State Claims Responsibility, Sri Lanka Bomb Attacks Were Revenge for New
Zealand Mosque Killings
Sacked Military Officer Sent Cash to Sri Lanka Weeks before the Attack
Proves To Be Model of Democracy Post-GE14, Says Foreign Minister
Arabia: The Al-Zulfi Attackers Are ISIS Members
Dissident Movement Stresses Continued Resistance against Riyadh
Austrian Politicians Responsible For Increased Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes?
Tightened In Southern Indian States after Terror Attack in Sri Lanka
Troops Accused Of Shooting at Handcuffed Palestinian
a Finger at a Terrorist Group in the Aftermath of the Sri Lanka Blasts
Lanka Islamic Centre Merits Probe: Officials
forces thwart militants bid to carry out a deadly car bomb attack in Kabul city
envoy for Afghan peace to travel to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia
militants killed in latest operations of Afghan Special Forces and in
Lanka arrests 40 suspects after bombings, toll up to 310
says it consistently opposes unilateral US sanctions on Iran
Widodo Can't Save Indonesia from Extremism
Jokowi Condemns Sri Lanka Easter Bombings; All Indonesians in the Country
Literary Week showcases Southeast Asia’s oldest printed Quran
puts up $10 mln reward for Hezbollah information
Arabia arrests 13 accused of planning terrorist attacks
claims attack in Saudi Arabia
Goes on Offensive in Homs Deserts with US-Backed Militants' Help
says over $60 million in public funds embezzled in Mosul
cabin crew remain unaccounted for after Sri Lanka attacks
funder in Britain celebrated the Sri Lanka attacks
under Attack? Sri Lanka Church Bombings Stoke Far-Right Anger In The West
Indians killed in Sri Lanka serial blasts, says external affairs minister
separatists protest ‘ill-treatment’ of JKLF chief Yasin Malik
ends waiver but India may continue to buy Iran oil
secretary Gokhale raises issue of Azhar's listing with China
outfit denies links with namesake under lens for Lanka blasts
Iran, Pakistan to Deploy Rapid Reaction Force at Borders to Fight Terrorists
groups seek to ‘contaminate’ Iran-Pakistan ties: Ayatollah Khamenei
warn Saudi Arabia, UAE: Strategic spots within reach
Iran sanctions amount to aggression against entire world: Nasrallah
agriculture minister, settlers 'tour' al-Aqsa Mosque compound
forces, allies shoot down three Saudi-led reconnaissance drones
Will Rein in Militant Outfits, Imran Assures Iran
SC Rejects Defence Ministry Report in a Case against Former Army, ISI Chiefs
after Umar's departure from cabinet, Chinese ambassador praises PTI leader as
'man of integrity'
seeks major changes in legal framework governing electoral processes
injured in Nasirabad bomb explosion
Imran mixes up historical facts during Iran visit
Pakistan to form joint anti-terror force: Rouhani
Tensions Escalate After Talks with Military Break Down
UAE Pledge $3 Billion Aid to Sudan’s New Junta amid Protests
Libyan forces to intensify Tripoli offensive
unity government accuses France of backing ‘criminal’ Haftar
ruling junta warns protesters against blocking roads
force slows Tripoli push over concerns for civilians
govt claims control of most of Tripoli airport
Al-Shabaab Clashes with Somali and AU Troops in Somalia
Decides Not To Reissue Iran Oil Waivers When They Expire
military propping up Daesh in Afghanistan: Report
demands Congress to override Trump's Yemen resolution veto
puts up $10m reward for Hezbollah information
Khalilzad begins trip to discuss Afghan peace
by New Age Islam News Bureau
State claims responsibility for Sri Lanka bombings
(Reuters) - Islamic State has claimed responsibility for coordinated bombings
in Sri Lanka which killed 321 people and injured about 500 others, the group’s
AMAQ news agency said on Tuesday.
group did not give evidence for its claim.
by Omar Fahmy; Writing by Nadine Awadalla
Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Lanka Bomb Attacks Were Revenge For New Zealand Mosque Killings - Minister
Miglani, Shihar Aneez
(Reuters) - Devastating Easter bombings in Sri Lanka were retaliation for
recent deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand, a Sri Lankan official said on
Tuesday, adding that two domestic Islamist groups were believed to have been
behind Sunday’s blasts.
group has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, which officials
said were carried out by at least seven suicide bombers, on three churches and
four hotels. The toll rose to 321 dead with about 500 people wounded.
initial investigation has revealed that this was in retaliation for the New
Zealand mosque attack,” junior minister for defence Ruwan Wijewardene told
did not elaborate on why authorities believed there was a link to the killing
of 50 people at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch during
Friday prayers on March 15. A lone gunman carried out those attacks.
said two Sri Lankan Islamist groups - the National Thawheed Jama’ut and
Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim - were responsible for the blasts early on Sunday
during Easter services and as high-end hotels served breakfast.
intelligence sources said the attacks carried some of the hallmarks of the
Islamic State militant group, although they were cautious because it had not
State is usually quick to claim responsibility for, or links to, attacks
against foreign targets or religious groups, whether it was involved or not,
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament investigators were looking into
on Tuesday, Sri Lankan government and military sources said a Syrian had been
detained among 40 people being questioned over the bombs.
was arrested after the interrogation of local suspects,” one of the sources
said, referring to the unidentified Syrian.
was declared a national day of mourning and the funerals of some of the victims
were held, as pressure mounted on the government over why effective action had
not been taken in response to a warning this month about a possible attack on
churches by the little-known National Thawheed Jama’ut group.
first six attacks - on three churches and three luxury hotels - came within 20
minutes on Sunday morning.
more explosions - at a downmarket hotel and a house in a suburb of the capital,
Colombo - came in the early afternoon.
of the dead and wounded were Sri Lankans, although government officials said 38
foreigners were killed. That included British, U.S., Australian, Turkish,
Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.
U.N. Children’s Fund said 45 children were among the dead.
on CNN showed what it said was one of the bombers wearing a heavy backpack. The
man patted a child on the head before entering the Gothic-style St. Sebastian
church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo. Dozens were killed there.
bombs brought a shattering end to a relative calm that had existed in the
Buddhist-majority Indian Ocean island since a bitter civil war against mostly
Hindu, ethnic Tamil separatists ended 10 years ago, and raised fears of a
return to sectarian violence.
Lanka’s 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus.
Until now, Christians had largely managed to avoid the worst of the island’s
conflict and communal tensions.
government imposed emergency rule at midnight on Monday, giving police
extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders.
overnight curfew has also been imposed since Sunday.
President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Wickremesinghe on Monday to pledge
U.S. support in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Washington Post quoted an unidentified law enforcement official as saying
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents were being sent to Sri Lanka to
help with the investigation.
FBI had offered expertise to test evidence and analysts were scouring databases
for information, the Post said. Counter-terrorism officials from Britain were
also due on Tuesday, a Western diplomat in Colombo said.
attacks have also underlined concern over fractures in Sri Lanka’s government,
and whether the discord prevented action that might have stopped them.
government received a tip-off from India this month about a possible attack on
churches by the National Thawheed Jama’ut.
was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken in response. A
government minister said on Monday that Wickremesinghe had not been informed
about the warning and had been shut out of top security meetings because of a
feud with President Maithripala Sirisena.
fired Wickremesinghe last year only to be forced to reinstate him under pressure
from the Supreme Court. Their relationship is reported to be fraught.
U.S. State Department said in a travel advisory “terrorist groups” were
possibly plotting more attacks in Sri Lanka.
embassy warned its nationals against travelling to Sri Lanka in the near term
because of “huge security risks”.
is a major investor in Sri Lanka. The embassy said one Chinese national was
killed, five wounded and five were missing.
by Sanjeev Miglani; Additional reporting by Ranga Sirilal, Joe Brock, Mark
Hosenball and Kieran Murray in WASHINGTON, and Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo in
BEIJING; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Michael Perry, Paul Tait and Alex
sacked military officer sent cash to Sri Lanka weeks before the attack
Sunday’s series of jihadist attacks, situation in Sri Lanka already seems to be
fluid. While country’s health minister Rajitha Senaratne blamed a little known
radical Islamist group named National Thowheeth Jama’ath stating, “There was an
international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded”,
there are various speculations centering these nefarious attacks. Some analysts
even are holding Sri Lankan intelligence agencies responsible for their failure
in alerting the government ahead of such incidents. Most importantly, no one
has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted Roman Catholic
churches holding Easter services and high-end hotels favored by foreign
tourists. On Monday, officials said the death toll had risen to at least 290,
with about 500 others wounded. The Sri Lankan authorities have so far arrested
two dozen suspects, but declined to identify them.
Lanka was already alerted of the attack:
least ten days before attacks, a Middle East based intelligence agency gave
security officials a detailed warning of a possible threat to churches by the
National Thowheeth Jama’ath. Similar alerts were also echoed by a Western
intelligence agency. But the matter was not conveyed even to Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremersinghe. Now authorities are investigating the reason behind such
dubious behavior of Sri Lankan intelligence agencies.
on the latest jihadist attacks in Sri Lanka, internationally acclaimed
multi-award winning anti-militancy journalist and counter-militancy expert
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury said, “The statement of the Sri Lankan authorities
saying local jihadist outfit National Thowheeth Jama’ath has carried out these
attacks is not logical. There is no reason for any local extremist group to
target churches and the tourists. Instead, there certainly is international
said, “These attacks are similar to those carried out by Al Qaeda or Islamic
State (ISIS). Most importantly, the attackers had a massive plan of attacking
many churches and upscale hotels during a high religious holiday. As to the
National Thowheeth Jama’ath is actually an anti-Buddhist group. I personally
won’t buy the theory of these attacks being carried out by National Thowheeth
a document obtained by this newspaper, it is learnt that the Sri Lankan
authorities had issued an advisory on April 11, 2019 alerting the law enforcing
agencies to remain vigilant about terrorist attacks. No action had been taken by any of these law enforcing
or security agencies for the sake of ensuring safety and security to the
transferred to Sri Lanka from UAE:
four months, large sum of money went to Sri Lanka from United Arab Emirates. It
was sent by Bangladeshi-born ISIS funder Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, who has been
living in the United Kingdom for last few years along with his family. Sitting
in Britain, Khans are continuing various forms of jihadist activities. Recently
he has established an organization named ‘Astha’ which aims at unseating
democratically elected governments in the world and replace those with
Caliphate. By now, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan already has expanded his activities in
Sweden and the United States through two of his recruits.
to documents available with various intelligence agencies in Bangladesh, Md.
Shahid Uddin Khan hails from a radical Muslim family while his wife Farjana
Anjum too hails from a similar family background. This couple’s daughters
though are living and being educated in Britain is notoriously radicalized and
is working as lone wolves. They have been targeting various individuals and
trying to convert them into Islam.
January this year, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan used illegal channel in transferring
an amount equivalent to ninety-two thousand dollars. This amount went from
Dubai to Colombo. It may be mentioned here that, last year this newspaper
published several reports exposing a secret conspiracy by a conglomerate of
several jihadist outfits of staging terrorist attacks in a number of South
to media reports, Islamic State (ISIS) funder Shahid Uddin Khan, his wife
Farjana Anjum and daughters are already under the radar of international media
for their direct involvement into jihadist activities. So far they already have
formed a network, which spreads up to United States. According to information,
Shahid Uddin Khan has his long-time cohort M. Sajjad Hussain and his wife who
currently are residing in Texas, United States. Sajjad, being the lapdog of
Shahid has been spreading radical Islam and jihadism in the US for a number of
years, while Sajjad’s wife, a known high-end sex worker and former mistress of
Shahid Uddin Khan are not only helping ISIS in spreading its messages in the
US, he (Sajjad) also is collaborating with Shahid in ousting the democratically
elected government in Bangladesh through coup. This racket already is targeting
Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) and making foul bids in
tarnishing the image of the organization.
Shahid Uddin Khan (Army No: BA002428, Course: 8-BMA, Commission Date:
10-06-1983), who along with his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters had smuggled
out millions of dollars from Bangladesh and invested in various business
ventures in United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.
2009, he invested two million pounds in the United Kingdom in exchange of
obtaining immigrant status under Visa Tier 1, vide VAF No. 511702. Later the
family had laundered an unknown amount of money and brought that into the
Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh Police, based on
secret information, raided House No. 184, Road No. 2, Baridhara DOHS in Dhaka,
Bangladesh on January 17, 2019. This house is owned by Md. Shahid Uddin Khan
and was allegedly used as a warehouse for arms, explosives and propaganda
materials of Islamic State (ISIS). During the raid, large volume of weapons,
detonator, counterfeit Bangladesh currency notes and jihadist materials of ISIS
were recovered by the CTTC unit.
this recovery, three separate cases against ISIS-funder Md. Shahid Uddin Khan,
his wife Farjana Anjum, daughters and other accomplices were lodged. The cases
are: Cantonment PS, Case no 10, Section-6(2)/7/11/12 of Anti Terrorism Act 2009
(amendment 2013); Cantonment PS, Case no
11, Section-25-A, Special Power Act
1974; and Cantonment PS, Case no 12, Section-19-A of Arms Act 1878.
Britain really an ally in war on terror?
specific example of the case of ISIS funder Md. Shahid Uddin Khan clearly
proves, the United Kingdom not only is inclined in welcoming dirty money and
laundered money, but it also has little interest in taking any action against
those who are using the British soil for jihadist and criminal activities.
Conspiring of unseating any government in the world by sitting in Britain
definitely tags the United Kingdom as an abettor to such heinous crimes. Now it
is up to the British authorities and lawmakers especially the British Prime
Minister Theresa May to initiate legal actions against Md. Shahid Uddin Khan,
his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters and immediately deport them to Bangladesh.
proves to be model of democracy post-GE14, says foreign minister
Hasbullah Awang Chik
22 April — Malaysia can become a model of democracy due to the smooth
transition of power following the 14th general election (GE14), said Foreign
Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
said after the polls, Malaysia has proven itself to be at par with other
nations that are serious in fighting for democracy
rise of the rakyat in GE14 shows that it can be done safely and government
transitions can happen smoothly as well.
said when people discuss Islam and democracy, they would bring up countries
like Pakistan, Tunisia, Indonesia and Turkey as examples but not Malaysia.
say that Malaysia also has experience as an Islamic nation that practices
democracy well,” he told the press in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s (PH)
first-anniversary celebration at Wisma Putra here today.
a stunning victory that made political history, the Pakatan Harapan (PH)
coalition became the ruling government after GE14.
victory ended the rule of Barisan Nasional (BN), which has dominated Malaysian
politics for 60-years.
Arabia: The al-Zulfi attackers are ISIS members
official spokesperson of the Presidency of State Security announced on Monday
that the four al-Zulfi attackers are ISIS members, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA)
reported, publishing full names and national identification numbers of the
investigations revealed a place rented by one of the attackers in al-Rayan
neighborhood, al-Zulfi province, which was used by the group to plan the
the location, investigators found “what looks like a factory for explosives and
explosive belts,” according to SPA.
published a list of the weapons found, which included five explosive belts, 64
locally manufactured hand grenades, two Kalashnikovs, six guns, four bags of
organic fertilizers, a telecommunication device, and two laptops.
statement described the Saudi government as a "sponsor of terrorism",
stressing that the flames of popular moves against the regime will not die.
