Defense and Security Forces.
the government for misuse of National Defense and Security Forces against
people, Atmar urged the armed forces to preserve their neutrality against the
policies of a corrupt government leadership.
went on to claim that the leadership of the government is attempting to create
an atmosphere for the enemies of tradition and national legacies of the country
in the North, particularly in the zone home to holy shrine of Hazrat Ali,
vowing that he and his team will prevent such conspiracies with the help of
people of Balh province.
Special Force storm Taliban hideout, prison, and drug lab in Nimroz province
Special Forces of Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS),
stormed a hideout, prison, and drug lab of Taliban group in western Nimroz province.
National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said the operations were
conducted in Delaram and Khashrod districts.
statement further added that hideout, prison, and drug lab belonged to Taliban
group leader Mullah Salam alias Haji Saboor and Mawlavi Hashim alias Hanzala.
to National Directorate of Security, a terrorist was killed during the
operations, 10 thousand kgs of drugs, a mortar launcher, a PKM machine gun, 4
Ak-47 rifles, a Dragunov sniper rifle, 2500 liters of acid, 2500 liters of
liquid drugs, and some other weapons, munitions, and military equipment were
confiscated and the hideout, prison, and drug lab were destroyed.
(AFGHANISTAN): Authorities are investigating an errant US bombing of an Afghan
military base in the country's south that killed at least five Afghan troops, a
lawmaker said Thursday.
soldiers were killed by friendly fire Wednesday in what was supposed to be a
precision airstrike by US forces supporting Afghan soldiers battling insurgents
near the city of Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province.
defense ministry earlier said the fatalities were the result of a
miscommunication between Afghan troops on the ground and forces in the air,
without providing details.
Obaidullah Barikzai from Uruzgan province told The Associated Press that Afghan
soldiers inside the base in Tarin Kot believed a darkened convoy approaching
the base was the Taliban — not US and Afghan forces — and opened fire, invoking
a blistering retaliation.
Taliban often travel in convoys with no vehicle lights on, Barikzai said.
US airstrike was called in to aid the under-fire convoy, he added. It hit the
Afghan army base, barely 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the governor's house and
the shootout continued for hours as residents hunkered inside their homes.
US military said Wednesday it responded to incoming fire on Afghan and US
forces on the ground and attempted to come to their defense by conducting a
are operating in a complex environment where enemy fighters do not wear
uniforms and use stolen military vehicles to attack government forces,"
said the US mission spokesman Bob Purtiman.
said many of the wounded in the deadly incident were in critical condition but
did not provide details.
other developments, the Taliban slammed the US State Department's 2018 human
rights report, released Wednesday for singling out the Taliban for attacks
against civilians. The report also took note of what it said were extrajudicial
killings by Afghan security forces as well as the Kabul government's rampant
US is an occupier country directly involved in crimes against humanity,"
said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. "The show of concern and
sadness about human rights by such a criminal state is preposterous and
intensified negotiations between the US and the Taliban to end the 17-year was
in Afghanistan, the insurgents have been carrying out near-daily attacks across
the country, mainly targeting the government and security forces and causing staggering
in the capital of northern Balkh province, shops and businesses were closed in
a city-wide strike to protest the appointment of a new provincial police chief
over the objections of a former governor and powerful warlord.
incumbent provincial police chief, Gen. Akram Sammeh, said his replacement,
Abdul Raqib Mubarez, landed at the airport in Mazar-e-Sharif on Thursday but
the police were blocking him from heading into the city to take up his post.
development threatens to escalate into an all-out feud between Afghan President
Ashraf Ghani and Atta Mohammed Nur, a powerful warlord who holds sway over
Balkh province where Mazar-e-Sharif is the provincial capital.
Thursday, the standoff escalated into a firefight as Nur's militia surrounded
the police headquarters in Mazar-e-Sharif, exchanging rocket fire with
government forces, said the incumbent police chief Sammeh. There were no
immediate reports of casualties.
years ago Afghanistan legalized militias loyal to the country's warlords, many
of whom took up government positions after the overthrow of the Taliban.
Initially, after the 2001 collapse of the Taliban, the United Nations ordered
all militias disarmed but as the country's security deteriorated, many warlords
both with the government and in opposition redeployed their militias.
3rd Test cancelled after team flees New Zealand mosque shooting
third Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh scheduled to begin on
Saturday has been cancelled after the Bangladesh cricket team had a narrow
escape from a mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch.
New Zealand Cricket spokesperson confirmed the cancellation two hours after
multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand
heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by
the shocking situation in Christchurch," announced Black Caps Twitter
account. "A joint decision between NZC (New Zealand Cricket) and the
@BCBtigers has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test. Again both teams and
support staff groups are safe."
members of the Bangladesh cricket team described on social media their narrow
escape from the mass shooting on New Zealand’s South Island.
and members of the team’s coaching staff were reportedly on their bus,
approaching the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Hagley Park when the shooting broke
batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted “entire team got saved from active shooters.
Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”
analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekeran, also on Twitter, said “Just escaped active
shooters. Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere.”
Mushfiqur Rahim posted “Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in
Christchurch in the mosque. We (were) extremely lucky...never want to see this
things happen again....pray for us.”
Villavarayen, a strength and conditioning coach with the team, told New Zealand
media the players did not see the shooter but heard shots. He said they were
shaken but unhurt.
spoke to one of them shortly after,” Vllavarayen said. They didn’t see anything
but heard gunshots. They were at the ground and just started running. The
coaching staff were all at the hotel.”
