Kid Confused A Muslim Man For Santa Claus & The Man's Been Playing Along
For 4 Years. Source: Party Characters For Kids
Christmas: Muslim Man Who Was Mistaken For Santa Visits Boy Every Year
Pakistan Hatch ‘Secret Plan’ To Build New Fighter Jets: NYT
Discourse Is Being Used To Persuade Egyptians to Limit Families
Support for Terrorist Proxies Will Not Be Tolerated': US's Veiled Warning To
Islamist Rebels Al Shabaab Declare War on Islamic State
Education Overhaul, Malaysian PM Moots Cutting Back On Religious Studies
Is Time For Renaissance for Muslim Community in India, Says Former AMU V-C
Shuts Down ‘Secret’ Islamic Preschool in Marseille
Muslim Group Blasts Boris Johnson Whitewash
Police Rule Out Islamist Attack Plot at Airport
offers to host Palestine-Israel, Hamas-Fatah meetings
adopts religious denominations act amendments
Come To Pakistan for Research On Islam, Says Detained Czech Model In Fresh
confirms death sentences of 14 convicted in military courts
in Senate rejects ‘selective accountability’
support': UAE pledges $3bn to boost Pakistan's liquidity, reserves
provinces be made on administrative grounds: Tahirul Qadri
Visits Headquarters of Military Alliance during Saudi Visit
relations improving despite attempts to ruin them’
stands with China in face of US-led claims
Helmets Engaged In Organ Trafficking, Aiding Terrorists, Looting In Syria:
of Civilian Bodies Found in Mass Grave in Iraq’s Kirkuk Province
Arabia welcomes new UN resolution on Yemen
Coalition: Houthis Violated Hodeidah Ceasefire 62 Times In 72 Hours
killed in US airstrikes on Syria's Dayr al-Zawr
says Israel to increase its “efforts” in Syria after US troop pullout
delegation joins talks in Makkah
US, Saudi, UAE Work to Reach Peace Deal In Afghanistan By 20 April
declares support for Iran, defies US sanctions
vows continued engagement in Afghanistan amid US troop pullout plan
Why Governments Should Recognise Religion's Role in Governance
police arrests Boko Haram don behind 2015 Abuja bombing
Muslims Protest against China's Treatment of Uighurs
in Sarawak Denounce Islamic 'Propagation' Remarks By Malaysian Minister
Penang, similar rally by Muslims demanding justice for Adib
Opposes Mandatory HIV Screening For Non-Muslim Couples
Time For Renaissance for Muslim Community in India, Says Former AMU V-C
Many Avatars: From Hindu to Jain To Muslim Now Poof, Courtesy Another Bjp
terrorists killed in encounter in Jammu & Kashmir's Pulwama
did I say to be called a traitor: Naseeruddin defends his comment on mob
Violence: ‘We Are Being Targeted Because We Are Muslims’ Says Safruddin
High Commissioner places Chaddar at Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah
Khan raised Kashmir issue with UN chief: UN spokesman
Shah's on-screen Pakistani agent character has awakened: BJP leader
Concern about Nation I Love’: Protests Prevent Naseeruddin From Opening Ajmer
Year of Unresolved Terror In Bangladesh
No More Political Factors in Bangladesh
Lost Generation of Rohingya Grows up Without Education
Hizb ut Tahrir members arrested in Sylhet
League Manifesto More Favourable For Religious Minority Groups’
Palace slams Taliban for refusing direct talks with peace negotiators
to Delay Syria Operation, Erdogan Welcomes US Decision To Withdraw Troops
To Oversee Hodeidah Ceasefire Starting Sunday Dec 23
Iran arms Houthis and complicates the Yemeni conflict
forces shoot dead 3 Palestinians, including teen, wound dozens more in Gaza
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Claus might not be real for most people but for one lad Santa is 100% real and
even brings him gifts every year, reported UK Asian Magazine.
Hussain from Tooting happened to be walking past a house in his local area in
2013 when a young boy named Alfie shouted 'Santa'.
Hussain not wanting to disappoint the young boy gave him some money and which
started a friendship which sees Hussain visit Alfie every year to give him
gifts. He even no calls round on their birthdays.
mum, Tracy Ashford-Rose, told BuzzFeed News that Christmas wouldn’t be the same
without a visit from “Santa”.
said she remembers “my little Alfie shouting out for me, ‘look it’s, Father
“got three houses away and came back to knock on my door; he said he couldn’t
pass without giving a gift as my little boy thought he was Father Christmas,”
was four years ago, and we still exchange gifts to each other. He comes to see
Alfie and my daughter Hayley on their birthdays and gives gifts, he never
forgets the dates.
now call him Grandad Christmas. We see him throughout the year, he shakes
Alfie’s hand, and has a cuddle. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without him
Taylor-Purchase, a professional photographer and the family’s former neighbour,
was at the house when Hussain called round last Sunday, and she shared the
heartwarming story on Facebook.
not very often that I get a tear in my eye at a photo shoot, but that guy just
did it for me. I thought I had to tell that story,” she told BuzzFeed News.
known Alfie since he was just a baby, there’s not much that stops him in his
tracks, but when he saw ‘Father Christmas’ he came running into me and said
‘you’ve got to come, the real Santa Claus is at our door, he comes to our
added: “When I looked out I was a bit confused,” because Hussain does not
actually look like Father Christmas.
at all,” she said, “obviously it’s just the beard association for Alfie – he’s
a little fellow, very skinny, wearing a business suit. It’s the sweetest thing,
Alfie doesn’t see the colour of skin, the colour of clothing, he sees the colour
of someone’s heart.
guy looked so friendly and so welcoming and he saw his big white beard and
thought he was Santa Claus.”
year there were balloons outside and he saw it was his birthday,”
Taylor-Purchase added. “Now he stops by and gives him a birthday present, and a
Christmas present, it’s become a tradition.
him to come back and knock every year and not forget his birthday, not forget
Christmas, and even remember his older sister who doesn’t believe in Santa –
it’s just the sweetest thing.”
posted the story on a local Facebook group, and many people were so touched
that they said they wanted to give their own gifts to the “real Santa Claus”.
by Alfie, she took two bags filled with treats down to surprise Hussain on
don’t want to make assumptions but if he’s not a Christian man, if it’s not his
faith, but he’s still doing all of this for a little boy, he’s just going above
and beyond,” Taylor-Purchase added.
Pakistan hatch ‘secret plan’ to build new fighter jets: NYT
has insisted for years that the US$1 trillion global transportation
infrastructure push known as the Belt and Road Initiative is purely economic in
nature and is not part of an effort to expand military endeavors.
may now be evidence that military cooperation has been explicitly outlined as
part of the BRI, according to a report from the New York Times on Thursday.
Abi-Habib wrote that the publication has reviewed a confidential plan to expand
Pakistan’s building of Chinese military equipment, including advanced fighter
those military projects were designated as part of China’s Belt and Road
Initiative,” the article claims.
confidential proposal was drafted by the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese
officials early this year and calls for the creation of a special economic zone
under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a key link in the
BRI. The zone would be the location for manufacturing of a new generation of
project would represent the first time navigation systems, radar systems, and
onboard weapons would be jointly assembled by the two countries inside of
officials confirmed the proposal, which would also expand existing production
of Chinese JF-17 fighter jets.
discourse is being used to persuade Egyptians to limit families to two children
in line with government efforts to ease population density. The government has
threatened to cut social aid to families who don’t comply.
Grand Mufti Shawki Allam recently issued fatwas that reflect the remarkable
shift in the institutions’ dealing with family matters. “Family planning and
birth reduction are inevitable religious matters. They’ve become a religious
duty that is part of what is needed and necessary,” he said.
pro-government policy religious discourse represents the shortest way to change
the attitudes of poor social groups, in which family planning is often absent.
World Health Organisation has said much of the Egyptian population’s reluctance
to use contraceptives and follow family planning programmes show that
conservative religious attitudes are conflicting with the government’s economic
Gamal, an illiterate building attendant in El Matareya district north of Cairo
and father of six, said he had been raised to believe a large family is
preferable because “interfering in having two or three children is forbidden
opinion is common among a social class that the government believes is fuelling
unsustainable population growth. That class inherited conservative religious
and cultural attitudes that are resistant to certain family planning methods.
Mansour, a sociology professor at Ain Shams University in Cairo, said that “any
step aimed at persuading families to reduce birth rates will not work without
the relevant accompanying religious, media and cultural discourse because there
is a firm belief planted by grandparents in offspring that interfering with the
number of births is haram.”
said controlling the religious discourse about family planning and limiting
parents to two children requires the government to exercise control over the
imams, sheikhs and jurists who offer a differing voice to the official
religious institutions. Unchecked religious authorities tell people that
parents must not interfere in procreation matters. Such fatwas are impossible
extremist religious militants have orchestrated a social media campaign
deriding the views of Egypt’s educational institute, Dar al-Ifta, on family planning.
Salafists say official religious institutions are being used as a cover to
legitimise the government’s decision to limit financial aid to needy families
who have only two children. They say this is also likely to lead to further
legislation heaping heavy penalties on families that refuse to abide by
Egyptian Ministry of Health established additional family planning clinics to
provide free contraceptives and initiated a radio programme produced for the
“Two are Enough” campaign in cooperation with al-Azhar University and Dar
al-Ifta. The programme focuses on correcting what it views as religious
misconceptions on family planning.
ministry is training nurses and rural social workers in family planning centres
on how to encourage rural women to limit family size to two children. The
ministry plans to carry out about 4 million door-to-door visits and 5,000
awareness-raising seminars focused on the benefits of small families.
major stumbling block lies with those wishing for large families who do not
understand or ignore the government’s message. For them, a child, from an
economic standpoint, is much more important than the government’s aid, as the
latter could be interrupted at any moment.
heads of families interviewed said they do not believe in family planning. They
said that, for modest-income families, particularly in rural areas, losing
government aid is inconsequential because their “economy” is based on their
children. Their lives would not be affected by the suspension of the
government’s monthly aid that one of their children can earn in three or four
are other factors that make it difficult to convince low income parents to
adopt the government’s approach on family planning in exchange for aid, such as
early marriages, lack of education and a cultural emphasis on women having a
male child, which can cause them to give birth over and over.
said changing cultural norms and ideas related to childbearing would require
raising awareness through civil society, religious institutions and the media,
in addition to incentivising families who respond. Sanctions alone, she said,
would not shift a deeply ingrained culture and one religious institution by
itself would not be able to correct ideas long espoused by religious
support for terrorist proxies will not be tolerated': US's veiled warning to
The US has told all its regional partners, including Pakistan, that state
support for terrorist proxies will not be tolerated, the Pentagon has said,
expressing concern over the free movement of some militant groups in Pakistan
that are presenting security challenges for Afghanistan.
Pentagon, in its semi-annual Afghan report to the US Congress that covers the
period of June to November 2018, said on Thursday that Taliban and the Haqqani
Network retain freedom of movement in Pakistan.
Pentagon's remarks came amidst reports that President Donald Trump is planning
to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.
the report, the Pentagon said that Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from
an externally supported insurgency and the highest regional concentration of
terrorist groups in the world.
this reporting period, the US continued to call on regional partners to
reinforce our messages that state support for terrorist proxies will not be
tolerated, that cross-border cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan is
essential, and that the Taliban cannot achieve its objectives through continued
military conflict," the Pentagon said.
Pakistani military operations have disrupted some militant sanctuaries, certain
groups — such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network — retain freedom of
movement in Pakistan. The United States continues to convey to all levels of
Pakistani leadership the importance of taking action against all terrorist and
militant groups," it said.
to the report, the Haqqani network continues to be an integral part of the
Taliban's effort to pressure the Afghan government in Kabul and eastern
Haqqani's role as a Taliban deputy probably increased Haqqani influence within
the Taliban leadership, and resulted in an increase in Haqqani influence to
areas outside its normal operating areas of Paktika, Paktiya, and Khost
provinces in eastern Afghanistan, it said.
