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Islamic World News ( 23 March 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Women “Cannot Be Considered Humans” As They Wear A “Black Cloak”: Karnataka Play Insults Hijabi Women

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 March 2022


• Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Distributes Leaflets in Afghanistan Seeking ‘Jihad’ Donations

• Egypt, UAE, Israel Hold Summit Talks In Red Sea Resort

• Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada Discusses Reshuffle in Afghanistan Interim Cabinet Get Recognition

• Muslim Women “Cannot Be Considered Humans” As They Wear A “Black Cloak”: Karnataka Play Insults Hijabi Women

• Rohingya Muslims Hail US Recognition of Genocide in Myanmar


• The Kashmir Files: Yati’s Aide Swami Jitendranand Fuels Hatred to Create a Rift between Two Communities

• 'The Kashmir Files' Is Work of Fiction, Muslims Suffered More Than Pandits in 1990s: Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference

• Targeted killings will remain a challenge till terrorists are present in Valley: J&K DGP

• Jammu and Kashmir: 3 held for involvement in March 19 grenade attack

• UP: Mob lynches two Muslim brothers in Noorpur, one dead



• Pakistan Day: Armed Forces Show Off Military Might As OIC Officials Watch

• Many Muslim Leaders Lack Courage, But PM Imran Has Plenty: Federal Minister

• Opposition parties doing jihad, says Owais Leghari

• Ulema say seminaries fortresses of Islam

• Ashrafi hails PM’s speech for addressing Muslim Ummah issues through talks

• OIC and China should together find solution to Ukraine conflict: Pakistan PM

• Ukraine war revealed global hypocrisy, FM Çavuşoğlu tells OIC

• Pakistan asks Iran to open another trade gate at border

• Delhi’s irresponsible attitude could lead to nuclear escalation: speakers


Arab World

• Saudi Arabia Urges OIC States To Help Curb Houthi Aggression

• Foreign children risk languishing in Syria for decades: Charity

• Saudi Arabia welcomes ‘positive points’ in Lebanese PM Statement

• Itikaf to Resume At Holy Mosques after a Two-Year Hiatus

• Haram Presidency distributes bracelets among children at Grand Mosque


South Asia

• All Schools Reopen in Afghanistan but For Teenage Girls: MoE

• Several Embassies Handed Over To IEA, Taliban Closer to Full Recognition: Foreign Ministry

• IEA’s FM Amir Khan Muttaqi meets UN special envoy to Afghanistan

• Taliban Threaten Revenge Killings of Former Govt Officials; Warn Residents Of Mass Arrests

• In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Strategic Depth Remains an Illusion for Pakistan’s ISI

• Taliban Foreign Minister meets UN special envoy, discusses human rights issues

• Call for Inquiry into Enforced Disappearances in Bangladesh

• Bangladesh welcomes US declaration that Myanmar army committed genocide against Rohingya

• Taliban deploys artillery units near Pakistan border: reports


North America

• NYPD's Top Official Faces Backlash for Downplaying Muslim Surveillance

• US-Pakistan talks to focus on regional security issues

• Riyadh gets US military help as Washington seeks better ties

• MWL sponsors transformation within Muslim societies in North, South America


Southeast Asia

• Beijing Investing Over $400B in 54 Muslim Countries, Says Top Chinese Diplomat

• ‘Muslim-only class monitor’ issue at KL school resolved

• PM wants to make Malay second language among Asean members

• Urging a review, three NGOs say Kelantan Shariah criminal law will further harm already marginalised groups in Malaysia



• Turkiye Calls for Joint Stance to Ease Sufferings Of Muslims

• Iranian FM: Few Highly Important Issues Remain in Vienna Talks

• Iranian Spokesman: Unity Key to Settle Problems in Islamic World

• Iran Condoles with China over Tragic Plane Crash

• Iranian DM Felicitates Nowruz to Counterparts in Regional States

• Four dead in stabbing, car-ramming in southern Israel



• Sudanese protesters block roads in Khartoum to demand civilian rule

• Libyan domestic flights to resume after political crisis closed skies

• Sudan denies reports on Russian Wagner presence in country

• Troika countries say Russian Wagner Group's activities in Sudan undermine rule of law



• Erdogan Asks EU To Relaunch Membership Negotiations

• Russia’s envoy in Indonesia says Putin plans to attend G20 summit in Jakarta

• US' envoy to UN welcomes Turkish, Israel presidents' meeting in Ankara

• Terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland reduced

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Muslim Women “Cannot Be Considered Humans” As They Wear A “Black Cloak”: Karnataka Play Insults Hijabi Women


(Sreengrab: Twitter)


22nd March 2022

Udupi: Characters in a Yakshagana play during the Karkala Utsav in Karnataka’s Udupi passed derogatory comments on Muslim women who wear hijabs.

In a video that surfaced on Twitter, a character can be heard saying that Muslim women “cannot be considered humans” as they wear a “black cloak”, referring to the hijab.

Yakshagana is a folk performance of Karnataka where the artists perform theatre plays in elaborate costumes. The dialogues are often based on relevant social issues. On one of the days of the 10-day Karkala festival, a play was held where characters addressed the recent hijab ban in the state while mocking hijab-wearing women.

“They did not arrive as humans, they came shrouded in a thick, black cloak,” says one of the characters. Another replies that they donned saffron shawls in a protest against them.

“Today, the court’s judgment must have quashed it, no one should wear them. Where they (Muslim women) go, whom they meet- must be investigated by the intelligence department,” adds the character.

Another character says that the “activists” wore saffron shawls in a protest and created riots before the court passed its judgment. “If we hadn’t donned our shawls, the case wouldn’t have gotten this wild,” a character says proudly.

A video of this performance uploaded on Twitter brought to light how often Muslims are used as subject matter in Yakshagana plays.

“Time and again they are mocking Muslims in Yakshagana, years ago it was against Haji cherkala abdulla and Sania Mirza, today its in favour of govt decision these people have taken religion into play,” a Twitter user pointed out.

The hijab row:

The hijab controversy has been around since January, after students of a pre-university college in Karnataka’s Udupi were prohibited from wearing headscarves (hijab), as part of their religious obligation, in the college premises.

The high court pronounced its judgment on the row upholding the hijab ban of the Bharatiya Janata party-led government and said that wearing of hijab is not an essential religious practice, following which protests broke out in various parts of Karnataka.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Distributes Leaflets In Afghanistan Seeking ‘Jihad’ Donations


22 March, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], March 22 (ANI): Amidst a sharp rise in terror incidents in Pakistan following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in August last year, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been reportedly circulating leaflets in Afghanistan seeking donations to support their “Jihad” across the Durand Line.

Leaflets were found circulating on social media, asking people in Afghanistan’s Khost province to donate to support their jihad in Pakistan.

“We’re doing what our brothers (referring to Afghanistan Taliban) used to do (collect donations) in Pakistan”, one TTP personnel from Pakistan’s Waziristan was reported as saying by local vernacular media.

TTP, a conglomerate of ethnic Pashtun Islamist militant groups, operates from Pakistan’s north-western tribal area of North Waziristan and has been fighting the Pakistani state in various forms since 2007.

“Despite massive military operations against the TTP by the Pakistan military and US ‘droning’, this global jihadi organization of anti-Pak orientation has survived. It has intensified offensive against the government forces across the border ringing the first alarm bells that terror outfits are leveraging the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan to launch cross-border attacks,” said the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), a Canada based think tank.

The development comes at a time when terror incidents in Pakistan are on a rise, with terror incidents in the country increasing by a whopping 56 per cent in the year 2021, with the majority of the terror attacks taking place in the later months, after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August.

At least 388 people died and another 600 were wounded in terrorist attacks in the country in 2021, according to Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies.

The recent links established between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban pose another security challenge for Pakistan as low-level Afghan Taliban cadres are said to maintain their links with the TTP, a fact recognized by the senior Afghan Taliban leadership, an IFFRAS report said.

Afghan Taliban is infuriated by a fence Islamabad is erecting along their 2,700-kilometre (1,600-mile) border, known as the Durand Line. Taliban doesn’t recognise the Durand Line as the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Another headache for Pakistan’s security establishment is the thriving weapons markets along the Afghan-Pakistan border and terrorist/insurgent groups buying the weapons left behind by the US and its allies.

As a result of these factors, Pakistan is sitting on a tinderbox, the report said, adding that instability in Afghanistan is one factor that will constantly impact Pakistan. (ANI)

Source: The Print

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Egypt, UAE, Israel Hold Summit Talks in Red Sea Resort


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt on March 22, 2022 Reuters


22 March, 2022

Leaders of Egypt, Israel and the United Arab Emirates met in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday for talks Egypt said covered energy markets and food security.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hosted the meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett - their first three-way summit since the UAE normalized relations with Israel.

Egypt’s presidency said they discussed the stability of energy markets and food security, as well as international and regional issues, without elaborating.

“The leaders discussed the ties between the three countries in the context of recent developments in the world and the region, and the ways to strengthen them on all levels,” a statement from Bennett's office said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada Discusses Reshuffle in Afghanistan Interim Cabinet Get Recognition


Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada


23 Mar 2022

A 15-member team led by the supreme leader of the Taliban Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada is busy discussing in Kandahar province to reshuffle their interim cabinet so that they get recognized, a source told BBC Pashto.

This is the first meeting headed by the supreme Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada since the Taliban took over.

The source on the condition of anonymity told BBC that the 15-member team includes ministers of the interim government and other high-ranking officials of the IEA.

The Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, Deputy PM Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob Mujahid, Interior Minister Sarajudin Haqqani, Minister of Education, Minister of Health, Minister Finance, Trade Minister, Mines and Petroleum Minister, Chief Attorney, and several other high-ranking officials of the IEA have been meeting in Kandahar.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has not officially commented on the meeting yet.

The meeting comes as the Taliban’s government has not yet been recognized by any country and inclusivity of government and respect for women’s and human rights are the biggest preconditions for recognition by the World Community.

On Tuesday, March 22, 2022, former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani said that the Taliban need internal legitimization for regional and global recognition.

Source: Khaama Press

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Rohingya Muslims Hail US Recognition of Genocide in Myanmar


FILE - Rohingya refugees, who crossed the border from Myanmar two days before, walk after they received permission from the Bangladeshi army to continue on to the refugee camps, in Palang Khali, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Oct. 19, 2017.


March 22, 2022

Forced to flee ethnic and religious persecution in their own country, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are welcoming the formal recognition by the United States that Myanmar's military regime committed genocide against the Muslim minority.

"We are very happy on the declaration of the genocide; many, many thanks," Sala Uddin, a 60-year-old refugee at a camp in Bangladesh, told The Associated Press.

"It has been 60 years, starting from 1962, that the Myanmar government has been torturing us and many other communities including Rohingya," he said. "I think a path to take action by the international community against Myanmar has opened up because of the declaration."

"Rohingya nation will always remember the declaration by the U.S. on Rohingya genocide," Abdul Gafur, another refugee, told VOA's Bangla Service. "Meetings and gatherings are prohibited at the camps because of the pandemic. That is why Rohingyas are not able to observe any program to express their gratitude to the U.S."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday announced Washington's decision to recognize atrocities against Rohingya Muslims at the hands of the military regime in Myanmar, a country also known as Burma. Monday's formal declaration of genocide — only the eighth ever such statement by the U.S. government — followed years of investigation and review.

