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Islamic World News ( 18 Jun 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Afghan Taliban Frown at Militants' Eid Ceasefire Selfies

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 Jun 2018

Images of children being separated from their parents as they try to cross the border have caused outrage



 Afghan Taliban Frown at Militants' Eid Ceasefire Selfies

 Modi Govt Will Have To Do A Lot More To Win Over Muslims: Union Minister Naqvi

 Iran: Sufi Bus Driver at Risk Of Imminent Execution Amid Grave Unfair Trial Concerns

 UAE’s Gargash: Arab Coalition’s Full Control of Hodeidah Only a Matter of Time


South Asia

 Afghan Taliban Frown At Militants' Eid Ceasefire Selfies

 Peace convoy arrives in Kabul after almost 40-day march from Helmand

 Suicide attack leaves nearly 70 dead, wounded in Jalalabad city

 National Security Council extends ceasefire with Taliban for 10 days

 Taliban roaming Afghan cities at will, raising fears amid Eid euphoria



 Modi Govt Will Have To Do a Lot More To Win over Muslims: Union Minister Naqvi

 Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM, governor, Akhilesh Yadav share space with imam at Eidgah

 'Ramzan truce' ends, anti-terror operations to restart in Kashmir

 108 migrants from Pakistan get Indian citizenship

 'India to free five Pakistani prisoners tomorrow'

 J&K violence: Youth shot dead by militants, 7 injured in blast

 India welcomes Afghanistan's decision to extend ceasefire with armed groups



 Iran: Sufi Bus Driver at Risk Of Imminent Execution Amid Grave Unfair Trial Concerns

 Israel extends detention of female Palestinian lawmaker

 Yemen army offers safe routes for Hodeidah civilians

 Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza over burning kite flying

 Turkey says its air strikes kill 35 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq


Arab World

 UAE’s Gargash: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

 Dozens of pro-regime fighters killed in east Syria strike

 Syria state media says US-led coalition hits regime position in east

 Islamist detained in Cologne intended to meet ISIS in Syria – report



 Pakistan's Imran Khan says 'feminism degrades role of mother'

 Taliban Commander Molvi Bahadur Jan arrested from Peshawar airport: FIA sources

 Balochistan Ameer of Jamat Ahle Hadees released 9 months after he was kidnapped in Quetta

 Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz delays return to Pakistan

 Paramilitary forces' vehicle attacked on Quetta's Sariab Road, 3 martyred

 Fear of PPP, PSP forces MQM factions to patch up

 Chaudhry Nisar rules out seat adjustment with PTI



 Woman yelling 'Allahu Akbar' slashes two with blade in France

 Clashes flare as UN seeks solution in Yemen's Hodeida


Southeast Asia

 Indonesians’ Eid balloons force flights to divert

 Philippine troops clash with remnants of defeated Islamist group


North America

 Separated at borders, hundreds of children wait in cages in Texas



 Nigeria attacks: Blasts and rockets 'kill 31' in Borno state

 Libya: Haftar forces launch push against militia in oil crescent


Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Afghan Taliban Frown at Militants' Eid Ceasefire Selfies

Reuters | Updated: Jun 18, 2018

Some Taliban seen taking selfies with Afghan government forces and officials had been warned, the Taliban official said.

The government ceasefire did not include the Islamic State militant group and the Taliban did not include US-led foreign forces in theirs.

The Taliban ceasefire ended on Sunday.

A Taliban  celebrates ceasefire with people in Rodat district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan (Reuters photo) A Taliban celebrates ceasefire with people in Rodat district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan (Reuters photo)

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN: The Afghan Taliban are angry at their members swapping selfies with soldiers and government officials during their three-day ceasefire, a senior Taliban official said on Monday, after the militants roamed at will through cities before the truce ended.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Taliban official also said Pakistan had wanted the Taliban to include US and other foreign troops in the ceasefire, but the Taliban's leadership and supreme commander, Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada, did not agree.

"Last night, an emergency meeting was called and all the commanders were informed and directed to take strict disciplinary action against all those Taliban members who visited citizens and took pictures with the Afghan authorities," he told Reuters.

Some Taliban seen taking selfies with Afghan government forces and officials had been warned, the Taliban official said.

Both the Afghan government and the militants declared temporary ceasefires for the end-of-Ramzan Eid al-Fitr holiday, leading to fraternization between the two sides as militants emerged from their hideouts to enter towns and cities.

The government ceasefire did not include the Islamic State militant group and the Taliban did not include US-led foreign forces in theirs.

The Taliban ceasefire ended on Sunday. The government extended its ceasefire with the Taliban, which had been due to end on Wednesday, June 20, by 10 days.

Another Taliban commander, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that some attacks had been planned in the southern Afghan province of Helmand where short clashes were reported, according to the spokesman for the Helmand governor.

Anti-war activists set off on a peace march last month, spending the fasting month crossing harsh, sun-baked countryside en route to Kabul where they arrived on Monday, their numbers swelling and ebbing at different points along the route.

Abdul Rahman Mangal, spokesman for the Maidan Wardak provincial government, next to Kabul, said the Taliban attacked two security checkpoints in the Saidabad district in the early hours of Monday which "left casualties".