Afghanistan-Pakistan border region remains a sanctuary for various groups,
including the Taliban, alQaeda core (AQ), al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent
(AQIS), the Haqqani Network (HQN), Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT), Tehrik-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP), ISIS-K, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), and the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
sanctuaries on both sides of the border present security challenges for
Afghanistan and Pakistan and pose a threat to regional security and stability,
the report said.
South Asia Strategy, which was announced by Trump in August 2017, has focused
on pressuring Pakistan to limit support and safe-haven for proxy terrorist and
militant groups and to play a constructive role in facilitating Afghan
reconciliation, the Pentagon said.
efforts in the South Asia Strategy aim to expand burden sharing, neutralize
potential spoilers to US and coalition efforts, limit threats to the United
States and our allies and partners, and develop and support a durable political
settlement in Afghanistan," the Pentagon said.
South Asia strategy prioritises regional engagement to limit hedging against
the Afghan government and create an international consensus for peace.
Pentagon said the existence of more than 20 terrorist or insurgent groups in
Afghanistan and Pakistan requires an Afghan-supported US platform in the region
to monitor, contain, and respond to these threats.
Islamist rebels Al Shabaab declare war on Islamic State
Al Shabaab has declared war on Islamic State in Somalia in an address carried
by radio station Radio Andalus on Friday."We have given them a chance to
change, but they have continued their wrongheadedness," spokesperson Ali
Rage said."Our senior command has ordered our fighters to attack and
eliminate the 'disease' of IS," Rage added, as he expanded on the
offensive code named Disease Eradication.The spokesperson also accused the
movement of "spoiling the ongoing jihad in Somalia".
Shabaab is a militant Islamic movement formed in 2006 in response to the
Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, following years of unrest after a 1991 coup.They
have led an insurgency against a weak government, and once controlled large
swathes of the unstable African country. However, they have been beaten back by
an alliance of African Union peacekeepers with international support in the
last few years.Tensions between the group and Islamic State, which found a base
in the state of Puntland, have existed ever since IS arrived in 2015.Al
Shabaab, an Al Qaida affiliate, primarily sees itself as a Somali resistance
group. A lot of its sway in the region relies on latent levels of nationalism
in Somali society.IS ideology, while remaining in line with extreme Islamic
teachings, is much more global in its outlook, which directly threatens Al
Shabaab leaders.Al Shabaab is a state within a state, with a standing army that
numbers in the thousands, and power structures that have now stood the test of
time. But despite its numerical disadvantage, IS launched attacks on Al Shabaab
earlier this month.On Tuesday this week, IS claimed to have killed 14 Al
Shabaab fighters in a video seen by Voice of America.
LUMPUR, Dec 21 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced tonight that
the overhaul of Malaysian education will diminish the current focus on
at his alma mater Sultan Abdul Hamid College’s (SAHC) annual dinner, Dr
Mahathir said the focus on religion has caused students ill-equipped to get jobs.
changed the curriculum in school and now national schools have become religious
are all learning about the religion of Islam and not learning anything else. As
a result, those who pass in school are not very conversant with subjects that
are useful for them to get jobs, but they are very good ulama,” he said.
that the current school system produced many Islamic religious scholars or
ulama, he said: “And when you have too many ulama, they always differ from each
other, and they mislead their followers and they quarrel with each other.”
address the problem of schools being overly-focused on religion, Dr Mahathir
said the timetable and curriculum in schools would be changed.
of that, we are going to change the timetable and curriculum in the schools, we
will still study religion, but not all periods in one day, maybe one or two
periods in a week,” he said.
we need to master all the other subjects, because if we want to progress,
Malaysians must be well-educated, not only in reciting Quran, but also in other
languages. If we don’t, we are going to be very backward,” he said.
the school curriculum will be changed and modified, so that now we will have
national schools that will teach everybody all the important subjects that will
be useful for them when they mature and become independent individuals,” he
Mahathir said Malaysia is currently going through a difficult phase and needs
development, adding that the country needs well-educated people and those who
are able to interact with others and speak up for the nation.
have to work very hard in order to catch up with other people.
although we have to say our prayers, but we also need to spend a good time on
mastering all the other subjects that are taught in the school,” he said.
his speech, Dr Mahathir also said that Malaysians were formerly known to have
good command of the English language.
Mahathir encouraged Malaysians to master English which he described as a
“universal language” and crucial for acquiring new knowledge to help the
country progress, saying that learning the language would not diminish their
Malay or Malaysian identity.
Kedah-born Dr Mahathir was speaking at the dinner organised by the Sultan Abdul
Hamid Old Collegians Association (Sahoca) KL, of which he is also lifetime
year also marks the 110th anniversary of the SAHC, where his father Mohamad
Iskandar was its first principal when the school was then known as the
Government English School.
is also the alma mater of various other prominent individuals such as
Malaysia's first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, Kedah ruler
Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah, four former Kedah Mentri Besar, several
former Chief Justice of Malaysia, former ministers including Tun Daim
is time for renaissance for Muslim community in India, says former AMU V-C
is time for renaissance for the country's Muslim community to develop itself
and the nation, said Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, who was also Vice
Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim Unuversity, on Wednesday at a discussion on
empowering young Muslims.
said modern secular school education for the community is a must for its
have been repeatedly requesting all to join us for the renaissance in the
Muslim community," said Shah in his key note address at a day-long
workshop on 'Strategies and Approaches for Empowering Young Muslims -- Building
Resilience, strengthening nation' in Patna.
said children belonging to the community must be given best school education
and for this the community should build schools with modern outlook with
Islamic ethos on the lines of Christian missionaries-run institutions.
have set up a modern school in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. It is named Sir
Syed National School. AMU students have donated Rs 51 lakh to build this
school," he said. "We hope to set up another similar school in
said he was surprised when 40 Muslim families in Uttar Pradesh came forward to
offer 2 acre each for setting up such schools in the state. "Government
funds and other forms of assistance may come, but Muslims have to set up
world-class schools for children. Other communities have done so," he
said the condition of the Muslim community today is similar to what it was in
1857. "The community is marginalised, impoverished, victimised and at the
bottom of development indicators," he said. "But fault for this
pathetic situation of the community lies with us. We have neglected the
importance of education, particularly modern education."
prominent people who addressed the workshop included Venkatesh Srinivasan of
UNFP, Sadur Rahman of UNICEF, Amir Subhani, principal secretary Minority
Welfare, Bihar, and Dr A.S. Nakdar, founder of American Federation of Muslims
of Indian Origin.
French Ministry of Education decided to close an Islamic preschool in Marseille
for not complying with France’s academic rules.
an interview with the French channel RMC Minister of Education Jean Jacques
Bourdin said that the school, which relies on fundamentalist Salafi teachings
based on physical jihadism, was closed on Monday, December 17.
minister said that the school, not corresponding with France’s educational
“norms” had “lied” about the situation of its students.
morning, [the schoolchildren] would be accompanied to a place that looks
nothing like a school,” the minister stated, as reported by French daily Le
minister indicated that a law passed in July gives the ministry the right to
shut down schools that do not follow the country’s norms, especially those
which adopt notions of fundamentalist Islam, for fear that the institutions
would “indoctrinate” the children.
announced that authorities will instead enroll the Islamic school students in
traditional public schools. The school had only 43 students aged 2 to 6 years
authorities are reportedly investigating the types of courses the school gave
to the students and whether the courses bore any characteristics of
is not the first time that France has closed an Islamist school. In 2016 the
country closed an Islamic primary school in Toulouse, southwest France, that
made children attend for more hours than the national curriculum’s regulations.
Toulouse court gave the school’s headteacher a four-month jail sentence.
Muslim group blasts Boris Johnson whitewash
Muslims' top umbrella group on Friday blasted the ruling Conservatives’
whitewash of Islamophobic remarks by Boris Johnson, the former foreign
examining an August column for the Daily Telegraph in which Johnson compared
Muslim women who wear the niqab and burka to “letterboxes and bank robbers,” a
Tory panel ruled his slurs “respectful and tolerant” and defended his right to
the comments “dehumanising,” the Muslim Council of Britain -- an umbrella group
for some 500 mosques, schools, and associations -- said that far from being
“satire,” Johnson’s “denigrating” column had inspired Islamophobic attacks.
at the time suggested that his Telegraph column had real-world consequences,
directly leading to ‘copycat’ verbal assaults against Muslim women and the
unleashing of hate and Islamophobia from Conservative supporters,” said a statement
by the council.
Johnson is not a satirist – he is a Member of Parliament, and as such has a
responsibility to set the tone for the rest of the UK to follow,” added the
this case, it is far-right Islamophobes who have been empowered to follow his
August senior Conservative MPs and the prime minister herself demanded an
apology from Johnson, but none was given.
police rule out Islamist attack plot at airport
(Reuters) - German police raided several apartments on Friday as part of an
investigation into what they say may have been a reconnaissance operation at
Stuttgart airport, but said they had found no evidence of an Islamist attack
men without luggage were seen observing security checks at the airport on Dec.
12. A day later, a similar incident was reported at Charles de Gaulle airport
in Paris, prosecutors said, which had prompted police to step up security at
Stuttgart and other nearby airports.
suspects had also taken a woman to the airport and were watching her make her
way through the security checks, prosecutors said.
searches turned up no evidence of preparations for an Islamist-terrorist
attack,” prosecutors and police said in a joint statement.
searched several apartments in western and southwestern Germany earlier on
has officially proposed to organize a meeting between chief Palestinian and
Israeli officials as part of wider efforts to resolve the conflict between the
announcement was made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday at a
press conference held after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad
al-Maliki in Moscow.
see the desire of some external players to push the Palestinian problem into
the background, depriving it of priority in regional affairs," Lavrov
counter such attempts, the speediest restoration of Palestinian unity is of
particular importance, he said.
also expressed deep concern about the United States' stance on the Palestinian
issue and its disregard for international resolutions.