Saudi regime which rules the Arab Peninsula, introduces itself as a supporter
of Islam, while it is a sponsor of terrorism and it shelters terrorists by
means of misuing global political support in return for economic resources that
it has gained from people's assets and properties," it added.
statement referred to the Saudi security forces' destruction of al-Mansoureh
village in Qatif region, the birthplace of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the prominent
Shiite cleric executed by Riyadh in 2016, saying that if the Saudi regime wants
to annihilate the popular resistance, it will face more resistance.
situated in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, has been the scene of anti-regime
protests since 2011, with demonstrators demanding free speech, the release of
political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination.
has suppressed pro-democracy rallies, but to no avail as protests have
intensified since January 2016 when the Al Saud regime executed respected
Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
2017, Awamiyah, another Shiite-populated Qatif town, witnessed a deadly
military crackdown on protests that were being held against the regime’s
attempt to raze the historical Musawara neighborhood.
rulers claimed the district’s narrow streets served as a hideout for armed men
who were behind the attacks on Saudi forces in Eastern Province.
then deployed military forces with heavy weapons to the town, while bulldozers
escorted by heavily armored military vehicles demolished several houses,
businesses and historical sites across the region.
of civilians were killed during the weeks-long military crackdown. Some 30,000
people also fled the town.
Austrian politicians responsible for increased anti-Muslim hate crimes?
rise in hate crimes towards Muslims in Austria is part of a broader trend that
has real and negative ramifications for their safety in Europe.
Anti-Muslim Racism Report 2018 shows an increasing number of anti-Muslim
incidents in Austria. The main target of these incidents were women. In 2017, a
total of 309 incidents had been reported and in 2018, the number of reported
events increased by 74 percent, which makes a total of 540 incidents.
in Vienna, Austria, an older woman insulted a young Muslim lady and spat at her
afterwards. “That is my country you wh**e!” the old woman shouted. She referred
to the Muslim lady as an “animal” and “pig”.
Muslim lady pointed out that she was born in Austria and that she is not going
to leave her home country. The woman responded by shouting that the FPO (the
Austrian Freedom Party, which is also part of the coalition government) would
throw all of “them” (meaning Muslims) out.
racism is a daily problem in Austria and there is a risk that this behaviour is
becoming increasingly normalised in the country’s political and social climate.
Austrian government’s anti-Muslim smear campaign
Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, from the Christian Democratic People’s Party
(OVP) strongly condemned the incident on Monday. He said: "A disgusting
attack that I condemn in the strongest terms. In Austria, we stand for a
respectful and peaceful coexistence of all religions!"
might seem like a statesmanlike act from Kurz, but both he and FPO Vice
Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache are taking part in this smear campaign
against Islam and its followers.
whole election campaign in 2017 was grounded in combatting “political Islam”, a
term, which was not even defined or explained.
public debate, it is striking that concepts and terms (such as Sharia or jihad)
based in Islamic tradition are rarely explained. In most cases, words that are
not known to the public at large are deliberately deployed to stir up confusion
and anxiety in society.
using such terms, it is important to clarify them and convey the different
views on the subject. The vagueness of the term benefits the very purpose of
the Austrian government. It is easier to scapegoat somebody if the problem
stays abstract. As a result, the wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims
threatens to be driven deeper and deeper as politicians and other protagonists
are continue to demonise Islam.
to the Christchurch terrorist
far-right FPO has links with right-wing extremists such as the Identitarian
Movement of Austria, which, it was recently revealed, received a significant
donation of nearly $1700 from the Christchurch terrorist who attacked two
mosques in New Zealand, killing 50 Muslims.
Christchurch killer had networked internationally with several right-wing
extremist groups, but so far, the clearest connection is with Vienna.
terrorist wrote in his 'manifesto', which he posted online before the attack,
that he had donated money to many nationalist groups and associations.
leader of the Identitarian Movement of Austria, Martin Sellner, claimed he
didn’t know that the donation was from the Christchurch assassin, but the link
prompted a preliminary investigation into Sellner under Austria’s
emphasises that his party has nothing to do with the Identitarian Movement,
however he has repeatedly shared posts from the movement on his official
from 2015 have also emerged showing Strache and members of the Identitarian
Movement at the same table.
the chancellor and vice chancellor expressed their sympathy for the victims of
Christchurch on the day of the terrorist attack via Twitter.
no such post appeared on their Facebook pages, ensuring there was no awkward
backlash from their Facebook followers.
Anti-Muslim Racism Report 2018 also shows that more than 50 percent of the
reported anti-Muslim incidents occur online.
is no secret that the FPO has carried out several anti-Muslim campaigns in the
current Home Secretary Herbert Kickl is famous for using Nazi terminology
against migrants and refugees. He also pulls the strings behind several
anti-Muslim slogans such as “home instead of Islam.”
opposition Social Democrats and liberal party JETZT have demanded Kickl’s
government is carefully taking steps against Muslims and migrants. Kurz is
arguing for the shutdown of Islamic kindergartens, saying they are dangerous.
It once again highlights the unequal treatment of those with Islamic faith,
compared to the followers of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion.
is the very concern of Kurz and Strache and through the way they deal with
Muslims and Islam, it is likely that the discrimination will only increase.
DELHI: Security in southern states, particularly in churches and other religious
places, has been strengthened following the terrorists attack in Sri Lanka
which has left 290 people dead, including eight Indians, and over 500 injured,
officials said Monday.
has also been stepped up in sensitive locations in major cities like Delhi,
Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru, and Goa, which is a major tourist destination,
as a precautionary measure.
security arrangements in churches and other major religious sites in Tamil
Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been made in the
wake of the multiple blasts in Sri Lanka on Sunday, a security official said.
agencies were also believed to have been helping the Sri Lankan investigators
in cracking the case, another official said.
were, however, tight-lipped about reports which suggested that an Indian
intelligence agency gave Sri Lankan authorities advance intimation about the
possible terror attack.
suicide bombers believed to be members of an Islamist extremist group carried
out the devastating blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in Sri
Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing 290 people and wounding 500 others in the
country's worst terror attack.
state of emergency was declared from midnight Monday after a crucial meeting of
the National Security Council chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena.
group has claimed responsibility for Sunday's attacks, but police have so far
arrested 24 people - mostly members of a same group - in connection with the
troops accused of shooting at handcuffed Palestinian
JALA: A hospitalised Palestinian teen said on Monday he was shot in his thighs
by Israeli soldiers while he was handcuffed and blindfolded the latest in what
a leading rights group portrayed as a series of unjustified shootings of
Palestinians by Israeli soldiers.
military said it was investigating last week’s incident, which it said took place
as Palestinian youths were throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.
Hajahjeh, 16, said he was trying to run from soldiers when he was shot
Thursday. He said the incident began after a funeral for a school teacher in
his village of Tekoa, who had been hit by a car driven by an Israeli while
walking at a busy intersection.
said school was let out early for students to attend the funeral. After the
burial, he said he was tackled by a soldier who jumped out of an olive grove
and forced him to the ground. He said his hands were cuffed and his eyes
covered with a cloth blindfold.
the arrest, he said he could hear Palestinian youths shouting at the soldiers,
while soldiers yelled back in Arabic and Hebrew.
got confused” and stood up, he said. “Immediately, I was shot in my right leg.
Then I tried to run, and I was shot in my left leg and fell on the ground,” he
said, speaking from his hospital bed in the West Bank town of Beit Jala south
of Jerusalem. Doctors said he is in stable condition.
captured by a local photographer shows soldiers appearing to pursue a fleeing
Hajahjeh with his eyes covered and hands tied behind his back.
shooting set off a chaotic scene. Soldiers and Palestinians shouted at each
other as the teen lay on the ground. One soldier took off the teen’s belt and
used it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
video shows a masked soldier screaming and pointing a pistol at a group of
anguished Palestinians as the teen lies on the ground. Later, a soldier scuffles
with residents as another soldier fires into the air. A soldier and two
Palestinian men then carry away the teen to medical care.
a statement, the military said the teen had been arrested after participating
in “massive stone throwing” at Israeli forces.
detainee was held at a nearby spot and began running away from the force. The
soldiers chased him, during which they fired toward his lower abdomen,” it
statement did not say anything about him being blindfolded or cuffed, but said
the military offered medical treatment after the shooting and was investigating
father, Ali, said he was thankful a soldier gave his son medical care. But he
said his son never should have been shot to begin with. “Only a sick person
would shoot a blindfolded boy,” he said.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the incident was the latest in a
series of what it called unjustified shootings on Palestinian teens and young
men. It says four Palestinians in their late teens or early twenties have been
killed in the West Bank since early March.
army has challenged the Palestinian witness accounts, but also frequently
announces investigations into disputed cases.
has long criticised military investigations, saying they rarely result in
punishments and alleging they’re used to whitewash abuses by troops.
the previous four cases we investigated, this is an example of Israel’s
reckless use of lethal fire, and the fact that the human lives of Palestinians
count very little in the eyes of the army,” said Roy Yellin, a spokesman for
The government on Monday blamed a little-known radical Islamist group for the
devastating Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed more than 300 people.
Officials said the group, which had not carried out any serious attacks before,
had received help from an international terrorist organization.
Sri Lanka’s security forces were warned at least 10 days before the bombings
that the militant group was planning attacks against churches, but apparently
took no action against it, indicating a catastrophic intelligence failure.
The Sri Lankan police have arrested 24 people in connection with the explosions
at hotels and churches. One of the suicide bombers had been arrested just a few
months ago, suspected of having vandalized a statue of Buddha.
dusk-to-dawn curfew was in effect for a second night on Monday in Colombo, the
capital. And major social media and messaging services, including Facebook and
WhatsApp, were been blocked by the government to try to curb the spread of
toll rises to 310
number killed rose on Tuesday to 310, the police said, adding that about 500
people had also been wounded in the attacks on sites across the country.
Sri Lankan tourism minister, John Amaratunga, said that at least 39 foreigners
were among the dead. Those countries that have confirmed their citizens were
killed include Australia, Britain, China, Japan, Portugal and the United
Gunasekera, a police spokesman, would not reveal how many people had been killed
at each location.
identities of the victims have started to emerge. These are their stories.
explosions rocked parts of the country on Monday, and while no new casualties
were reported, the blasts racked already strained nerves.
one case, it appeared that a bomb detonated while the police were trying to
defuse or move it, near one of the churches that was hit on Sunday. Smaller
blasts were reported that may have resulted from the police intentionally
detonating suspicious packages.
warning went unheeded
days before the bombings, a top Sri Lankan police official warned the security
services that a radical Islamist group was planning suicide attacks against
churches, but no action was taken against the group. It was unclear what other
precautions, if any, the security agencies had taken in response to the threat
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Sunday that neither he nor his cabinet
ministers had been informed of the warning, highlighting the power struggle
between him and President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the defense
minister. Late last year, the feud led, for a time, to there being two
officials claiming to be the rightful prime minister.
apparent intelligence failure and the breakdown of communication within the
government are likely to prompt political recriminations and attract attention
in investigations into the attacks.
a news conference on Monday, the health minister, Rajitha Senaratne, said there
had been a warning as early as April 4, reiterating that the prime minister and
his allies had been “completely blind on the situation.” He noted the lack of
cooperation within the government, saying that when the prime minister
attempted recently to call a security council meeting, members of the panel
refused to attend.
April 11 letter from the police official not only named the group believed to
be planning an attack, National Thowheeth Jama’ath, but also named individual
members, and even gave addresses where they could be found.
information came from “foreign intelligence,” the letter said. It did not
specify which country had supplied the intelligence, but Indian security
officials said they had given it to their Sri Lankan counterparts as early as
must look into why adequate precautions were not taken,” Mr. Wickremesinghe
said on Sunday.
earlier arrest for one attacker
of the suicide bombers was arrested just a few months ago, Sri Lankan officials
disclosed on Monday, on suspicion of having vandalized a statue of Buddha. That
is an inflammatory act in a Buddhist-majority nation where strident
religiosity, on all sides, seems to be increasing.
disclosure of the arrest came as Sri Lankan officials squared off over the
attacks, and whether more could have been done to try to prevent them. In a
government that is no stranger to crisis, the bitter recriminations suggested
that a new one may be in the offing.
details emerged about a confidential security memo on the group believed to be
behind the attacks, which was issued 10 days before it struck. The memo
appeared to lay it all out: names, addresses, phone numbers, even the times in
the middle of the night that one suspect would visit his wife.
Lanka Bombing Maps: What We Know About the Attack Sites
attacks struck churches, five-star hotels and other sites in multiple cities.
are National Thowheeth Jama’ath?
on Monday said a little-known Islamist group that promotes a terrorist ideology
in South Asia was responsible for the attacks.
group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath, had a reputation for vandalizing Buddhist
statues but little history of carrying out terrorist attacks.
Senaratne, the health minister, called the group “a local organization” and
said the suicide bombers appeared to be Sri Lankan citizens. “All are locals,”
he said at a news conference on Monday.
he added, “there was an international network without which these attacks could
not have succeeded.”
a news release, Mr. Sirisena, the president, said that, according to Sri Lanka’s
intelligence agencies, “there are international terrorist organizations behind
one has publicly claimed responsibility for the bombings.
forensic analysis of body parts found at six sites determined that seven
suicide bombers conducted attacks at three churches and three hotels, according
to The Associated Press. Most attacks were carried out by lone bombers, but two
men targeted the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. Two other bombings at a
guesthouse and at the suspects’ apparent safe house remain under investigation.
Lanka does not have much history of Islamist terrorism. The country is
predominantly Buddhist, with significant Hindu, Muslim and Christian
1983 to 2009, separatists from the Tamil ethnic group, which is mostly Hindu,
fought a civil war against the government, dominated by the Sinhalese ethnic
majority, most of whom are Buddhist.
bombs hinted at a worrying level of expertise
designed the suicide vests used in the blasts showed considerable competence, a
fact that is certain to worry law enforcement agencies, said Scott Stewart,
vice president for tactical analysis at Stratfor, a geopolitical consulting
firm based in Austin, Tex.
small, homegrown extremist groups use explosives, they often start with a
series of failures. Some bombs fail to detonate completely, and others explode
early, late, or not at all.
in the Sri Lanka attack, it appears that all seven suicide vests detonated and
did heavy damage, Mr. Stewart said, indicating skill at making bombs and
manually activated detonators, and suggesting access to a large supply of
military-grade high explosives.
don’t do that by accident, so they must have a fairly decent logistics network
and funding,” he added.
Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the
National Security Council, said he would not be surprised if a small group had
been able to stage the attack without direct help.
is so, so much instruction and guidance available on the open internet these
days, not to mention whatever is circulating on encrypted chat groups, widely
available in terrorist circles if not totally public,” he said.
bombs, apparently not designed for suicide attacks, were found in other public
places in Sri Lanka. That suggests that the bomb maker (or makers) was less
expert at detonation using timers or remote control, Mr. Stewart said.
for an Islamic State Link
Washington, intelligence and counterterrorism analysts were scrutinizing possible
ties between the Islamic State and the attackers, but as of Monday afternoon
had not reached any definitive conclusions.