Zealand Cricket confirmed “that both teams and support staff groups are safe
and accounted for”.
Bangladesh team is reported to have left the bus and fled on foot to nearby
Hagley Oval, where it was scheduled to play New Zealand in the Test match
starting on Saturday.
Islam, a journalist traveling with the Bangladesh team, earlier said he
believed the players would leave New Zealand as soon as possible.
don’t they’re in a mental state to play cricket at all,” he told Fairfax Media.
“I think they want to go back home as soon as possible. I’m speaking from
experience, I’m speaking from what I’ve heard.”
said he was contacted by one of the players as the shooting was taking place
and he raced towards the scene.
was very traumatic there and people were running out from that mosque
presumably and the Bangladesh players were coming out,” he said. “They are in
terrible and severe mental (distress), they’re not feeling well.
were just outside the mosque about to get off from the bus and go into the
mosque when they heard shooting and a lot of people running out and they saw
someone wounded in front of them.
The Taliban political chief, who headed the militants’ delegation during the
most recent round of peace talks with the United States, said on Thursday that
he was optimistic and assured Afghans that they had no reason to fear a
latest round of talks in Qatar lasted 16 days and finished on Tuesday, with
officials from both sides saying that progress had been made, but there was no
agreement on when foreign troops might be withdrawn.
are very hopeful for the peace talks, because the latest round had some good
dialogues which paved the way to more progress regarding peace in the future,”
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said in an eight-minute audio tape of an interview
conducted by the Taliban and posted online.
his first public comments since his release last year from a Pakistani prison,
Baradar sought to reassure Afghans who have worried that peace with the Taliban
could herald the return of its strict values.
[Afghans] think of us like brothers I trust in God that all the problems will
be solved,” he said, speaking in Pashto.
ask all our countrymen to be sure there is no need to worry. Everyone will be
treated very well,” he added.
their time in power from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban banned music and girls’
education and carried out public executions in Kabul’s football stadium.
Fatefully, they also allowed Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda to establish a base in
Taliban’s role in Afghanistan after a possible peace settlement has not been
defined and the group has refused to meet representatives of the government led
by President Ashraf Ghani, regarding it as illegitimate.
the end of the latest round of talks, US negotiators said progress was made
over the eventual withdrawal of foreign troops, and on assurances from the
Taliban that they would not allow their homeland to be used again by foreign
militant groups to mount attacks in other countries.
assure the neighbouring, regional and other countries that the upcoming system
will not be against anyone; we are not under the influence of anyone, and have
no aim of harming anyone,” Baradar said.
also offered a message to Taliban fighters, saying that even though he felt the
group had achieved political and military victory, they should remain composed
and not become arrogant.
Taliban today control more territory than at any time since the 2001 US-led
invasion that followed Al Qaeda’s Sept 11 attack on the United States.
clashes were reported close to Balkh Police Headquarters amid rising political
tensions between the Afghan government and the former governor of the province
Ata Mohammad Noor.
in the Ministry of Interior have confirmed that armed clashes took place close
to Police Headquarters of Balkh in Mazar-e-Sharif city this afternoon.
officials further added that the security forces have arrested at least 25
gunmen in connection to the clashes with police forces.
Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, confirmed that one policeman
sustained injuries in the clashes while 25 gunmen have been arrested.
also added that the security situation in Mazar-e-Sharif city including Police
Headquarters is under total control of the security forces.
Interior Minister for Security Gen. Khoshal Sadat had earlier said that the
ministry of interior is fully committed to implement the presidential decree
for the introduction of Gen. Abdul Raqib Mubarez as new police chief of Balkh
militants, many of them believed to have been al-Qaeda fighters, have been
killed in airstrikes in south-eastern Afghanistan, officials said Thursday.
strikes were carried out in Ghazni province late Wednesday, where the defense
ministry said they targeted a “base” belonging to the militants.
Aref, one of the facilitators (for al-Qaeda) was transferring these 31
terrorists, including nine suicide bombers, in several cars when targeted by
airstrikes and eliminated,” the ministry said.
described the fighters as all belonging to the Middle Eastern jihadist group,
although a spokesman for the Ghazni governor said fighters from the
Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network were also present.
defense ministry did not specify who carried out the airstrikes. Only Afghan
and US forces in Afghanistan conduct airstrikes.
Ghazni governor’s spokesman, Mohammed Aref Noori, said the strikes had been
carried out by US forces, but there was no immediate confirmation of his claim.
is still believed to be active in parts Afghanistan and Pakistan, where some of
its surviving leadership such as Ayman al-Zawahiri are thought to be hiding.
Fighting broke out between government-backed forces and police loyal to a
regional leader in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan on Thursday, over a
move to replace the city’s police chief.
of Atta Mohammed Noor, who defied President Ashraf Ghani’s order to step down
as Mazar’s governor two years ago, blocked the appointment of Abdul Raqib Mubarez,
the man chosen by Ghani to replace Noor’s ally Akram Same.
were reports of gunbattles across the city, with one officer killed and 18
people wounded, many of them police.
Interior Minister Khoshal Sadat said Same refused to “leave his post and
accept” Mubarez’s appointment by Kabul.
ministry’s spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi, confirmed the exchange of hostilities,
adding that at least 20 of Same’s followers were arrested.
footage showed young girls fleeing to safety in deserted streets with small
arms fire heard in the background.