Friday's talks, Lavrov recalled that an intra-Palestinian dialogue was held in
2017, when participants discussed the possibility of repeating this practice in
2019 with the participation of all Palestinian factions, including Fatah and
Israelis do not rule out in principle the possibility of a meeting, but they
are not yet ready to agree on a concrete date because of the absence of unity
between the Palestinians, Lavrov said.
in turn, said the Palestinian side is always ready to accept the Russian
invitation to hold a meeting with Israelis, the Palestinian news agency Wafa
said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had accepted the initiative of Russian
President Vladimir Putin to organize a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu in Russia, but the idea was rejected by the Israeli side.
further called on Russia and the international community to pressure Israel to
abide by its agreements with the Palestinians and comply with the relevant
Palestinian minister also stressed the need for finding an international
mechanism on the basis of international references and resolutions, leading to
a settlement based on a two-state solution and the establishment of an
independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestinian leadership has been divided between Fatah and Hamas since 2006,
when the latter scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the
Gaza Strip. Hamas has ever since been running the coastal enclave, while Fatah
has been based in the autonomous parts the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Bulgarian Parliament on Friday adopted an amendment bill on religious denominations
that will see an increase in public subsidies for two largest religious
communities -- Orthodox Christians and Muslims.
the amendments in the Religious Denominations Act, the Grand Mufti’s Office
will receive an annual support of €3 million (around $3.41 million) from the
Faik, the secretary general of the Grand Mufti`s Office, told Anadolu Agency
that: "Our lawmakers have accepted the most 'soft' version of the bill,
which has been discussed for about three months."
to the bill, each follower of different religions identified in the last census
held in 2013 will receive €5 (around $5.7) aid per year.
with a ratio of less than 1 percent to the general population of Bulgaria will
also be supported every year from the state budget.
with a total population of 7 million hosts some 1.5 million Muslims.
come to Pakistan for research on Islam, says detained Czech model in fresh
– In a big shift in her previous statement, Czech model Tereza Hluskova, who
was arrested for trying to smuggle nine kilogrammes of heroin, said that she
had come to Pakistan to conduct research on Islam.
foreign model had earlier confessed to smuggling heroin to the United Arab
Emirates but now, she claimed that the purpose of his visit to do research on
the religion, reported local media.
latest about-turn, she also denied smuggling the drugs from the Allama Iqbal
International Airport Lahore, adding that the officials arrested her for no
this year, Tereza Hluskova was travelling to Ireland via Abu Dhabi when she was
caught by Customs officials after successfully passing through two
Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) checking counters at Allama Iqbal International
Airport in January. She was shifted to Customs House after the officials
refused to hand her over to the ANF.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday confirmed death
sentences awarded to 14 men convicted on terrorism charges by military courts.
information was shared in a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public
statement said the convicted men were involved in heinous offences related to
terrorism, including attacking the Armed Forces/Law Enforcement Agencies of
Pakistan, destruction of communication infrastructure, police station,
educational institution and killing of innocent civilians.
as 16 people including 13 Armed Forces personnel died in these incidents and 19
suffered injuries, the ISPR said.
convicts were tried by special military courts with 20 convicts being awarded
imprisonment, the statement added. They were identified as follows: Mohi Ud Din
S/O Salah Ud Din and Gul Zameen S/O Shah Kameen Khan, members of a proscribed
organisation. They were involved in attacking Armed Forces and Law Enforcement
Agencies, which resulted in the death of a civilian, three soldiers and injuries
to five other soldiers, the ISPR said. They were also found in possession of
explosives. The press statement said that the convicts admitted their offences
before the Judicial Magistrate and also while making a statement at their
respective trials. They were awarded death sentence.
Hadi S/O Bakht Rawan, a member of a proscribed organisation, was involved in an
attack which resulted in the death of three soldiers. He was also involved in
the destruction of Hazara/ Gulibagh Bridge and a police station as well as the
kidnapping of two civilians for ransom. The convict confessed his offences
before the Judicial Magistrate and during his statement at the trial, said the
ISPR. He was awarded death sentence.
Wahab S/O Hazrat Buland, Gul Muhammad S/O Ghulam Sardar, Bashir Ahmed S/O Nadir
Khan and Afreen Khan S/O Masam Khan were involved in an attack which resulted
in the death of Subedar Awal Khan, Naik Azmat Ullah and injuries to another
soldier. They were also found in possession of firearms and explosives. These
convicts confessed their offences before the Judicial Magistrate and also while
making a statement at their respective trials, said the ISPR statement. They
were awarded death sentences.
Ali S/O Bakht Hazir, Muhammad Islam S/O Muhammad Zada, Rooh Ul Amin S/O Zarin
and Shtamand S/O Baishmand were involved in killing of innocent civilians and
attacks which resulted in death of civilians Muhammad Umar, Mukhtiar Ahmad,
Havildar Allah Dita and Sepoy Bacha Hussain and injuries to two civilians. They
were involved in the destruction of Government Girls educational institutions
in Swat. They were also found in possession of firearms and explosives. The
convicts admitted their offences before the Judicial Magistrate and also while
making a statement at their respective trials, said the statement. They were
awarded death sentences.
Wazir S/O Bakhat Nazir was involved in an attack which resulted in the death of
Naik Ghulam Hassan and injuries to another soldier. He was found in possession
of firearms and explosives. The convict confessed his offences before the
Judicial Magistrate and during his statement at the trial, according to the
ISPR. He was awarded death sentence.
S/O Abdul Shakoor was involved in an attack which resulted in the death of
Sepoy Sajid Khan and injuries to five other soldiers. He was also found in
possession firearms and explosives. The convict confessed his offences before
the Judicial Magistrate and during his statement at the trial, said the
statement. He was awarded death sentence.
As the opposition in the Senate rejected on Friday what it called selective
accountability and voiced concern over “witch-hunt in the name of
accountability”, parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the
house Sherry Rehman questioned the purpose and timing of the prime minister’s
assistant Shahzad Akbar’s meeting with a joint investigation team (JIT) probing
the money laundering case ahead of former president Asif Ali Zardari’s
appearance before a banking court.
the issue on the floor of the house, Senator Rehman said: “According to media
reports, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad
Akbar held a meeting with JIT members at FIA office and summoned witnesses as
well. Why is Shahzad Akbar holding meetings with JIT representatives when Asif
Zardari is expected to appear before banking court for bail extension?”
expressed concern over the government’s influence on the accountability process
and said: “The government is doing politics of victimisation in the name of
accountability. It seems the government and accountability institutions are
working and conspiring together. If government claims it has no role in cases
against PPP leaders, why Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on
Accountability Shahzad Akbar was holding meetings with JIT members all the
night? The government will have to explain the purpose of the meeting but
unfortunately there is no federal minister in the house to speak on this
joint opposition walked out of the Senate in protest against the absence of
Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, while taking part in the discussion on the
president’s address to the joint sitting of parliament, called for
across-the-board accountability, saying that selective accountability was
said that politicians, bureaucrats, military officers and members of the
judiciary should be tried under the same law and proposed formation of a
federal accountability commission for the purpose. He said that use of
accountability as a tool to advance political agenda had not worked.
he added, the attempts to run political parties through “remote control” had
also served no purpose. Observing that it was time to stop playing games with
the state, he said discretionary powers of the National Accountability Bureau
(NAB) chairman must be abolished.
that several opportunities had been lost, Mr Rabbani referred to a Supreme
Court directive to do away with the plea bargain deal provision from the NAB law.
He said the apex court had warned that it would strike down the law itself if
it was not done by February. The PPP senator asked the government to do it
before the court acted, saying that there would be no room for objection in
such a step by the court.
said the Constitution provided for trichotomy of powers, but regretted that
there was a lack of harmony among state organs, including parliament, the
executive and the judiciary that led to encroachment upon the domain of one
institution by the other. He said the state effectively functioned and the
institutions strengthened only when the constitutional requirements were met.
Rabbani regretted that about six years had passed but the National Finance
Commission (NFC) award had not seen light of the day.
parliament mother of all institutions, he said the executive was answerable to
both houses of parliament, adding that attempts were under way to render
parliament dysfunctional. “I was shocked and bewildered when the foreign
minister said there were certain things which could not be shared (with the
said that an in-camera session of parliament could be convened if some
sensitive matters were involved, adding that a joint meeting of the Senate
committees on defence and foreign affairs could also be held.
former Senate chairman called for immediate constitution of a parliamentary
committee on national security.
retied Gen Abdul Qayyum said that improvement in governance was the key to
addressing the root cause of corruption, adding that steps should be taken for
capacity development and judicial, civil services and police reforms should be
said the president should have touched upon the global threats and their
magnitude. He was of the view that Pakistan was in a disastrous situation and
faced with two-directional threat. Warning that the dimensions of hybrid
warfare were lethal, he said diplomatic efforts should be made to defuse the
United Arab Emirates has announced its intention to deposit US$3 billion
(equivalent to AED11 billion) in the State Bank of Pakistan "to support
the financial and monetary policy of the country", reported WAM, the
official news agency of the Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development said,
in a statement today, that it will deposit the said amount in the coming days
to enhance liquidity and monetary reserves of foreign currency at the bank.
country's support for Pakistan's fiscal policy is based on the historical ties
between the two people, said WAM, and the two friendly countries and the desire
to further develop the bilateral cooperation in all fields.
the announcement, Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter to thank the UAE
government for "supporting Pakistan so generously in our testing
reflects our commitment and friendship that has remained steadfast over the
years," said the prime minister.
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has financed eight development projects in
Pakistan with a total value of AED1.5 billion, including AED931 million in
grants, added WAM. The funds covered projects in sectors such as energy,
health, education and roads.
PTI-led government, which completed its 100 days in power on November 26,
counted "resetting relations with key partners including Saudi Arabia and
the UAE" among its accomplishments in its performance report.
assuming office in August, the premier has visited the UAE twice.
first visit took place in September when Khan visited Saudi Arabia and then the
UAE. He was received by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin
Sultan Al Nahyan and the two countries had agreed to strengthen economic, trade
and investment relations.
next month, a UAE delegation — comprising CEOs/senior officials of major
companies including Mubadala Petroleum, ADIA (Sovereign Wealth Funds),
Etisalat, DP World, Dubai Investment Authority, Emaar Properties, Aldahra
Agriculture and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development — arrived in Pakistan.
to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the one-day visit of the delegation —
headed by Dr Sultan Aljaber, minister of state and CEO of Abu Dhabi National
Oil Company — was a follow-up to the prime minister’s maiden visit to Abu
November, the premier embarked on his second trip to the UAE amid reports that
the gulf state was ready to extend financial assistance to Pakistan. Khan was
received by the Abu Dhabi crown prince in the UAE capital and was accorded a
reception at the presidential palace, which was followed by delegation-level
was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Foreign Minister Qureshi,
Finance Minister Asad Umar, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Power
Minister Omar Ayub Khan, PM’s Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, PM’s
Adviser on Accountability Shahzad Akbar and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar
Javed Bajwa, among others.
The new provinces should be on administrative rather than linguistic grounds,
demands Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.
his party workers, he said “for the first time, all parties – both in
government and in opposition – are now in favour of south Punjab province and
this opportunity should not be missed. Stock of administrative issues should be
taken and the initiative be taken. By creating new provinces on administrative
preferences, issues like unemployment, education and poverty alleviation can be
better handled. It will further ensure judicious allocation of funds, better
resource mobilisation and justice at local level. All these steps need to be
taken and taken urgently,” he said.
expressed his satisfaction over court’s allowing formation of new Joint
Investigation Team (JIT) for a probe into Model Town incident. “The previous
government formed the JIT unilaterally, which also worked unilaterally: totally
ignoring the PAT point of view. The present government has also played a
positive role in formation of a new JIT, which is praiseworthy. The PAT is
convinced that justice will only be delivered when characters behind the veils
are unveiled. The new JIT would, hopefully, do the job as per satisfaction of
heirs of those killed in the incident.”
visits headquarters of military alliance during Saudi visit
Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani during his official visit to Saudi
Arabia visited the Headquarters of the military alliance established under
command of Saudi Arabia for the restoration of legitimate government in Yemen
along with members of his delegation.
of the Military Alliance Lieutenant General Prince Fahad Bin Turki Bin Abdul
Aziz Al Saud gave a briefing to the visiting delegation regarding the joint
military forces and their operations, says a press release.
chairman expressed appreciation of the warm welcome and hospitality from the
hosts. Sadiq Sanjrani observed that the Muslim Ummah was facing a heap of
issues of which terrorism was the primary and Saudi Arabia had also faced a
number of such incidents planned internally and externally. He remarked that
Pakistan has always stood against terrorism and its incited activities and will
always support the cause of rooting out terrorism. He said that Pakistan
supports the unconditional restoration of peace and return of occupying rebel
forces. He appreciated the efforts of the joining military forces in the
restoration of peace in Yemen. The delegation was told by the chief of the
military alliance that prominent success has been achieved in restoring peace
and return of rebels in Yemen.
chairman expressed his hope that the coalition of military forces will garner
more support from other countries and be more successful. He said that His
Majesty King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman have
taken all possible measures for bringing peace in Yemen and for rehabilitation
of people which is highly commendable.