J. Rasmussen, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said
the presence of some Sri Lankan fighters in Syria and Iraq raised the prospect
of informal connections with members of National Thowheeth Jama’ath still in
hard to imagine an attack of this complexity without some form of organization
and support from a group that has done this kind of thing before,” Mr.
Rasmussen said in an email.
Monaco, a former homeland security adviser for President Barack Obama, who also
served as assistant attorney general for national security, said that if the
attacks in Sri Lanka had been inspired by ISIS, it should serve as a stark
reminder to the Trump administration.
a reminder that we should not mistake the defeat of the physical caliphate — as
important as it is through tremendous efforts by both the Obama and Trump
administration — we should not mistake the defeat of the physical caliphate
with that of the virtual caliphate,” Ms. Monaco said.
a movement and it, as we’ve seen, can take hold around the world,” Ms. Monaco
said. “That’s going to require a partnership with governments and the private
sector when it comes to addressing abuse of social media platforms.”
warns of additional attacks
State Department said that terrorist groups “continue plotting possible attacks
in Sri Lanka” and raised its travel advisory to warn visitors to the country
about potential threats.
said terrorists could attack “with little or no warning,” and listed several
potential targets, including tourist spots, transportation centers, markets,
malls, government offices, hotels and places of worship.
travel advisory level was raised to “exercise increased caution,” the
second-lowest of four levels. It had previously been at the lowest level,
“exercise normal precautions.”
advisory gave no specific details about any groups that could be planning
attacks or about who might be responsible for Sunday’s violence.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia also raised its advisory
level and urged travelers on Monday to “reconsider your need” to go to Sri
responds with a curfew, a social media blackout, and more
Lankan officials took a series of extraordinary steps in an effort to keep
control of their shaken country, aiming to prevent further extremist attacks
and retaliatory violence.
Sirisena, the president, said the government had given additional powers to the
police and security forces to detain and interrogate people, and for the second
day in a row, a curfew was imposed, from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m.
government temporarily blocked several networks, including Facebook and
Instagram. Users also reported being unable to access the messaging services
WhatsApp and Viber.
Sunday’s attacks have no known link to social media, Sri Lanka has a troubled
history with violence incited on the platforms. The ban was an extraordinary
step that reflected growing global concerns about social media.
Sirisena appointed a three-person panel to investigate the bombings, headed by
a Supreme Court justice, Vijith Malalgoda.
president also directed the authorities to increase security around churches
and other potential targets. And he declared a national day of mourning on
persecution and conflict rise in Asia
bombings in Sri Lanka underlined the rise of intolerance and violence across
the region, based at least partly on religion and often feeding on government
the worst example has been the persecution in Myanmar of the Rohingya Muslim
minority by the government and by members of the Buddhist majority, especially
since 2016. Thousands of Rohingya have died and hundreds of thousands have fled
Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, politicians have
increasingly made appeals to sectarian resentment, and tolerated their
political allies’ calls for violence.
Easter Sunday in 2016, a suicide bomber killed more than 70 people in a busy
park in Lahore, Pakistan. A splinter group of the Taliban claimed
responsibility, saying it had specifically targeted Christians.
May, suicide bombers struck three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, killing 28
people, and in January, two bombs ripped through a cathedral in the
Philippines, leaving 20 dead. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both
was contributed by Russell Goldman, Austin Ramzy, Sandra E. Garcia and Eric
Lanka Islamic centre merits probe: Officials
Islamic centre in Sri Lanka that hosted several Islamic State recruits from
Kerala before they left for Afghanistan or Syria merits investigation, senior
National Investigation Agency officials said on condition of anonymity,
although they added that there are no evident links between it and the terror
attacks in the island nation on Sunday that killed close to 300 people.
to the NIA officials, many of these recruits travelled to Sri Lanka and were
likely indoctrinated at the Islamic centre there, although they did not specify
the name and the location of this centre.
must be somebody in Sri Lanka who was indoctrinating Indians who travelled
there and was telling them and others about violent Jehad,” said one of the NIA
of the recruits, Ashfak Majeed from Kasargod, went to Sri Lanka in February
2016 along with his wife Shamsiya and daughter Ayesha; another, Abdul Rashid
Abdulla from Kozhikode too left India with his wife Ayisha and daughter Sara
for Sri Lanka in 2016; and still another, Palakkad native Bestin Vincent and his
wife Merrin went to Sri Lanka in December 2015.
of them were converted to Islam at the Zakir Naik-led Islamic Research
Foundation (IRF) at Mumbai; the NIA has arrested Arshi Qureshi and
Afghan security forces have thwarted militants bid to carry out a deadly car
bomb attack in Kabul city, the Ministry of Interior announced Monday.
to a statement released by MoI, the Afghan security forces conducted a targeted
raid in Surobi district of Kabul city on Sunday night and confiscated a
Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device which the militants wanted to use in
a deadly attack in Kabul city.
statement further added that two rockets, a PKM machine gun, an Ak-47 assault
rifle, 350 kgs of Hashish, and some other munitions were also seized during th
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the operation so far.
comes as a group of militants launched a coordinated attack targeting the
ministry of telecommunications in Kabul city on Saturday which left ten people
dead including seven civilians.
U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Ambassador Khalilzad will travel to Afghanistan,
India, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, and United Kingdom as part of Washington’s
ongoing efforts to find a negotiated settlement to the ongoing conflict in
Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad will travel to
Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, and the United Kingdom April 21 to
May 11, as part of the overall effort to facilitate a political settlement that
ends the conflict in Afghanistan,” the Department of State said in a statement.
statement further added “In Kabul, Special Representative Khalilzad will
consult with the Afghan government and other Afghans to encourage all parties
to work towards intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations to determine a final
least 37 militants were killed in the latest operations of the Afghan Special
Forces and airstrikes which were conducted in five provinces of the country.
military sources said Monday that 9 Taliban fighters were killed in an
airstrike in Tarinkot city of Uruzgan province.
sources further added that 9 more militants were killed in separate operations
of the Afghan Special Forces and an airstrike which were conducted Paktika
Afghan Special Forces also conducted two separate operations in Ghazni province
leaving at least 11 militants dead while 3 more were detained, the sources
a state of emergency took effect on Tuesday giving the Sri Lankan military
war-time powers, police arrested 40 suspects, including the driver of a van
allegedly used by suicide bombers involved in deadly Easter bombings and the
owner of a house where some of them lived, officials said.
Lanka's president gave the military a wider berth to detain and arrest suspects
powers that were used during the 26-year civil war but withdrawn when it ended
death toll from Sunday's attacks rose to 310, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara
Tuesday, which President Maithripala Sirisena declared a day of mourning, Sri
Lankan authorities planned to brief foreign diplomats and receive assistance
from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other foreign
intelligence-gathering agencies after officials disclosed Monday that warnings
had been received weeks ago of the possibility of an attack by the radical
group blamed for the bloodshed.
six near-simultaneous attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels and
three related blasts later on Sunday were the South Asian island nation's
deadliest violence in a decade.
government blocked most social media to curtail false information. Even after
an overnight, nationwide curfew was lifted, the streets of central Colombo
remained mostly deserted and shops closed as armed soldiers stood guard.
Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he feared the massacre could
unleash instability and he vowed to “vest all necessary powers with the defense
forces” to act against those responsible.
an indication of the tensions, three explosions caused panic but apparently no
injuries on Monday as police were defusing bombs inside a van parked near one
of the stricken churches. Dozens of detonators were discovered near Colombo's
main bus depot, but officials declined to say whether they were linked to the
Bandaranaike International Airport outside of Colombo early on Tuesday morning,
police walked explosive-sniffing dogs outside as inside cheery video
advertisements of gamblers and snorkelers played. At a roadside checkpoint at
the airport, security officials checked car trunks and questioned drivers.
lack of social media access was contributing to the confusion and doing little
to reassure residents and visitors that the danger had passed.
intelligence agencies had warned that the little-known group, National Thowfeek
Jamaath, was planning attacks, but word apparently didn't reach the prime
minister's office until after the massacre, exposing the continuing political
turmoil in the highest levels of the Sri Lankan government.
Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the warnings started April 4, the defense
ministry wrote to the police chief with information that included the group's
name and and police wrote April 11 to the heads of security of the judiciary
and diplomatic security division.
who was out of the country on Sunday, had ousted Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe in October and dissolved the Cabinet. The Supreme Court reversed
his actions, but the prime minister has not been allowed into meetings of the
Security Council since October, leaving him and his government in the dark
about the intelligence.
was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken after the threats.
Authorities said they knew where the group trained and had safe houses, but did
not identify any of the suicide bombers, whose bodies were recovered, or the
two dozen other suspects taken into custody.
the bombers were Sri Lankans, but authorities said they strongly suspected
foreign links, Senaratne said.
unclear was a motive. The history of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, a country of
21 million including large Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities, is rife with
ethnic and sectarian conflict.
the 26-year civil war, the Tamil Tigers, a powerful rebel army known for using
suicide bombers, was finally crushed by the government in 2009 but had little
history of targeting Christians. Anti-Muslim bigotry fed by Buddhist
nationalists has swept the country recently, but there is no history of Islamic
militancy. Its small Christian community has seen only scattered incidents of
of the stricken churches are Catholic and one Protestant. The three hotels and
one of the churches, St Anthony's Shrine, are frequented by foreigners. Tourism
Minister John Amaratunga said 39 foreigners were killed, although the foreign
ministry gave the figure as 31. The reason for the discrepancy wasn't clear,
but some victims were dual nationals.
and Britain have confirmed eight dead each. The US State Department confirmed
that at least four Americans dead and several seriously wounded. Others were
confirmed to be from Bangladesh, China, France, Japan, the Netherlands,
Denmark, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey and Australia.
scale of the violence recalled the worst days of the civil war, when the Tamil
Tigers, from the ethnic Tamil minority, sought independence from the
Sinhalese-dominated, majority Buddhist country. The Tamils are Hindu, Muslim
six near-simultaneous blasts were set off Sunday morning at St. Anthony's and
the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels in Colombo, as well as the
two churches outside Colombo. They collapsed ceilings and blew out windows,
killing worshippers and hotel guests, and leaving behind scenes of smoke, soot,
blood, broken glass, screams and wailing alarms.
military confirmed two other related blasts, one near an overpass and another
at a guesthouse where two people were killed. A ninth blast, which killed three
police officers, was set off by occupants of a safe house trying to evade
arrest, authorities said.
morgue worker in Negombo, outside Colombo, where St Sebastian's Church was
targeted, said many bodies were hard to identify because of the blasts. He
spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the
Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said at least 110 of the dead were
killed at St Sebastian's, making it the deadliest of the attacks.
Lakmal, a businessman who took his family to St Sebastian's for Mass, said they
all escaped unharmed, but he remained haunted by images of bodies being taken
from the sanctuary.
Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said the attacks could have been
thwarted. “We placed our hands on our heads when we came to know that these
deaths could have been avoided. Why this was not prevented?” he said.
detained for questioning over attacks: sources
Lankan police are holding a Syrian national in custody for questioning over the
Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, three government and military
sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
terrorist investigation division of the police arrested a Syrian national
following the attacks for interrogation,” a source said.
other officials with knowledge of the investigation confirmed the detention.
“He was arrested after interrogation of local suspects,” a second source said.
consistently opposes unilateral US sanctions against Iran, the Chinese foreign
ministry said on Monday amid reports that Washington is expected to announce that
buyers of Iranian oil must halt imports soon or face sanctions.
spokesman Geng Shuang, speaking at a daily news briefing, said China’s
bilateral cooperation with Iran was in accordance with the law.
is a major importer of Iranian oil and was one of eight buyers who were granted
a waiver by the United States to continue buying Iranian oil.
president Joko Widodo apparently won his electoral rematch with Prabowo
Subianto by a solid if not overwhelming margin. That almost certainly is to the
benefit of Indonesia and its neighbors.
is a putative strongman, made an army general by his father-in-law, the late
dictator Suharto. Subianto commanded the brutal Special Forces and was
cashiered for having kidnapped regime opponents. He sought political support by
encouraging Islamic extremism.
in response Widodo, informally known as Jokowi, abandoned his more liberal
views and appealed to the same intolerant forces. Indonesia’s reputation as
home to a tolerant Islamic faith continues to erode.
Islamic extremism long has existed barely beneath the surface, ready to burst
forth. Two decades ago on the main island of Java I joined the group Christian
Freedom International in visiting a Bible school which had been destroyed by a
mob. Out of fear of further violence, the local authorities refused to grant
permission to rebuild. On the same trip I visited the Moluccan Islands, with a
larger than average Christian population, which were roiled by more than two
years of violent conflict. I met a militia leader who fought to defend
Christian villages—and was killed a couple weeks later.
2002 Islamists targeted Australians for their nation’s support of America; the
bombing killed 202 people on Bali. I stood in front of Jakarta’s JW Marriott in
2003, after it was bombed by Islamic radicals, ironically killing more
Indonesian Muslims than Western Christians (the hotel was hit again a few years
later). In 2006 I met a pastor’s wife who lost her leg in a bombing at her
church outside of Jakarta. During the same trip I talked with members of a
church in Kalimantan, which had been destroyed by their neighbors. They were
blocked by the local government from rebuilding the church.
fact, since 2004 the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has
placed Indonesia on its “Tier 2” list for violations of religious liberty. The
USCIRF’s latest report noted that “For decades, hardliners and other intolerant
groups have had deep connections to and influence on the highest levels of
government.” Although advocates of tolerance remain, other elements “have grown
more vocal in calling for increasingly conservative interpretations of Islam.”
observers see the Arabization of Indonesian Islam, with a rise of Salafism.
Moderation and syncretism, accommodating traditional local beliefs, are fading.
The New York Times has reported that bureaucrats “steeped in austere Wahhabism
draw converts in government prayer halls. Hundreds of Indonesians joined the
Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. And hundreds of thousands more cheer for the
group on social media.”
of the change resulted from Saudi Arabia promoting fundamentalist Wahhabism.
Explained the Commission: “Saudi money, such as through the state-owned Saudi
Fund for Development, supports Indonesian mosques and schools, and the
government provides funds for educational materials and scholarships to study
in Saudi Arabia.” One of the most important promoters of intolerance is the
Saudi Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic. It has “nurtured militants
linked to terrorist attacks across Southeast Asia” while expanding across
Indonesia. Open Doors now ranks Indonesia at number thirty on its World Watch
List of the globe’s fifty worst persecutors, according to the New York Times.
the problems, reported USCIRF, were regulations which have “politicized the
construction of houses of worship and often handed over their fate to the
influence of hardliners and other intolerant groups.” Some churches were closed
by demonstrators; others were shuttered by local governments despite court
decisions affirming that the churches have a legal right to operate. Ahmadis
and Shia Muslims also suffered discrimination. The U.S. State Department
catalogued a long list of religious liberty violations: imposition of Sharia
law, closures of houses of worship, opposition to church construction, forced
conversions, violent attacks on churches, blasphemy prosecutions, denial of
public services, forced Sunni religious education, discrimination and intimidation.
of the greatest threats to free religious practice are the blasphemy laws,
which are misused in Indonesia, Pakistan and other Muslim nations. The charge
is a weapon often deployed against members of minority faiths, with guilt
presumed and courts intimidated by demonstrators. Amnesty International counted
more than one hundred individuals who were prosecuted between 2005 and 2014. In
2016 a politically motivated case against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, the
Christian governor of Java running for reelection, led to his imprisonment.