"The United States has concluded ... that members of the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya," Blinken said during a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, whose Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide provided key sources that informed the legal analysis leading to the State Department's decision.

Min Aung Hlaing, who was the head of the military in 2016 and 2017 and who has led the government since the February 2021 coup, was named in Blinken's speech. Monday's declaration said armed forces under Min Aung Hlaing's direct command were responsible for killing more than 9,000 Rohingya and forcing 840,000 others to flee to neighboring Bangladesh over the two-year period.

The commander of Myanmar's armed forces has been under U.S. sanctions for his role in the atrocities since December 2019.

Myanmar's Foreign Affairs Ministry on Tuesday issued a statement saying that "Myanmar has never engaged in any genocidal actions" and holds no "genocidal intent" for any group. It called Blinken's comments "politically motivated and tantamount to interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state."

Various human rights groups have also documented and reported on what they have called systematic and widespread killings, rape and displacement of Rohingya minority in Myanmar, a majority of whom are displaced in neighboring Bangladesh. Muslims make up about 4.3% of Myanmar's population of 54 million.

"In 2016 and 2017, Burma's military unleashed a wave of horrific violence in northern Rakhine state against predominantly Muslim Rohingya that, at the time, the United States concluded constituted ethnic cleansing," Ned Price, State Department spokesperson, said Monday.


Human rights activists expect the U.S. move to bolster an ongoing effort to hold perpetrators of genocide and other serious crimes accountable and deliver justice and support for the victims. But others are taking a wait-and-see approach.

"Just by saying that genocide had been committed in Myanmar against the Rohingya is not good enough," said Imtiaz Ahmed, director of the Centre for Genocide Studies at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. "I think we need to see what would follow from that statement."

Khairul Islam, a Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh, told VOA that "Myanmar should face trial for genocide. There should be economic sanctions to control Myanmar. Otherwise, Myanmar will not listen to anyone. They never did in the past."

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on elements of the Myanmar military and has allocated nearly $1 million in support of investigations and documentation of the most egregious crimes committed in Myanmar.

"The United States is committed to pursuing truth and justice for victims and accountability for those responsible for these atrocities and for other human rights violations and abuses across Burma," Price said.

Last month, the Netherlands-based International Court of Justice resumed its proceedings in a lawsuit accusing Myanmar's military of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Gambia, backed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, filed the lawsuit in 2019.

In December 2019, Myanmar's previous civilian leader, the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, defended the military's actions in Rakhine state as a response to "militancy."

Suu Kyi, who was Myanmar's de facto leader at the time of the 2017 massacres, was arrested in the February 2021 coup. She is not named in the decree.

Source: VOA News

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 The Kashmir Files: Yati’s Aide Swami Jitendranand Fuels Hatred to Create a Rift between Two Communities

23rd March 2022

New Delhi: Swami Jitendranand, aide of Haridwar hate speech accused Yati Narsinghanand has delivered an anti-Muslim speech in a theatre after the screening of the movie, ‘The Kashmir Files’.

In the video, he can be seen quoting the scenes of the movie to create a rift between two communities.

Levelling allegations against Muslim youths, he said, “some Salman will become Suresh, some Rahman will become Ramesh, and then they trap our women in love jihad”.

Showing the trishul, he can be heard saying, “What has Lord Shiva taught us? He didn’t teach us only to eat bhaang. He taught us that in order to defend ourselves, we should pick up…”.

Slogans at theatres

Ever since the release of the movie, many videos of people raising slogans went viral on social meida. In one of the videos, crowd can be heard raising slogans such as ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Modi Modi’ etc.

In Bijnor, people were seen raising hate slogans after watching the movie. ‘Bharatiya Janata Party Zindabad’ slogans were also raised.

In yet another video, a man can be heard saying, “if every Hindu man under the age of 25 years marries a Muslim girl, then in three generations, their (Muslims) population will be reduced to half”.

Is ‘The Kashmir Files’ far from truth?

Breaking his silence over the movie, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah has recently said that Farooq Abdullah was not the chief minister of the state when Kashmiri Pandit migration took place.

Source: Siasat Daily

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'The Kashmir Files' Is Work of Fiction, Muslims Suffered More Than Pandits In 1990s: Jammu And Kashmir People's Conference

23rd March 2022

ANANTNAG: Calling 'The Kashmir Files' a work of fiction, Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference chairman Sajjad Lone on Tuesday said that the maker of the film will drown the country in hatred while also stating that Kashmiri Muslims have suffered 50 times more than Pandits.

"There is no doubt about injustice to the Kashmiri Pandits. Kashmiri Muslims have suffered 50 times more than Pandits. You cannot document the pain of just one community. We are all in it together. I have lost my own father to bullets," Lone, a former minister in Jammu and Kashmir, said.

He further said that Kashmiri Muslims in the 1990s were as helpless as Pandits. "Everyone has suffered here, although they (the filmmakers) have exaggerated... But the main objective of Vivek Agnihotri (director of the film) is not to show the pain of Pandits but to only sow seeds of hatred between different communities. He doesn't know that Pandits are living with us even today. Has he thought about them? They are our brothers and we love them but in the 1990s we were as helpless as the Kashmiri Pandits," he added.

"I appeal to Prime Minister to make him (Vivek Aghintori) Rajya Sabha MP. Otherwise, I don't know what else he will make. There is a new trend now that people like Vivek Aghintori and Anupam Kher are desperate to go to Rajya Sabha. They should be sent to Rajya Sabha, otherwise, they will drown this country in hatred," Lone said while speaking to media persons here.

The film, which focuses on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s, has been mired in controversy since its release on March 11 with the BJP and Opposition parties sparring over the portrayal of the incidents.

Source: New Indian Express

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Targeted killings will remain a challenge till terrorists are present in Valley: J&K DGP

Mar 23, 2022

JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbag Singh on Tuesday said that targeted killings would continue to remain a challenge for security agencies till the time there were guns and terrorists in Kashmir Valley.

He, however, claimed that J&K Police had been quick to solve cases of targeted killings and action was being taken as per law.

Speaking on the sidelines of flagging off motorcycles for patrolling the bordering regions in Samba, Kathua and Jammu, DGP Dilbag Singh said, “This (targeted killings) will continue to remain a challenge for security agencies till there is presence of guns and terrorists in the Valley. Terrorists and their mentors are present everywhere. Such incidents (grenade attacks and targeted killings) take place due to their activities.”

Replying to a question about infiltration, the DGP said the border grid was alert to foil any such activity. “Any such attempt from across the border will not be allowed.”

Source: Times Of India

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Jammu and Kashmir: 3 held for involvement in March 19 grenade attack

Mar 22, 2022

SHOPIAN: Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday arrested three accused who were allegedly involved in a grenade attack that occurred on March 19 and recovered incriminating materials including arms and ammunition from their possession, said Jammu and Kashmir police.

During the investigation, Shopian police based on reliable sources picked up one suspect identified as Fazil-bin-Rashid, son of Abdul Rashid Alai, a resident of Melhura, read a press release.

During questioning, he disclosed that he was working with one active terrorist named Basit Ahmed linked with proscribed terror outfit LeT(TRF) of Frisal Kulgam and on his instructions, he threw a grenade on March 19, 2022, at Babapora camp (D-Coy of CRPF 178 Bn), in which one CRPF Jawan namely Amit Kumar got injured.

He further disclosed that he lobbed the grenade as a task given by the said terrorist in order to join terrorist ranks, as per the press release.

During further questioning, he disclosed the name of another accused person identified as Qaiser Zahoor Khan son of Zahoor Ahmed Khan of Nowpora Safakadal, Srinagar. On the disclosure of the name of accused Qaiser Zahoor Khan, incriminating materials, arms and ammunition including three Chinese pistols, six magazines, four grenades and 30 rounds have been recovered.

Source: Times Of India

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UP: Mob lynches two Muslim brothers in Noorpur, one dead

22nd March 2022

A Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh’s Noorpur village was lynched to death during an altercation with the villagers who attacked him and his brother in the Kaushambi district of the state on Monday.

The two Muslim men, Zafar and his younger brother Noor were brutally beaten up by the group of villagers during a scuffle.

According to a statement by the Superintendent of Police Kaushambi, the cops received a call on Monday morning that a fight broke out between some people and a few have been injured following which the police rushed to the spot and found the wounded victims.

As they two were rushed to the hospital, Zafar was declared dead on arrival however Noor is undergoing treatment at the hospital.

“When we investigated we got to know that two boys came to the area on a motorbike and fired gunshots into the air following which the altercation took place,” said Kaushambi, Superintendent of Police.

The police claimed that the duo belonged to the Asrauli village of the state who were frequent visitors of Noorpur and had threatened the villagers on various occasions.

While speaking to a police official stated that one of the two brothers was involved in a love affair in the village, explaining the frequent visits.

“The two brothers had gone to the village in connection with some love affair and when the villagers ran after them, they responded with gunshots. The villagers beat them up and one brother died,” said the police official, while ruling out the possibility of a communal angle in the incident.

Source: Siasat Daily

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 Pakistan Day: Armed forces show off military might as OIC officials watch

March 23, 2022

As the country celebrates Pakistan Day on Wednesday, the armed forces displayed their might in the annual military parade in Islamabad while dignitaries participating in the 48th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) watched as guests of honour.

Pakistan Day commemorates the passing of the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, when the All-India Muslim League demanded a separate nation for the Muslims of the British Indian Empire.

According to Radio Pakistan, the day started off with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and a 21-gun salute in the provincial capitals.

A change of guards ceremony was also was held at the mausoleums of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal in Karachi and Lahore, respectively.

The report added that special prayers were offered in mosques after Fajr prayer for Pakistan's progress and prosperity.

The main feature of the day was the grand military parade in Islamabad in which the three contingents of the armed forces and other security forces conducted a march while fighter planes presented aerobatic manoeuvres.

Troops from other countries, including Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, also participated in the parade.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, the three services chiefs, federal ministers as well as officials and foreign ministers of 57 Muslim countries that are members of the OIC were present for the displays.

After the PAF fighters' mesmerising show, Pakistan Army, PAF and Navy parachuters demonstrated their skills with free-falls from 10,000 feet. Major General Adil Rehmani, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Special Service Group (SSG) – an elite unit of commandos from the army – then presented the flag of Pakistan to President Alvi, after which the parachuters were given a gun salute.

After the demonstration, floats, representing each province, took a round of the venue. This year, for the first time ever, a presentation was given by Jammu and Kashmir too. The region's float featured a miniature structure of the famous Dargah Hazratbal located in Srinagar. It also carried banners of freedom fighters who were martyred in Indian occupied Kashmir.

In his address on the occasion, President Alvi said Pakistan was a responsible atomic power that wanted peace with all other nations and respected their sovereignty.

He made it clear that Pakistan would never compromise on its security and sovereignty and would give a forceful response to any aggression directed towards it. "I believe our nation won't hesitate from any sacrifice for the country's security," Alvi added.