Wednesday night, Noor called for a complete shutdown of the city, and warned of
repercussions if people resisted.
call upon all residents of Mazar to stay indoors. Shops and markets must be
kept shut until further notice,” he said in a statement.
resident Shoiab Qarlook told Arab News: “People are worried. There are clashes
in several parts, people were caught by surprise when they heard the firing.”
is a supporter of Haneef Atmar — Ghani’s main rival in the upcoming
presidential elections in July — and was among dozens of politicians who met
with Taliban representatives in Moscow a few months ago.
in Kabul, Atmar called the government’s decision to appoint Mubarez
“irrational,” accusing Ghani of deliberately stirring tensions.
KONG — For six days a week, every week, in a crowded office in Kazakhstan’s
largest city, Serikzhan Bilash had been ringmaster of one of the most
influential efforts detailing China’s internment of Muslim minorities.
in a suit and tie, he would bounce from room to room, consoling distraught
relatives of people held in Chinese indoctrination camps in the region of
Xinjiang and arranging supplies and housing for those who had recently arrived
in Kazakhstan from China. He would also record hours and hours of videos describing
the extent of China’s crackdown — speaking in English, Chinese and Kazakh.
week, however, Mr. Bilash went uncharacteristically quiet.
police detained him early Sunday in Almaty, the city in southeastern Kazakhstan
where his organization is, and flew him to the capital, Astana, where he was
placed under house arrest. He is under investigation on accusations of
“inciting ethnic hatred,” said his lawyer, Aiman Umarova. A conviction carries
a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.
two short videos sent to his family by the police, Mr. Bilash said that he was
physically safe. He urged the members of the group he leads, Atajurt Kazakh
Human Rights, to continue their work while he contested the allegations against
Bilash’s case has raised questions about China’s efforts to silence critics of
its policies in Xinjiang. In the months before his detention, he warned that
the Chinese authorities were trying to use their influence in Kazakhstan to
silence his group.
just want to close Atajurt,” he said last month. “They just want to close
Serikzhan’s mouth and they just wanted so nobody would stand up against Chinese
Chinese authorities have bristled at foreign criticism of the camps. First,
officials denied their existence, then they said the camps were part of a
training program for poor Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities to help them
find jobs and resist extremist ideologies. On Tuesday, a Xinjiang official said
the camps were “like boarding schools.”
Turkey broke the general silence of Muslim nations to demand that China close
the camps, China announced a temporary closure of its consulate in Istanbul,
Turkey’s commercial capital, and warned that criticism could lead to economic
Kazakhstan, the camps pose a particular challenge. Russia is still the biggest
trading partner for the former Soviet republic, but trade with China is
expanding rapidly. In 2013, China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, used a visit
to Astana to announce the creation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the program
of sweeping infrastructure investment more closely linking China with Asia,
Africa and Europe.
Kazakhs in China are believed to make up the second largest population of
people held in the indoctrination camps, behind Uighurs. Kazakhstan has worked
to help Kazakh citizens get out of China, but at the same time has avoided
publicly criticizing Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang. Activists working on the
subject of Xinjiang have been a subject of particular scrutiny by the
authorities, human rights groups say.
is a concern that the authorities detained him and took him away in the middle
of the night,” said Maya Wang, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch. “It
is a concern given the Kazakh authorities’ history of harassing and surveilling
activists in general and in particular those related to the cause of Xinjiang.”
Bilash, who was born in Xinjiang and migrated to Kazakhstan in the early 2000s,
had previously worked as a translator who tried to facilitate Chinese
investment in Kazakhstan, said his wife, Leila Adilzhan. As Kazakhs learned
about the detention of their relatives in China, they reached out to Mr. Bilash
for help, she said.
didn’t want do this kind of thing but people started to call him and say my
father has been arrested, my wife has been arrested, my mother has been
arrested,” Ms. Adilzhan said. “So he started collecting their statements and
workday at Atajurt, dozens of desperate people would fill the offices seeking
help for friends and relatives held in China. Many would provide statements
that were recorded on video and uploaded to YouTube. Volunteers would translate
their messages into Chinese, English and Russian.
some cases, the testimony appeared to have pressured the local authorities to
release detainees. In interviews at Atajurt’s office earlier this year, a half
dozen Kazakhs said the appeals contributed to their freedom or the release of
relatives held in camps.
Bilash said he often received threats to his safety, which he ignored. He
openly worried that China would use its influence in Kazakhstan to shut down
his work. Last month, a group of Kazakh intellectuals signed an open letter
complaining that Atajurt’s work was harming the relationship between Kazakhstan
activists have privately expressed concerns that his rhetoric could be
bombastic. Anti-Chinese slogans featured heavily during protests in Kazakhstan
in 2016 over land sales to foreigners, and the authorities are wary of moves
that could inflame such sentiment.
in Astana said in a statement they were focusing on remarks by Mr. Bilash in
February calling for “jihad” against the Chinese. A video of his comments was
shown on state television after his detention. But his supporters say the clip
was edited to omit the full context of his comments, which were referring to
waging a campaign of information and not violence.
status of Mr. Bilash’s defense was unclear. On Wednesday, Mr. Bilash told
colleagues he was forced to sign documents and record a video rejecting Ms.
Umarova as his lawyer and saying he wanted a government-appointed defense
attorney — a sign that the authorities might bar her from representing him.