Fearful over the potential for violence in the case, he abandoned his appeal.
won international backing for his perceived liberalism. Indeed, in the 2014
race he was attacked for his relative liberalism: “the opposition camp harped
on about Jokowi’s secular approach as a weakness, arguing that he was not
devout enough and spreading rumors that he was a closet Christian,” reported
the Economist. Widodo made a pilgrimage to Mecca two days before the election
to demonstrate his supposed devotion.
government was expected to be an advocate of religious tolerance. After taking
office, however, he quickly abandoned any liberal instincts. Australian
National University’s Marcus Mietzner complained that instead of defending
pluralism, the president “tried to adopt many of the Islamist themes—and the
minorities were the main victims of that move.” Most dramatically, Jokowi
remained silent in the persecution of his former deputy, even praying with
demonstrators demanding that Ahok be tried.
2019 election was a replay of the earlier contest. Widodo benefited from
general economic growth, but he could not count on reelection. The high hopes
which greeted his first term had ebbed. His progress in fighting corruption was
limited; economic investment and reform lagged; the military’s influence had
grown; he had undermined free speech by targeting critics; and Islamic
radicalism had advanced. Indeed, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Joshua
Kurlantzick argued that “Jokowi’s image as a clean politician has been dented
by the arrest of one of his political allies allegedly for accepting bribes.
The president seems to be ignoring graft by major figures who are willing to
support him—and who also stand in the way of real reform of the political
course, he was not the first alleged reformer to fall short in that way,
basking in the support those whose influence he once promised to curtail.
“Perhaps the biggest reversal has been Jokowi’s seemingly effortless embrace of
conservative Islam,” noted the Economist. The Western-educated son of a
Christian, Subianto ran as a nationalist, populist, and Islamist. By making
religion a top issue, he sharply divided the electorate along religious
grounds. The president responded in kind.
noted that “Jokowi has simultaneously embraced some harder-line positions and
policies, designed to appeal to more conservative voters—moves that could
further entrench the power of Islamist ideas and actors.” Again, candidate
Widodo made a last-minute Hajj to Saudi Arabia. He chose as his running mate
Ma’ruf Amin, a hard-line Islamist who until his resignation last September
headed the nation’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama. Amin was a
strong advocate for limiting religious liberty, and even issued a fatwa against
Santa hats. More significantly, he testified against Ahok in the latter’s
won this election by a larger percentage of the vote but carried fewer
provinces, as voters polarized along religious lines. He now owes Amin and the
conservative Nahdlatul Ulama. Amin is seventy-six years old, so he is an
unlikely successor to Jokowi. However, the campaign energized Islamists, who
gathered at Subianto’s Jakarta home after hearing of his likely loss. The
so-called 212 Movement, which demanded Ahok’s imprisonment, rallied in the
capital over Easter weekend. Future protests are possible to further demands to
ban alcohol, criminalize gay sex, and impose Shariah law.
continuing rise in Islamic extremism is likely to affect Widodo’s second-term
policies. Worse, it presages a further decline in Indonesia’s religious
liberty. Noted Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch, “We should be very
concerned, because both sides in the campaign have now made human rights and
democracy decline.” And Widodo has proved that he is a man of neither principle
nor courage, making him unlikely to defend his country from Islamist
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has condemned Sunday's suicide
bombings in Sri Lanka, which claimed the lives of nearly 300 people, most of
strongly condemns the bomb attacks in several places in Sri Lanka today. On
behalf of the people of Indonesia, I also convey our deepest condolences to the
government of Sri Lanka and the families of all the victims," the
president tweeted on Sunday evening, according to Bey Machmudi, spokesman for
the Presidential Secretariat.
of the six attacks, which occurred during Easter services on Sunday morning,
were on churches – St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, St. Anthony's Shrine in
Kochchikade and Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa – while bombs
also exploded at the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels in the
Sri Lankan government has confirmed that all the attacks were carried by
suicide bombers and blamed local jihadist group, National Thowheed Jamaath, for
the violence, the BBC reported.
bomb exploded on a street near a church in Colombo on Monday.
to security concerns, the State Security Council has imposed a curfew from 8
p.m. local time on Monday until 4 a.m. on Tuesday. Social media access has also
been blocked in the country.
least 24 people have been arrested, while police found explosive devices in
several locations, including near Bandaranaike International Airport. Three
police officers were killed by explosions in two separate raids in Colombo.
Monday evening, the death toll had risen to 290, including foreigners, while
more than 500 people have been injured.
Lanka is home to about 1.5 million Christians, mostly Catholics. The majority
religion is Buddhism, followed by Hinduism (12.6 percent) and Islam (9.7
percent), according to the country's 2012 census.
Indonesian government said all 374 of its citizens in the South Asian country
are safe. One Indonesian was at the Shangri-La Hotel when the explosion
newspaper The Sun quoted terror expert Rita Katz as saying that Islamic State
supporters "have boasted that the series of attacks were revenge for the
New Zealand mosque massacre and the US-backed military campaign in Syria."
literary exhibition in Palembang, South Sumatra, showcases classic works of
literature spanning from the earliest history of the region, as well as
archipelagic Indonesia as a whole.
oldest printed Quran in Southeast Asia, alongside several ancient manuscripts,
became the centerpiece of the exhibition, dubbed Palembang Literary Week, which
will run until Sunday at the Palembang Grand Mosque.
the week, visitors will be able to trace the region’s literary history from the
days of the once-gargantuan Sriwijaya Empire, right up to the post-independence
era of early Indonesia.
literary artifacts such as a two-century-old handwritten European letter, sabak
(an early writing instrument made out of stone) and ancient stone inscriptions
are among the highlights of the exhibition.
Quran that was printed in August 1848, soon after the establishment of the
first lithography-based printing house in the region under the Dutch
occupation, also drew public attention, as literary experts have declared it
the oldest printed Quran in Southeast Asia.
literature expert, Ahmad Subhan, said the extensive collection showcased at the
exhibition proved that the provincial capital had experienced massive cultural
shifts over the course of centuries.
historians from Bayt Al-Quran Indonesia have considered the 1848 edition to be
the first and the oldest known copy of a printed Quran in Southeast Asia,”
Subhan told The Jakarta Post.
went on to say that the oldest Quran was proof that Palembang had been one of
the world’s earliest adopters of the printing technology.
United States is offering a $10 million reward for information that can help
disrupt the finances of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.
State Department said it would give the money to anyone who provides
intelligence that allows the United States to disrupt Hezbollah in key ways.
areas include information on Hezbollah’s donors, on financial institutions that
assist its transactions and on businesses controlled by the movement.
Donald Trump’s administration has put a top priority on reducing the influence
of Iran, the primary backer of Hezbollah.
State Department listed three alleged Hezbollah financiers as examples of
activities it was seeking to stop, with one, Ali Youssef Charara, allegedly
funding the group by investing millions of dollars from Hezbollah in the
telecommunications industry in West Africa.
of State Mike Pompeo has pointed to a recent appeal by Hezbollah for donations
as a sign of US success in curbing Iran.
a visit last month to Beirut, Pompeo urged Lebanon to counter the “dark
ambitions” of Iran and Hezbollah but was rebuffed by Foreign Minister Gebran
Bassil, who said Hezbollah was not a terrorist group and enjoyed a wide base.
United States has vowed for decades to fight Shiite militants in Lebanon, with
memories still bitter over the 1983 attack on a military barracks in Beirut that
killed 241 Americans.
spokesperson of the Saudi Presidency of State Security said that 13 people were
arrested as a result of finding plans to execute criminal acts that were
targeting the Kingdom’s security, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
statement published by SPA included the names of the 13 arrested men, in
addition to their National ID numbers.
extremist group says it was behind an attack Sunday on a Saudi security
building in al-Zulfi, a suburb around 250 km north of the capital Riyadh, in
which all four gunmen were killed and three security officers were wounded.
Arabiya sources said the Saudi authorities foiled an attempted terrorist attack
on the General Directorate of Investigation’s Center in al-Zulfi. The attackers
carried machine guns, bombs, and Molotov cocktails.
ISIS-linked Aamaq news agency released a video Monday of the four alleged
“martyrdom-seekers” behind the attack.
unclear when the footage was filmed.
Syrian Army troops engaged in fierce clashes with the ISIL terrorists who
intended to penetrate into military points in al-Sukhna Desert in Eastern Homs,
battlefield sources in Eastern Homs said.
sources said several ISIL terrorists were killed after their vehicles came
under strike by the Syrian Air Force.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper also reported that the ISIL terrorists, who
have exited al-Baqouz town under an agreement with the US-backed Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF), launched several attacks on the Syrian Army's military
positions in Badiyeh from Jabal Abu Rajmin in Northeastern Palmyra to Eastern
Arabic-language service of Russia Today (RT) also pointed to the reemergence of
the ISIL in al-Tanf region in Eastern Homs and the terrorists' attacks on the
Syrian Army's military points, and quoted local sources as saying that an
operation is underway to relocate terrorists to this region.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), meantime, announced that the ISIL's
activities in Badiyeh region of Homs and the terrorist groups' attacks on the
Syrian Army in the region have increased after the US-led coalition declared
the ISIL's defeat in Eastern Euphrates.
anti-corruption body has accused officials in the northern province of Nineveh
of embezzling more than $60 million in public funds, saying the crime was
committed after the governor was sacked last month.
to a statement by the anti-corruption Integrity Commission on Monday, officials
from Nineveh, of which Mosul is the capital, had stolen a total of $64 million
in public funds.
added that of this huge sum, nearly $40 million had been allocated to rebuild
Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, which was ravaged by the Takfiri Daesh
had turned Mosul to its de facto capital in the country from mid-2014 to July
2017, when the city was finally liberated from the grips of the terror outfit,
following several months of fierce fighting.
statement added that the embezzlement occurred in the aftermath of a ferry
sinking in the province in March that claimed the lives of more than 100
tragic incident prompted the parliament to unanimously fire Governor Nawfel
Akoub, who has since been on the run, thought to be hiding out in Irbil, the
capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region.
statement did not accuse the governor directly, but said the accused officials
were “close to Akoub.”
added that 14 officials had been arrested earlier this month after the
anti-corruption body’s investigation found that “checks and wire transfers of
public funds had been made out to the personal accounts of senior officials.”
the missing money, “just six million dollars” were recovered by the government,
a commission member told AFP.
Iraqi parliament has been probing accusations of massive corruption among officials
in the province, and their results came out amid public anger over the ferry
is reported to be endemic across the Arab country, which ranks among the
world’s worst offenders in Transparency International’s annual Corruption
Two cabin crew of the national airline Saudia remain unaccounted for in Sri
Lanka, according to a spokesman.
crew member was injured following the Easter Sunday attacks which killed at
least 290 people and injured 500, but the location of two others was unknown.
a result of the tragic events that took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka this
morning there are SAUDIA crew members that are reportedly unaccounted for,” a
statement released by the airline after the attacks on Sunday read.
two members, that remain missing, have not been named but they are both Saudi
details have been released of where the two were at the time of the blasts.
Thirteen people were arrested after finding plans to execute criminal acts that
were targeting the Kingdom’s security, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on
statement published by SPA included the names of the 13 men arrested, in
addition to their civil ID numbers.
spokesperson for the Saudi Presidency of State Security said explosive belts
were found during a raid on the house of the Zulfi attackers.
heavily armed attackers were killed in a failed terrorist attack claimed by
Daesh on an Interior Ministry building in Zulfi, north of Riyadh on Sunday.
four terrorists that were killed belonged to Daesh.
Presidency of State Security released the identities of the four attackers:
Abdullah Hamoud Al-Hamoud, Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Mansour, Samer Abdulaziz
Al-Madid and Salman Abdulaziz Al-Madid.
authorities discovered a house in Al-Rayyan neighborhood in Zulfi governorate,
rented by Abdullah Al-Hamoud, one of the four perpetrators, where they found
what resembled to be a factory for manufacturing explosives and explosive
total of five explosive belts were found, four of which were worn by the
perpetrators, and another inside a car. The belts contain detonating keys and
grenades with shrapnel-like screws.
also seized 64 homemade grenades, 61 pipe fittings, of which nine were being
processed as pipe bombs, three mobile phones, three pressure cookers ready for
detonation, two Kalashnikov machine guns, six pistols, and other various
also found four bags (74,900 kg) containing organic fertilizers, along with
sets of laboratory glass containers, a number of plastic containers, a package
of liquid chemical containers, sulfur-fiber cartons, a homemade explosive
detonator and a set of screws that were equipped with shrapnel.
also seized a set of ATM cards, two national identity cards, SR 228, a number
of publications and CD-ROMs with content related to terrorist organization.
State (ISIS) funder Shahid Uddin Khan, his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters are
already under the radar of international media for their direct involvement
into jihadist activities. So far they already have formed a network, which
spreads up to United States. According to information, Shahid Uddin Khan has
his long-time cohort M. Sajjad Hussain and his wife who currently are residing
in Texas, United States. Sajjad, being the lapdog of Shahid has been spreading
radical Islam and jihadism in the US for a number of years, while Sajjad’s
wife, a known high-end sex worker and former mistress of Shahid Uddin Khan are
not only helping ISIS in spreading its messages in the US, he (Sajjad) also is
collaborating with Shahid in ousting the democratically elected government in
Bangladesh through coup. This racket already is targeting Directorate General
of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) and making foul bids in tarnishing the image of
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary said, “The United
States condemns in the strongest terms the outrageous terrorist attacks in Sri
Lanka that have claimed so many precious lives on this Easter Sunday. Our
heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the more than 200 killed and
hundreds of others wounded.
stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they bring to justice the
perpetrators of these despicable and senseless acts,” the statement concluded.
Donald Trump in a statement said, “The United States offers heartfelt
condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!”
by ISIS-jihadist in Briitain
to information, on hearing the news about jihadist attack in Sri Lanka, ISIS
funder Shahid Uddin Khan and his wife Farjana Anjum made several long-distance
phone calls to their cohorts and jihadist contacts in the world and expressing
joy at the Colombo blasts.
under attack? Sri Lanka church bombings stoke far-right anger in the West.
Adam Taylor and
bombings in Sri Lanka marked the country’s deadliest violence in a decade,
leaving 290 dead and more than 500 injured. But the attacks, which targeted a
religious minority in a predominantly Buddhist country, also resonated abroad —
especially in Europe.
some, it was further proof that Christians in many parts of the world are under
attack. Several churches were targeted in Sunday’s bombing attacks, along with
hotels and a banquet hall. At one Catholic church in Negombo, more than 100
people were killed. The attack took place on Easter, one of the most important
dates on the Christian calendar.
thoughts are once again with the persecuted Christians around the world,”
Marine Le Pen, president of France’s far-right National Rally party, wrote in a
tweet on Monday. Those who died on Sunday were “targeted for their faith,” she
Pen, like some other European far-right leaders, had initially offered only
vague condolences to victims of the bombings on Sunday. However, after Sri
Lankan officials blamed a local Muslim militant group, National Thowheed
Jamaath, for the attack on Monday, European far-right groups and activists
began to describe the attacks in specifically religious terms.
branches and sites associated with Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany
(AfD) party framed the Sri Lankan bloodshed as an attack “against us
Christians,” even though the party officially claims to be open to members of
all religions, including Jews and Muslims.
party branches in the city of Solingen and eastern Germany lashed out at
journalists for initially refraining to establish a link to Islamist terrorism.