The president highlighted extremism and the spread of fake news as among the biggest challenges facing society and called on scholars, parents and teachers to play their part in tackling these societal problems.

Multiple organisations and departments have planned a number of activities including seminars, conferences and discussion programmes to highlight the historical significance of Pakistan Day.

'Hard work, honesty and morality'

In his message to the nation, Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed that the country came into being after a long democratic struggle and the key to its development lay in "hard work, honesty and morality".

Source: Dawn

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Many Muslim Leaders Lack Courage, But PM Imran Has Plenty: Federal Minister

Syed Irfan Raza

March 23, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar suggested on Tuesday that many leaders of the Muslim world did not have the moral courage to fight for the rights of Muslims, but Prime Minister Imran Khan was different.

He said that being a truthful, faithful, brave and confident leader, Mr Khan pleaded the Muslims’ case on Islamophobia at the international level very effectively, which compelled the UN to declare March 15 as the International Day Against Islamophobia.

Mr Umar was talking to journalists after inaugurating a camp of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) members here in Sector I-10. The PTI camp Mr Umar inaugurated has been established in connection with the party’s public meeting at the Parade Ground scheduled for March 27.

Criticising leaders of the opposition parties, the minister said they were unable to plead the Muslims’ case at the international level because their billions of rupees were stashed abroad. He said the submission of a no-confidence motion against the prime minister would serve to define the future of politics in the country.

Mr Umar claimed that a dissident PTI member, Ahmed Hussain Dehar, had announced that he was returning to the ruling party. However, Mr Dehar said in a television programme that he was not going back to the party.

Source: Dawn

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Opposition parties doing jihad, says Owais Leghari

By Azam Butt

March 23, 2022

UJRANWALA: Punjab PMLN General Secretary Owais Khan Leghari has said the PMLN and other opposition parties are doing jihad because the current rulers have become a poison for the country’s economy and survival.

Addressing a press conference at the residence of former federal minister Khurram Dastgir Khan on Tuesday, he said the PMLN long march from Lahore to Islamabad will take its first stay at Gujranwala, second at Jhelum and on March 26 will reach Rawalpindi. He said: “We do not want any clash, but Imran Khan has started bringing workers to the streets and ministers are abusing the opposition leaders. I want to tell them that every worker of the PMLN is active and Imran Khan cannot compete with us.” He said PTI leaders are busy with propaganda that the PTI dissidents will return in two days. He said he personally knows four MNAs who are standing against Imran Khan. They did not take a single penny from any one for this purpose. “Seeing a positive response from the citizens, we are sure that people will give their full support to us to defeat the selected PM,” he said.

In response to a question regarding holding a public meeting in Islamabad, Leghari said a decision will be taken in this regard soon.

Earlier, to finalize arrangements for the long march, a PMLN meeting was held at the residence of Dastgir Khan, which was chaired by Leghari, while Additional General Secretary Zeeshan Rafique, former MNA Mudassir Qayyum Nahra, MPA Iqbal Gujjar, PMLN District President and MPA Qaiser Iqbal Sandhu, MPA and PMLN Divisional General Secretary Taufiq Ahmed Butt, MPA Abdul Rauf Mughal, MPA Nawaz Chauhan, MPA Waqar Ahmed Cheema, MPA Amanullah Warraich, MPA Bilal Farooq Tarar, MPA Adil Bakhsh Chatha, MPA Talat Shaukat Manzoor Cheema, MPA Akhtar Ali Khan, MPA Irfan Bashir Gujjar, President Chamber of Commerce Shoaib Butt, PMLN District General Secretary Shoaib Altaf Cheema and others participated. They discussed arrangements to welcome Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz in Gujranwala.

Source: The News

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Ulema say seminaries fortresses of Islam

March 23, 2022

HANGU: An impressive ceremony was held in connection with the annual dastarbandi at Madrassa Al-Sherwai here on Tuesday.

Maulana Muhammad Idrees and Mufti Ubaidullah were the chief guests on the occasion. The guests and other Ulema placed dastars or turbans on the heads of 10 hufaz, who had learnt the Holy Quran by heart.

Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Muhammad Idrees and other Ulema said that seminaries were the fortresses of Islam, which were also playing a vital in spreading the religious education and the religion.

Source: The News

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Ashrafi hails PM’s speech for addressing Muslim Ummah issues through talks

MARCH 23, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister and Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council, Maulana Tahir Ashrafi on Tuesday hailed the speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the OIC Conference for addressing Muslim Ummah’s issues through talks.

Talking to PTV, he said the PM had stressed the need for resolving the issues of Muslim countries in a peaceful manner.

Appreciating the role of security agencies during the OIC Conference, he said the credit goes to Pakistan Armed forces, Rangers, Police, and Law Enforcement Agencies for maintaining peace and security in the federal capital.

He said organizing OIC Conference in Islamabad has given a clear message to the world that all the Muslim nations had a great desire in resolving the issues of Kashmir and Palestine through talks.

Source: Daily Times

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OIC and China should together find solution to Ukraine conflict: Pakistan PM

Mar 23, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Tuesday warned that the world was heading in the “wrong” direction characterised by a ‘Cold War’ and the politics of rival blocs, as he suggested that the Muslim countries and China should partner up to find a solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session of the 48th Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the parliament, Khan also talked about his concept of Muslim welfare state, Islamophobia and the global political affairs.

“The world is going to a Cold War and may be divided into blocs…The world is moving towards a direction which is worrisome for all of us,” Khan told the conference which is being attended by more than 600 delegates, including Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi as a special guest. Khan suggested that the OIC foreign ministers should discuss how the body could “mediate, try to bring about a ceasefire and an end to the conflict” in Ukraine.

If the war continued, it would have “great consequences for the world”, he cautioned. Khan said that he would talk about it with Chinese foreign minister Wang about how the OIC, along with China, “can influence the events in Ukraine and stop this and have some ceasefire and resolve this conflict”. Khan also talked at length about the threat of Islamophobia which had kept increasing after 9/11 because the Muslims countries did nothing to combat the narrative of “Muslim terrorism” pedaled by the west.

Source: Times Of India

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Ukraine war revealed global hypocrisy, FM Çavuşoğlu tells OIC

MAR 22, 2022

The war in Ukraine has revealed the international community's double standards, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Tuesday.

While addressing the 48th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers' Conference in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, Çavuşoğlu said: "We heard those saying 'This is not the Middle East, this is not Afghanistan. Why is blood spilled?' For us, the blood spilled in Kharkiv and the blood spilled in Aleppo are equal."

The top diplomat also reiterated the need to adopt a common stance against the challenges that the Muslim world faces.

"The theme of our meeting is 'Partnership for Unity, Justice and Development.' This theme should not be just a slogan, it should be filled with concrete steps. Because we only succeed when we are united," he said.

Çavuşoğlu also called on the Muslim world to question itself. "The 14 centuries-old culture, art, civilization, science and wisdom of Islam are waiting to be rediscovered. The classical centers of our civilizations, such as Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo and Kabul were destroyed. They lost their identity. The names of many Islamic countries became associated with war, terror, suffering and massacres," he said.

Underlining that Muslim Turks, who have been in Western Thrace for seven centuries and in Cyprus for five, are deprived of their basic rights in the 21st century, Çavuşoğlu said: "The fundamental rights of our brothers and sisters in Kashmir are being violated. Islamophobia is on the rise in Europe. In China, Uyghur Turks and other Muslims face difficulties in protecting their religious rights and cultural identities. The headscarf right is denied in India, one of the countries hosting the highest number of Muslims. The Rohingya no longer even attract the attention of the world. Brotherly blood continues to flow in Libya, Syria and Yemen."

Stating that one should not blame others for the situation in the Islamic world, Çavuşoğlu said: “It is easiest to blame others. So what does that change? What can we change by blaming others? We must first call ourselves to account ... We say let's use our good relations to improve the situation of Muslim societies. As the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, we know that we all exist for our common cause. Its duty is to be the common voice of the Islamic world in these cases."

On the sidelines of the meeting, Çavuşoğlu also held face-to-face meetings to discuss bilateral ties and regional issues with top diplomats of various countries including Turkmenistan, Thailand, Guinea and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Call from Pakistan

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan also called upon the OIC and China to "step in" and "mediate" between Russia and Ukraine to stop the ongoing war.

"We are all worried about what's going on there. May I suggest that during their discussions, the foreign ministers, we should think about how we can mediate? How we can bring about a cease-fire, and put an end to the conflict," Khan said.

"I'm going to meet His Excellency Wang Yi (Chinese Foreign Minister) after this (summit) and I want to discuss how they (OIC) along with China can all step in and try to stop this (war)," Khan went on to say.

"This conflict, which is going to have – if it keeps going the way it is – it will have great consequences for the rest of the world ... We are already suffering. Oil prices have gone up. Gas prices have shot up, wheat prices have gone up because of this war," he said. He further warned that if the war continues "this is only going to get worse."

"So, therefore ... all the countries which are non-partisan ... we are in a special position to be able to influence this conflict," he added.

Voicing concern over the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims, the premier lamented that the Muslim world has failed to counter this "wrong narrative."

"Where did this Islamophobia grow and was allowed to keep growing after 9/11? What happened after 9/11? Unfortunately, this narrative of Islamic terrorism, Islamic radicalization, radicalism. This narrative went on unchecked," he said.

"I'm sorry to say that we the Muslim countries did not do anything to check this wrong narrative. How can any religion have anything to do with terrorism? How was Islam equated to terrorism?" he said.

"Unfortunately, what should have been done – and wasn't – was (that) the heads of Muslim countries should have taken a stand on this. But instead, a lot of heads of state kept saying things like 'well, we are moderate,'" he went on to say.

"And guess who suffered? Muslims living in Western countries. They kept suffering because any incident would happen. Any terrorist incident by a Muslim immediately meant that every Muslim became branded," he said.

Source: Daily Sabah

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Pakistan asks Iran to open another trade gate at border

Saleem Shahid

March 23, 2022

QUETTA: Pakistan has asked Iran to open a gate at Gar — a border point in Makran division — for barter trade and supply of edible items and LPG cylinders.

Various other issues were discussed at a meeting with the Iranian border authorities in Panjgur on Monday. The Pakistani delegation was led by the deputy commissioner of Panjgur, while the Iranian side was headed by Marzaban Grade-I at the meeting, which was attended by senior security officers from both sides.

Official sources said Pakis­tan suggested to the Iranian authorities to open the gate at Gar border, along with border posts 169-170 and 171.

The issuance of Rahdari to the people who have relatives on both sides of the border also came under discussion. The permission for supply of edible items and LPG cylinders through the Gar gate was a part of the agenda.

“We also discussed permission for import of spare parts of Iranian vehicles plying in Makran and Rakhshan divisions,” the Panjgur deputy commissioner said.

Most of these vehicles are being used for transportation of petrol and diesel from Iran and their supply to other areas of Balochistan.
Source: Dawn

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Delhi’s irresponsible attitude could lead to nuclear escalation: speakers

March 23, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Voicing concern about India’s missile incident, experts on Tuesday said New Delhi’s irresponsible attitude could lead to nuclear escalation in the already fraught security environment in South Asia.