Congresswomen Sarah Jackson has launched the Congressional Pakistan Caucus
Foundation (CPCF) at the Pakistan’s Embassy to help young American-Pakistanis
engage politically, despite the recent dip in bilateral relations between the
to journalists at the launch event, Jackson said: “Even though funds were cut
in the appropriations – the amendments that came to the floor to try to make it
worse did not get support.”
on the trajectory of the Pakistani- American relationship, she said that the
strength of Pakistan “is a very strong Pakistani- American community” that will
help improve the bilateral relationship.
remarks by some members of the Trump’s administration don’t characterise the
totality of our relationship and I would like to see continued dialogue and
engagement, especially with the new PM,” she said.
view was echoed by Californian Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, who voted
against US President Donald Trump’s attempts to cut aid to Pakistan.
“Suspending aid and elevating controversial issues above all other concerns is
not the way to deal with Pakistan,” he said.
the launch of the CPCF, he said: “Part of the mission of the foundation is to
encourage young Pakistani Americans to come to Washington. The foundation will
provide funds to those young people who do not have the financial means to work
Congressional Pakistan Caucus Foundation (CPCF), a non-partisan non-profit
group, will work with the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. The foundation will
include members of Congress working with Pakistani Americans. The aim of the
foundation will be to help provide opportunities for American Pakistani young
people in the US Political system.
has defended China over its treatment of minority Muslim community, describing
US and other Western claims of rehabilitation centers for Uighurs as media
in Pakistan’s northernmost region of Gilgit-Baltistan demanded earlier this
year that authorities in China’s Xinjiang province immediately release dozens
of Chinese women married to Pakistani men.
Faisal, spokesman for Pakistan's ministry of foreign affairs, said in Islamabad
some media outlets were spreading fake news about the Chinese women married to
section of foreign media are trying to sensationalize the matter by spreading
false information," Faisal said.
per Chinese authorities, out of 44 women, six are already in Pakistan. Four
have been convicted on various charges, three are under investigations, eight
are undergoing voluntary training. Twenty-three women are free and living in
Xinjiang of their own free will."
Rights Watch has accused the Chinese government of carrying out “repressive
policies” against the Muslims in Xinjiang.
has claimed governmental controls over day-to-day life in Xinjiang, primarily
affecting ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities.
to estimates cited by a UN panel, numerous camps have been set up in China's
vast Xinjiang region, holding as many as one million ethnic Uighurs and other
officials have dismissed the allegations and instead characterized the camps as
“vocational education and employment training centers” for “criminals involved
in minor offenses.”
have long linked their measures in Xinjiang with counter-terrorism efforts,
arguing that separatists are bent on joining Takfiri terrorists like al-Qaeda.
March, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the military to erect a “Great
Wall of Steel” around the restive region after an apparent spike in killing
that authorities blame on Takfiri terrorists.
pronouncement of support for China comes amid Islamabad's tensions with the US,
which have escalated under the Trump administration.
Western-backed White Helmets "aid" group has engaged in organ
trafficking, terrorist logistics support and looting in Syria, a report
presented to the UN said.
evidence was presented by the director of the Russia-based Study of Democracy
Foundation Maxim Grigoriev on Thursday.
report is based on interviews with over 100 eyewitnesses, including 40 White
Helmets members, 50 local residents and 15 former terrorist fighters.
500 civilians were also surveyed in the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Deraa.
is overwhelming evidence which proves that the White Helmets centers were
permanently engaged in building fortifications for battle positions for
terrorist and illegal armed groups who had been supplying them with water and
food and evacuating wounded terrorists from the front line," said Grigoriev.
detailed how the group provided logistics support for armed groups, assisting
in transporting troops and supplies.
researcher went on to quote a White Helmets member from the formerly
terrorist-held Syrian town of Douma saying, "for instance, we dug trenches
in the towns of Mesraba and al-Shaifuniya and constructed an earthen
director presented harrowing accounts indicating the group's involvement in
human organ trafficking.
evacuated by the White Helmets often did not come back alive," Grigoriev
said quoting a witness from an area where the group operated.
example, a person receives a minor injury, is rescued, evacuated and then
brought back with their stomach cut open and with their internal organs
reports from the organization's members in the Syrian town of Saqba, the study
also revealed extensive corruption within the group's network, with leaders
making private gains out of donations and members looting the civilian
we came to help, entered a flat, and, if we found gold or jewelry, seized
it," Grigoriev quoted a White Helmets member in Douma. "In one flat,
there was a woman who felt ill, we came to help her, found some gold and stole
previous reports about the group's attempts at staging civilian casualties and
chemical attacks, Grigoriev pointed to a particular case in Jisr al‑Haj,
Aleppo where trash was set on fire and bodies
were brought from a local morgue to stage a filmed rescue.
written testimony from a White Helmet member claimed that everyone involved had
received an extra $50 for the effort.
went on to explain that “undeniable evidence” indicated the group had been
taking written orders from terrorist groups and that almost all group members
were paid staff, not volunteers.
evidence, the researcher said, proved that the White Helmets is not an
"aid group" but an extension of terrorist groups in Syria.
accounts of members of the White Helmets are full of propagandist materials of
terrorist groups, including [Daesh] and al-Qaeda, praising Osama bin Laden and
other individuals listed by the UN as terrorists,” added Grigoriev.
director highlighted that “hundreds of photos with weapons in their hands” were
available on social media.
UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia, who was also present at the UN hearing, said the
evidence showed that “the White Helmets deserve to be on the United Nations’
designated terrorist list.”
so-called White Helmets group, projected by the West as “civil defense
workers,” was established by former British Army officer James Le Mesurier in
self-styled volunteer rescue group has been repeatedly accused of acting as the
media arm for Takfiri terrorist groups, and charged with staging false flag
chemical attacks in a bid to prompt Western military intervention in Syria.
July, several hundred people affiliated with the group were evacuated from
southern Syria to Israel amid a successful Syrian Army operation in the region.
UK, Canada, and Germany have proudly announced interest in accepting the White
Helmets as refugees.
of civilian bodies found in mass grave in Iraq’s Kirkuk Province
authorities have uncovered a mass grave in the country’s northern province of
Kirkuk that contains the remains of dozens of civilians believed to have been
executed by Daesh Takfiri terrorists when they were in control of the area.
Ismail, a lieutenant-colonel in the Iraqi federal police force, told media
outlets on Friday that the latest macabre discovery was made on Thursday in the
Hawija district of Kirkuk province.
official noted the grave contained the remains of "innocent Iraqi
civilians" who "were abducted and then killed" by Takfiri
Firas, a resident of the area, said it was found in what appears to be a deep
well in the Al-Abbassi area of Hawija.
is a mass grave used by Daesh." Firas said, adding, "They used to
come here, execute and throw (the victims) inside, and we used to watch and
observe from nearby."
comes as security forces have discovered dozens of mass graves since they drove
out Daesh terrorists in 2017 after three years of occupation of swathes of
northern and western Iraq.
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says more than 200
mass graves, containing the remains of thousands of people, have been
discovered in territories previously controlled by Daesh Takfiris in Iraq.
UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Human Rights Office have
documented the existence of 202 mass grave sites in the provinces of Nineveh,
Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Anbar in the northern and western parts of the country,”
the OHCHR said in a report published last month.
UN body further noted that there are maybe more mass graves, and it is
difficult to determine the total number of people in the mass graves.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations
against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
July 10 that year, he formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which
served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab
the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd
al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of
fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning
Arabia has welcomed on Friday the new UN security council resolution on Yemen
and said that it confirms the success of military pressure on Houthis.
kingdom also said that the presence of international observers will prevent
Houthis from obstructing and violating the ceasefire in Hodeidah.
kingdom pointed out that the resolution reassures that the diplomatic efforts
by Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir and Saudi ambassador to the UN
Abdullah al-Mouallimi had direct influence on the international community’s
kingdom also clarified that the resolution supports the Sweden deals as well as
confirms the effectiveness of resolution 2216.
Coalition: Houthis violated Hodeidah ceasefire 62 times in 72 hours
Arab Coalition said on Friday that Houthis violated the Sweden deal on a
ceasefire in Hodeidah.
Coalition added that the ceasefire has been breached 62 times in the past 72
Houthi breaches included attacks with different kinds of arms, according to the
coalition supporting the Yemeni legitimate government.
where the ceasefire deal was violated include Ad Durayhimi, At Tuhayat, al-Hali
and other areas, the coalition said.
Coalition also expressed its support for the Yemeni army’s commitment to the
US and its allies have conducted air raids on Syria’s eastern Dayr al-Zawr
province, killing more than two dozen people, including eight children.
so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the deadly
strikes hit the village of al-Sha'afa, situated on the eastern bank of the
Euphrates River, on Friday.
least 27 people were killed this morning in al-Sha'afa," SOHR head Rami
Abdel Rahman said, adding that several people were seriously injured in the
US-led coalition attacks.
further noted that eight children were among the civilian victims of the
and Hajin are the two main villages in the last pocket of territory still
occupied by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Dayr al-Zawr near the Iraqi
Syrian army managed to liberate Dayr Al-Zawr city from the grip of Daesh in
US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside
Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus
government or a UN mandate.
aerial assaults have failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism,
but destroyed much of Syria's infrastructure and left many civilian casualties.
fresh US air raids came two days after President Donald Trump announced an
abrupt decision to pull out American troops from Syria after claiming victory
over Daesh there.
Pentagon also confirmed that it had started the process of withdrawing all
2,000 American troops from Syria
announcement, however, raised concerns among Washington's European and regional
allies, which have long been supporting a myriad of anti-Damascus militants.
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to intensify Israel’s “efforts” in Syria
after US President Donald Trump announced a full withdrawal of American troops
from the Arab country.
will continue to act in Syria to prevent Iran’s efforts to militarily entrench
itself against us. We are not reducing our efforts, we will increase our
efforts,” Netanyahu said on Thursday.
know that we do so with the full support and backing of the US,” Netanyahu said
at the fifth Israel-Greece-Cyprus summit held in Beersheba.
said Wednesday he had received advanced warning of the US troop pullout from
Syria in telephone conversations with Trump on Monday, and US Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.
on Wednesday announced that US troops had defeated the Daesh terrorists in Syria
and he sought to pull some 2,000 US troops out of Syria.
decision upended a central pillar of US Middle East policy, and stunned US
lawmakers and allies, who challenged the president’s claim of victory against
Trump says no one should be surprised by the abrupt announcement.
to continue operations along Lebanon border
his Thursday comments, the Israeli premier also vowed that the Israeli military
will continue its operations along the occupied Palestinian territories’ border
with Lebanon, where Tel Aviv claims are tunnels dug by the Lebanese Hezbollah
tunnels were built by Hezbollah with direct support and funding from Iran,”
also described it as part of “the Iranian web of aggression in the Middle East”
and vowed to keep destroying the “tunnels” until its total annihilation.
on Dec. 4, the Israeli military started its operation along Lebanon’s border
under the pretext of “cutting off” the alleged tunnels.
military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus claimed that “a
number of tunnels” had penetrated the Israeli-occupied territories.
claimed that Hezbollah has been developing an offensive plan that would “shift
the battleground into Israel.” According to unnamed Israeli officials, the
operation would likely “take weeks.”
military spokesperson Avichay Adraee said the Lebanese government was
responsible for the build-up of the tunnels.
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri warned the Tel Aviv regime against
launching a new military aggression against his country, saying they would not
succeed in case it opted to do so.
a speech at the Chatham House think tank in London on Dec. 13, Hariri
downplayed the possibility of Israel waging another war on Lebanon, questioning
what the Israeli military’s previous wars had accomplished.