Some far-right groups claimed hypocrisy and double standards, arguing that
attacks on Christians failed to receive the same response as attacks on Muslims.
media accounts that appeared to be associated with supporters of far-right
groups drew connections to the Christchurch attacks, arguing that shooting
sprees at two mosques in New Zealand were condemned as anti-Muslim attacks
early on, whereas governments and media outlets were more cautious in the case
of Sri Lanka.
Hopkins, a British writer and provocateur, complained on Twitter that American
liberal figures such as former president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were
not using the word “Christian” to describe those killed in the church bombings.
She argued that Sadiq Khan, the Muslim mayor of London, had stepped up police
patrols at British mosques after the Christchurch attack.
after Sri Lanka, Khan offered “thoughts & prayers,” Hopkins wrote, echoing
the much-criticized language of American politicians after mass shootings.
far-right activists offered their own responses. “Followers of Jesus worldwide
are being killed and otherwise terribly persecuted every day,” Frank Gaffney, a
former Reagan administration aide now best known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric,
said on his radio show. “All too often, their losses go unremarked.”
sentiments were stated on a page on Reddit devoted to support for President
Trump, with multiple posts criticizing Obama and Clinton for using the phrase
“Easter worshipers” rather than Christians.
theme of Christianity under attack has been a recurring one for many activists
in the United States and Europe. Gaffney drew criticism for linking a
devastating fire at Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral last week to attacks on
“Christian houses of worship” in France and what he suggested was a Muslim-led
campaign against Christianity.
government statistics do show hundreds of incidents of vandalism against
churches last year, although the vast majority of acts were minor. Officials
later confirmed that the fire that destroyed Notre Dame was accidental.
Sri Lankan government has responded cautiously to Sunday’s attack, initially
refusing to speculate about the perpetrators and shutting down social media in
an apparent bid to quell conspiracy theories. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne
told reporters on Monday that National Thowheed Jamaath was responsible and
that it may have been working with a foreign network.
no group has come forward to claim the attacks yet. In contrast, after the
Christchurch attack, suspected perpetrator Brenton Tarrant was quickly caught
alive; he left a lengthy manifesto explicitly outlining his far-right,
anti-Muslim motives for the shootings, a document that circulated within hours
of the attack.
than 8 percent of Sri Lankans are Christian, with the vast majority of them
Roman Catholic; 12.6 percent are Hindu, and 9.7 percent are Muslim, while the
remaining majority are Buddhist, according to the country’s 2012 census. The
civil war that wreaked havoc in Sri Lanka for decades before finally ending in
2009 was based generally around nationalism and ethnic identity rather than
Christian minorities are targeted around the world, analysts say that the vast
majority of terrorism victims globally are Muslims. But Gerard Batten, the
current leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, argued Monday that
Western officials pay less attention to Christian deaths because they worry
about how Muslims would react.
Indians were killed in the serial blasts that Sri Lanka on Sunday, says India’s
external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Tuesday. The toll from the
deadly suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka rose to 310, with several people dying
of their injuries overnight, according to a police spokesman.
to confirm the deaths of two more Indian nationals Mr. A Maregowda and Mr. H
Puttaraju in the blasts in Sri Lanka on Sunday, taking the total number of
Indian deaths in the tragedy to 10 as of now,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
500 people were wounded in the blasts, police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera
said in a statement. He added that 40 people were now under arrest in connection
with the attacks, which Sri Lanka’s government has blamed on a previously
little-known local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath.
Lankans woke to emergency law on Tuesday as authorities searched for those
behind suicide bomb attacks. The president’s office declared that emergency law
would come into effect from midnight, giving police extensive powers to detain
and interrogate suspects without court orders. An overnight curfew was also put
declaration came after nerves were frayed even further in the seaside capital
Colombo when explosives went off on Monday near one of the churches hit in
Sunday’s attacks while bomb squad officers were working to defuse a device.
separatists on Monday called for a shutdown a day later against the
“ill-treatment meted out to the ailing” incarcerated Jammu and Kashmir
Liberation Force (JKLF) chief, Yasin Malik, while former chief minister
Mehbooba Mufti demanded his immediate release for proper medical treatment.
a statement, separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the JKLF
called for protests across the Valley saying Malik’s health was deteriorating
under custody in New Delhi.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Malik on April 9 in connection
with a case related to alleged terror funding in Kashmir. The Centre also
banned JKLF last month.
high-handedness has… forced senior resistance leader Muhammad Yasin Malik to go
on hunger strike and today his hunger strike has entered the 12th day. The life
of ailing Yasin Malik, who is admitted to the RML Hospital in Delhi, is in
danger and rulers and their agencies are busy playing with his life,” the
said Malik needed proper medical treatment as his “life is in danger”. She
referred to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, Pragya
Thakur, and said she has been out on bail and is fighting the national
elections while Malik is very ill and his life “is in danger” behind bars. “My
appeal to the government is that he [Malik] should be immediately released so
that he gets treatment. God forbid, if something bad happens to him, the
outcome would be catastrophic,” she said.
United States on Monday said it will stop in May all waivers that allow eight
nations, including India, to buy Iranian oil without facing sanctions,
triggering a rise in global crude prices and a slump in Indian markets.
decision, taken by US President Donald Trump to pressure Tehran to give up its
nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, sent oil prices to their
highest in 2019, though the White House said it was working with top oil
exporter Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure the market is
Donald J Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions
[SREs - as the waivers are called] when they expire in early May,” the White
House said in a statement. “This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil
exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.”
was among eight countries granted waivers from the secondary impact of
sanctions for six months to taper their import of Iranian crude to zero. The
others were China, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, Italy and Greece. Since
November, three of the eight — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — have stopped
importing oil from Iran. The others have not, and have lobbied for the waivers
to be extended.
nation or entity interacting with Iran should do its diligence and err on the
side of caution. The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits,” US
secretary of state Mike Pompeo told a news briefing.
familiar with developments said the Indian government was studying the
implications of the US decision and would make a “statement at an appropriate
officials, who asked not to be named, said Indian companies are unlikely to
completely halt imports from Iran.
in past, despite US sanctions, Indian refiners continued to import crude oil
from Iran, although in a reduced quantity,” one of those officials said.
people cited above said the absence of a formal reaction from the external
affairs ministry was an indication that India was looking at the possibility of
finding some sort of workaround by engaging with the US within the next few
won’t be an easy choice but a nuanced way out has to be found to see us
through,” a person said. “A strong reaction at this stage would have closed our
options. For the US, Iran is a bigger enemy than India is a friend.”
or companies found in violation of the US curbs will run the risk of secondary
sanctions, which would block them from the US financial system. They would also
be prevented from trading with the US and conducting US dollar transactions
with other countries.
officials did not specify if Iranian crude buyers will be hit with sanctions on
May 3 and after for receiving oil shipments already paid for in advance.
waiver from sanctions for Iran’s Chabahar port, which is being developed by
India for trading with Afghanistan and Central Asia, will remain in place. The
Trump administration had exempted it in November — calling it an “exception” —
citing the “close relationship” with India.
will also be watching out in early May for a notification regarding removal
from a zero-tariff US import scheme, the Generalized System of Preferences
the last decade, India’s oil imports from Iran first dropped in 2012-13 due to
sanctions by the European Union (EU) and the US. After two fiscals, they were
ramped up from the 12-13 million tonne range to 27.2 MT in 2016-17. In the
financial year that ended on March 31, India imported 23.5 MT.
purchased on an average 620,00 barrels per day in May 2018, going up from
320,000 in 2011. Ahead of the Trump administration’s snapping back sanctions in
October 2018, it was buying 354,000 barrels a day, which dropped to 285,000
this February, according to a compilation of data by the Congressional Research
Service, a non-partisan body that conducts studies and prepares briefs for
DELHI/BEIJING: India has raised with China the issue of banning of Jaish-e-Mohammad
chief Masood Azhar by the UN with foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale during his
meeting on Monday in Beijing with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi emphasising
that both countries should be sensitive to each other's concerns+ .
has shared with China all evidence of terror activities of JeM and its leader
Azhar, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a question whether
listing of Azhar was raised during Gokhale's ongoing China visit.
is now for the 1267 Sanctions Committee and other authorised bodies of the UN
to take a decision on the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist. India will
continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who
are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice,"
from Wang, Gokhale met a number of Chinese leaders, officials said.
issue was discussed", a source said when asked whether Gokhale raised the
issue of Azhar during his meetings.
on Monday held talks with Wang and reviewed the progress of bilateral ties
post- Wuhan summit, emphasising that both countries should be sensitive to each
his opening remarks, Gokhale said both sides were making efforts to implement
the understandings reached at last year's informal summit at Wuhan between
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
your excellency said we will work together with the Chinese side to deepen
understanding to strengthen trust to implement the decisions that are taken by
the leaders and to do it in a manner in which we are sensitive to each other's
concerns," he said.
blocked Azhar's designation for the fourth-time recently+ , stalling efforts by
the US, the UK and France to designate him as a global terrorist.
With the Sri Lanka-based National Thawheed Jamaat coming under the terror
scanner in the wake of the serial blasts in Sri Lanka, its namesake, the Tamil
Nadu Thawheed Jamaat (TNTJ) has been dragged into the media spotlight. The
Muslim outfit's general secretary E Mohammed told TOI in Chennai that it was an
apolitical Islamic organisation and had nothing to do with NTJ.
TNTJ has, however, collaborated with Sri Lankan Thawheed Jamaat (SLTJ), a
different outfit, in several social campaigns, preaching 'true Islam' and the
concept of 'Thawheed' (monotheism). Founded in Tamil Nadu in 2003, it has
thrown itself into social work and charitable activities
blood donation and disaster relief. "We have collaborated with TNTJ in
social causes and strongly campaigned against terror," said SLTJ president
Abdul Gaffar Hisham from Colombo.
that his outfit has come under scrutiny in the wake of the serial blasts,
Hisham said, "None of our members have been picked up for questioning nor
arrested so far." There are several Muslim outfits in Sri Lanka including
the All Ceylon Thawheed Jamaat, Ceylon Thawheed Jamaat besides the NTJ.
"The confusion has risen because of the inclusion of 'Thawheed' in the names
of these organisations. But the similarity ends there," he said.
we have witnessed tensions at the two countries' border by terrorists in recent
months. Of course, we are happy that the Pakistani side has clearly declared as
terrorist the grouplets which carry out terrorist activities and will confront
them," President Rouhani said in a joint press conference with Pakistani
Prime Minister Imran Khan in Tehran on Monday.
two sides agreed to increase border security cooperation, the border guards and
intelligence forces, and form a rapid reaction force at the border to confront
terrorism," he added.
Rouhani underlined Tehran and Islamabad's determination to further broaden
relations, saying, "No third country is capable of affecting the two
countries' brotherly ties."
emphasized Iran's preparedness to meet Pakistan's oil and gas needs and adopt
necessary measures to link the Peace Gas Pipeline to Pakistan, adding, "We
have stated our readiness to increase electricity exports to Pakistan up to 10
Rouhani noted that he and Imran Khan also discussed regional issues, expansion
of relations to establish stability and security in Afghanistan and the region,
the United States' wrong moves, specially with regard to Quds, Golan Heights
and insult to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps by its designation as a
highly important decision by the two leaders to deploy rapid reaction forces
along common borders came in the aftermath of a deadly terrorist attack against
the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in February.
al-Adl, a Pakistan-based radical Wahhabi terrorist group staging cross border
attacks into Southeastern Iran from South-West Pakistan, claimed responsibility
for the February 13 attack against the IRGC members in Iran which killed 27
group has bases in Southwestern Pakistan and started operations nearly 6 years
ago after recruiting the remnants of Jundullah notorious terrorist group and
reorganizing them. Iran had captured leaders of Jundullah notorious Wahhabi
terrorist group and dismantled the terrorist organization years earlier.
terror attack has stirred fury among Iranian officials, specially the military
brass. On February 19, Military Aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader Major
General Yahya Rahim Safavi lashed out at Pakistani Intelligence service’s
backing for terrorists, advising Islamabad and its intelligence apparatuses
that Saudi Arabia is not a reliable partner.
in Iranian central city of Isfahan, General Safavi said that the Pakistani
government and its intelligence service had to respond to the Iranian nation
and government, holding Islamabad responsible for the recent terrorist attack
in Sistan and Baluchistan.
General Safavi reiterated that Iran wanted to have good relations with its
neighbors as it believed that insecurity in the region only served the
interests of the United States and Zionists who had gathered in Warsaw
conference, but vowed that Iran and the IRGC would give a "crushing and
proper response in due time to the provocateurs and puppet perpetrators of the
terrorist attack against the IRGC".
on February 16, former Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major
General Mohammad Ali Jafari warned Riyadh and Abu Dhabi of Iran's revenge for
the terrorist attack, and blasted Pakistan for supporting the terrorist groups
which act against Tehran.
traitor governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE should know that the Islamic
Republic of Iran's patience has run out and the Islamic Republic will not
tolerate your secret supports for the Takfiri grouplets. We will take revenge
for our martyrs from the UAE and Saudi governments and want the president to
give us more free hands than the past for retaliatory operations," General
Jafari said in the Central city of Isfahan, addressing the burial ceremony of
the IRGC personnel killed in the terrorist attack.
said that the Saudi and UAE intelligence agencies were clearly hatching
different plots to foment insecurity in Southeastern Iran in addition to the US
and Israeli plots to create insecurity and conduct assassination operations,
noting that Iran has reliable intel in this regard.
Jafari also asked the Pakistani army and intelligence body why their country
was sheltering Takfiri groups, including Jeish al-Adl which has claimed
responsibility for the terrorist attack, and noted, "We believe this
silence is kind of support for this grouplet and the Pakistani intelligence
organization should account for it."
should also know that it should pay the cost for the Pakistani intelligence
organization's support for Jeish al-Zolm (as Jeish al-Adl is called in Iran)
from now on and this price will not doubt be very heavy for them," he
the Pakistani security organization knows the hideout of the grouplets but it
has kept mum," General Jafari said.
on February 21, Commander of the IRGC Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani
warned the Islamabad government to stop cross-border attacks by the terrorists
based in neighboring Pakistan.
have always offered Pakistan help in the region, but I have this question from
the Pakistani government: where are you heading to? You have caused unrest
along borders with all your neighbors and do you have any other neighbor left
that you want to stir insecurity for," General Soleimani said, addressing
a ceremony in the Northern Iranian city of Babol in Mazandaran province.
the Pakistani government, General Soleimani asked, "Are you, who have
atomic bombs, unable to destroy a terrorist group with several hundred members
in the region? How many of your own people have been killed in different
terrorist operations? We do not want your condolences, how could your
condolence help the people of Iran?"