Speaking at a seminar at the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) Islamabad, nuclear expert Dr Naeem Salik contended that the March 9 incident of an Indian missile landing in Mian Channu had highlighted the dangers of nuclear escalation.

He said India’s explanation that the missile was accidentally launched during routine maintenance was a “fabricated story” and urged the international community to look deeper into the incident.

Dr Salik said the incident had exposed the credibility of the BrahMos missile.

CISS Executive Director Ali Sarwar Naqvi noted that stability and peace in South Asia remained a core strategic interest of Pakistan.

Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN) Executive Director Dr Zafar Khan said it was unprecedented that a nuclear state had fired a nuclear-capable missile on to the territory of another nuclear weapon state, claiming that it was an accident. Only Pakistan’s pragmatism has saved the region from a disaster, he added.

Dr Asma Shakir Khawaja, an academic, argued that the incident reflected a profound level of incompetence in handling of sensitive weapons among Indian forces.

This incapacity to handle advanced weapon systems, along with multiple cases of nuclear theft in India, constitute irresponsible behaviour that endangered regional as well as global security, Dr Khawaja said.

She questioned India’s commitment towards existing confidence-building measures with Pakistan, as it chose not to timely share details of the accidental launch.

“This could have led to escalation of the crisis to a nuclear level,” she added.

Other speakers emphasised that the missile incident spoke of India’s irresponsible nuclear behaviour.

While some countries continue to praise India’s nuclear programme and its command and control system, the incident has busted this myth, they added.

Source: Dawn

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Arab World


Saudi Arabia urges OIC states to help curb Houthi aggression

March 22, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Tuesday condemned the aggression of the Houthis in Yemen and urged Muslim nations to apply more pressure on the Iran-backed militia.

“In line with international resolutions, Saudi Arabia calls for measures to neutralize the Houthi group and to stop the importing of arms into Yemen,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan told the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

“We reiterate the importance of the role of brothers to apply more pressure on the Houthis so that they can be stopped from jeopardizing the security of the Kingdom.”

More than 600 delegates from 56 OIC member states and observer countries are taking part in the two-day meeting in Islamabad.

In his opening remarks, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said the OIC could play a mediation role in the Ukraine war.

“We, like everyone else in the world, are all worried about what’s happening there,” Khan said. “May I suggest that the OIC, during its discussions, the foreign ministers, we should think how we represent 1.5 billion people, how we can mediate, how we can bring about a ceasefire, how can we bring about an end to the conflict.”

Source: Arab News

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Foreign children risk languishing in Syria for decades: Charity

23 March ,2022

Children held in Syrian camps for relatives of suspected extremist fighters may remain stuck there for another 30 years, unless the pace of repatriations accelerates, Save the Children said Wednesday.

“It will take 30 years before foreign children stuck in unsafe camps in North East Syria can return home if repatriations continue at the current rate,” it said in a statement.

The charity’s call to quicken repatriations coincides with the third anniversary of the final demise of ISIS’ self-proclaimed caliphate.

The massive US-backed Kurdish military operation landed tens of thousands of the extremist proto-state’s residents in detention camps, including many foreigners.

Save The Children said that 18,000 Iraqi children and 7,300 minors from 60 other countries are stuck in the Kurdish-run al-Hol and Roj camps, in northeastern Syria.

“The longer children are left to fester in Al-Hol and Roj, the more dangers they face,” said the charity’s Syria response director, Sonia Khush.

United Nations data shows that around 56,000 people live in al-Hol, an overcrowded camp plagued by murders and escape attempts.

In 2021, 74 children died there, including eight who were murdered, according to Save the Children.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia welcomes ‘positive points’ in Lebanese PM statement

22 March ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it welcomed the “positive points” in a statement by Lebanon’s prime minister.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed in a statement on Monday the need to stop all Lebanon-originated activities that affect the security and stability of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries.

He added the Lebanese government is committed to strengthen cooperation with Saudi Arabia, following a phone call with Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah.

The Saudi ministry said it welcomed Mikati’s statement, adding it hoped that it will “contribute to the restoration of Lebanon’s role and status on the Arab and international levels.”

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries expelled Lebanese envoys last year in a diplomatic spat that has deepened Lebanon’s economic crisis, following critical comments by Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi on the war in Yemen in late October.

Riyadh says the crisis with Lebanon had its origins in a Lebanese political setup that reinforces the dominance of the Iran-backed Hezbollah armed group and continues to allow endemic instability.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Itikaf to resume at Holy Mosques after a two-year hiatus

March 23, 2022

MAKKAH — The ritual itikaf will resume at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan after a hiatus of two years. This was announced by Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

Al-Sudais said the presidency will start issuing permits through its official website soon, and that will be in line with the specific conditions and set criteria.

Itikaf, the ritual of staying in a mosque solely for the purpose of worship and meditation, was suspended at the Two Holy Mosques during Ramadan in 2020 following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. The suspension of itikaf continued during the Ramadan of 2021 as a precautionary measure to stem the spread of coronavirus.

As many as 100,000 worshipers used to perform itikaf in the two mosques during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

In 2019, the presidency had allotted rooftops of the mosques for itikaf with separate shelves and safes. Each worshipper is given their own locker with key for keep their belongings, which include a prayer rug, pillow, light bed sheet and ihram clothes.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Haram Presidency distributes bracelets among children at Grand Mosque

March 22, 2022

MAKKAH - The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques announced on Tuesday that it launched an initiative to distribute bracelets among children who are accompanying their parents to perform Umrah in order to avoid the prospect of getting lost in crowds at the Grand Mosque.

The presidency’s initiative comes in the wake of an expected huge flow of Umrah pilgrims from within the Kingdom and abroad during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, the peak annual Umrah season.

The Presidency was represented by the Young Visitor Service Department in implementing the initiative titled “Your Child is Safe with Us” as part of the presidency’s social responsibility program.

The department staff will be deployed in the entire premises of the Grand Mosque to distribute bracelets.

“This is out of the presidency’s utmost keenness on the provision of the finest and best services for the pilgrims with the new service for children to take care of their safety and comfort,” said Eng. Amjad Al-Hazmi, deputy head of the presidency for social and voluntary services.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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South Asia


All schools reopen in Afghanistan but for teenage girls: MoE

23 Mar 2022

Hamal 3rd (March 23rd) marks the beginning of the new educational year and the reopening of schools across Afghanistan but secondary and high schools for girls were announced to be suspended until second notice.

The announcement was given by the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan right on the very morning of the resumption of schools.

The announcement is not yet seen by the media but the ministry was quoted by Bakhtar News Agency (Government News Agency).

“All those schools that teach girls’ classes upper than grade six are hereby informed that secondary and high schools are suspended until second notice. The schools will reopen after the leadership of the IEA make a decision over the uniform of female students. The uniform will be in accordance with Sharia law and Afghan tradition.” Reads the piece of the announcement made public by BNA.

Earlier, the Ministry of Education had said that all schools both for boys and girls will reopen on Hamal 3rd asking the female students and teachers to observe the hijab.

Source: Khaama Press

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Several embassies handed over to IEA, Taliban closer to full recognition: Foreign Ministry

23 Mar 2022

Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said that several embassies of Afghanistan have officially been submitted to them and obey the rules and principles of the new Afghan government

The Ministry said that this type of diplomatic relations is called quiet recognition and can be taken back anytime.

After Islamabad and Tehran, the interim government of the IEA now controls activities of the Afghan embassies in the Turkish capital Ankara and Turkmen capital Ashgabat.

Meanwhile, 15 countries along with the EU have their embassies and diplomatic offices open in Kabul and their diplomats and representatives conduct official and unofficial meetings with de facto authorities.

Deputy spokesperson of Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Zia Ahmad Takal said there are many embassies open in Kabul and several Afghan embassies have been directed by the Ministry.

Source: Khaama Press

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IEA’s FM Amir Khan Muttaqi meets UN special envoy to Afghanistan

22 Mar 2022

Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in a press release said that acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with UN Secretary-General’s special representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA Deborah Lyons on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

The statement reads that both discussed human rights, humanitarian assistance, development projects, the banking sector, economic growth, and other relevant issues.

In the meeting, Deborah Lyons said that she presented a positive report of Afghanistan in the UNSC’s latest meeting which is an achievement for the interim government of the IEA.

Acting FM Amir Khan Muttaqi expressed hope that the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate will not only be concentrated on the humanitarian situation but will also help in the political sphere and will help Afghanistan gain recognition. He added the extension of the mandate will be a positive step in lifting sanctions on individuals and the economy of Afghanistan.

“Absence of Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN has led to violation of rights of the Afghan people both inside and out of Afghanistan.” Said Muttaqi.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban threaten revenge killings of former govt officials; warn residents of mass arrests

March 23, 2022

In response to the recent killings of Taliban commanders, the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan's Helmand province have threatened to kill activists and former government officials, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday. The Taliban in Helmand have heightened surveillance and said that they would take retaliatory action in response to further attacks on Taliban officials.

International law prohibits reprisal attacks - otherwise unlawful attacks taken as an enforcement measure - against civilians.

Commenting on Taliban's actions, Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW said, "Taliban leaders in Helmand should not be responding to attacks with threats of unlawful punishments."

"Taliban authorities need to prevent retaliatory attacks and ensure that crimes are dealt with through a proper legal process," added Gossman.

A Taliban police official in Gereshk, Helmand, told residents that district-level authorities were calling for retaliation and targeting former government officials. According to the rights group, residents have reported an increase in patrols and night raids, along with warnings from local Taliban officials that mass arrests will ensue if attacks continue.

Afghan activists told HRW that the Taliban in Helmand have increased their surveillance of individuals and groups they accuse of being "opposed to the Islamic Emirate."

The threats follow a spate of attacks in which Taliban members have been abducted or killed.

The Taliban have previously carried out revenge killings of former government officials and have been responsible for forced disappearances or summarily executing former members of the security forces and others they accuse of being their enemies.

Source: India TV News

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In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Strategic Depth Remains an Illusion for Pakistan’s ISI

MARCH 22, 2022

The Taliban victory in August 2021 was heralded in Pakistan as having broken the “shackles of slavery”. Subsequently, as the fissures in the Taliban factions arose, the ISI moved into action and imposed an interim government in Afghanistan. With its successful campaign against the National Resistance Front in Panjshir valley, the Taliban has been able to stabilise the government even though at the cost of growing humanitarian disaster in the country. However, despite the Taliban’s success in stabilising Afghanistan, Pakistan’s much-vaunted “strategic depth” is far from getting realised.

The news of clashes between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban has become frequent. Many of these incidents have involved artillery fires across the border, dismantling Pakistan’s checkpoints on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and growing terrorist attacks by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

On February 6, five Pakistani soldiers were killed in Kurram district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in a cross-border firing from Afghanistan. The statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) after the incident said that “terrorists from inside Afghanistan, across the international border, opened fire on Pakistani troops”. It also condemned “the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against Pakistan” and expected that the “interim Afghan government will not allow the conduct of such activities against Pakistan in future”. The statement highlighted the growing concern about the use of Afghan territory for terrorist operations in Pakistan. With this, Pakistan became the first country to accuse the Afghan Taliban of harbouring terrorists.