Volkan Kasikci, a Turkish researcher who has worked with Atajurt, said that Mr.
Bilash’s work helped create a model for documenting detentions in Xinjiang case
of what we know about the concentration camps we know thanks to Atajurt
testimony,” he said. “What Atajurt brought was this dynamism to provide
concrete evidence as much as possible.”
the police in Almaty raided the group’s offices on Sunday they took away
equipment used to make videos about people held in Xinjiang. But volunteers
have continued to post videos on the group’s YouTube page.
they are calling for the release of Mr. Bilash.
on Thursday defended its stance on the issue of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief
Masood Azhar, urging the relevant parties to get it resolved through dialogue
and consultation in order to avoid further complications in the matter.
1267 Committee of the UN Security Council has clear criteria for the procedures
to list terrorist organizations or individuals. China is conducting a
comprehensive and in-depth review on the listing request put forth by the
relevant countries. We still need more time and that is why we decided to put a
technical hold on it,” a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry told a
regular press briefing when asked as to what prompted Beijing to put on a
technical hold the listing of Masood Azhar by the UN Security Council.
complies with the rules of procedure of the 1267 Committee. We hope that
relevant actions taken by the 1267 Committee will help countries concerned to
settle their issues through dialogue and consultation and avoid adding more
complex factors to regional peace and stability,” the spokesperson continued.
“China will continue its communication and coordination with all relevant
parties in a constructive and responsible way to properly settle this issue.”
had on Wednesday once again put on hold a request by Britain, France and the
United States to add to the UN terror blacklist the JeM leader.
was the third time that the UN Security Council considered a request to put
Masood Azhar on the UN sanctions blacklist, which would have subjected him to a
global travel ban and assets freeze.
has twice blocked – in 2016 and 2017 – attempts to impose sanctions on the JeM
leader. The group itself was added to the terror list in 2001.
a note sent to the Security Council, China had said that it needed more time to
examine the sanctions request targeting Masood Azhar.
use Zakir Naik to get Malay votes, G25 member tells PH
JAYA: A member of moderate Muslim group G25 has urged Putrajaya to stop being
“more Umno than Umno” by using race and religion to garner Malay support,
following a meeting between minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa and fugitive Indian
preacher Zakir Naik.
spokesman Noor Farida Ariffin also called on the Pakatan Harapan (PH)
government to act against those who employ hate speech or use race and religion
to divide the nation.
said it was shocking to see Mujahid, who has been preaching moderate Islam,
meeting Naik who has been known to criticise other religions.
someone who is promoting moderate Islam, Mujahid should not have anything to do
with extremist Muslims like Zakir Naik,” she said.
was shocking to see Mujahid with Naik. We should send him packing back to
Farida said Naik had been making insulting remarks about other religions with
no action taken against him. He had also distorted Islam for his own purposes,
she said, referring to his call for Muslims to vote for Muslim candidates just
before the May 9 polls last year.
he thought, like everyone else, that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government would
win the election and remain in power,” she said, questioning his principles.
his Facebook page, Mujahid said Naik’s efforts to preach Islam had taken him to
every corner of the world and that this served as an “inspiration” to others to
keep on preaching.
Noor Farida said PH should not “pander to Malay sentiments”.
should take stern action by getting the police and the attorney-general to
charge those who criticise race and religion,” she added.
for Liberty executive director Latheefa Koya also criticised Mujahid for
meeting Naik, saying it was to garner Malay support.
said on Facebook that if Naik is not monitored, he would cause a divide among
the different races.
Naik to another Indian preacher in South Africa named Ahmad Deedat, she said
Deedat was well-versed in the Bible and had impressed Christians with his
Naik is a student of Ahmad Deedat. His style is the same as Deedat’s but he has
taken it to a different level by challenging Christianity and other religions.”
people were killed and 20 more were seriously injured in armed assaults on two
Christchurch mosques Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” she said.
what we know, it does appear to have been well planned.” Two explosive devices
attached to suspect vehicles have now been found and they have been disarmed,”
was earlier reported that a gunman opened fire at a mosque killing many
worshippers and forcing the city of Christchurch into lockdown, in what looked
set to be the country’s worst ever mass shooting.
Zealand media then reported that between nine and 27 people were killed, but
the death toll could not be confirmed. Police said multiple fatalities had
occurred at two mosques, but it was unclear how many attackers were involved.
footage widely circulated on social media, apparently taken by a gunman and
posted online live as the attack unfolded, showed him driving to one mosque,
entering it and shooting randomly at people inside.
possibly dead or wounded, lay huddled on the floor of the mosque, the video
showed. Reuters was unable to confirm the authenticity of the footage.
man who said he was at the Al Noor mosque told media the gunman was white,
blond and wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest. The man burst into the
mosque as worshippers were kneeling for prayers.
had a big gun ... he came and started shooting everyone in the mosque,
everywhere,” said the man, Ahmad Al-Mahmoud. He said he and others escaped by
breaking through a glass door.
New Zealand quoted a witness inside the mosque saying he heard shots fired and
at least four people were lying on the ground and “there was blood everywhere”.
Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned what she called “an extraordinary and
unprecedented act of violence”. “This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,”
she said. Neither Ardern nor police gave a casualty toll.