Soleimani went on to say, "I tell the Pakistani people that the Saudi cash
has influenced Pakistan and they want to destroy Pakistan with such
warned that the Pakistani Army should not let several billion dollars of
"a Saudi criminal" burn alive Muslims on a bus and finance other
terrorist operations in the region, and said, "I ask the Pakistani
government what has been left for Pakistan?"
warn you not to test Iran and anyone who has tested Iran has received firm
response. We are speaking to Pakistan with a friendly tone and we are telling
that country not to allow their borders to become a source of insecurity for
the neighboring countries; anyone who has made this plot for Pakistan is
seeking to disintegrate that country, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take
revenge of its martyrs from those mercenaries who have committed this crime no
matter where they are in the world," General Soleimani added. "We
will punish this wicked group in any part of the world and we will not allow
the blood of our youth to be shed in the country and cleaned (and forgotten)
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says terrorist
groups backed by enemies of Iran and Pakistan seek to cause tension in the two
countries' relations, adding that mutual relations must be bolstered in spite
of the enemies’ will.
Khamenei made the remarks in a Monday meeting with the visiting Pakistani Prime
Minister Imran Khan and his accompanying delegation in Tehran.
groups, which sow insecurity along borders, are fed with the enemies’ money and
weapons and one of the goals sought through anti-security measures along Iran's
border with Pakistan is to contaminate the two countries’ relations,” the
Khamenei continued by emphasizing that good relations between Tehran and
Islamabad are beneficial to both sides, “but these relations have serious
enemies, which despite their will, cooperation and contacts [between Iran and
Pakistan] must be strengthening in various sectors.”
about the historical backdrop of the two countries’ relations, the Leader noted
that the Indian subcontinent reached the acme of its progress and dignity under
the rule of Muslims.
biggest blow dealt to this important region by the British colonialists was to
annihilate the prominent Islamic civilization that existed there,” Ayatollah
the meeting, which was attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the
Pakistani premier explained about his negotiations in Tehran, saying, “Many
problems were solved through these negotiations and Pakistani ministers held
good talks with their Iranian counterparts.”
stated that there are certain hands at work to prevent Tehran and Islamabad
from getting close, adding, “We try to make relations between the two countries
stronger than before and we will maintain continuous contacts with the
government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
the Leader’s remarks on India, the Pakistani prime minister said the British
colonialists plundered all the wealth of India, destroyed its education system
and made India the crown jewel of their colonial rule.
in the day, the Pakistani premier held talks and attended a joint press
conference with the Iranian president.
popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which defends the country against a
Saudi-led invasion, says it can hit “strategic targets” in the kingdom and its
closest regional ally, unless the invaders observe a UN-brokered ceasefire.
missiles are capable of reaching [the Saudi capital] Riyadh," Abdul Malik
al-Houthi, the group's leader, told Yemen’s al-Masirah television network on
invasion, led by Saudi Arabia and participated by many of its allies, including
the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, has been seeking to restore Yemen’s
former Riyadh-backed officials since 2015.
said the group’s missiles can possibly even be flown “beyond Riyadh, to Dubai
and [the Emirati capital] Abu Dhabi.”
December, the United Nations mediated talks between the Houthis and the former
officials in Sweden. The negotiations led to establishment of a ceasefire in
the coastal city of al-Hudaidah, the port of entry for most of Yemen’s imports.
Houthis have, time and again, complained about repeated violation of the deal
by the invading forces and their mercenaries.
to a December 2018 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project
(ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has
claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
war has also turned Yemen into the site of the world’s biggest humanitarian
crisis by pushing it close to the edge of outright famine.
is possible to target strategic, vital, sensitive, and influential targets in
the event of any escalation in al-Hudaidah," the Houthi leader warned.
Houthis and their allied forces launch back-to-back retaliatory strikes against
the southwestern Saudi regions of Jizan, Asir, and Najran.
July, the combined forces fired a domestically-designed and -developed
ballistic missile at a strategic economic target in Jizan in retaliation for
the ongoing war. Houthi fighters also fired two ballistic missiles at a
facility belonging to Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil giant in Jizan last April.
are able to strongly shake the Emirati economy," al-Houthi further
cautioned in his televised remarks.
September, Yemen’s army and its allies staged a tit-for-tat drone strike on
Dubai International Airport.
secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has denounced
US economic sanctions against Iran, describing the punitive measures as “an act
of aggression” against all world nations.
efforts to increase economic pressure on Iran, especially its pledge to drive
the country’s oil exports to zero, will have negative repercussions and will
affect the entire world, including the US itself,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said
as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the
Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday evening.
then called on world nations to stand up against “US arrogance,” pointing out,
"The tyrannical US government has no respect whatsoever for international
law and regulations.”
also lashed out at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for following in
US footsteps and joining Washington’s economic pressure campaign against Iran.
Hezbollah chief also roundly rejected media allegations that the Israeli regime
is planning to launch a surprise war against Lebanon this summer.
is very little likelihood that Israel would launch another war on Lebanon. The
Israeli army is not prepared for any aggression against the country. I
personally don’t think such a thing would happen,” Nasrallah highlighted.
Hezbollah chief also dismissed claims of infighting between Russian and Iranian
forces in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr as well as the northern
province of Aleppo, stating that Saudi-owned al-Arabia television news network
has “disseminated such lies.”
media outlets are spreading lies and fallacies about Hezbollah, Iran and the
region to a large extent,” Nasrallah said.
Hezbollah secretary general then slammed Saudi Arabia and the UAE for spreading
terrorism and chaos in countries like Yemen, Sudan and Libya.
also blamed Wahhabism for the emergence of regional terrorism and Takfiri
terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Daesh.
is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia, freely preached by
government-backed clerics there, and inspiring terrorists worldwide. Daesh and
other Takfiri terror groups use the ideology to declare people of other faiths
as “infidels” and then kill them.
are many agents in the Middle East, who are pushing for sectarian strife to
serve the interest of the Zionist regime (of Israel). All those seeking to
colonize the region will only raise public awareness,” the Hezbollah chief
in his remarks, Nasrallah touched upon the economic crisis in Lebanon,
demanding greater cooperation and unity among Lebanese political factions.
another day of provocative action in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem
al-Quds, the Israeli minister of agriculture and rural development, Uri Ariel,
along with dozens of settlers have toured the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Palestinian Ma’an news agency, citing the spokesman for the Islamic Waqf
(Endowment) organization, Firas al-Dibs, said right-wing Ariel, together with
at least 170 extremist settlers, entered the holy site to celebrate the third
day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, also known as Pesach, on Monday.
said the minister and his company were being escorted by heavily-armed Israeli
soldiers and police, adding that they performed prayers and religious rituals
during their time at the compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza
and houses both the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.
Sunday, a total of nearly 167 Israeli settlers, under the full protection of
soldiers, entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate in the early hours of
the day and throughout the afternoon, performing Jewish religious rituals
say Israeli settlers routinely “raid” the sacred compound via the Gate, tour
the site, and leave through the Chain Gate.
regard the site as their most holy place as it is located where Jews believe
the First and Second Temples once stood.
al-Aqsa by Jews is permitted, but according to an agreement signed between the
Tel Aviv regime and Jordan, which is the custodian of the holy sites at the
compound, after Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967,
non-Muslim worship at the compound is strictly prohibited.
say Israelis attempt to change the status quo of the al-Aqsa compound, the
third holiest site in Islam.
number of Israeli lawmakers who enter the sacred compound has increased since
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided in July 2018 to allow such visits
once every three months.
members of the Knesset, or the Israeli parliament, are right-wing extremists
who support the demolition of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish
temple in its place.
Monday, Israeli forces also sealed off the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil
(Hebron) in an attempt to bar Muslim worshipers from entering the site, paving
the way for Israeli settlers to enter the site and perform prayers and rituals
on the third day of the Passover.
reported that Israeli forces were heavily deployed around the holy site, which
was split into a synagogue, known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs, and a
mosque after American -born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29
Palestinians inside the mosque in 1994. Since then, Muslim worshipers have been
prevented from having access to the site during Jewish holidays.
occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed a new round of tensions ever
since US President Donald Trump announced a unilateral decision in December
2017 to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and relocate the US
embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.
army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have
intercepted and targeted three unmanned aerial vehicles belonging to the
Saudi-led military coalition, as they were flying in the skies over the
country’s western coastal province of Hudaydah and the kingdom’s southwestern
border region of Najran.
Arabic-language al-Masirah television network, citing an unnamed Yemeni
military source, reported that Yemeni air defense forces and their allies shot
down two drones on Monday afternoon, as they were on reconnaissance mission
over Kilo 16 district in Hudaydah.
in the day, Yemeni troops and fighters from Popular Committees brought down an
unmanned aerial vehicle as it was flying over the Boqa' desert area of Najran,
located 844 kilometers south of the Saudi capital Riyadh.
developments came only a day after Yemeni forces and their allies intercepted
and targeted a drone in the skies over the same Saudi region.
Yemeni military official, requesting not to be named, said the drone was struck
as it was on a mission over Wadi Al Abu Jabbareh area in Najran.
week, the media bureau of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement announced in a
statement that Yemeni air defense forces and their allies had shot down a
Chinese-built medium-altitude and long-endurance Wing Loong drone with a
statement issued on April 19 added that the drone was struck as it was on a
surveillance mission over Bani Muadh area in the Sahar district of Yemen’s
northwestern province of Sa’ada. It was armed with air-to-surface weapons.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015 with the goal of bringing the government of former
president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi
will rein in militant outfits, Imran assures Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed
on Monday to set up a joint border “rapid reaction force” to counter terrorism,
as the latter reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to not allow misuse of its
territory by militant groups.
understanding came at a meeting between the two leaders in Tehran. Prime
Minister Imran is on an official two-day visit to Iran, his first visit to the
country since assuming the office.
a joint press conference later, the Iranian president said it was unfortunate
that the two countries had witnessed tensions in the border areas in the recent
past, where the terrorists had perpetrated their nefarious acts.
said that during the talks, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to peace and
security in the entire region.
reporters, Prime Minister Imran said that Pakistan has resolved not to allow
any militant group to operate from its soil.
have been facing [impact] of terrorism since long. In Pakistan, we have
suffered more terrorism than probably any other country. In the past [few
years] we have lost around 70,000 people. Full appreciation must be made for
our security agencies, with the way they tackled terrorism in Pakistan,” the
are committed to not let it happen again. We will not allow any militant group
to operate from our soil. We will not allow our soil to be used by anyone
felt that the issue of terrorism was going to increase differences between
Pakistan and Iran. So it’s very important that we [resolve] this issue,” he
the ongoing peace talks in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran said peace in the
war-ravaged country was in the interests of both Pakistan and Iran.
will cooperate with each other in helping bring a political settlement in
Afghanistan,” he said.
justice, there is no peace. Huge injustice is being done to the Palestinian
people. Israel’s decision to occupy Bolan and make Jerusalem its capital is
against international norms. Similarly, atrocities being done to the Kashmiris
are condemnable,” the premier added.
stressed that peace and stability in the region could only come from dialogue,
not military might. “We hope there will be a peaceful political settlement in
his visit to Iran while he was still studying, Prime Minister Imran said he
appreciated how Iran has become a very egalitarian society.
should be appreciated. This is what the Iranian Revolution did. This is what we
envision as Naya Pakistan. We want to see the divide between the rich and the
poor in Pakistan reduce, like it has reduced in Iran,” the premier noted.
a lighter note, he remarked, “If the British had not colonised the
subcontinent, we wouldn’t be needing an interpreter because all of us would be
speaking Persian, [which had long been the court language in the
President Rouhani said his country is ready to meet the oil and gas
requirements of Pakistan, adding that Iran has already taken measures to
construct a gas pipeline to the Pakistani border.
said Iran is also ready to increase exports of electricity to Pakistan.
that “no third country can harm the brotherly and close relations between the
two countries”, Rouhani said the two sides agreed to bolster their trade and
economic relations and to set up a barter committee so that goods and other
items could be exchanged.
president said Iran is also interested in establishing links between Gwadar and
Chahbhar ports in order to strengthen the bilateral trade relations.
two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the
Minister Imran and Iranian President Rouhani also held talks at the Saadabad
presidential palace in Tehran earlier in the day.
two leaders discussed bilateral relations, regional issues and ways and means
to further bolster their relations in diverse fields.
Minister Imran was also presented with an official welcome upon his arrival at
the Saadabad Palace.
Sunday, the prime minister landed at Mehrabad Airport of the Iranian capital
city along with a high-level delegation, he was received by Iranian Health
Minister Dr Saeed Namaki, a statement issued by the PM’s Office said. A smartly
turned out contingent presented a static salute to the prime minister.
is his maiden visit to Iran after assuming office in August last year. The
prime minister was initially scheduled to visit Iran in January, but the visit
was postponed at the eleventh hour because of unexplained reasons.
Imran’s visit comes after the Ormara massacre in which 14 people were killed by
terrorists in Balochistan’s Ormara. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said
that the terrorists had come from Iran. He also said that the Ormara attack
won’t affect the premier’s Iran visit.
much as 20 terrorists backed by Iran-based militant organisation clad in
camouflage uniform of the Frontier Corps (FC) entered Pakistan from Iran and
conducted an attack,” he added.
also shared actionable evidence with Iran and asked the neighbouring country to
act against elements involved in the attack
SC rejects defence ministry report in a case against former Army, ISI chiefs
The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday rejected a report submitted by the
ministry of defence in a case about the involvement of former army and ISI
chiefs in financial scams aimed at rigging 1990 elections to keep former slain
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto out of power.
1996, the late air chief marshal Asghar Khan had filed a petition in the top
court, claiming that former army chief Aslam Beg, ex-ISI chief Lt Gen (retired)
Asad Durrani and former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had hatched a conspiracy to
ensure Bhutto’s defeat in the 1990 elections.
Monday’s hearing, the defence ministry submitted a report, saying that it had
constituted a court of inquiry, which had recorded the statements of six
witnesses and examined all proof associated with the case. It added that
efforts were being made to bring the matter to its logical end as per the rules
Azmat Saeed, heading the three-member bench, asked: “During the inquiry, were
the witnesses asked about the person through whom the money was offered?” The
attorney general responded, “No”. Justice Saeed directed the defence ministry
to submit a complete report again, adding the report will be examined if
statements of the witnesses that were recorded under oath are true.
also submitted a report, saying that it could not find enough proof or evidence
to take the case forward. FIA authorities said they were unable to proceed due
to lack of substantial evidence. The investigation body again recommended the
closure of the Asghar Khan case for lack of evidence.
to the petition, the two senior army officers and then-president had doled out
Rs 140 million to several politicians, including former PM Nawaz Sharif, to rig
the polls against Bhutto. A political alliance consisting of nine parties
including the Pakistan Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the election,
with Nawaz Sharif elected as prime minister. The alliance, known as the Islamic
Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), was allegedly formed and funded by the accused in the
October 2012, the SC had issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings
against Beg and Durrani, directing the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to
initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient
evidence was found against the former army officers. In December 2018, FIA had
recommended to the apex court to close the files, citing lack of evidence.