After the Taliban victory, some in Pakistan had become prone to wishful thinking that the Taliban would act as a pressure group on the TTP to limit its future offensives. The presence of Sirajuddin Haqqani as the Minister for Interior in the interim government had also furthered these hopes. Consequently, with the mediation of Sirajuddin, a month-long ceasefire was announced in November 2021. However, Pakistan’s refusal to release the top commanders of the TTP ultimately led to the collapse of the ceasefire in December. Since then, the TTP has resumed its attacks on Pakistan’s military forces. According to a Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies report, 207 terrorist attacks took place in Pakistan in 2021, leading to a loss of 335 lives. These attacks marked an increase of 42 per cent from 2020. The TTP itself claimed 282 attacks in 2021 and an additional 42 attacks in January 2022, after the end of the ceasefire.

Among the most contentious elements of the TTP demand have been the group’s insistence on imposing Sharia in Pakistan and opening its political office in a third country. Particularly, the insistence on opening a political office in another country shows that the TTP is seeking to mimic the Afghan Taliban’s Doha experiment. In future negotiations, this will remain a prominent sticking point between the two sides.


The issue of the Durand Line is also emerging as one of the most significant conflicts between the two countries. In a January interview to a YouTube channel, Afghan Deputy Information Minister and Chief Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that the fencing of the Durand Line by Pakistan is tantamount to “dividing a nation”. Zabihullah’s statement came in the aftermath of the social media videos that emerged in December 2021 showing the Taliban forces dismantling the fencing in Nangarhar province. Terming the border fence “illegal”, Afghan Defence Ministry Spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi said the Taliban forces stopped the Pakistani military from erecting the border fence.

The nation referred to by Zabihullah was the historical nation of Pashtuns, the biggest ethnic group in Afghanistan, divided by the British Empire in 1893. The Afghan Taliban’s identification of the Durand Line as a national issue implies that Islamabad’s attempts to fence the disputed border would continue to be resisted.

As Taliban’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai claimed, “The Durand Line is an issue of the whole nation, not the government. It doesn’t belong to the government. We will give the responsibility to the nation, so the nation will make the decision.”

The disputed nature of the Durand Line creates a structural disconnect between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The adoption of a “nationalist” framework in Taliban politics will also impact the fortunes of ISI’s “veritable arm” – the Haqqani Network. After the Taliban takeover in August 2021, the ISI intervention quelled the factional rivalry and secured prominent positions for its allies in the Haqqani Network. The selection of Sirajuddin Haqqani as the Minister of Interior was among the most prominent positions allocated to the Haqqani Network. However, the resurgence of the Durand Line dispute and the associated nationalist Pashtun discourse would limit Sirajuddin’s influence on Pakistan’s strategic fortunes in Afghanistan. The reports of the arrests of Pakistani soldiers even in the Haqqani stronghold of Paktika province are an important pointer in this direction.

The nationalist turn of the Taliban indicates that much like the past Afghan governments, the issue of the Durand Line will continue to haunt the Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship. In this regard, ISI’s decades of jihadi investments in the Haqqani Network to acquire influence in Afghanistan will become helpful for Pakistan. Also, Pakistan’s need to bring the TTP to the negotiating table makes the support of the Haqqani Network quite indispensable. With a range of licit and illicit business interests in Pakistan and the deep-rooted backing for the ISI’s Islamisation project, Sirajuddin is likely to follow his masters in Islamabad.

Nonetheless, the pressure on the Haqqani Network to stand with the Pashtun nation will gradually increase and limit Sirajuddin’s ability to extend Islamabad’s influence in Afghanistan. Since the Afghan Taliban’s push against the TTP could provoke defections to the Islamic State, it is unlikely that the group would be in a position to fulfil its assurances to Pakistan. Thus, the rise of Pashtun nationalism among the Taliban and the TTP insurgency in Pakistan will make Islamabad pay the cost of gaining its strategic depth. This will become particularly true as the Taliban gradually wean away from the ISI’s control.

Source: News18

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Taliban Foreign Minister meets UN special envoy, discusses human rights issues

23 March, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], March 23 (ANI): Taliban acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met UN Special Representative Deborah Lyons and discussed human rights, humanitarian assistance, development projects, the banking sector, economic growth, and other issues.

In a press release, the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said that Lyons stated that she presented a “positive report” of Afghanistan in the UNSC’s latest meeting which is an achievement for the interim government of the IEA, Khaama Press reported.

Earlier, the Taliban welcomed the renewal of the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) mandate for Afghanistan for a period of 12 months.

Last week, the UN Security Council extended the mandate for Afghanistan. The resolution was confirmed by 14 votes, with Russia abstaining.

During the meeting, Muttaqi expressed hope that the renewal of the UN mission in Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) mandate will not only be concentrated on the humanitarian situation but will also help in the political sphere and will help Afghanistan gain recognition, Khaama Press reported.

Muttaqi further said the extension of the mandate will be a positive step in lifting sanctions on individuals and the economy of Afghanistan.

“Absence of Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN has led to violation of rights of the Afghan people both inside and out of Afghanistan,” Khaama Press Muttaqi as saying.

During the meeting, both the parties agreed to continue meeting for resolving issues.

Source: The Print

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Call for inquiry into enforced disappearances in Bangladesh

By Stephan Uttom

March 23, 2022

A study on enforced disappearances in Bangladesh shows that one-third of victims are from capital Dhaka and 7 percent are Islamic preachers in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

These finding appeared in "Where are They? Enforced Disappearances in Bangladesh," a 37-page research report published this month by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS), a Dhaka-based autonomous think tank.

Between 2019 and 2021, at least 71 people went missing, and 7 percent were individuals involved with Islamic preaching and clerical jobs, including one imam, two Islamic preachers, one madrasa teacher and a khatib who delivered sermons during Friday prayers.

Of the 71 enforced disappearances, 23 percent are still missing, 7 percent have been found dead, and 31 percent have been arrested, detained or jailed.

Data about the professions of 51 individuals gathered under this project show 15 percent of victims are politicians or businessmen and 11 percent students.

The police’s Rapid Action Battalion is alleged to have been involved in 40 percent of cases, followed by the Detective Branch at 31 percent.

According to the CGS report, a significant number of people have gone missing in Bangladesh in the last decade. Human rights organizations say 522 people went missing between 2009 and 2018.

"The government should set up an independent commission to investigate cases of enforced disappearances," Professor Ali Riaz, a professor of political science at Illinois State University, said in a virtual discussion on March 21, the Daily Star reported.

"It must immediately provide information on the victims to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearance and allow the group to visit Bangladesh."

The report noted that the number of disappearances increased during election years and it is feared that the number may increase in the run-up to the 2023 national elections.

“It is the responsibility of the government to find out who or what is causing these disappearances, otherwise the government will have to take responsibility,” said Nur Khan, secretary-general of Ain o Salish Kendra (Law and Arbitration Center), a Dhaka-based rights group.

“Those who believe differently or make any critical remarks against the government or the government see them as a threat are being disappeared. Again, many people are  facing the threat of disappearance. In an independent civilized country, such incidents are totally unacceptable,” Khan told UCA News.

“We also do not know the reason why Islamic preachers are also disappearing. However, I see that they can influence the people and they have disappeared because of anti-government rhetoric.”

Holy Cross Father Liton Hubert Gomes, secretary of the Bangladeshi bishops' Justice and Peace Commission, said the government should take responsibility for all citizens of a state.

"When someone goes missing, the culprit has to be caught or the government has to take responsibility itself,” he said.

Source: UCA News

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Bangladesh welcomes US declaration that Myanmar army committed genocide against Rohingya

23 Mar 2022

The Bangladesh government has welcomed the US declaration that Myanmar's army committed genocide and crimes against humanity in its violence against the Rohingya minority.

Making the announcement on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the attacks against Rohingya were "widespread and systematic" and that evidence pointed to a clear intent to destroy the mainly Muslim minority.

“We welcome this,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told the media in Dhaka on Tuesday. “Although late, this is most welcome.”

A clear statement by the United States saying genocide was committed could bolster efforts to hold the Myanmar generals accountable and help prevent further atrocities, activists and US officials believe.

Myanmar's armed forces launched a military operation in 2017 that forced at least 730,000 of the mainly Muslim Rohingya from their homes and into neighbouring Bangladesh, where they recounted killings, mass rape and arson.

In 2021, Myanmar's military seized power in a coup. Blinken warned that as long as the junta was in power nobody in the country would be safe.

Blinken's recognition of genocide and crimes against humanity refers mainly to events in 2017, before last year's coup. The step comes after two State Department examinations -- one initiated in 2018 and the other in 2020 -- failed to produce a determination.

Some former US officials told Reuters those were missed opportunities to send a firm message to the Myanmar generals who later seized power.

In the last days of the Donald Trump administration, some US officials urged then secretary of state Mike Pompeo to formally declare that the Myanmar military’s campaign against the Rohingya minority was a genocide. Pompeo never made that call. Less than two weeks after he left office on Jan 20, Myanmar’s generals seized power.

Advocates say Monday's declaration, which does not automatically unleash any punitive measures but carries political weight, could help judicial efforts worldwide to hold the junta accountable, but say more action needs to follow.

Momen also sees it as “good news” for Bangladesh because he believes more pressure from the US may settle the Rohingya repatriation issue. He urged Blinken to create more pressure on Myanmar to take back the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, besides holding the generals accountable for the atrocities against the Rohingya.

Momen blamed Myanmar for foiling Bangladesh’s efforts to send back the Rohingya intentionally.

Source: Bdnews24

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Taliban deploys artillery units near Pakistan border: reports

22 March, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], March 22 (ANI): The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has reportedly deployed artillery units near the Pakistan border in a development that can potentially raise the tensions on the Durand line to new heights.

According to reports, the Taliban forces have positioned their artillery units in the areas of Asmar and Nari in the Kunar province of Afghanistan against the Pakistani border forces.

The development is significant considering the increasing tensions between the Taliban regime and the Pakistani border forces since the former’s takeover of Kabul in August last year. The Taliban doesn’t recognise the British-era Durand Line as the official border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Afghan border security personnel continued to display an aggressive attitude along the Durand Line even after the Pakistan authorities on February 25 conveyed to Kabul that their Military Liaison Officers were present at Kabul to provide military to military links and facilitate day to day coordination, management of border issues and provision of cross border support, local media had reported.

The Taliban forces have regularly committed cross border violations and have displayed blatant disregard of mutually agreed and established procedures along the Durand Line, local media reported.

Islamabad had already suggested to the Afghan authorities to resolve all border alignment issues through the formulation of a Joint Committee and requested to stop construction in contentious areas/divided villages till the resolution of the issues, but no response had apparently been received from the Afghan side.

On their part, Afghan authorities have expressed concern over recent violations of Afghan air space and firing with heavy weapons on Afghan security force by the Pakistani Army, reported the local media.

Source: The Print

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 North America

 NYPD's top official faces backlash for downplaying Muslim surveillance

By Zainab Iqbal

22 March 2022

The New York Police Department's top official on counterterrorism and intelligence is facing criticism from segments of the Muslim community after suggesting that the agency did not spy on Muslims post 9/11.