Zealand’s Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four people – three men and a
woman – had been taken into custody but it was not clear if the gunman was
among them or if other people were involved.
also said it should not be assumed the attack was isolated to Christchurch. “At
this point in time we should never make assumptions,” he said. Bush also said
IEDs, improvised explosive devices, were found with a vehicle they stopped.
online video footage, which appeared to have been captured on a camera strapped
to the gunman’s head, showed red petrol canisters in the back of his car, along
with weapons. All mosques in New Zealand had been asked to shut their doors,
foreign minister of Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population,
condemned the shooting. Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New
Zealand’s population, a 2013 census showed. “Many of those who would have been
affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand,” Ardern said.
may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and
it is their home ... they are us. The persons who has perpetuated this violence
against us ... have no place in New Zealand.”
Media please note the stand up with Commissioner Mike Bush has been pushed back
to 5.30pm. This will be held at the Royal Society on Turnbull Street, Thorndon,
can now confirm the lock down of schools throughout Christchurch has been
lifted. We would like to reassure members of the public that there is a large
Police presence in the city and the safety of the community is our priority.
AM - Mar 15, 2019
people are talking about this
online footage showed the gunman driving as music played in his vehicle. After
parking, he took two guns and walked a short distance to the entrance of the
then opened fire. Over the course of five minutes, he repeatedly shoots
worshippers, leaving well over a dozen bodies in one room alone. He returned to
the car during that period to change guns, and went back to the mosque to shoot
anyone showing signs of life.
video shows the gunman driving off at high speed and later firing at parked
cars and a building. Police said the second mosque attacked was in the suburb
of Linwood, but gave no details.
unconfirmed video taken by someone else appeared to show police apprehending
the gunman by the side of a road. The Bangladesh cricket team is in
Christchurch to play New Zealand in a third cricket test starting on Saturday.
were on the bus, which was just pulling up to the mosque when the shooting
begun,” Mario Villavarayen, strength and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh
cricket team, told Reuters in a message. “They are shaken but good.”
KINABALU, March 14 — As reviews for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) begin,
the Sabah council of churches (SCC) wants the review committee to also focus on
the guarantee of complete religious freedom for Malaysians.
among others, includes the right to change one’s faith.
a statement issued today by SCC president Bishop James Wong, he welcomed the Prime
Minister’s decision to look into the rights of Sabah and Sarawak within the
federation but also wanted to remind the committee that religious freedom was
one of the fundamental pillars of MA63.
should be one of the focus for discussion in the current review committee just
as it was in the years leading up to the formation of Malaysia as recorded in
the Cobbold Commission Report and the Inter-Governmental Committee IGC) Report
which led to the finalisation of the MA63 and the Federal Constitution.
current political leaders must be reminded that without the guarantee of
complete religious freedom, there would not have been a Malaysia. This point is
well discussed and recorded in our historical documents,” he said.
said that some political and community leaders today use Article 3 of the
Federal Constitution to declare that Malaysia is an Islamic State.
is totally in contravention of the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Even the first
Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj declared before the Legislative
Council in 1957 ‘I would like to make it clear that this country is not an
Islamic State as it is generally understood. We merely provided that Islam
shall be the official religion of the state’,” he said.
also quoted an excerpt from the Cobbold Commission Report which said that
although Islam should be the national religion for the federation, it would not
jeopardise the freedom of religion and Malaysia would be a secular nation.
reality today is there is no complete religious freedom in Malaysia and
religious minorities have been marginalised. Complete religious freedom does
not mean only freedom to worship but also freedom to profess and practise the
religion of their choice without restrictions and repercussions from the state
and without being subject to discrimination, hostility or violence.
many of our people face difficulties in choosing to be identified with the
religion of their choice. The National Registration Department (NRD) continues
to restrict our people from changing their religious status records,” he said.
the case of a 22-year-old man in Sarawak who was recently sentenced to 10
years’ imprisonment and fine for pleading guilty to insulting Islam and the
Prophet Muhammad, Wong said that it was too severe a punishment while offensive
remarks to other religions did not garner the same response.
we support efforts to maintain peace, unity and harmony among our diverse
society, we condemn the punishment which are to run consecutively on this young
first-time offender and regard it as a disproportionate and harsh one.
controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik who has made slanderous remarks
against Christianity instead has been allowed to remain as a permanent resident
in our country. Where is fairness and justice in this instance?” he said.
called on the government to moot several steps that would uphold and establish
the guarantee of complete religious freedom including a revision of the
legislation that would give adequate protection to people of all religions, in
particular religious minorities and to ensure everyone can freely exercise
their right to freedom of religion and belief, including the right to change
one’s religion, without interference by the state.
the most compelling contest in Indonesia's election campaign and it doesn't
involve the presidential candidates.
Sunday, the vice-presidential candidates will take the stage. Sandiaga Uno, a
49-year-old private equity investor, who plays basketball, runs marathons and
has written a book with a hashtag for a title, will face off against cleric
Ma'ruf Amin, former head of the country's largest mass Muslim organisation, who
this week celebrated his 76th birthday.
one and only live debate between the two will play out at Jakarta's Sultan Hotel
exactly one month before election day.
race for president is a re-run of 2014, with former general Prabowo Subianto
once again taking on the popular incumbent Joko Widodo who is expected to hold
on to power for a second five-year term. There is a sense of deja vu as the two
men battle over religious identity and economic nationalism. And so it is their
running mates who are attracting the most attention.
debate will be as relevant to the 2024 election as it is to the vote on April
17. That's because Prabowo's offsider Sandiaga, despite being a surprise
choice, has emerged as a face of the future on Indonesia's political scene.