Israeli attacks weaken Hezbollah?” he commented.
noted that whilst Beirut does not want war, the Tel Aviv regime does not want
Saudi Arabia’s Hajj and Umrah Minister Mohammed Salih Bentin held talks with
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Amr Ali Lutfi, assistant minister of interior for
administrative affairs in Egypt, and his delegation in Makkah on Thursday.
two men discussed cooperation in the field of Hajj and Umrah, as well as issues
of common interest.
week, the Saudi minister separately received Sudanese, Algerian and Palestinian
Dr. Abdulfattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, held
discussions with Sheikh Maksatbek Toktomushev, the mufti of Kyrgyzstan.
US, Saudi, UAE work to reach peace deal in Afghanistan by 20 April
peace talks held in the United Arab Emirates will yield "very positive results
by the beginning of next year", the Saudi ambassador to Washington said on
Thursday, adding to hopes of progress to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.
bin Salman added on his Twitter account that the talks were productive and
would "help promote intra-Afghan dialogue towards ending the
US special envoy for Afghan peace talks, Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on
Wednesday to meet government leaders following his discussions with Taliban
representatives in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.
from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part in the Abu Dhabi
meeting, at least the third encounter between Khalilzad and Taliban envoys
since he was named to oversee the peace effort from Washington's side in
an interview with Afghanistan's Ariana Television, Khalilzad repeated that,
ideally, an agreement would be reached before presidential elections, currently
scheduled for April 20.
think it would be great if we could reach a peace deal before the elections,"
he said, according to a transcript provided by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
it doesn't only depend on Afghanistan’s government. It depends on the Taliban
United States insists that any peace settlement must be agreed between Afghans
but the Taliban have so far publicly refused to talk directly to the Afghan
government, which they say is an illegitimate, foreign-imposed regime.
a separate interview with Tolo News, Khalilzad said Trump was "in a
hurry", having promised the American people that he wanted to end the war
it should not be misinterpreted - we want peace here with respect to set
objectives - that Afghanistan will not be a threat for the U.S. - and that we
have a positive relationship with Afghanistan," he said.
but if the Taliban are not prepared for that and war continues, then we will
stand by the Afghan government and people," he said.
hopes Saudia Arabia and the UAE can push Pakistan to use its leverage on the
Taliban to drop their refusal to talk directly with the Afghan government.
said that during the Abu Dhabi meeting, the two countries had proposed a
three-month ceasefire between the Taliban and the Afghan government but that
the Taliban had asked for more time to consult with their leadership
told them, if they want peace or if they are serious about peace, they should
sit with the Afghans and respond as soon as possible to the Emirati and Saudi
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey did not approve of
US sanctions on Iran, as they would lead to destabilization in the region,
Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
US decision on the sanctions against Iran puts regional safety and stability in
danger," Erdogan said. "I want to stress once more that we, Turkey,
do not support these decisions."
will continue to be in solidarity with brotherly Iran at a time when pressures
on Iran mounts which we find unjust,” Erdogan said at a news conference with
his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in the Turkish capital Ankara, according
said Ankara was ready to take any measures to decrease the negative impacts of
the sanctions on economic relations between Turkey and Iran. The Iranian president called US sanctions a
100 percent terrorist act.
is among eight countries to which the United States granted a six-month
exemption for trading with Iran when a new round of sanctions on Iranian
financial activities and oil and gas sales went into force on Nov. 5.
has emphasized its commitment to maintaining its armed forces in Afghanistan
despite Washington’s announcement of its intent to pull out thousands of US
troops from the war-torn country.
engagement is important to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe
haven for international terrorists who could threaten us at home," NATO’s
spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said on Friday as quoted in an AFP report.
declined, however, to comment on the recently announced plan by US President
Donald Trump to withdraw a considerable number of the 14,000 American military
service members deployed in Afghanistan.
underlined that NATO foreign ministers met as recently as this month to express
"steadfast commitment to ensuring long-term security and stability in
report also quoted an unnamed US official as saying that a "decision has
been made. There will be a significant withdrawal."
while US-based news outlets have also reported that more than 7,000 American
troops are due to return home from Afghanistan.
to press inquiries about such reports, Lungescu only stated: "We have seen
the reports. For any comments, I refer you to the US authorities."
the NATO spokeswoman pointed to Washington's key role in the alliance and
specifically hailed US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who dramatically announced
his resignation on Thursday. "Secretary Mattis has made a key contribution
to keeping NATO strong and ready to deal with the significant security
challenges we face."
is widely respected as a soldier and a diplomat... We are grateful for the
iron-clad commitment of the United States to NATO,” Lungescu added. “US
leadership keeps our transatlantic alliance strong."
to the report, a contingent of the US forces deployed to Afghanistan are part
of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, purportedly engaged in training and
advising local Afghan troops battling Taliban militants.
unspecific number of American combat forces in Afghanistan, however, are part
of a US-led so-called “counter-terrorism mission,” and it is not clear from
initial press reports which of the troops will be the first to be withdrawn
from the terror-ravaged nation.
has often been at odds with fellow NATO leaders, accusing a number of European
allies, such as Germany and France, of not contributing sufficiently to the
alliance in terms of military spending.
massive US-led military force invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in a declared “war on
terror,” initially aimed at toppling the ruling Taliban regime in the country
and uprooting the presence of allied al-Qaeda terrorist group.
nearly 18 years later, Taliban and Daesh terrorists continue to plague
Afghanistan. Numerous attempts by US emissaries have been made to engage
Taliban in peace talks.
need for governments at all levels to critically observe the role of religion
in governance has been stressed, with optimism that dealing with various
religious beliefs in fairness, equity and balance would engender peace and
stability in the polity.
Islamic Welfare Foundation (IWF) in a communique issued at the end of 2018
Conference on Islam in Nigeria (COIN) held at Crescent University, Abeokuta,
said Nigerians are a very religious people and they desire that their different
religions reflect in both the private and public lives, hence governments
should recognize the role of religion in governance.
stated: "While much of Christianity had been embedded in Nigeria's legal
and social fabrics since the colonial era, it is not the same with Islam. This
is what causes agitation among Muslims who feel short-changed by the system.
Equity and fairness in the Nigerian nation as well as trust and mutual
understanding between the people, will be enhanced if a level playing field is
created for all religions in the affairs of the nation.
is the only way Nigeria would evolve as a truly multi-religious nation as
against her present status as a nation dominated by the religion of those who
colonised the country. Our national creed going forward should be, "equal
opportunity for all" it stated.
group however implored religious leaders to promote ethical values, urging them
to always seek balanced, transparent and patriotic intervention in national
issues as religiosity and patriotism are mutually reinforcing.
coneference which paraded speakers like Judge Abdul-Jabbar Bola Ajibola, Alhaji
Sarafa Ishola, the Baba Adini of Yoruba Land, Edo and Delta and Mallam Yusuf
Ali, Professor Ishaq Lakin Akintola and Reverend Clement Taiye Omidiora,
appraised of the current situation in Nigeria regarding Islamic theocracy and
was however observed that there is no contradiction between theocracy and
modernism as both share common values such as freedom, peace, progress,
morality, good conscience and good governance; the two major religions in
Nigeria, Islam and Christianity, support theocracy and both uphold its
applicability in contemporary Nigeria; and that Islamic Theocracy once governed
some parts of Nigeria to the admiration of both local and international
group therefore recommended that advocates of Islamic theocracy should better
propagate the idea by codifying what it entails and promote same through mass
enlightenment and education.
in Nigeria have reported the arrest of a wanted Boko Haram commander believed
to have masterminded major attacks in the country in 2015.
said their Intelligence Response Team, IRT, arrested Umar Abdul Malik in the
commercial capital, Lagos. He is credited with masterminding two – Kuje and
Nyanya – bombings in Abuja in 2015.
to an unnamed security sources, Umar is also a bank robber and explosive expert
whose operations have affected both civilians and especially members of the
media reports that police had engaged one of his gangs in Abuja following which
he fled three weeks ago to Lagos. Four members of his gang were arrested in the
IRT op that led to his arrest in an undisclosed area of the commercial capital.
of a gang he leads is said to have resulted in the death of seven soldiers in
Abuja. His operational axis is also said to extend to other states like Ondo
was the grand commander of the attack and rescue operations of the prison in
Niger States early this year, during which he lost one of his eyes. During the
operation, over 100 prisonsers escaped,” a security source is reported to have
Muslims Protest Against China's Treatment of Uighurs
Hundreds of Muslims held a rally outside the Chinese embassy in the Indonesian
capital, Jakarta, on Friday to protest against the treatment of members of the
mostly Muslim ethnic Uighur minority in China's far western Xinjiang region.
United Nations panel of human rights experts said in August it had received
many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China were being held in
what resembled a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in
United Nations called for the immediate release of those detained on the
"pretext of countering terrorism".
groups in Indonesia, has the world's largest Muslim population, have criticised
President Joko Widodo for not providing enough support for China's Uighur
United Nations must speak out, the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation)
must speak out, Muslims must take a stand against the Chinese government,"
said protester Ridwan Abdul Ridho said on Friday.
says Xinjiang faces a threat from Islamist militants and separatists. It
rejects all accusations of mistreatment and denies mass internment, although
Chinese officials have said some citizens guilty of minor offences were being
sent to vocational centres to work.
worries that Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language, have gone to places like
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq to fight for militants.
Indonesian foreign ministry said it had summoned the Chinese envoy in Jakarta
to "convey concern from various parties in Indonesia on the condition of
people of Uighur in China" and called on China to respect freedom of
in Sarawak denounce Islamic 'propagation' remarks by Malaysian minister
indigenous civil society groups in Sarawak on Thursday (Dec 20) joined church
organisations to protest against remarks by Education Minister Maszlee Malik
over Islamic propagation in state schools.
indigenous organisations, which fight for human rights for Sarawak native groups,
were protesting against his comments early this week that indicated schools in
Sarawak and Sabah are fertile grounds for Islamic conversion.
Maszlee said in Parliament that the two East Malaysian states are "medan
dakwah" (arena for Islamic propagation).
asked Muslim teachers from Peninsular Malaysia sent to Sarawak and Sabah to
spread their faith by converting local non-Muslim students.
four native groups are from the Orang Ulu and Dayak communities. representing
Gerakan Anak Asal Sarawak, Borneo Resources Institute, Tanah Hak Bangsa Asal
Sarawak and Save Sarawak Rivers. They held the protest in Miri.
activist Peter Kallang, chairman of Save Sarawak Rivers, told The Star that
what Mr Maszlee said was very alarming.
are civil servants. They cannot double as preachers to convert non-Muslim
students. The Education Ministry is violating the rights of Sarawakian and
Sabahan non-Muslims if it is sending teachers from the peninsula here to
convert local students to Islam," he said.
groups want an official investigation to determine how many teachers from the
peninsula were coaxing students in East Malaysia under their charge to convert
Wednesday, the Association of Churches in Sarawak said it was "deeply
concerned" about Mr Maszlee's comments.
statement by the Education Minister is not in the spirit of the Malaysia
Agreement 1963 and appears to be sanctioning Islamic religious teachers from
Peninsular Malaysia to promote Islamisation and propagation to local students
in non-religious schools in Sabah and Sarawak," ACS said in a statement.
Maszlee in a speech on Thursday said his words "medan dakwah" had
I said teachers in Sabah and Sarawak must use it as a medan dakwah, some
immediately think of religion. That is a narrow interpretation. Making someone
smart is also dakwah."
I raised it in Parliament, those in Sabah and Sarawak (complained), saying I
used schools for dakwah. I want to correct this. Teaching goodness is
dakwah," he said, according to Malaysiakini news site.