At an eight-hour council hearing on public safety on Friday, Shahana Hanif, the first and only Muslim NYC council member, asked if the NYPD could commit to fully disclosing the extent of its Muslim surveillance programme and if the NYPD could also issue a formal apology or public acknowledgement to Muslim New Yorkers for the "discriminatory, fruitless, and damaging programme".

John Miller, who serves as the NYPD's deputy commissioner on intelligence and counterterrorism, answered that the surveillance was just a "perception".

"Perception allowed to linger long enough becomes reality. I know from my own conversation with Muslim members of the community and Muslim community leaders, that there are people… who will believe forever… [that] there were spies in their mosques who are trying to entrap people," he said.

"There is no evidence that that occurred based on every objective study that's been done."

In 2011, the Associated Press reported that since 2002, the NYPD had "subjected entire neighbourhoods to surveillance and scrutiny, often because of the ethnicity of the residents, not because of any accusations of crimes".

The AP investigation also found that the NYPD religiously profiled and surveilled NYC Muslims in an attempt to find "radicalisation", mapping out communities, conducting video surveillance, recruiting informants, and generating intelligence databases.

A year later, the NYPD acknowledged in a testimony that the unit in charge of the surveillance - the demographics unit- never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation. And in 2014, the unit was discontinued.

Hanif, who later called on Miller to be fired, told MEE she was dismayed that he refused to accept the intrusive and destructive effect surveillance had on the Muslim community.

"The police department conducted this entrapment, this racial profiling and sent informants into our communities to target and violate innocent, innocent people," Hanif said.

"I wanted to take the opportunity to get him on the public record because I think Muslims, and the broader New York City community, ought to know how the NYPD frames this, how they hurt us and how they carried out this project on Muslim communities."

'Surveillance of Muslims is common knowledge'

Lamis Deek, an attorney whose work spans international human rights, criminal defence and appeals, said Miller's comments depict "a deranged perception of the Muslim community".

"The NYPD and government surveillance of Muslims is common knowledge easily accessible to the public and information fully within Miller's purview," she told MEE, adding that the NYC mayor's office needs to ensure he issues an apology.

"Miller appears to be sending a message to the NY community, that the Muslim community - despite the city's own admissions - is not credible and letting the Muslim community know that he and his department neither respect nor see their humanity or the harm the NYPD has caused.

"Such patent knowing denial of the harm lays the groundwork for its repetition."

At a press conference on Monday, Mayor Eric Adams, who is a retired police captain, said surveillance would never happen under his administration.

"It's up to the mayor to set the tone. I set it, the tone, not only now saying it's wrong - I set it then when it was happening."

According to Ahmed Mohamed, the legal director at CAIR-NY, Adams still needs to apologise to the Muslim community and hold police officials "accountable for their continual gaslighting".

In 2021, when Adams was a candidate for Mayor, he went to a mosque and said: "When you speak with the Muslim brothers and sisters here in Brooklyn, they're going to tell you about the days when I stood up when your mosques were been infiltrated by police departments."

Now as the mayor, he has the authority to back up his rhetoric with action, starting with an apology to the Muslim community for the illegal spying and profiling conducted by the NYPD," Mohamed said.

"Mayor Adams can also hold officials accountable for their continual gaslighting and prohibit Glomar responses which circumvent FOIL [Freedom of Information Law] requests."

FOIL is a New York state law that gives the public the right to access government records.

"Trust will never take root while the NYPD continues to inflict trauma by lying about the harms perpetrated on our mosques, community leaders, students, business owners, and organisations," Mohamed added.

'NYPD attempts to rewrite proven history'

Lamiya Khandaker, the project manager at Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York, said she hopes Miller rectifies his statements soon.

"Miller's denial of the NYPD's long-standing egregious conduct and discrimination towards the Muslim community post 9/11 is nothing short of abhorring," she said.

"The evidence of NYPD's discriminatory surveillance programme is unquestionable, and we must never forget the racist and Islamophobic NYPD White Paper report that identified faithfully practising Muslims as indicators of radicalisation."

"To deny the history of law enforcement discrimination is nothing but a pure insult to the Muslim community who has endured so much injustice."

In 2012, Muslim Advocates and other organisations filed a lawsuit against the NYPD on behalf of several individuals and groups who were harmed by surveillance. They won the settlement, which eventually forced the NYPD to pay more than a million dollars to the Muslims "they denied spying on", Muslim Advocates interim legal director Naomi Tsu said.

"The NYPD filmed, tracked and monitored Muslims in mosques, restaurants and schools with cameras and undercover officers in New York, New Jersey and beyond - all without their knowledge," Tsu said.

Source: Middle East Eye

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US-Pakistan talks to focus on regional security issues

Anwar Iqbal

March 23, 2022

WASHINGTON: The Uni­ted States and Pakistan will hold bilateral talks on Wedn­esday, focusing on regional security developments, Af­­ghanistan and Ukraine.

US Under Secretary of Sta­te for Civilian Security, De­­m­ocracy and Human Rights Uzra Zeya arrived in Islam­abad on Monday to attend the OIC Foreign Ministers Conference, which began on Tuesday.

Islamabad is holding the two-day conference, despite intense political instability triggered by a no-confidence move against the PTI government. Both opposition and ruling parties agreed to pause their protests and counter-protests for two days to allow OIC delegates to meet and disperse before the infighting resumes.

Under Secretary Zeya is representing the United Sta­tes at the conference, which is also attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wi.

In a statement issued on Monday evening, the US State Department said Under Secretary Zeya will lead the US delegation to the 48th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers conference and meet senior government officials, as well as members of civil society and international organisations.

During her OIC engagements, the under secretary “will highlight the deep and close ties between the United States and the OIC member states, underscore the need for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and advocate for human rights and freedoms for all,” the statement added.

In her meetings with Pakistani officials, Ms Zeya “will address regional security developments, Pakistan’s generous hosting of Afghan refugees and support for Afghan relocation efforts”.

The bilateral talks would also focus on “worldwide condemnation of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and celebrating the 75th anniversary of US-Pakistan diplomatic relations”, the State Department said.

A department spokesperson told Dawn on Monday that “a strong, prosperous and democratic” Pakistan was critical to US interests.

From Islamabad, Under Secretary Zeya travels to Tunis where she will meet senior government officials to discuss inclusive political and economic reforms, protecting human rights, and the integral role civil society plays in a strong democracy.

During her meetings, the under secretary will also discuss the economic challenges that Tunisia is facing because of the Russian invasion.

Source: Dawn

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Riyadh gets US military help as Washington seeks better ties

22 March ,2022

The United States has stepped up its military support for Saudi Arabia over the past few months following missile strikes on the kingdom by the Iran-backed Houthis, Western diplomats said, an indication that Washington is trying to mend its strained ties with traditional Gulf allies.

The desire for improved relations has been made more pressing by the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month, which has led to economic sanctions on Moscow by Washington, the European Union and others. The United States and other Western countries have been trying to persuade Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, to pump more oil to offset potential losses in Russian supplies.

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Even before the invasion on Feb. 24, US officials had been beating a path to Riyadh as Russia built up its troops on the border. The initial response from the Saudis had been cool.

Prior to that, their traditionally strong alliance had hit a bad patch, due in part to the Saudi role in the war in Yemen and by the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul by Saudi agents in 2018.

The Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to fight Yemen’s Houthis, which had seized the capital Sanaa and large parts of the country. For much of the conflict - also seen as a proxy war between regional rivals Riyadh and Tehran - the United States provided intelligence, training and technical support on weapons systems to the coalition, along with refueling war planes carrying out air strikes.

But as the civilian toll from the strikes grew and a humanitarian crisis gripped Yemen, the conflict became a point of tension between Saudi Arabia and the United States under President Joe Biden.

Soon after taking office in 2020, Biden halted support for coalition offensive operations, initiated a review of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and tasked a special envoy to press Riyadh to lift a coalition blockade on Houthi-held areas to secure a truce with the movement. Biden has also refused to deal directly with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as Saudi’s de facto ruler.

Since then, there have been a series of difficult US-Saudi meetings in the Gulf state, including between US National Security adviser Jake Sullivan and Prince Mohammed last September. Another top US adviser Brett McGurk was in Riyadh last week to discuss oil supplies and Yemen.

But faced with new geo-political realities, Washington has approved missiles and an anti-ballistic defense system sales to Saudi Arabia, including 280 air-to-air missiles valued at up to $650 million, the Pentagon said in November.

Two sources familiar with the matter said Washington had sent Patriot missiles and other equipment over the last three months to the kingdom.

A US State Department spokesperson said the United States has been working with Saudi Arabia and its neighbors over the past months to help them strengthen their defenses, through foreign military and direct commercial sales and third party transfers which allow neighboring countries to transfer US-made weapons as needed.

“With US support, Saudi Arabia currently intercepts approximately 90 percent of these aerial (Houthi) attacks, but we need to aim for 100 percent,” the spokesperson said.

The Saudi government and the Arab coalition have not responded to Reuters’ questions on US arms shipments.

Unverified footage shared on social media by pro-government Saudi commentators showed Patriot missile batteries intercepting missiles targeting the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Sunday when the Houthis unleashed a barrage of strikes on energy facilities, part of a broad assault on Saudi infrastructure.

The attacks, which Washington condemned, temporarily cut output at a refinery and caused a fire at a petroleum products distribution terminal. Saudi Arabia called on the international community on Monday to do more to preserve energy supplies and stand firm against the Houthis.

NGOs say tens of thousands of Yemenis have been killed, mostly civilians, since the war started including by coalition air strikes. More than 100 were killed in January alone. The coalition says it respects humanitarian international laws when it conducts military operations in Yemen.

Source: Al Arabiya

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MWL sponsors transformation within Muslim societies in North, South America

March 22, 2022

WASHINGTON: The Muslim World League has sponsored a qualitative transformation within Muslim societies in North and South America.

Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the MWL and chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars, is preparing to witness an historic agreement between Muslim leaders in the Americas to establish an independent body that brings together different sects to activate the contents of the Makkah Charter, a turning point in contemporary Islamic thought.

This agreement is the culmination of the first forum to bring together Muslim leaders from the Americas, which Al-Issa launched from Washington, D.C., and attracted prominent supporting partners, including members and advisors in the US Congress, and an elite of non-Muslim religious, community and governmental leaders.

Supporters described the forum as an “extraordinary event that expresses awareness, responsibility and enlightenment.”

The forum’s workshops tackled several important topics, foremost of which was the best ways to benefit from the Makkah Charter on a wide scale in the Americas. They mainly focused on how the charter is a comprehensive document issued by a mufti and senior scholars from all of Islam’s sects to strengthen brotherly ties and address youth and women’s issues. They also committed to building the capacities of religious leaders as well as religious diplomacy.

Based on the outputs of the workshops, the conferees approved the participation of non-Muslim religious, community, governmental and parliamentary leaders in the Americas in the independent body.

They also agreed to establish an international forum for the Makkah Charter to be subdivided from it.

The independent body will coordinate on common goals and topics, promote the values of brotherhood and coexistence and build bridges of understanding and alliance between followers of different religions and cultures in the Americas to achieve common interests.

The Makkah Charter has received great global appreciation because it calls for unifying Muslim ranks, strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and love among all.