Following FIA’s suggestion, the court had notified Asghar Khan’s heirs but the
family had opposed the closure of the case.
after Asad Umar's departure as finance minister, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan
Lijian Zhao praised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf stalwart on Twitter as a
"man of integrity" who "dares to speak the truth".
shared a clip of an interview Umar gave to Stephen Sackur on BBC News'
programme Hard Talk in December last year, in which the then finance minister
had chastised Western leaders for criticising Pakistan's relationship with
Saudi Arabia and China.
response to a question regarding the Trump administration's reservations over a
bailout package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Pakistan, Umar had
suggested that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "should worry about his
China debt problem". Pompeo had earlier warned that the US will not allow
the Fund to lend Pakistan money which may be used to repay debts to China.
is the largest debtor in the world to China; they owe $1.3 trillion [to
China]," Umar had told Sackur. "What [does] Pakistan owe to China?
Less than 10 per cent of Pakistan's foreign debt is owned by the Chinese, 90
per cent is non-Chinese."
had further questioned the "sudden" interest in Pakistan's lenders,
saying that the question had never been raised in the past even though the
country had sought IMF's assistance 12 times in the past 30 years.
in response to Ambassador Lijian's praise, thanked the ambassador and lauded
China for proving wrong its critics that had long predicted the failure of its
years we have heard them say that the Chinese model was wrong and bound to
fail. We are proud that China has proven them wrong," Umar tweeted.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has sought significant changes in the legal
framework governing electoral processes in view of enormous challenges the ECP
faced during the conduct of the 2018 general elections.
detailed post-election review report on the 2018 general elections was launched
on Monday at a ceremony during which ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad
also answered questions of reporters.
senior officials of the ECP were also present in the ceremony.
the report, the ECP highlights achievements made and challenges faced by it
during different stages of the election, including delimitation, revision of
electoral rolls, appointment of polling staff, printing of ballot papers and
introduction of new technology meant for swift transmission of election
post-election review is part of the annual report for 2018.
report describes as a foremost challenge the provision of inaccurate maps to
delimitation committees by revenue departments. “Accuracy of maps was a
pre-requisite for error free delimitation. In some cases, maps corresponded
neither to revenue record nor the census record. Therefore, the Committee
repeatedly returned maps to Revenue Departments / local administrations for
necessary rectification,” the report reads.
report on 2018 general elections launched
says the inconsistencies in revenue record also posed a challenge. There were
some serious inconsistencies between revenue record and maps provided by the
district administration. “For instance, in some cases the district
administration for its convenience divided the area of a large patwar circle
among two or more parts, without any notification,” it reads.
ECP in its report has suggested amendment in Article 51 of the Constitution to
provide that fresh delimitation be carried out not later than one year before
the completion of the term of the respective assembly. It says the Pakistan
Bureau of Statistics (PBS) should prepare digitised maps showing details of
locations and legends to avoid overlapping and chance of missing out any area.
It says the provincial governments should provide maps strictly in accordance
with the notified administrative units for delimitation exercises.
asks the federal government to take immediate steps for official publication of
census reports so that the delimitation for local government elections could be
timely carried out.
the chapter on electoral rolls, the ECP says the process was exceptionally
challenging as the PBS provided the requisite data in December 2017 — six
months after the expected timeline. It says the National Database and Registration
Authority (Nadra) mentioned incomplete addresses in the national identity cards
of citizens, which were reflected in electoral rolls, making it difficult for
the verifying officials to locate such voters and even allocation of an
appropriate census block code.
says that non-issuance of NICs to women voters was the prime reason for the gap
between male and female voters (over 12.5 million now). The federal government
has been asked to issue direction to Nadra for increasing registration of
women, persons with disabilities (PWDs), minorities and transgender persons by
removing existing challenges and barriers. Directions may also be issued to
authorities concerned to simplify processes for PWDs to obtain disability
certificate and issuance of NIC with disability logo by Nadra. The federal
government may direct Nadra to obtain accurate address of the applicant while
filling of form for registration / issuance of NIC.
and secrecy of voters
has been proposed that sections 41 (2) and 79 (3) of the Elections Act may be
omitted to preserve sanctity and secrecy of voters. Under these sections
candidates and polling agents can obtain hard and searchable soft copy of the
final electoral rolls with photographs of voters, including women.
report recommends that Section 210 of the Elections Act, 2017 be amended to
provide the opening of an exclusive account in the name of enlisted political
parties and all transactions should be made from the same account and no party
fund will be deposited in the account of an individual in any case.
also suggests amendment in Section 202 of the Elections Act, 2017 to provide
that the list of 2,000 members provided by political parties for enlistment
shall consist of 20 per cent (400) women members. It also seeks amendment in
Section 216 to set a cut-off date for allocation of election symbols to
legislation may be made in the law providing for significant penalty on such
political parties whose election symbols are withheld by the Commission for
non-compliance of Section 208 (intra party elections) and 210 (submission of
assets and liabilities with the Commission)”, the report suggests. It also
seeks an amendment in the law to bar withdrawal of a party ticket awarded to a
candidate on general seats after submission to the returning officer concerned.
out that appointment of separate returning officers for national and provincial
assemblies created problems in finalisation of polling stations and appointment
of polling staff, it recommends necessary amendment in the Act to provide for
appointment of one RO for one National Assembly and its corresponding
Provincial Assembly constituencies as per past practice. “In such case the
number of AROs may be increased to facilitate the ROs”, it says.
report recommends appointment of experienced officers as ROs and their
exemption from their routine office work after issuance of election schedule
till conclusion of results.
that there was a general lack of interest and unwillingness for performing
election duty; due to heavy administrative responsibility, hardships and the
potential of political coercion against a meagre amount of financial benefit,
it proposes that the electoral staff be assigned duties nearest to their residences
with increased financial incentives.
to the gigantic task of printing millions of ballot papers, it has been
recommended that time for holding elections be extended from 60 to 90 days and
printing of non-sensitive material be allowed from local open market as the
printing capacity of government presses is insufficient.
71(4) of the Elections Act, 2017 may be appropriately amended to provide for
“Paper with security feature” instead of “watermark paper” so that the paper
with security feature may be manufactured within the country,” the report
reads. It also suggests amendment in the Act to provide for name box in Form A
for writing name of the candidate in Urdu as per NIC.
report finds a sketchy mention of the Result Transmission System (RTS)
controversy that hit headlines soon after the electoral exercise was over and
says RTS was 3G / 4G supported software which required availability of internet
connectivity (3G / 4G) at 100 per cent polling stations. “Since 3G /4G density
was available only at 60 per cent of areas of the country as per PTA,
implementation of RTS at all the polling stations was a great challenge for the
Commission”, it says.
says arrangement of mobile devices for use in RTS across the country at more
than 85,000 polling stations was a great challenge which involved huge public
money. “Training on RTS to presiding officers and Sr. APOs, being non-tech
savvy due to generation gap, was also a challenge”, it reads.
report recommends that introduction of new technology should not be mandatory
under the law until it becomes foolproof and practicable in the field.
MURAD JAMALI: At least 12 people, including two officials of the Counter
Terrorism Department (CTD), were injured in a bomb explosion in Nasirabad
district on Monday night.
said that the explosive device was planted in a motorcycle parked at a bus
stand on Quetta-Karachi National Highway.
explosive device went off when a vehicle of CTD reached there.
target of the blast was CTD officials who were travelling in an official vehicle,”
a senior police official said.
after the blast, police and Frontier Corps personnel reached there and took the
injured to the district hospital in Dera Murad Jamali.
seriously injured people were sent to Larkana for treatment.
blast was so powerful that it was heard several kilometres away from its site.
pushcarts of vegetable and a rickshaw caught fire after the blast.
of nearby buildings and shops were smashed due to the impact of the explosion.
identified some of the injured as Abdul Ghani Jonejo, Nisar Ahmed Pandrani,
Shah Nawaz, Ghulam Sarwar, Mohammad Yaqoob, Mir Mohammad Jamali, Khadim Rind
and Ali Mengal.
identity of four injured could not be ascertained.
Minister Imran Khan, while addressing a joint press conference with Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani during his visit to the neighbouring country, mixed up
giving an example of how two countries set up joint industries at the border
region to improve economic ties after the war, he mentioned Germany and Japan
instead of Germany and France.
& Japan are 5,500 miles apart but Imran Khan says Germany and Japan created
joint industries on their border region after World War II. Inalillahe Wa Inna
Ealahi Rajioon Naya Pakistan
- 22 Apr 2019
people are talking about this
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said, “The more trade you have with each other your ties automatically become
stronger…Germany and Japan killed millions of their civilians until after the
Second World War when they both decided to have joint industries on their
and Pakistan have agreed to form a joint force to eliminate terrorist groups as
Prime Minister Imran Khan began his first visit to Tehran with a pledge not to
join any coalition against the Islamic Republic.
announced the agreement on Monday after talks with Prime Minister Khan whose
first visit to Tehran is hoped to start a new chapter in historic relations
between the neighbors.
agreed to step up security cooperation between the two countries and their
respective border security and intelligence forces while also forming a joint
rapid reaction force on the shared borders to fight terrorism,” Rouhani said
after a closed-door meeting with Khan.
sensitive issue of border security was expected to dominate the conversation
between Iranian and Pakistani officials.
of Khan’s visit, families of several Iranian border guards killed by terror
groups wrote to the Pakistani leader and asked him to take swift action against
groups freely crossing into Iran from Pakistan.
had in the past urged Pakistan to address the issue, even offering to launch a
joint military and intelligence operation to locate and eliminate terrorists in
their latest attack, Pakistan-based terrorists killed over 40 members of the
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) by ramming an explosive-laden car into
their bus in southeastern Iran in February.
over the past few months we witnessed some tensions caused by some terrorists
who acted savagely,” President Rouhani said at a joint news conference with Prime
Minister Khan on Monday.
are glad that the Pakistani side now recognizes groups with such inhumane
conduct as terrorist and treats them as such.”
country can affect Tehran-Islamabad ties’
said that his meeting with Prime Minister Khan marked a new milestone in mutual
ties, adding Iran and Pakistan would continue to maintain their close ties
despite outside pressures.
sides agree that no third country whatsoever can affect the friendly and
brotherly ties that exist between Iran and Pakistan,” he said, adding that Khan
had officially invited him for a visit to Islamabad.
to Rouhani, they also agreed on the need for both sides to expand joint efforts
to bring peace to Afghanistan.
security issues discussed in the meeting included US President Donald Trump’s
recent designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization and his recognition
of Syria’s occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, Rouhani noted.
reports about Saudi and US pressure on Pakistan to join an Arab-Israeli front
against Iran in the region, Rouhani said PM Khan had assured him that Pakistan
“has never joined and will never join any coalition.”
ready to supply oil, gas and electricity to Pakistan
said Iran was ready to supply oil and gas to Pakistan and increase electricity
exports to the country by ten-fold.
also said Tehran was interested in expanding trade between Iran’s Chabahar and
Pakistan’s Gawader ports by connecting them with a railway.
president noted that Iran, Turkey and Pakistan as co-founders of the Economic
Cooperation Organization (ECO) could increase economic cooperation by
connecting their railway systems. This, he said, would open a corridor from
Europe to China.
in the day, Rouhani extended a formal welcome to Khan, whose historic visit to
Tehran has been viewed as a major step towards opening a new era in relations
between the two neighbors.
and his high-profile delegation touched down in Tehran on Sunday night after a
brief stop in the northeastern city of Mashhad, where the premier paid a visit
to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Shia Imam.
led the welcome ceremony for Khan at the at Sa’adabad Complex, which was also
attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif, Minister of Road and
Industry Mohammad Eslami and a few other high-ranking members of the cabinet.
tensions escalate after talks with military break down
are rising in Sudan after talks broke down between protesters and the country’s
military rulers who earlier in April ousted President Omar al-Bashir after
months of street protests against his rule.
crowds lit up the night sky with their cellphones, singing and chanting as
protest leaders delivered fiery speeches in the capital, Khartoum, on Sunday
protest organizers - the Sudanese Professionals Association - said they
suspended talks with the ruling military council because it failed to meet
their demands for an immediate transfer to a civilian government.
protesters fear the military intends to cling to power or put another general
Diefallah, a protester, said they’re disappointed because the army is “just an
extension of the regime which stole 30 years from us.”
UAE pledge $3 billion aid to Sudan’s new junta amid protests
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have announced a joint package of aid worth
$3 billion for Sudan, where military leaders seized power from President Omar
al-Bashir last week.
two Persian Gulf Arab countries said in a statement carried by their state news
agencies on Sunday that they would deposit some $500 million in Sudan’s central
Saudi Press Agency claimed that the aid was intended to strengthen Sudan's
financial position, ease the pressure on the Sudanese pound and increase
stability in the exchange rate.
the package is being viewed as an attempt to prop up Sudan's military rulers
who are facing mounting pressure from protesters to cede power to a civilian
protesters, who remain camped out near the Defense Ministry in Khartoum since
Bashir was ousted on April 11, have demonstrated in large numbers over the past
three days, pressing for a rapid transition to a civilian rule.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been courting Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who was
sworn in on Friday as the head of ruling junta, the Transitional Military
said on Sunday the military council is committed to transferring power to a
civilian body, but protesters are frustrated with the junta dragging its feet
on its implementation.
coalition of protesters and opposition groups said the TMC is not serious about
handing over power to civilians, describing the council as an "extension
of the old regime".
Arabia and the UAE have ties with Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo,
through their participation in the kingdom's protracted war on Yemen.
two countries have expressed support for measures taken by the Transitional
Military Council following Bashir’s ouster.
week, Burhan praised Sudan’s distinguished relations with Saudi Arabia and the
UAE, the official SUNA news agency reported.
met with a joint delegation from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi last week, and received a
verbal message from their leaders.
warn that both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are striving to influence the transition
process by backing the military council.
Arabia and the UAE had cultivated close ties with Bashir prior to his ouster
and were reportedly exhorting him to forge relations with Israel.
as Bashir's position became precarious, the head of Mossad met with his
Sudanese counterpart in Germany as part of a secret plan by Saudi Arabia, Egypt
and the UAE to oust him, London-based Middle East Eye reported in March.
January, Bashir lamented that he had fallen for advice from unknown parties to
normalize ties with Israel in order to ensure stability in his country, but had
seen the situation spiral out of hand.
under Bashir, had forged close relations with Saudi Arabia in recent years
after renouncing ties with Iran.
Libyan forces said on Monday they would intensify an assault on
the capital in the west of the country that is held by the internationally
recognized government, as the death toll in a battle now in its third week rose
Libyan National Army (LNA) force loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar allied to a
parallel government in the east headed by PM Fayez al-Serraj has launched an
offensive but has been unable to breach the southern defenses of the city.
loyal to Tripoli drove back the LNA in recent days to the southern suburb of
Ain Zara, the main scene of fighting, Reuters reporters visiting the area said,
even though the LNA said it had launched air strikes on military sites in the
spokesman Ahmed Mismari denied there had been a retreat but said an advance by
LNA forces had slowed because of the dense population in the areas where
fighting was taking place.
told reporters that the LNA was calling in reservists to open new fronts on
Tripoli and said it would use artillery and infantry in the next days. He gave
was quieter on the main frontline south of the capital with less shelling than
in previous days, residents said. Bad weather made air strikes impossible,
could be still be heard even in central Tripoli 11 km (7 miles) from the
frontline and smoke billowed from one spot in southern Tripoli, a Reuters
death toll since the start of fighting has reached 254, while 1,228 people have
been wounded, the World Health Organization said. More than 32,000 people have
been displaced, the UN humanitarian agency added.
latest flare-up in Libya, which has been mired in chaos since dictator Muammar
Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, threatens to disrupt oil flows, foment migration
across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe and allow extremists to exploit the
a ceasefire was called as demanded by the United Nations, the LNA would have
gained a considerable amount of territory, as they still control much of the
area south of Tripoli including a forward base in Gharyan, a mountainous town
about 80 km south of Tripoli.