Ma'ruf was chosen to shore up Jokowi's support among traditional and rural
Muslim voters, Sandi, as he is widely known, was ostensibly chosen for his
financial muscle. With a reported wealth of 5.1 trillion rupiah ($500 million),
he has been a regular on Indonesia's rich lists, making it to 47th position in
2013. His fortune was built over the past two decades after joining forces with
wealthy businessman Edwin Soeryadjaya during the Asian financial crisis to set
up what is now one of the country's biggest investment firms, Saratoga Capital.
has a history of having VP candidates foot the bill for presidential campaigns
and Sandi's wealth and business network helped him leapfrog other potential
running mates. These included the son of former president Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono, Agus Harimurti.
since he was named on the Prabowo ticket, Sandi has become an effective
campaigner, appealing to women, small business owners and young voters with his
active social media profile and entrepreneurial background.
is the best thing going for Prabowo at the moment," says Greg Barton,
Deakin University's chair of global Islamic politics.
think Jokowi will win but the big unknown is the Millennial vote and if there
are young voters disillusioned with the government, some of those may be drawn
a third of Indonesia's 190 million voters are younger than 30 and over half are
younger than 40.
are voters who grew up after the fall of Suharto and came of age during the
first term of the Jokowi presidency," Barton says. "They are first-
or second-time voters who might be open to changing their vote this time
Prihatini from the University of Western Australia's Public Policy Institute
says: "Everyone is targeting young voters. Even though he's not young –
he's already 49 – Sandiaga Uno is trying to emphasise his youth compared to
Ma'ruf Amin. He's trying so hard. He's coming out of his comfort zone. Part of
his strategy is to ensure he is approachable."
Instagram account filled with posts of Sandi running along the beach while
campaigning in Bali and swimming laps to stay fit for the election helps
promote the youthful image. He has over a million followers on Twitter and 3.6
million on Instagram, a solid reach but still short of Jokowi's social media
profile. (The President is followed by 11 million people on Twitter and 17.5
million on Instagram.)
brand over votes
Prihatini points out young voters can be hard to motivate.
group is increasingly apolitical," she says. "They are losing faith
in elections. In the last three presidential elections the number of those not
voting has increased."
National University Associate Professor Markus Mietzner says Sandi's social
media profile has "increased his own name recognition rather than
is popular for his good looks, and engages audiences through politeness and
demonstrations of his business expertise as well as international
connections," he says. "That said, he is not as powerful a public
speaker as Prabowo."
is the most global of those in the race. He studied in the US, graduating from
Wichita University with a business degree. He went on to do an MBA at George
Washington. He worked in Canada and Singapore before returning to Indonesia to
set up a private equity firm with a high school friend and then later joining
Soeryadjaya to build Saratoga Capital.
a bit of a Malcolm Turnbull character, a technocrat who did well in the finance
industry," Barton says.
Prabowo and the children of former dictator Suharto, Sandi was mentioned in
both the "Paradise" and "Panama Papers", leaks of millions
of confidential documents on offshore investments. He has said repeatedly these
type of offshore structures are "common" and "perfectly
legal" and he had "nothing to hide." Sandi also denied
accusations he paid two opposition parties for their backing in his push to be
Prabowo's running mate.
of this will shock Indonesians," Mietzner says. "All the candidates
in the race are a product of Indonesia's patronage-soaked politics."
the campaign, Sandi has taken the lead on economic issues, pushing the
entrepreneurial program he started as Jakarta's deputy governor, to set up
training centres across the country. He says Indonesia's economy, which is
growing at about 5 per cent annually, is punching below its weight and the
government needs to improve the ease of doing business, create new jobs and
bring down the cost of housing and food. And he has seized on the declining
rupiah, which is near a two-decade low against the US dollar, as a sign the
economy is not being managed properly.
he has been forced to backtrack on Prabowo's economic nationalism, insisting
the team is open to foreign investment. And this week he raised concerns in
Australia by telling the ABC he would tweak the recently signed free trade
agreement between the countries by changing the requirements around beef
are paying attention to these comments because Sandi could have a role in the
new government – even if the Prabowo team loses.
wouldn't be surprised if he ends up in cabinet," Barton says.
politics in Indonesia is much more fluid than in Australia. Sandi and Prabowo
both supported Jokowi in his successful 2012 bid to become Jakarta governor,
kickstarting his rapid political rise. And Sandi's childhood friend, Erick
Thohir – a media mogul who owns several soccer teams – is leading Jokowi's
political parties in the Parliament hold more than 20 per cent of seats, the
threshold needed to support a candidate's team. Instead, there tend to be
coalitions of support. Jokowi is a member of PDIP, the party of former
president Megawati Sukarnoputri, and his team is also supported by Golkar and
PKB, the parties of former presidents Suharto and Abdurrahman Wahid. Prabowo's
team is backed by his party, Gerindra, as well as SBY's Partai Demokrat and the
Islamic political parties PKS and PAN.
election has focused on the economy because Jokowi's strategic move to appoint
Ma'ruf made it difficult for the opposition to attack the president on
has changed tack since Jokowi appointed Ma'ruf Amin, spiritual leader of the
country's most influential Muslim organisation Nahdlatul Ulama, as his running
mate," Barton says.