Source: Arab News

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Southeast Asia


Beijing investing over $400B in 54 Muslim countries, says top Chinese diplomat

Aamir Latif and Islamuddin Sajid


China is investing over $400 billion in nearly 600 projects across the Muslim world under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Chinese foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign minister in Islamabad, Wang Yi said Beijing has close ties with Muslim world based on respect and mutual cooperation.

"China will continue to stand firmly on the side of the Palestinian people and support the early convening of a more authoritative and representative international peace conference on the basis of the two-state solution so as to promote a comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestinian issue," Wang said, according to the transcript of his speech released by Pakistan’s Information Ministry.

Referring to the long-standing dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, he said today he “heard the call of many Islamic friends” over the issue, adding that Beijing “share the same aspiration.”

About the war between Russia and Ukraine, Wang said that China supports peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.

"We need to prevent humanitarian disasters and prevent the spillover of the Ukrainian crisis from affecting or harming the legitimate rights and interests of other regions and countries," he added.

He also spoke about the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and said Beijing would support Afghanistan in achieving inclusive government and steady governance to open a new chapter of peace and reconstruction.

"China is ready to work with Islamic countries to promote a multi-polar world, democracy in international relations and diversity of human civilizations, and make unremitting efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind," Wang concluded.

UN chief praises OIC

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a video message said that the UN enjoys close relationship with OIC based on trust and solidarity.

"We are working together to counter the challenges that abound, from the war in Ukraine and its global ramifications to growing inequalities and proliferating assaults on human rights," the UN chief said.

Guterres added that the two organizations have worked together to nurture a culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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‘Muslim-only class monitor’ issue at KL school resolved

Tsubasa Nair

March 23, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The parent of a student at one of Malaysia’s oldest schools has apologised for claiming that a teacher had barred non-Muslims from being appointed class monitors.

This comes after a screenshot of the parent’s claim went viral. The claim had been posted on a Facebook group for the Kuala Lumpur school’s alumni.

According to the original posting, the parent said a school teacher had told his son’s class through a WhatsApp group chat that a non-Muslim cannot be a class monitor.

When contacted, the parent clarified that the matter had been resolved.

“It is a misunderstanding on my part. I have posted an apology to the school teacher and headmaster in the same channel that was supposed to be private,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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PM wants to make Malay second language among Asean members

March 23, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will confer with Asean leaders to propose the use of Malay as the grouping’s second language, in efforts to elevate the mother tongue at the international level.

Ismail said that apart from Malaysia, Malay was used as a medium of instruction in several neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore as well as in southern Thailand, southern Philippines and in parts of Cambodia.

“So there is no reason why we cannot make Bahasa Melayu as one of the official languages of Asean. We will coordinate on this matter and I will discuss with the leaders of countries that do use Bahasa Melayu so that they agree to make it the second language of Asean.

“After that, we will discuss with other Asean leaders whose countries also have residents who use Bahasa Melayu as a spoken language,” he said during question-and-answer time in the Dewan Negara today.

Ismail was replying to a supplementary question from Zurainah Musa, who wanted to know whether the government would work with Asean leaders to coordinate the use of Malay at the regional level.

Elaborating on the matter, Ismail said currently only four out of the 10 Asean countries use English in official events at the international level, while the others use their national languages in their official affairs.

The prime minister said he himself had used Malay during his official visits to Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia and Thailand before and most recently during his visit to Vietnam two days ago.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Urging a review, three NGOs say Kelantan Shariah criminal law will further harm already marginalised groups in Malaysia

22 Mar 2022


KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Three non-governmental organisations today called on Putrajaya and the state government to pause and review the recently passed Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019, which they insist are contrary to constitutional guaranteed freedoms in Malaysia.

According to Sisters in Islam (SIS), Legal Dignity, and Justice for Sisters (JFS), the Enactment is an infringement of human rights and causes more damage than good, legally-speaking.

Launching their joint study that analysed the Kelantan Shariah law on the country’s existing legal framework and human rights, the NGOs highlighted that the Enactment empowers the state to impose harsher punishments will only encourage violence, potential abuse of power and discrimination towards marginalised communities.

“This Enactment is problematic, redundant, unnecessary and a waste of resources as it introduces 31 new areas of criminality, most of which fall outside of state jurisdiction and infringe on the rights guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

“Among the sections that are covered by the new Enactment are exposing aurat in public places, change of gender, anything intoxicating — which overlaps with the Dangerous Drugs Act — disobedience to parents and others,” said JFS founder Thilaga Sulathireh during the launch of its report on the groups in depth analysis of the Enactment.

In Islam, aurat refers to certain parts of the human body that must be covered by clothing. For Muslim men, it is between the navel and the knees. For Muslim women, only her face and palms can be uncovered.

The group said that after analysing the Enactment through human rights and constitutional frameworks, it found several overlaps with the Federal Constitution and other existing Federal Laws such as Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and the Dangerous Drug Act.

It said that provisions under the new Enactment overlap with existing laws at the federal level and items in the federal list, which infringes the Federal Constitution.

“The Federal Constitution has divided the areas of law that could be legislated by the federal Government and the state government.

“There are provisions under the 2019 Enactment that clearly intrude on existing federal laws, such as the Penal Code, Dangerous Drugs Act, and various Acts related to commercial and banking matters,” it said.

Fundamental liberties guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and international Human Rights laws are challenged by the Enactment, the group said.

These include the right to freedom of religion and belief, the right to life, and the right to live with dignity, among others.

“Further, new sections under the Enactment criminalises the attempt of consensual sexual relations between persons of all genders, as well as transgender and gender diverse persons based on their gender identity. This contravenes the very basis of equality and non-discrimination principles under international human rights law.

“The Enactment also maintains the corporal punishment of caning, and further increased areas for whipping as a permissible punishment. This is in contravention of international human rights law,” it said.

The report by the group analyses the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019, which was passed by the Kelantan state legislative assembly on November 1, last year.

The state law has a total of 68 sections, 33 of which are new sections added from the 1985 Enactment, which previously had 35 sections.

The Enactment also provides for harsher penalties, listing the maximum punishment under the Shariah court jurisdiction is a fine of RM5,000, three years of imprisonment and six lashes of the cane.

Source: Malay Mail

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Turkiye calls for joint stance to ease sufferings of Muslims

Aamir Latif 


The Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday called for collective efforts to protect the rights of Muslims and ease the sufferings they face across the globe, including in Palestine, Kashmir, and Cyprus.

Addressing the Islamabad meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mevlut Cavusoglu touched upon a string of simmering issues ranging from Islamophobia to the plight of Uyghur Muslims and from the war in Ukraine to the Palestine conflict.

The OIC, he said, exists for a common cause, and, it is only when the Muslim bloc acts as a single identity that it helps protect the rights of subjugated Muslim communities in different parts of the world.

It is "war, terror, pain, and suffering" that come out of the seven-decade occupation of Jerusalem, Cavusoglu stated.

He also said Muslim Turks in Cyprus have been denied their fundamental rights for five decades, as well as "Muslim brothers and sisters" in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Drawing to the plight of Uyghur Muslims in China's Xinjiang province, Cavusoglu said the persecuted Muslim community should not be left alone just because "you have differences with Turkiye."

"In China, Uyghur Turks and other Muslims are having difficulties in protecting their cultural identity and rights," he said.

Citing a saying of Prophet Muhammad that calls for unity among Muslims, he said the miseries of Uyghur Muslims and Turkish Muslims in Cyprus must not be ignored just because "you have good relations with that country," a thinly veiled reference to good relations between China and some Muslim countries, including Pakistan.

"We don't want you to spoil your relations with that country. But you should use these good relations to improve the situation in which the Uyghur community is living," he maintained.

Also mentioning the recent hijab ban in some Indian states, Cavusoglu regretted that Muslim women are denied the right to cover their heads.

Islamophobia, war in Ukraine

The top Turkish diplomat said Islamophobia is on the rise in Europe.

Referring to the racist reporting about the refugees from the Middle East and Afghanistan during the ongoing war in Ukraine, Cavusoglu said Russia's war in its neighbor has revealed the double standards across the world while conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Yemen have continued for years.

"For us, blood in Kharkiv (Ukraine) and blood in Aleppo (Syria) is the same because this is what our civilization requires," he said.

The ongoing war in Europe, he went on to say, is affecting everyone. "It's a period where ethical values are under attack."

Cavusoglu urged self-criticism to solve the problems of the Muslim worldwide.

"Who is responsible for the current conditions of Muslim Ummah? Blaming others for that is very easy but it will not help. Today, we should be self-critics, and try to see how can we fix ourselves," he said.

Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Speaking to Anadolu Agency after the meeting, Cavusoglu said he met several counterparts on the sidelines, including Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

“We had a very constructive and fruitful meeting to normalize our relations and even make our reviews better than before. We are in terms to cooperate to work together,” he said.

On the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Cavusoglu said Turkish humanitarian organizations are already working there and Ankara has sent humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and provided financial assistance through the UN and non-governmental organizations.

“We have not recognized the Taliban administration but we advise everyone to be engaged with it,” he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iranian FM: Few Highly Important Issues Remain in Vienna Talks


"We are close to the final stage of the agreement. For the few remaining very important issues, we have presented initiatives to the United States through the EU Coordinator. It is now up to the American side to show its good faith in action," Amir Abdollahian said in a phone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein on Monday night.

Washington has to remove the swinging sanctions which it has imposed on Iran, with the remaining sticking points reportedly being a guarantee in case a future US government abrogates the deal again and key Iranian institutions to be delisted.

The negotiations began last April between Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia, with EU Coordinator Enrique Mora telling reporters last week that delegations were down to negotiating the footnotes of the text.

"We are determined to reach a good, strong and lasting agreement. Dr. Ali Baqeri, Iran's chief negotiator, is in direct and constant contact with Enrique Mora, the coordinator of the talks," Amir Abdollahian said on Monday.

Last Wednesday, Amir Abdollahian had said that Washington needs to act realistically and stop raising new demands if it's willing to have the Vienna talks end in an agreement.

“We are closer to the point of arriving at a final agreement more than any other time,” Amir Abdollahian said in a phone conversation with Britain’s Liz Truss.

“However, what can turn conclusion of a good and stable agreement into a definite prospect is the United States’ realistic behavior and its refusal from tabling new and wrongful demands,” he said.

Truss, for her part, expressed the hope that the Austrian city would eventually be able to host conclusion of such a final agreement.

The US unilaterally left the 2015 Iran deal in 2018, and restored the sanctions that had been lifted under the accord. Washington’s European allies in the deal—France, Germany, and the United Kingdom—have been toeing the sanctions line closely by ending their trade activities with Iran.

The Vienna talks began last April between Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA —Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — on the assumption that the US, under the Biden administration, is willing to repeal the so-called maximum pressure policy pursued by former president, Donald Trump, against Tehran.

Iran says it won’t settle for anything less than the removal of all US sanctions in a verifiable manner. It also wants guarantees that Washington would not abandon the agreement again.

Iran and the G4+1 group of countries earlier this month announced a pause in the Vienna talks, with Tehran saying that all relevant parties will concentrate on a “successful conclusion” of the diplomatic process.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter that the pause in the Vienna talks could provide a “momentum” for resolving any remaining issues and a “final return” to the negotiations, adding, “Successful conclusion of talks will be the main focus of all [the parties involved].”