TOWN, Dec 21 — A group of representatives from various Muslim non-governmental
organisations (NGO) held a peaceful demonstration in front of a mosque here
after Friday prayers demanding justice for Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
group of about 100 gathered outside Masjid Jamek Hashim Yahaya here to demand
that the police bring the culprits behind the firefighter’s death to justice,
around the same time their brethren did so in Putrajaya.
police must do their duty; don’t be so slow. They must arrest those responsible
and charge them with murder,” one of them, Azmi Jaafar, said.
others took turns to speak to the crowd, calling for justice and demanding that
the Fire and Rescue Department also submit a memorandum to the government and
the police to arrest those behind Adib’s death.
said the Muslim and Malay NGOs would willingly collect funds to hire lawyers
for Adib’s family to take legal action.
the police need more funding to conduct a proper investigation, we will collect
funds and donate it to them,” one of them said.
Sophian Mohd Zain, from Persatuan Kebajikan Surplus Pulau Pinang, also called
for minister P. Waytha Moorthy and Selangor exco V. Ganabathirau to be sacked,
a demand also made in Putrajaya.
said the government should heed the public’s call for the sacking of the
minister who he claimed had caused racial tension that escalated the Sri Maha
Mariamman Devasthanam temple fracas.
small crowd later marched to the nearest Fire and Rescue Department station
that is located further down the road.
opposes mandatory HIV screening for non-Muslim couples
JAYA: Sarawak AIDS Concern Society (SACS) is opposed to the proposal by the
Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to make it mandatory for
non-Muslim couples who intend to marry to undergo HIV testing.
echoing the statement by the Malaysian AIDS Council, Sarawak AIDS Concern
Society (SACS) strongly objects the proposal.
is in line with the stance of World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS that
do not support compulsory screening of individuals for HIV.
screening a person for HIV, one's personal choice must be respected while
adhering to ethical and human rights principles," it said in a statement
on Friday (Dec 21).
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the Ministry was discussing with
various ministries on making it mandatory for non-Muslims couple to undergo
mandatory HIV testing before tying the knot.
Malaysian AIDS Council had previously also criticised the Ministry's proposal
saying that a compulsory HIV testing was not an effective, long-term solution,
adding that HIV testing should be done on a voluntary basis.
said compulsory HIV screenings would not provide any long-term solution in
addressing the increase of HIV cases in the country.
added that a negative result from a screening test provides a false sense of
security that a person will never get infected by HIV after marriage.
risk of getting infected still exists if one continues to be involved in
high-risk activities associated with HIV transmission after screening," it
Many Avatars: From Hindu To Jain To Muslim Now Poof, Courtesy Another BJP
is a new theory in the market. Lord Hanuman never existed, propounded by
another Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.
we say, because due to some divine intervention there have been a slew of only
BJP leaders who are trying to guess Lord Hanuman's roots. And with no coherence
on the raging issue of his possible antecedents
after a Hindu (Dalit to be precise), a Muslim, a Jain and a Hindu again (Jat),
Lord Hanuman is declared to be non-existent by Udit Raj, a BJP MP from Delhi --
told the media: "If we talk archaeologically, and scientifically, there is
no physical proof that Hanuman ever existed."
though, seconded the assertion of his chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, too.
said, "But if we overlook the facts, he must be a Dalit or a tribal."
had, during a poll rally in Malakheda of Alwar district in November, said,
"Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. Bajrang Bali worked
to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to
furtherance, BJP MP Savitribai Phule on December 4 said Lord Hanuman was a
slave to manuvadi people. Manuvad denotes upper caste.
claiming that Hanuman as a slave to manuvadi people, Phule took a step ahead of
Adityanath and referred to him as a tribal.
Was A Jain Too
this, a Jain priest in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, claimed Lord Hanuman was a Jain.
Nirbhay Sagar Maharaj, who heads a Jain temple in Samasgad, nearly 25 km from
Bhopal, said according to Jain scriptures, Lord Hanuman was a Jain. He was part
of the 169 great persons identified in Jainism.
THEN HE BECAME A MUSLIM
MLC Bukkal Nawab was on December 20 quoted as saying by ANI that Lord Hanuman
was a Muslim.
maanna hai ki Hanumanji musalmaan thhay. Issliye musalmaanon mein naam rakha
jaata hai Rehman, Ramzam, Farman, Zeeshan, Qurbaan. Saare naam kareeb kareeb
unke naam se miltey hain [We believe Lord Hanuman was a Muslim. That's why all
the Muslim names are derived from his name]," he said.
IF, NO BUT, BECAUSE HE WAS A JAT
BJP minister in the Uttar Pradesh government on December 21 argued that Hanuman
was a Jat.
he has a justification too. When Jats see someone in trouble, he says, they
jump in -- even if they don't know the people or the issue. He points out that
Hanuman helped Ram and his abducted wife Sita without knowing who they were.
should just do one thing -- call a cabinet meeting and decide what
religion/caste/ethnicity Lord Hanuman really belongs to. Will help his men and
the countrymen a great deal, we say.
DELHI: Six terrorists were killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Tral
area of Pulwama district.
foreign militant belonging to the Zakir Musa outfit, Ansar Ghazwatul Hind, was
among the killed terrorists in the gunfight.
Prakash Pani, Inspector General of Police, confirmed that six terrorists were
killed in the encounter.
police official said arms and ammunition were recovered from the encounter
site, adding the identity and group affiliation of the slain terrorists are
forces had launched a cordon and search operation in Arampora village in
Awantipora, Tral this morning following specific intelligence input about the
presence of terrorists there, a police official said.
day after a controversy erupted over Naseeruddin Shah’s remarks on mob
violence, the veteran actor Friday clarified his intent saying he made those
comments as a “worried Indian” and that he has the right to express concerns
about the country he loves.
68-year-old actor had earlier voiced his concerns over how “the death of a cow
has more significant than that of a police officer” and how he doesn’t see “the
situation improving anytime soon,” referring to the Bulandshahr violence where
a policeman lost his life to mob fury over alleged cow slaughter.
I said earlier was as a worried Indian. I have said this earlier as well. What
did I say this time that I am being called a traitor? It is very strange,” Shah
told reporters at his alma mater, St Anselm’s Senior Secondary School.
to a question about the backlash he is receiving on social media, Shah asked,
“I have to bear criticism. If they have the right to criticise, then I also
have the same right. I am expressing concerns about the country I love, the country
that is my home. How is that a crime?”
had expressed anxiety over the growing mob violence in a video interview with
Karwan-e-Mohabbat India, which the organisation shared on its YouTube channel
on Monday. Shah said the “poison has already spread” and it will be now
difficult to contain it. “It will be very difficult to capture this djinn back
into the bottle again. There is complete impunity for those who take law into
their own hands. In many areas we are witnessing that the death of a cow is more
significance than that of a police officer,” he added.
violence: ‘We are being targeted because we are Muslims’ says Safruddin
rolled down the eyes of Sarfuddin as he hugged his children – two sons and a
daughter – after spending 16 days in jail on fake charges of cow slaughter in
Sarfuddin, a post-graduate in political science, the 16-day nightmare is over
but questions and agony remain.
Sarfuddin returned to his village Nayabaans after his release from jail on
Friday, he burst into tears on seeing the villagers coming to meet him.
Nayabaans is also the native village of Bajrang Dal district co-ordinator
Yogesh Raj, who had lodged an FIR against Sarfuddin and three others accusing
them of cow slaughter.
is prime accused in Bulandshahr violence which led to violence in Bulandshahr
resulting in the killing of two people, police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and
a local Sumit Kumar. Yogesh is on the run.
don`t know why the Allah punished me for none of my fault. Who will return 16
precious days of my life and sufferings of my family and children,” said
Sarfuddin, who runs a small cloth shop in Syana town of Bulandshahr.
are being targeted because we are Muslims. The administration has failed to nab
the real troublemakers even 18 days after the violence,” he said.
blaming Yogesh Raj for hatching a conspiracy to send him to jail on false
charges, Sarfuddin said: “He was against me as I was the president of village`s
Waqf Madni Masjid. I was trying to seek permission for mounting loudspeaker on
the mosque and to carry out some construction work. Yogesh was against it and
pressurised the officials not to entertain our requests.”
special investigation team (SIT) looking into the Bulandshahr violence gave a
clean chit to Sarfuddin and three others, identified as Sajid, Asif and Banne.
They were released from jail late on Thursday evening.
to Sarfuddin, Yogesh included his name in the FIR along with that of Sudaif
Chaudhary, Iliyas, Sajid, Anas, Sharafat and Parvez. He alleged that the police
sent him, along with Sajid, to jail without verifying facts.
thank the SIT and the media who highlighted the fact that we were falsely
implicating in the case, which eventually ensured justice,” he said.
said he would reopen his shop and send his children to school again.
brother Mohd Hussain said the children were reluctant of going to school as
they were unable to stand the remarks being made by fellow students.
had gone to participate in Tablighi Ijtema in Bulandshahr on November 30. I was
assigned the duty of taking care of the parking lot. I stayed there till the
religious programme ended on December 3,” Sarfuddin said.
brother Mohd Hussain and other villagers joined me there on December 1 and in
the evening of December 3. We were there when we came to know about the
violence and killings of inspector Subodh Singh and Sumit,” he said.
said as the situation was volatile they decided to stay away from the village
and went to a relative’s home. “It was there that my brother received a call
from the police who informed him that I was wanted in cow slaughter case,” he
said Hussain tried to explain that he was not present in the area when the
incident took place but the police insisted that he be handed over to them.
discussing the matter, the villagers decided that I should be handed over to
the Syana police in their presence,” he said.
villagers said that another named accused Sajid and his family had shifted to
Faridabad about 12 years ago. Sajid was also attending Tablighi Ijtema after
which he returned to Faridabad.
said they called Sajid from Faridabad and handed him over to the police on
accused, Sharafat, was released after three days of detention when the police
found no evidence against him.
also picked up one Asif from Aurangabad locality and Banne of Kheliya village.
Notably, their names were not in the FIR.
the SIT found all of them innocent and recommended their release.
brother Aas Mohammad said, “He (Asif) lives in Mumbai with his two children and
wife. He is into the sale and purchase of watches. He had come here to meet us.
The police barged into our house on December 4 and took him with them.”
tried to convince the police but they threatened us that they would book us
too,” Mohammad alleged.
has decided to leave for Mumbai on Saturday and said he would not visit the
have spent my precious 16 days in jail despite being innocent. I don’t want to
come here again,” said Asif.
accused Banne, who also returned to the village, refused to talk about the
trauma that he suffered in jail.
Delhi: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Sohail Mahmood, presented the
traditional Chaddar at the Dargah Sharif her on Friday on the eve of the 715th
annual Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.
High Commissioner was received at the shrine by Sajjadah Nasheen Dewan Tahir
Nizami and other members of the Dargah Committee.
placing the Chaddar, Mahmood offered dua while Nizami did the dastaarbandi
(traditional turban) on the occasion.
High Commissioner also visited the Dargah of Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) and
Nizamuddin Aulia was the third Spiritual Successor (Khalifa) of Hazrat Khwaja
Moinuddin Chishti (RA). He is known for his love for humanity as a means of
realizing love with the Creator. His followers are spread across South Asia,
Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, a 14th century Sufi saint of the Chishtia Order
and one of the most famous in the world, is celebrated every year with
traditional zeal and fervor, and is attended by devotees and Zaireen from
different parts of the world.
NATIONS: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned UN chief Antonio
Guterres and raised the issue of Kashmir, a UN spokesman has said.
Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Secretary General, did not give further
details about the conversation between Khan and Guterres.
asked by PTI to comment on India's strong retort to Khan that Pakistan should
mind its own business and that Kashmir is an integral part of India, Dujarric
said, "Our position on Kashmir has been reiterated. There is an observer
group as mandated by the Security Council,"
was referring to the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan
added that the Pakistani Prime Minister wanted to speak to the
only normal that the Secretary-General speak to Heads of Governments and Heads
of State and, as I said, I can confirm that the call took place and that the
Prime Minister raised the issue of Kashmir," Dujarric said.
a set of recent tweets, Khan said that "Kashmiris must be allowed to
decide their future". He also tweeted that Pakistan would raise the issue
of India's alleged human rights violations at the United Nations.
Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in response said that "the
statements coming out from their side demonstrates the insincerity and
UNMOGIP was established in January 1949 and currently has a total of 118 UN and
civilian staff. Following the IndiaPakistan war in 1971 and a subsequent
ceasefire agreement of December 17 of that year, the tasks of UNMOGIP have been
to observe, to the extent possible, developments pertaining to the strict
observance of the ceasefire and to report there on to the Secretary-General.
Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey took a dig at actor Naseeruddin
Shah over his recent remark on Bulandshahr violence saying that the latter
seems to develop the sentiments of his on-screen character of a Pakistani agent
he portrayed in one of his movies.
to ANI, Pandey said, "Naseeruddin Shah is a good artiste. In one of his
movies, he played the role of a Pakistani agent. I think that sentiment has got
awakened in him now."
a video surfaced on the social media where Shah can be heard saying, "At
many places, the death of a cow is being given more importance than the killing
of a policeman. I feel anxious for my children because tomorrow if a mob
surrounds them and asks, 'Are you a Hindu or a Muslim?' they will have no
answer. It worries me that I don't see the situation improving anytime
concern about nation I love’: Protests prevent Naseeruddin from opening Ajmer
actor Naseeruddin Shah on Friday wondered why he was being called a traitor for
expressing concerns about the country he loves, even as protests in Ajmer
prevented him from inaugurating the Ajmer Literature Festival (ALF).
to Harsh Mander-led Karwan-e-Mohabbat earlier this week, Shah had said, “The
poison has already spread. It will be very difficult to capture this djinn back
in the bottle. There is complete impunity for those who take law into their own
hands. In many areas we are witnessing that the death of a cow has more
significance than that of a police officer. I feel anxious thinking about my
children. Because they don’t have a religion… tomorrow if a mob surrounds them
and asks ‘are you a Hindu or a Muslim?’ they will have no answer. It worries me
because I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon. These matters don’t
scare me, they make me angry…”
this month, inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was killed in mob violence in Uttar
Pradesh’s Bulandshahr districts after cow carcasses were found.
the video of Shah went viral and drew criticism from some sections, the
Congress tweeted on Thursday evening, “Naseeruddin Shah we concur, do not fear
the hate, fight it.”
Friday, Shah, who was in Ajmer to attend the ALF, said, “I don’t know why
(people are criticising the comments), because what I said was as a concerned
Indian… I don’t know what I have said now that I’m being called a traitor.
apne mulk, jis sey main pyar karta hun, jo mera apna ghar hai, main uske bare
me baat keh raha hun, apni fikr zahir kar raha hun. Isme kaunsa maine gunah
kiya (I am saying something and expressing concern about my nation which I
love, which is my home. What sin have I committed?),” Shah told reporters at St
Anselm’s Senior Secondary School in Ajmer, his alma mater, where he “returned
after 52 years”.
was scheduled to attend ALF’s inaugural ceremony at 2 pm on Friday, along with
wife Ratna Pathak Shah and poet Ras Bihari Gaur, who is the festival
coordinator. This was to be followed by a session titled ‘Naseer ki Nazar’ at
year of unresolved terror in Bangladesh
to Bangladesh’s internal security continue to emanate from groups affiliated
with al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State (IS). The key groups operating in
Bangladesh are the Jamma’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Ansar al-Islam.
An IS-centric offshoot of JMB, often referred to as the Neo-JMB, is also active.
Despite sustained counter-terrorism operations, these groups continue to adapt
to the evolving security environment and form new alliances.
the IS-inspired attack in 2016, Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies have
scaled up their operations across the country — 906 people have been arrested
for their alleged involvement in Neo-JMB and around 100 militants were killed
during these operations. This has created leadership disarray within Neo-JMB
and drastically reduced its capacity to raise funds and carry out attacks.
the year draws to a close, Neo-JMB appears weakened but not yet contained. The
group has a new leader reviving the group. Recruitment continues and the group
is allegedly planning terror attacks. There is also the possibility of lone-wolf
or single actor attacks, as pro-IS propaganda materials are still available
online and circulated through social media.
year has also seen the re-emergence of JMB, which is gradually rebuilding its
networks after the arrest of hundreds of JMB leaders and activists in 2005.
According to Bangladeshi authorities, JMB and Ansar al-Islam (the Bangladeshi
wing of al-Qaeda) are possibly working together, or at least have similar
targets. The July 2018 killing of Shahjahan Bachchu — a writer, publisher and former
left-wing politician — is a case in point. Bachchu came under the radar of both
terrorist groups thanks to his secular blogs. The groups then worked in tandem
to kill him: Ansar al-Islam conducted the reconnaissance while JMB eliminated
mid-2018, JMB opened a new wing in India: Jama’atul Mujahedeen India (JMI). The
group believes in using Qital (armed struggle) to ‘uproot polytheism and to
establish Islam’ and that the Indian subcontinent is a future battlefield for
establishing the caliphate.
revival of JMB highlights the possibility of a new wave of terrorist activities
in Bangladesh, especially as the country prepares for elections at the end of
2018. The group vehemently opposes and may try to target polling centres.
and India have carried out around 100 joint operations to dismantle JMB. But
the success of this campaign will be limited unless a long-term strategy is
formed to check Islamist militancy.
the Bangladesh government’s response to terrorism in 2018 was largely
operational, they have put in place a range of strategic initiatives.
Authorities are focussing on the threat of cyber-radicalisation and
mobilisation by militant groups. They are also engaging Muslim clerics to
create greater awareness of extremism and terrorism and working to regulate
authorities continue to organise community engagement programs and inter-faith
dialogues. Some agencies are currently working with academics to promote an
in-depth understanding of preventing and countering violent extremism. Law
enforcement agencies are also using mobile-apps to collect human intelligence
and feedback from the community.
key challenge at this juncture is to build a well-structured counter-terrorism
strategy and action plan. This should include cyber platforms for encouraging
moderation and a policy for rehabilitating extremists.
Bangledesh’s efforts is the limited coordination between counter-terrorism
agencies and the prison system. Quite often, terrorist detainees and inmates
bribe prison officers to be transferred to prisons of their choice. This makes
positive development has been the establishment of an Anti-Terrorism Tribunal
(ATT) — under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Act — to more efficiently trial terrorist
suspects. The ATT will be in charge of the Dhaka cafe attack trial. The second
tribunal will be set up in Chittagong.
the decline in attacks, the terrorist threat in Bangladesh remains real and the
fight against it is likely to continue. Despite the sustained operational
response, terrorist groups have been able to survive, re-organise and expand.
Bangladesh’s response must be recalibrated. While police and other law
enforcement agencies are doing their part in the operational realm, there is a
need to ensure continuity and to rethink strategic options. As a new
administration takes over in 2019, it remains to be seen how Bangladesh will
work to reduce the threat.
Bashar is an Associate Research Fellow with the International Centre for
Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), S Rajaratnam School of
International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
no more political factors in Bangladesh
the next general election in Bangladesh is at the doorstep, it is becoming
clear that Gen Hussain Muhammad Ershad’s Jatiyo Party (JP) and militancy-linked
Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JIB) are no more any factor in country’s politics.
Long back though, Ershad’s Jatiyo Party had become a house of political clowns,
militancy-linked Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh too is now seen by the Bangladeshi
voters as “another Al Qaeda.”
to Abha Shankar, Senior Intelligence Analyst at the Investigative Project on
Terrorism, and Sam Westrop, Director of Islamist Watch, Jamaat is seen as a
“violent South Asian Islamist group.”
counterterrorism experts wrote in an article, “Founded in Lahore (then British
India) in 1941 by the Islamist theorist Abul Ala Maududi, JI [Jamaat-e-Islami]
has established branches in countries all around the world, including a
substantial network in the United States. JI came to prominence in 1971 after
its operatives assisted in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis
fighting for freedom from Pakistani rule. Three million people reportedly died
in the catastrophic war and millions fled to neighboring India as refugees.
the decades since the 1971 war, JI has committed violent acts all across South
Asia and, today, the Bangladeshi branch is closely involved with Islamist
terror in both Bangladesh and India. JI leaders have openly expressed support
for Taliban terrorists and mourned their deaths. And in 2017, the U.S.
government designated Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmiri jihadist group and JI
Pakistan’s “militant wing,” as a terrorist organization.”
further wrote, “In America, JI operatives have their own prominent
institutions, which pose as representative bodies of American Muslims. These
institutions and their officials have served as vocal supporters of JI in
Pakistan and Bangladesh, helped coordinate protests against the War Crimes
Tribunal in Bangladesh, and organized lobbying and PR efforts in D.C.
fact, one of the JI war criminals tried in absentia in Bangladesh,
Ashrafuzzaman Khan, fled to the U.S. and helped establish and lead one of these
American JI organizations: the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).
Testimony and evidence showed that Khan served as the “chief executor” of a JI
killing squad, named Al-Badr. The war crimes tribunal concluded that he had
carried out the abduction and murder of 18 Bangladeshi intellectuals. “They
killed top professors, journalists, and doctors to make the nation devoid of
any talent,” senior prosecutor M.K. Rahman said immediately following the
guilty verdict against Khan.
does not hide its JI affiliations, and is openly identified as a JI proxy
within Islamist circles. ICNA’s educational programs have featured staunch
hardline ideologues, and JI founder Maududi’s books have been promoted on the
website of ICNA’s youth division, Young Muslims. In fact, JI leader Yusuf
Islahi, a leader of JI’s Indian affiliate (JI Hind), has spoken at ICNA
conventions and is a chief patron of an
ICNA proselytizing project named “WhyIslam.” At a 2001 JI Hind event hosted in
the Indian city of Aligarh, Islahi reportedly blamed Jews for the 9/11 attacks,
which he nevertheless described as a befitting response to American arrogance.
operates an international relief arm named Helping Hand for Relief and
Development, a 501(c)(3) which raised an astonishing $40 million in 2016.
Despite its position as one of the wealthier charities in America, Helping Hand
organized a conference in Pakistan last December with the Falah-e-Insaniat
Foundation, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the State
Department in 2010 because of its function as the charitable wing of the Pakistani
terrorist network Lashkar-e-Taiba, which helped mastermind the 2008 Mumbai
Hand chairman Mohsin Ansari (also the former chairman of ICNA Relief) openly
identifies as a JI member, and refers to the convicted 1971 killers as “heroes”
whom the “Pakistani nation will remember… for centuries to come.” He praises
Islamist politicians who are elected in spite of efforts by “anti-Muslim media
headed by jews [sic].” And in 2016, Ansari revealed that ICNA was asked to
arrange funeral prayers for one of the executed war criminals, Motiur Rahman
Nizami, the founder of the Al Badr killing squad. Ansari praised Nizami and
noted that his son had “has worked in USA (sic) tirelessly for years to help
relieve the victimization of Jammat workers in Bangladesh.”
ties have dogged American JI groups for years. One of the two women indicted
for their role in a 2015 Islamic State bomb plot lived in an ICNA-run shelter
and appeared in ICNA promotional material. And just the other week, on Sept. 6,
an ICNA official in Connecticut, Fareed Khan, was indicted by a grand jury
after lying to the FBI about his involvement with ICNA and Helping Hand. An FBI
affidavit revealed that Khan had been questioned on suspicion of financing
terror in Pakistan through the purchase and sale of medical supplies.”
should be mentioned here that, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh is an extremist
minority movement. In South Asia, it has never achieved significant electoral
success. It has no mandate, advocates hardline Islamism, and has engaged in
brutal violence for decades.