has always played a key role in Indonesian elections and it was on track to
dominate the 2019 campaign after the dramatic events surrounding the 2017
election for Jakarta governor.
series of mass rallies in late 2016 and early 2017 called on former Jakarta
governor Basuki Thahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, to resign. A
Christian of Chinese descent, Ahok was accused of insulting the Koran and
sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy.
the vice-presidential candidates were close to those rallies, as Kevin Evans,
Indonesia director at the Australia-Indonesia Centre, points out in his guide
to the election. Ma'ruf was one of the leaders calling for Ahok's prosecution
while Sandi benefited from his downfall as part of the team that defeated Ahok
and was elected vice-governor. Still, Evans says the candidates "reflect
two quite different Islamic communities".
carries weight with traditional and rural Muslim voters while Sandi "is
the poster boy and role model for the aspirational urban Muslim
the economy, Jokowi – a furniture salesman turned politician – has done
reasonably well. He has rolled out infrastructure projects and welfare programs
and inflation and interest rates are, as Evans points out, very low by
Indonesian standards while the budget deficit and foreign debt are under
is still likely to be the stronger performer over Ma'ruf when it comes to
arguments about economic policy in Sunday's debate but there are unlikely to be
any fiery clashes. Showing respect for elders and deference to religious
leaders is very important in Indonesia.
the election produces the expected Jokowi victory, Mietzner thinks Sandi
"will probably enter in negotiations with Prabowo over taking over
those negotiations fail, he could join an existing party that needs a new
leader, or found his own party in preparation for 2024."
the field will be wide open and highly contested. If Jokowi wins this year, by
2024 he will have completed his two terms and be unable to recontest - pollster
Roy Morgan has the President winning 58 per cent of the vote, compared to 42
per cent for Prabowo.
there is speculation about who might run in 2024 with possible candidates
including SBY's son, Agus, Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and former president
Megawata Sukarnoputri's daughter, Puan Maharani.
will be an open field," Prihatini says. "Other contenders will
emerge. So many people will be eyeing that election."
police said Thursday they had uncovered a huge stash of explosives linked to a
terror suspect whose wife blew up herself and a child following a dramatic
standoff at their home.
discovery of some 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of assembled explosives and
bomb-making materials raised fears that a major attack was being planned, a
month before national elections and less than a year after Indonesia was rocked
by a wave of deadly suicide bombings.
suicide blast early Wednesday morning came after police had arrested the
husband, Abu Hamzah, who was identified as a member of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah
ISIS extremist group-linked network has been blamed for attacks last May in
Indonesia’s second-biggest city, Surabaya, the deadliest in years to rock the
world’s biggest Muslim majority nation.
surrounded the arrested militant’s home in Sibolga on Sumatra island when the
a nearly 12-hour standoff, the wife lobbed an explosive device at security
personnel, wounding a police officer, authorities said.
later found parts of a woman’s corpse and that of at least one child. Police
initially said they thought two of the couple’s children might have been
still trying to formally identify his wife because the body isn’t one piece,”
said national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.
said they uncovered a large cache of bombs and explosive materials in the
couple’s home and another in the same city.
total of 300 kilograms of bombs and bomb-making materials were discovered,”
Thursday, police destroyed materials in a controlled explosion in a field.
of Indonesia terrorism expert Stanislaus Riyanta said the large stash hinted
that a serious attack was being planned.
is frightening,” he told AFP.
impact of bombs depends on the materials used. But this amount - 300 kilograms
- if used all at one time, could certainly be very destructive and deadly,
especially in a densely populated area.”
arrest of Hamzah, who police said was a skilled bomb maker, comes days after
authorities arrested two other terror suspects in other parts of the country.
Police said all three were connected.
year, two families carried out attacks at churches in Surabaya, killing a dozen
people and children of the attackers, including two young girls.
Thursday, a Jakarta court sentenced several militants linked to the Surabaya
bombings with prison sentences ranging from about three to 10 years.
protesters rally in Sudan’s capital after Bashir promises dialogue
of anti-government protesters have taken to the streets of the Sudanese capital
to voice their strong dissent against President Omar al-Bashir, demanding his
were held in several neighborhoods of Khartoum on Thursday with riot police
hurling tear gas canisters in an attempt to disperse the crowds of chanting
protesters in at least two districts.
report of possible injuries or detention of protesters has yet been released.
is struggling with months of persisting protests. On December 17, an
anti-government campaign erupted over price hikes and shortages of food and
demonstrations first erupted in the farming town of Atbara after cash-strapped
Khartoum cut a vital subsidy on bread and tripled its prices.
move infuriated people and triggered protests, which swiftly mushroomed into
nationwide anti-government rallies, particularly in the capital and its twin
city of Omdurman.
initial public display of anger quickly spiraled into calls for Bashir, who
took power in 1989 through a military coup, to step down.
a swearing-in ceremony for a new cabinet, embattled Bashir said that he was
ready to engage in dialogue with the opposition.
peace and silencing the sound of the rifle is our most important priority for
the country and we will communicate with the forces that reject dialogue for
the sake of political stability,” the 75-year-old president said.
made the announcement on Wednesday as he reshuffled the cabinet and appointed
at least 15 new ministers.
month, Bashir declared a state of emergency across the African country,
dissolved the central government, replaced state governors with security
officials, boosted police powers and prohibited unlicensed public
the measures proved to be largely ineffective in halting the wave of rallies.
Several protests have been staged since the measures came into effect.