Also, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said that his country will remain in Vienna talks until it earns a strong agreement.

"All pillars of the Iranian state - in spite of all external and internal hype - work hard to preserve and advance Iran's national interests," Shamkhani wrote on his twitter page.

"We will remain in the Vienna talks until we reach a 'strong agreement' that meets all our legal and logical demands", he added.

Shamkhani warned that the Vienna talks are growing even more complicated because the US continues to avoid making the necessary political decisions.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian Spokesman: Unity Key to Settle Problems in Islamic World


"Pleased to represent Iran in 48th OIC FMs meeting in Pakistan. Palestine is and will remain top priority of Muslim world and no one can compromise on the cause with the apartheid regime of Israel," Khatibzadeh wrote on his twitter page.

"From Yemen to Afghanistan the Islamic world's unity is the key to address the crises," he added.

Khatibzadeh traveled to Islamabad, Pakistan's capital city, to take part in the 48th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The OIC is scheduled to hold the 48th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) under the theme (Building Partnerships for Unity, Justice, and Development) in Islamabad on March 22-23.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is due to make a speech in the opening ceremony of the OIC meeting on Tuesday.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Condoles with China over Tragic Plane Crash


Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh extended condolences to the bereaved family members of Chinese plane crash victims, government and people of China on Monday. 

He sympathized with the Chinese nation and government on the sad occasion.

A passenger plane with 132 people on board crashed on Monday afternoon in a mountainous area in Southern China, sending rescue teams rushing to the site in search of survivors.

Rescuers continue to search for survivors from the plane crash in Southern China, as families of those onboard gather at a nearby airport waiting anxiously for updates.

China Eastern Flight MU5735 was carrying 132 people when it crashed into hills in Guangxi province.

The tragedy has sparked widespread grief in China. President Xi Jinping has ordered a full-scale investigation.

Hundreds of responders have been dispatched to the crash site in Wuzhou.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian DM Felicitates Nowruz to Counterparts in Regional States


General Ashtiani congratulated Nowruz to the governments, people, Armed Forces, and specially the defense ministers, of Armenia, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

"I express my most sincere congratulations on the occasion of the arrival of the ancient Nowruz, which coincides with the beautiful resurrection of nature," he said in his message.

"I hope that in the New Year we will see the consolidation of peace and tranquility in the region and the development and expansion of cooperation," he said, expressing hope for the eradication of COVID-19.

General Ashtiani also wished a year full of happiness and prosperity for the governments, the Armed Forces and the nations of the region.

Nowruz, the start of the year according to the Persian calendar which marks arrival of spring was celebrated across Iran.

Nowruz, which coincides with the first day of spring on the solar calendar (this year started on March 21), is mostly celebrated in 10 countries of Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

The International Day of Nowruz was registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on February 23, 2010.

For Iranians, Nowruz is a celebration of renewal and change, a time to visit relatives and friends, and pay respect to senior family members.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Four dead in stabbing, car-ramming in southern Israel

22 March ,2022

A man wielding a knife stabbed several people and ran over another in southern Israel on Tuesday, with the prime minister promising a crackdown on “terrorists” after the incident which left four dead.

The unrest at a gas station and outside a shopping center in the southern city of Beersheba began shortly after 4:00 pm (1400 GMT), police and emergency medical responders said.

After arriving at the gas station, the assailant left his car and “stabbed a woman,” according to police.

He then returned to his car and rammed it into a 60-year-old man on his bicycle outside the shopping center.

The suspect then left his car again and began stabbing others around the shopping center, according to police and the Magen David Adom emergency medical response organization.

Police said that “civilians who were at the scene fired [at the suspect] and neutralized him,” without specifying the suspect’s condition.

An MDA spokesman told AFP that four people had been killed.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said he held “a consultation with the minister of internal security and the commissioner of the police” following the attack.

He later praised those who shot the alleged assailant, saying they “showed resourcefulness and courage and prevented further casualties.”

“Security forces are on high alert. We will work hard against terrorists. We will pursue them as well and those who help them,” the Israeli premier tweeted.

Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, released a statement that did not claim the attack but blamed it on Israel’s treatments of Palestinians.

Speaking to a Hamas-controlled radio station, group spokesman Hazem Qassem said the “operation is a response to the policy of ethnic displacement practiced by Israel against our Palestinian people inside the occupied territories.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sudanese protesters block roads in Khartoum to demand civilian rule

Buhram Abdel-Men'em 



Sudanese protesters blocked main roads in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday amid rallies to demand full civilian rule.

Demonstrators erected barricades and burned tires in main roads in the cities of Bahri and Omdurman in protest of security crackdown on protests demanding the restoration of civilian rule, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter at the scene.

The demonstration was called by the Resistance Committees, a protest group that led demonstrations against the military.

According to eyewitnesses, security forces fired teargas canisters to disperse protesters in Omdurman.

Sudan has been in turmoil since Oct. 25, 2021, when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's transitional government and declared a state of emergency, in a move decried by political groups as a “military coup.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Libyan domestic flights to resume after political crisis closed skies

22 March ,2022

Libya’s Global Air scheduled a Tripoli-Benghazi flight for Tuesday afternoon, signaling resumption of domestic air travel after the country’s political crisis had closed airspace for more than two weeks.

The United Nations had urged the reopening of Libya’s skies in line with a 2020 ceasefire between the main warring factions to allow unhindered travel within the country.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sudan denies reports on Russian Wagner presence in country

Buhram Abdel-Men'em



The Sudanese government on Tuesday denied reports about the presence of Russian paramilitary Wagner Group in Sudan.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry termed accusations by the ambassadors of the US, Britain and Norway on the Wagner's activities in Sudan as "a blatant interference in Sudan's domestic affairs."

On March 21, the Troika for Sudan – the US, Britain and Norway – said the Wagner Group was engaged in illicit activities that undermine the rule of law in Sudan.

"In Sudan, the Wagner Group, a Private Military Company closely linked to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, spreads disinformation on social media and engages in illicit activities connected to gold-mining," the Troika said.

But the Sudanese ministry denied the claims, saying the three envoys are trying to drag Sudan into the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Russian private security companies such as Wagner, Patriot, Sewa Security Service and RSB are known to have a presence in Africa.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Troika countries say Russian Wagner Group's activities in Sudan undermine rule of law

Omer Erdem 



Russian private military contractor Wagner Group is engaged in illicit activities that undermine the rule of law in Sudan, the Troika – the US, UK and Norway – for the North African country said Monday.

British Ambassador Giles Leifer, Norwegian Ambassador Therese Loken Gheziel and US Charge d'Affaires Lucy Tamlyn made the accusation in a joint statement shared by the US Embassy in Sudan on social media.

“In Sudan, the Wagner Group, a Private Military Company closely linked to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, spreads disinformation on social media and engages in illicit activities connected to gold-mining. Wagner Group activities undermine the good governance and respect for rule of law that the Sudanese people have been fighting for since the (2018-2019) revolution,” the statement said.

“Sudan has the sovereign right to decide on its own foreign relationships. We will always respect that. We will continue to support the Sudanese people as they strive to fulfil the aspirations of the revolution,” it added.

Russian private security companies such as Wagner, Patriot, Sewa Security Service and RSB are known to have a presence in Africa.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Erdogan asks EU to relaunch membership negotiations

22 March ,2022

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday asked the European Union to relaunch talks for Turkey to eventually become an EU member, on the eve of a summit focused on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Turkish president's comments come as the war in Ukraine allows Ankara to return to the international stage by offering its services as a mediator in the conflict.

“We expect the EU to open quickly the chapters of the membership negotiations and to start negotiations on a customs union without yielding to cynical calculations,” Erdogan said after talks with visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Negotiations for Turkey's accession one day to the 27-nation EU, which began in 2005, have stalled in recent years over tensions between the two sides, with the EU accusing Turkey of moving away from the rule-of-law and other values on which the bloc is founded.

Relations between Turkey and the EU worsened sharply after the July 2016 attempted coup.

The EU has often criticised the crackdown and the attacks on freedom of speech which followed the failed putsch, in which tens of thousands of people have been arrested including journalists.

The EU and Turkey had agreed a deal in March 2016 worth billions of euros in which Turkey would take back migrants in exchange for visa liberalisation, which has yet to be introduced for Turks.

EU heads of state and government are set to meet Wednesday in Brussels for a summit aimed at dealing with the fallout of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

NATO is also to hold a crisis summit on Ukraine on Thursday.

The Turkish president has hosted talks in the last week and a half with four EU leaders and NATO.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Russia’s envoy in Indonesia says Putin plans to attend G20 summit in Jakarta

23 March ,2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to attend a G20 summit being hosted by Indonesia later this year, Russia’s ambassador in Jakarta said on Wednesday, following calls by some members for the country to be barred from the group.

“Not only G20, many organizations are trying to expel Russia....the reaction of the West is absolutely disproportional,” ambassador Lyudmila Vorobieva told a news conference on Wednesday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US' envoy to UN welcomes Turkish, Israel presidents' meeting in Ankara

Servet Gunerigok  


US' Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tuesday welcomed a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli President Isaac Herzog that took place in Ankara on March 9.

Speaking at a UN Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East, Thomas-Greenfield said the US believes that normalization agreements can enhance regional cooperation.

"These visits demonstrate that good-faith engagement can build mutual confidence and create a path toward a greater security and prosperity," she said.

The "historic visit" by the Israeli president aims to revive bilateral political dialogue based on common interests between the two nations, Erdogan said March 9.

Herzog said the aim is to lay foundations for the development of friendly relations between Turkiye, Israel and the peoples of the two countries.

Turning to the Palestinian issue, the US envoy said normalization is not a substitute for serious engagement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"That is why the Biden Administration has made a point of intensifying dialogue with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders," she said. "We encourage all those who look for peace in the Middle East to commit to constructive acts that help Palestinians and Israelis coexist and prosper.”

Thomas-Greenfield noted that the Ramadan, Passover and Easter holidays are approaching, saying "we must aspire to peace, recognizing the heightened religious sensitivities during this time.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland reduced

Karim El-Bar  



The terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland was reduced on Tuesday from severe to substantial for the first time in 12 years, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said.

The decision was made by the UK’s domestic intelligence service MI5 independently of government ministers.

Lewis said the decision “shows the significant progress that Northern Ireland has made, and continues to make, towards a more peaceful, more prosperous and safer society.”

“It is a testament to the ongoing commitment to protecting the peace process and tackling Northern Ireland-related terrorism, and the tremendous efforts of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and MI5 for their hard won gains over the past decade,” he said.

“However, it is not a time for complacency. There is still a minority who wish to cause harm in Northern Ireland. As ever, the public should remain vigilant and report any concerns they may have to the police.”

Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable Simon Byrne said in a statement that the decision signaled “a success in the long-term efforts made by police officers and staff, our partners and in particular the community, in achieving the kind of society we all want and deserve”.

“The success that we have achieved over recent years, in preventing attacks, investigating and pursuing groups including the new IRA has brought us to where we are today,” he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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