Envoy Ghassan Salame left the heavily-fortified compound in Tripoli to travel
abroad for a few days to “hold meetings in a number of cities to seek to stop
the war in Libya,” a UN spokesman said, without giving details.
internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has accused
France of backing renegade General Khalifa Haftar as his forces press ahead
with an offensive on the capital Tripoli.
unity government's Interior Minister Fathi Bach Agha said on Monday that the
French government was supporting "the criminal Haftar."
GNA will cut security ties with Paris, Agha said.
comments triggered surprise in the French embassy and prompted a swift denial
of the "unfounded" allegations.
of the UN-backed GNA say France has blocked resolutions at the UN Security
Council, the European Union and other international organizations opposing
believe Paris sees Haftar and his so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) as a
potential stabilizing force in an African country rocked by years of conflict.
of Libyans held a protest against France in Tripoli on Friday, sporting
trademark yellow vests of French anti-government demonstrators and condemning
both France and "war criminal" Haftar.
has been divided between two rival governments, the House of Representatives
based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the GNA headed by Prime Minister Fayez
al-Serraj in Tripoli.
75-year-old Haftar, who enjoys the loyalty of a group of armed militia and
backing from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, has taken upon
himself to protect the government in Tobruk. Armed forces and militia loyal to
the GNA have been fighting back.
launched his deadly campaign on April 4 to invade and conquer Tripoli, the seat
of the GNA, resulting in constant fierce fighting on the southern edges of the
to the World Health Organization (WHO), the fighting has so far killed at least
205 people and wounded more than 900 others. The International Organization for
Migration (IOM) also reported that more than 25,000 people have been displaced
by the clashes.
has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator
Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after an uprising and a NATO military
intervention. Gaddafi was killed.
ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) has warned protesters against
blocking the roads leading to the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Khartoum,
where thousands of people have been holding sit-ins for days demanding civilian
rule in the African country.
TMC said in a statement on Monday that all the blockades placed on routes
leading the army headquarters – which also hosts the presidential residence –
should be removed.
roads have to be opened immediately to facilitate the movement of trains, and
all means of transport in the capital and other states so as to help movement
of essential items,” the military council said in a statement.
people exercising the role of the police and security services in clear
violation of the laws and regulations” must stop, it further warned.
warning came a day after Sudanese protest organizers halted negotiations with
the TMC about transferring power to a civilian administration following the
ouster longtime president Omar al-Bashir earlier this month.
new military ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, voiced dissatisfaction with
the protesters setting up checkpoints and searching those who come to the
can’t continue like this because security is the responsibility of the state,”
demonstrators have, however, remained defiant, pledging not to leave the
checkpoints they have erected near the roads leading to the protest site in
will carry on manning the checkpoints as usual,” 23-year-old demonstrator
Kawthar Hasaballah told AFP. “No one, not even the military council, will
remove us from our places.”
which took over after toppling Bashir to hand power to civilians, has been
making efforts to placate protesters who reject the military rule.
leaders have vowed to continue organizing sit-ins and other rallies as part of
a widening campaign to confront the junta rulers and push for the transfer of
power to a civilian council.
view the ruling military council as similar to the ousted Bashir regime, who
was toppled by the army on April 11 following months of demonstrations.
Tunisia: A self-styled Libyan army slowed down its push on the country’s
capital over concerns for civilians caught up in the violence as the UN refugee
agency said Monday that the fighting for Tripoli has displaced more than 32,000
erupted on April 5, pitting the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by
commander Khalifa Haftar and aligned with a rival government in the east,
against militias affiliated with Tripoli’s UN-supported government.
clashes threaten to ignite a new civil war in Libya on the scale of the 2011
uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
death toll from this month’s fighting climbed to 254, including combatants and
civilians, the World Health Organization said Sunday. At least 34 more people
died in the past two days, WHO said; 1,228 were wounded.
launching his push, which many see as a power grab for Tripoli, Haftar’s forces
have captured the districts of Gharyan and Qasr Bani Ghashi,r along with
several smaller towns. They also seized the capital’s shuttered old airport.
is now underway for control of Ain Zara and Azizyia, two larger towns near
Tripoli, and in the Abu Salim district, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from
Lahouij, the top diplomat for the east-based government, told The Associated
Press in Tunis on Sunday that Haftar’s push was slowed down because of concerns
for civilians in the greater Tripoli area, estimated to number about 3 million.
the civilians had not been taken into account, the battle would not have lasted
even a week, he said.
army is today 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from Tripoli. It controls the (old)
airport and the bridge that connects the airport to the city center,” Lahouij
also lauded President Donald Trump’s call to Haftar last week expressing US
support for the Libyan commander’s perceived stance against terrorism and
Haftar’s role in “securing Libya’s oil resources.”
White House statement on Friday also said “the two discussed a shared vision
for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.”
phone call was a step “in the right direction,” Lahouij said.
Gahdafi’s ouster, Libya has slid into chaos, governed by rival authorities in
the east and in Tripoli, each backed by various militias and armed groups
fighting over resources and territory.
belonging to Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) said
Monday they had seized control of a large part of Tripoli International
development follows clashes with forces loyal to eastern Libya-based commander
Khalifa Haftar, Mustafa al-Mecei, the spokesman for the military operation,
told Anadolu Agency.
securing the capital, Tripoli, GNA forces would move towards the points where
Haftar's forces were spotted in Libya's western region, Mecei said.
forces claimed earlier this month to have taken full control of Tripoli
early April, Haftar has been launching a campaign to capture Tripoli, where the
GNA is headquartered.
least 254 people have been killed and hundreds injured in recent clashes on the
outskirts of Tripoli, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday.
has remained beset by turmoil since long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was
ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
Al-Shabaab Clashes With Somali and AU Troops in Somalia
fighters have attacked a government-controlled town in Lower Shabelle region of
southern Somalia on Saturday night, local residents said.
attack near Golweyn area has sparked a heavy gunfight between the militants and
Somali government forces backed by the African Union soldiers serving under
to Radio Shabelle, the commissioner of Golweyn, Mohamed Sheikh Osman confirmed
that the Somali and AU troops repulsed the overnight Al-Shabaab attack.
did not give further details about the casualty figures inflicted on both
decides not to reissue Iran oil waivers when they expire
President Donald Trump decided not to reissue Iran oil waivers when they expire
in May, a White House statement said.
statement added that the US, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates “have
agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian
oil is removed from the market.”
United States announced it would no longer grant sanctions exemptions to Iran's
oil customers, potentially punishing allies such as India as it tries to
squeeze Tehran's top export.
decision is intended to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, denying the regime
its principal source of revenue,” the White House said in a statement.
Trump administration and our allies are determined to sustain and expand the
maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime's destabilizing
activity threatening the United States, our partners and allies and security in
the Middle East,” it said.
governments were initially given six-month reprieves from the unilateral US
sanctions on Iran. They include India, which has warm ties with Washington but
disagrees on the US insistence that Iran is a threat.
countries that will be affected include China and Turkey, opening up new
friction in contentious relationships if the United States goes ahead with
sanctions over buying Iranian oil.
others- Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan- have already heavily
reduced their purchases from Iran.
last year withdrew the United States from an accord negotiated by his
predecessor, Barack Obama, under which Iran drastically scaled back its nuclear
program in return for promises of sanctions relief.
officials say that they are aiming at choking off Iranian revenue to reduce the
clerical regime's regional clout, notably its support for militants groups such
as Lebanon's Hezbollah.
United States military has been allowing members of Daesh and their weapons
into Afghanistan following the terror group's recent defeats in Syria and Iraq,
a new report suggests, raising serious questions about Washington’s future
plans for the country.
to the Monday report by the Economic Times, while Afghanistan’s skies remain
under full control of American and NATO forces stationed in the country,
sources are claiming that weapons are often being transferred to the country by
helicopters that bear no identifying insignia.
report estimated that around 10,000 members of the Takfiri terrorist group were
present in Afghanistan and the number was growing on Washington’s watch.
suspected ties between Daesh and the US military in Afghanistan is nothing new.
Karzai, Afghanistan’s former president, told Al Jazeera in 2017 that the US was
colluding with Daesh in Afghanistan and helping it cement its grip on areas in
the eastern parts of the country.
my view, under the full [US] presence, surveillance, military, political,
intelligence, Daesh has emerged,” he said. “And for two years, the Afghan
people came, cried loud about their suffering, of violations. Nothing was
further noted that America specifically used Daesh as an excuse earlier that to
drop the largest non-nuclear bomb ever built in Afghanistan.
the next day, Daesh takes the next district in Afghanistan," he said.
"That proves to us that there is a hand in it and that hand can be no one
else but them [the US] in Afghanistan."
April 11, 2017, the US military dropped the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast
(MOAB), dubbed the "mother of all bombs", on alleged Daesh hideouts
in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province, killing nearly a hundred people, whom the
US insists were all militants.
rise in Afghanistan comes at a time that the Trump administration is engaged in
peace talks with the Taliban militant group, claiming that the war -- which
began in 2001 -- has run its course and it is time to bring US troops back
around 14,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan, half of them assigned to what
Washington insists are counter-terrorism missions.
Taliban's five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an
end following the 2001 US-led invasion, but 17 years on, the militant group has
mounted a comeback over the past three years.
to an official US report last year, the central government in Kabul is
currently controlling a little more than 50 percent of the country, down from
72 percent in 2015.
of this while the northern parts of the country are turning into a support base
for terrorist groups led by the Afghan branches of Daesh, which have been
building a stronghold to make another attempt at forming a so-called caliphate
--- a dream that was shattered in Syria and Iraq thanks to efforts by the
governments of those countries as well as help from Iran and Russia.
this month, unnamed US officials warned that Daesh-affiliated terrorists of the
so-called ISIS-K group in Afghanistan were preparing to carry out attacks on US
mainland, the USA Today reported.
official further warned that the group was carrying out more deadly strikes in
Afghanistan every year.
example, it mounted six major attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul in 2016.
The number grew to 18 attacks in 2017 and 24 in 2018. The group is on pace to
match or exceed that total this year, the official said.
to the ET, there were also reports that Daesh was trying to use its Afghan
bases to destabilize Central Asian countries.
officials had made similar warnings in the past when the terror group had
started its brutal takeover in Iraq and Syria.
year, Trump came under bipartisan fire in Washington by announcing his plans to
withdraw troops from both Syria and Afghanistan in the wake of Daesh’s defeat.
opponents claimed while it was true that Daesh had lost almost all territories
it once held, it was still capable of carrying out attacks in the West.
war on Daesh was cover to undermine Syrian government'
pressure to halt the decision was so much that Trump was forced to water down
his plans of a full withdrawal from Syria to a partial one, where hundreds of
troops would stay in the Arab country.
its many claims to fight Daesh and its offshoots in the Middle East region,
there is mounting evidence that the US military has been helping the terror
group to later on use it as an asset.
was best seen in Syria, where the US military repeatedly pounded Syrian army
forces fighting Daesh and intervened on several occasions to hamper the Syrian
government’s offensives to purge the terrorists.
had warned Afghanistan
Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami warned his Afghan counterpart
last year that the US was transferring Daesh to Afghanistan to justify its
military presence in the Central Asian country.
has always been concerned about conspiracies hatched by outsiders against the
Afghan people and has for many years done its best to ameliorate the suffering
of the oppressed people of Afghanistan," he told Tariq Shah Bahrami during
a phone call in February last year.
heavy blows suffered in these two countries, the US tried to take Daesh out of
the scene and transfer it to Afghanistan to justify its presence there through
[the group's] shameless crimes," he added.
United States Senator Bernie Sanders has demanded that Congress overrides
President Donald Trump's veto against a congressional resolution that would
withdraw US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
president’s action is a very serious challenge to congressional authority that
demands a response,” Sanders wrote in a letter to fellow senators on Monday.
letter comes a week after Trump vetoed the resolution, describing the bill as
an "unnecessary," and "dangerous attempt" to weaken his
president also claimed that the attempt by Congress would endanger the lives of
American citizens and troops.
legislation was originally introduced in the Senate and co-sponsored by
Sanders, invoking the War Powers resolution, a federal law that gives Congress
the power to check the American head of state when committing the country to an
of the resolution argued that US involvement in Yemen violated the
constitutional requirement that Congress, not the president, should determine
when the country goes to war.
Sanders said in his letter on Monday that the passage of the resolution was
“long overdue” in reasserting the legislative branch's constitutional authority
to declare war.
Congress must now act to protect that constitutional responsibility by
overriding the president’s veto,” he wrote.
added that senators who oppose the Yemen resolution should address the matter
in the Senate, arguing that overriding Trump's veto was a matter of protecting
congressional rights and an objective all senators should support.
the end of the day, however, let us agree that it is imperative that Congress
reaffirm the power given to us by the Constitution over matters of war,” Sanders
continued, “one of the most serious duties we have as members of Congress.”
support for Riyadh's onslaught on Yemen has faced increased scrutiny in
Congress ever since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the
kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the former
Saudi-sponsored government back to power.
week, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit
conflict-research organization tracking casualties in Yemen, announced that the
death toll from the Saudi-led war has surpassed 70,000 deaths, with more than
10,000 being killed in the five last months alone.
war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying
hospitals, schools, and factories.
The US on Monday offered a $10 million reward for information that would
disrupt the finances of Lebanon’s Shiite militant movement Hezbollah.
State Department said it would give the money to anyone who provides
intelligence that allows the US to disrupt Hezbollah in key ways.
United States has vowed for decades to fight Shiite militants in Lebanon, with
memories still bitter over the 1983 attack on a military barracks in Beirut
that killed 241 Americans.
U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation is traveling to
Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, and the United Kingdom, as a part
of Washington's effort to "facilitate a political settlement" in
Kabul, Special Representative [Zalmay] Khalilzad will consult with the Afghan
government and other Afghans to encourage all parties to work towards
intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations to determine a final peace
settlement," the State Department said in a statement.
will then travel to New Delhi, Islamabad, Moscow and London, where he will work
to build support for the Afghan peace process amongst the international
will also be in Doha to help negotiate with the Taliban to urge participation
in the peace process.
February, the Taliban and the U.S. said after a marathon round of talks in
Qatar that a draft agreement was reached for the eventual withdrawal of troops
and guarantees Afghanistan would not be allowed to turn into hub of terrorism.
week, more than 200 Afghan politicians and civil society representatives were
set to meet the Taliban in the Qatari capital for what was set to be a
momentous development in the political settlement endorsed by Kabul and
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