Sudanese president is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his
alleged role in genocide in the Darfur region, which he strongly denies. He has
also been lobbying for his country to be removed from a list of the countries
the US considers state sponsors of terrorism.
National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has purportedly been carrying
out a crackdown on protesters, opposition leaders, activists, and reporters in
an attempt to prevent the spread of the rallies, which are viewed as the
biggest threat to Bashir’s decades-long rule.
figures say 31 people, including some security agents, have lost their lives
since the onset of the rallies. Some rights groups, including Human Rights
Watch, say at least 51 people have died so far.
however, has so far remained defiant, addressing loyalists at a number of
rallies across the country and seeking support from regional allies.
has been suffering from a worsening economic crisis, including a serious
shortage of foreign currency.
cost of some commodities, including medicines, has more than doubled and
inflation has hit 70 percent. A growing lack of food and fuel has also been
regularly reported across several cities, including the capital.
least 33 Boko Haram militants have been killed and many others injured as the
West African regional army launched airstrikes on their bases in the Lake Chad
region, an army spokesman said on Thursday.
Antigha, spokesman to the regional troops, said in a statement that the ground
troops working with the Air Force team also destroyed or recovered large
weapons from the militant hideouts following the air raid.
attempt to attack Libya’s northern city of Sirte would amount to a “declaration
of war”, the consequences of which would be “disastrous”, the UN-backed Libyan
government’s military apparatus warned Thursday.
warning was issued by Mohamed al-Ghosri, a spokesman for the Tripoli-based
government’s Al-Bunyan al-Marsous Forces, who went on to warn against involving
Sirte in “a fresh conflict”.
week, Al-Bunyan al-Marsous was placed on high alert after “hostile forces” were
reportedly spotted near Sirte, which is located some 450 kilometers southeast
of capital Tripoli.
the time, al-Ghosri had identified the “hostile forces” as those loyal to
Khalifa Haftar, a military commander affiliated with a rival government based
in Libya’s eastern city of Al-Bayda.
to al-Ghosri, Sirte has enjoyed security since the Al-Bunyan al-Marsous Forces
liberated the city from the Daesh terrorist group in 2016.
this week, local activists posted video footage online purportedly showing
pro-Haftar forces near Sirte’s southern entrance.
has remained beset by violence turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed
uprising led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after four
decades in power.
U.S. military has carried out three airstrikes against al-Shabab militants in
Somalia in less than a week, continuing a rapid pace that could triple last
year's record-setting strike numbers.
to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the latest strike killed three militants near
Malayle in the Lower Juba region on Wednesday.
"collective self-defense airstrike" targeted militants who were
shooting at Somali National Security Forces on patrol, AFRICOM said. U.S.
service members were not on the ground.
strike came a day after an airstrike killed two al-Shabab militants in the
vicinity of Huley in the Lower Shabelle region.
on Monday, another U.S. military strike in Lower Shabelle region — this one
near Dara Salaam — killed eight militants who had attacked Somali National Army
soldiers and U.S. troops who were advising their Somali partners.
U.S. service members were harmed in the attack, AFRICOM spokesman Air Force
Col. Chris Karns told VOA.
has carried out 28 airstrikes against al-Shabab in the first 11 weeks of 2019.
Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said
the U.S. military is now on pace to nearly triple last year's record number of
airstrikes against al-Shabab.
Gen. Marcus Hicks told VOA in a recent interview that al-Shabab was
"losing troops in the field at what I would suspect is an alarming
said the ramp-up of strikes was merely a "component" of the broader
international fight against terrorism in Somalia.
forces and their international partners have gained ground "particularly
out of Kismayo in the south," which just a few years ago was considered
the epicenter of the al-Shabab terror group, according to the U.S. general.
cleared about 45 kilometers up the Lower Juba River Valley, established combat
outposts that have withheld multiple attacks, and as we — again, 'we' as the
Somalis and our AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia] partners — make
contact with al-Shabab, the enemy is presenting itself in such a way that it
can be struck as part of this broader counterinsurgency effort," Hicks
U.S. military carried out 47 airstrikes in Somalia last year and 35 in 2017,
killing hundreds of militants. Most targeted al-Shabaab, while some targeted
Islamic State militants in the African country.
A Lebanese native of Sidon was kidnapped and killed by Boko Haram militants in
Nigeria, a Foreign Ministry source said Thursday. Ahmad al-Sarji, from Haret
Saido, was kidnapped a week ago by Boko Haram, and Lebanese officials learned
Thursday that he had been killed.
kidnappers were demanding ransom,” the source told The Daily Star, adding that
Lebanon and its ambassador to Nigeria had been in contact with the victim’s
employee to secure the ransom.
unfortunately, we were surprised to hear that Boko Haram murdered him.”
police Tuesday announced that gunmen had abducted a Lebanese construction
worker and killed another man in the northern city of Kano.
unidentified gunmen also shot one man, Alphonsus Ahmed, who died on his way to
hospital, and a bullet injured another, Abdullahi Mohammed, the spokesman said.
are rampant in Nigeria, where both locals and foreigners are targeted, mostly
sluggish economy means the average Nigerian is getting poorer while the
national security infrastructure is crumbling.
is the economic heart of northern Nigeria, where many foreigners live and work.
is concluding its gubernatorial elections, held last Saturday, though results
are yet to be announced. Last month, voters re-elected Muhammadu Buhari for a
second term as president.
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