Party & Jamaat seen as liability:
most of the policymakers of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) now are seeing
Jamaat-e-Islami as its burden, similar opinion is being already created amongst
the policymakers of the ruling Awami League about its coalition partner Jatiyo
Party. According to latest surveys, Jatiyo Party and Jamaat-e-Islami jointly
have less than 3 percent support from the voters. Some of the BNP leaders even
are openly criticizing the decision of party’s top leadership of giving party’s
symbol Paddy Sheaf’ to pro-militancy group Jamaat.
is one of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled into Bangladesh after
the Myanmar army launched a vicious “clearance operation” in August 2017.
Soldiers raped, killed, and torched their way through Rakhine state, home to
the vast majority of Rohingya, committing what the UN and many others have
called crimes against humanity and possibly even genocide.
while Mohammed witnessed unimaginable violence and destruction before fleeing
across the border, he is also keenly aware of other threats to his community’s
future – not least a lack of access to education. Before fleeing into
Bangladesh, Mohammed’s opportunities to attend school had become increasingly
limited in Myanmar, as authorities started segregating Muslim and Buddhist
children following violence in 2012. In the relative safety of Bangladesh,
meanwhile, Mohammed has become one of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya
children who are being denied formal schooling opportunities, to a large extent
because of restrictions imposed by the Bangladeshi government.
lack of access to education for Rohingya on both sides of the Naf – the river
separating Myanmar and Bangladesh – is threatening to create a lost generation
of Rohingya children. This month, the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK launched
a new report spotlighting this hidden crisis, while calling on the world to
take action as soon as possible. As Mohammad himself told us: “If you want to
harm a community you don’t need to kill them. Just don’t let them study.”
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Myanmar, Rohingya have faced a debilitating and state-sponsored system of
discrimination for decades. This has included denying Rohingya citizenship and
the rights associated with it, as well as imposing serious restrictions on
their freedom of movement. Across large parts of Rakhine state, Rohingya need
to obtain permission to travel to towns or even to leave their villages,
meaning that access to opportunities to make a living or gain an education are
restrictions are not new, but have been part of the daily reality for Rohingya
for generations. They form the more subtle part of the genocide the Myanmar
authorities are subjecting Rohingya too. But the discrimination in Rakhine
State serves the same purpose as the military’s violence that grabbed
international headlines in 2017 – to make life for Rohingya so unbearable that
we see no option but to leave. I myself, for example, felt compelled to flee
Rakhine state in the mid-1990s when the Myanmar government prevented me from
attending university simply because I was Rohingya.
system of segregation, however, has tightened significantly since 2012, when
state-sponsored violence overwhelmingly targeting Rohingya swept Rakhine state.
Since then, authorities started segregating previously mixed Buddhist-Muslim
schools, leaving many Rohingya in separate education facilities where the
quality of teaching and materials are extremely poor. Many government teachers
refuse to work in Rohingya schools; those that do agree often subject students
to humiliation and neglect. Mohammad himself describes how his own situation
changed from 2012: “After that, the teacher kept us in separate classes. One
for Rohingya, one for Rakhine. They gave them all the attention – all the
resources. The teacher would call us ‘Kalar’ [a pejorative term for Rohingya]
and would no longer want to teach us.”
are also reports that since 2017, Myanmar authorities have been targeting
teachers and other educated Rohingya — further aggravating the collective
capacity for education. It is no coincidence that more than 73 percent of
Rohingya in Rakhine state self-identify as illiterate today.
even in the relative safety of Bangladesh, the lack of access to education has
continued. While the Bangladeshi government generously opened its borders to
Myanmar at the height of the crisis, the same authorities have since imposed
worrying restrictions inside the refugee camps that house hundreds of thousands
of Rohingya. Refugees are, for example, largely prohibited from leaving the
camps, while international aid groups have been barred from building more
sustainable shelters in order to not imply a sense of permanency.
restrictions also apply to education. Rohingya refugee children are not allowed
to attend formal education or to be taught in Bangla languages, apparently
because the authorities in Dhaka fear these could become “pull factors,”
convincing more refugees to enter Bangladesh and settle there permanently.
Instead, education in the camps is being provided by a range of international
and Bangladeshi NGOs as well as community-based organizations. Rohingya are
often taught in informal “temporary learning centers” where the quality of
education and curriculum can vary significantly depending on the NGO involved.
grateful as the Rohingya community is toward Dhaka for hosting close to a
million refugees, we also urge the government to rethink its approach to education.
Rohingya refugees will remain in Bangladesh for the foreseeable future – the
only way they will be able to constructively give back to Bangladeshi society
is if they are allowed to better themselves through education and access to
livelihoods. We call on the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately remove all
barriers to education for refugees, and to ensure that Rohingya community
leaders are involved in decision making around aid and development.
only long-term and viable solution to the crisis, however, lies inside Myanmar.
The Myanmar authorities must immediately dismantle the system of apartheid,
remove all restrictions on the human rights of Rohingya (including on access to
education and freedom of movement), and grant Rohingya citizenship under
have arrested three active members of the banned radical Islamist outfit Hizb
ut-Tahrir from the Tilagor Burhanbag area of Sylhet city, on Thursday night.
arrestees are - Mahfuzur Rahman alias Protik, 23, Anwarul Islam alias Khokon,
22, and Zubair Alam Bappi, 22.
Metropolitan Police Additional Deputy Commissioner (Media) Jedan Al Musa said
that police arrested the individuals while they were distributing
anti-government leaflets in the area and seized around 145 such leaflets.
Police Station OC Akhter Hossain said the detainees are students of the Sylhet
Agricultural University and filed a lawsuit against them under the
Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad General Secretary Rana Dasgupta
demanded the re-establishment of the 1972’s constitution
Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad has said the manifesto declared by the
Awami League is the most supportive and favourable for the rights of the
minorities in Bangladesh.
Dasgupta, general secretary of the organization representing the religious
minorities of Bangladesh, made the remark during a press briefing held to
discuss and comment on the manifestos declared by all the parties for the
upcoming general election.
press briefing was held at the National Press Club’s VIP lounge on Friday.
said: “The current constitution has nothing in common with the 1972
constitution. This constitution does not guarantee equal rights for all the
citizens, especially the minorities.”
added: “The Awami League, in their election manifesto, has mentioned the
re-establishment of the four core state principles of the ‘72 constitution.
They want to bring back the constitution which the Father of the Nation
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established to ensure equal rights for all
despite their religious differences.
present constitution does not comply with those beliefs of the father of the
nation. Thus we are again demanding the re-establishment of the ‘72
constitution,” he said.
reading out from a written statement during the press conference he said: “The
Awami League manifesto is more democratic, and progressive in comparison with
the election manifestos declared by the other two major political parties –
BNP, and Jatiya Party.”
are thankful to all the political parties including the Communist Party of
Bangladesh, who have complied with our seven-point demand,” he said.
furthered: “I hope that after the 11th parliamentary election, whoever
constitutes the government and even the opposition party, will take cautious
steps for proper implementation of the promises declared in their respective
Presidential Palace of Afghanistan, ARG Palace, has slammed the Taliban group
for refusing direct talks with the delegation of governmental peace negotiators
in Abu Dhabi.
Palace in a statement said the government of Afghanistan positively responds to
the demands of the citizens of country and national consensus for peace but
unfortunately direct negotiations did not take place with the opposition side.
statement further added that the government played fulfilled its duty but did
not achieve its ambitions from the opposition side and negotiations in Abu
Dhabi took place with the representatives of U.S., Saudi, and UAE.
to ARG Palace, the representatives of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and U.S. expressed
deep regret regarding Taliban’s decision to refrain from direct talks with the
peace negotiators of the government of Afghanistan.
statement by ARG Palace also added that the Taliban group showed that they do
not want the welfare of the region, are not committed to peace, and want
continuity of war by rejecting the justified demands of the people of
Afghanistan and the international community.
to delay Syria operation, Erdogan welcomes US decision to withdraw troops
Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey would postpone a military operation
against Syrian Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria as he “cautiously” welcomed
Washington’s decision to withdraw its troops in the area.
surprise announcement from US President Donald Trump this week that Washington
would withdraw its roughly 2,000 troops has upended a pillar of American policy
in the Middle East. Critics say it will make it harder to find a diplomatic
solution to Syria’s seven-year-old civil war.
for Ankara, the step removes a source of friction with the United States.
Erdogan has long castigated his NATO ally over northeastern Syria, where
Washington has backed Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters.
considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an offshoot of the armed
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), fighting for Kurdish autonomy across the border
on Turkish soil.
announced plans last week to start an operation east of the Euphrates River in
northern Syria to push the YPG out of the area, which it largely controls.
week he said the campaign could come at any moment. But on Friday, he cited the
United States’ move and a phone call with Trump as a reason to wait.
had decided last week to launch a military incursion in the east of the
Euphrates river ... Our phone call with President Trump, along with contacts
between our diplomats and security officials and statements by the United
States, have led us to wait a little longer,” he said in a speech in Istanbul.
have postponed our military operation against the east of the Euphrates river
until we see on the ground the result of America’s decision to withdraw from
said this was not an “open-ended waiting period”.
mission to oversee Hodeidah ceasefire starting Sunday Dec 23
Dutch General Patrick Christopher will arrive on Saturday to Yemen’s Aden to
meet Yemeni government officials about his UN mission.
to sources, the general leaves the Jordanian capital, Amman, tomorrow morning
to Aden, after which he will directly go to Sanaa to meet with members of the
Patrick will leave on Sunday afternoon to Hodeidah, under the protection of the
UN and in cooperation with the Arab Coalition, where he will start his mission,
according to sources.
the Yemeni government announced its commitment to the Hodeidah ceasefire, while
Houthi militias broke it in its first minutes.
political coordinator of the US mission to the UN, Rodney Hunter, expressed to
the Security Council on Friday his country's regret that the new UN resolution
on Yemen did not hold Iran accountable for its actions in the war-torn country.
United States had wanted to condemn Iran for breaching an arms embargo on
Yemen, but Russia objected, diplomats said.
hope that in the days to come Iranian missiles or misdeeds do not shatter the
promise of peace and bring us back to where we were before. But if that does
happen, this council may come to regret this omission," US diplomat Rodney
Hunter told the Security Council after the vote.
the end of last month, the US provided evidence on Iran violating UN arms
export ban in Yemen.
Palestinians, including a teenage, have been shot dead by Israeli fire and
nearly fifty others have sustained injuries during anti-occupation protests
along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied
Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra said 16-year-old Mohammed al-Jahjuh
was fatally shot in the neck, while 47 others, including a local journalist,
were wounded by Israeli gunfire during border protests and clashes east of Gaza
City on Friday.
was "hit in the neck by a bullet (fired) by Israeli soldiers", the
Ibrahim Abu Sharia, 27, and Maher Yaseen, 40, were the other fatalities of the
Israeli army said around 8,000 Palestinians had gathered along the fence
separating Gaza from the occupied territories.
Palestinian protesters threw rocks from behind clouds of black smoke of burning
tires at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas and live fire.
have been running high near the fence since March 30, which marked the start of
a series of protests dubbed “The Great March of Return.” Palestinian protesters
demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with
Washington's relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem
than 220 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in
the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza
has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living
standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.
has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which
began in early July 2014 and ended in late August the same year. The Israeli
military aggression killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and injured over 11,100
have also been running high in the occupied West Bank as the Israeli military
regularly opens fatal fire on Palestinians, accusing them of seeking to attack
rights groups have repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv regime for its shoot-to-kill
policy as a large number of the Palestinians killed at the scene of attacks did
not pose any serious threat to Israelis.
troops have on numerous occasions been caught on camera brutally killing
Palestinians, with the videos going viral online and sparking condemnations of
the regime’s military.
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