Clashes were also reported in Faryab in the northwest and Laghman, to the east of Kabul, and Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan and the scene of two bomb blasts over the weekend, one of which was claimed by Islamic State.

While many war-weary Afghans welcomed the ceasefires and the fraternization between the combatants, some have criticised the government ceasefire, which allowed the Taliban to flow into cities, though the militants said they were withdrawing.

The Taliban are fighting US-led NATO forces combined under the Resolute Support mission, and Ghani's US-backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after their ouster by US-led forces in 2001.

But Afghanistan has been at war for four decades, ever since the Soviet invasion in 1979.




Modi Govt Will Have To Do a Lot More To Win Over Muslims: Union Minister Naqvi

PTI | Jun 17, 2018

NEW DELHI: Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said the Narendra Modi government would have to do a lot more to gain the confidence of Muslims "whose minds have been poisoned over the last 70 years".

Naqvi also said the BJP government would remind Muslims of the schemes the government started for their development and the efforts it made against 'triple talaq' during the campaigning for the 2019 elections.

The minister had recently hosted an Iftar party for Muslim women. A few victims of 'triple talaq' had also attended it.

"We have to do a lot more to gain the confidence of Muslims because their minds have been poisoned over the last 70 years. But, the good thing is that the new generation, the women are evaluating the BJP on its merits and demerits. This is a very positive development," Naqvi told PTI.

On the BJP's defeat in the recent Kairana by-election, the minority affairs minister said it had not affected the party's "winning spree", but had certainly prompted it to have re-look at its strategy for the Lok Sabha elections.

"It does not mean that we will lose all the elections. Now that we know that the opposition parties will stitch an alliance to contest the Lok Sabha polls, we will prepare a strategy to counter them," Naqvi said.

Regional heavyweights have been mulling the idea of forming a "united front" to stop the BJP's juggernaut in 2019. The minister alleged that the Congress and other rival parties had "always used Muslims for vote bank politics" and had not done anything for their development.

"The Congress and others always feel that Muslims will vote for them out of compulsion. So, they have never focused on their development and empowerment," he claimed, adding that the BJP government had honestly worked for the welfare of the community.

The Narendra Modi government had taken various steps for "restoring the dignity" of Muslims and the BJP was not running after votes, he said.

"To vote or not to vote is their democratic right," Naqvi adde




Iran: Sufi Bus Driver at Risk of Imminent Execution amid Grave Unfair Trial Concerns

17 June 2018, 14:00 UTC

Iranian authorities must urgently stop the imminent execution of Mohammad Salas, a 51-year-old man from one of Iran’s largest Sufi orders, the Nemattolah Gonabadi order, and to immediately quash his death sentence, Amnesty International said today.

“Amnesty International has received information that indicates a huge miscarriage of justice may be carried out if the Iranian authorities go through with this execution. We call on the authorities to immediately quash the death sentence of Mohammad Salas and to order a retrial that meets international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

This case has laid bare the flaws in Iran’s criminal justice system for all to see. We call on the international community to do everything in their power to stop the execution of Mohammad Salas.

Prison authorities phoned Mohammad Salas’ family on the evening of 16 June and told them to go to Raja’i Shahr prison where he is imprisoned in Karaj, near Tehran, to visit him for the final time at 3.30pm local time on 17 June. This indicates that his execution is imminent, and could happen within days if not hours.

Following a grossly unfair trial, Mohammad Salas was sentenced to death on 19 March 2018 after the judge found him guilty of the murder of three police officers that took place during a protest by the Gonabadi Dervish religious group, a persecuted minority in Iran.

The sole piece of evidence used to convict him was a “confession” that Mohammad Salas has said was forcefully elicited after he was severely beaten by police officers. He has since retracted his “confession” and his lawyer has said there is new evidence pointing to his innocence; however, the Supreme Court has rejected his request for a judicial review.

The protests in question, which took place on 19 February 2018, turned violent after security forces resorted to beatings and the use of live ammunition, water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Three police officers, Reza Emami, Mohammad Ali Bayrami and Reza Moradi Alamdar, were left dead after they were run over by a bus in the early evening around 6.30pm. According to Mohammad Salas and several eye witnesses, he was arrested between 2.30pm and 4.30pm and accused of their murder.

“In their haste to do justice, the authorities have trampled all over this man’s rights. By not allowing Mohammad Salas access to a lawyer before and during his trial and dismissing key defence witnesses who can testify that he was already in detention when the three policemen were killed, it appears that the authorities have been more interested in vengeance at any cost than in justice,” said Philip Luther.

“This case has laid bare the flaws in Iran’s criminal justice system for all to see. We call on the international community to do everything in their power to stop the execution of Mohammad Salas.

“If the Iranian authorities follow through with this execution after a grossly unfair trial where the only piece of evidence was a forced ‘confession’ extracted through torture, it will be a truly abhorrent act of injustice.”


Mohammad Salas was arrested around 2.30pm on 19 February outside a police station where thousands of Gonabadi dervish protesters had gathered to peacefully protest the persecution of the Gonabadi dervish community in Iran.

Salas, a bus driver by profession, has said that he was repeatedly beaten in the police station where he was held for several hours. He has said that he heard one police officer order the others to “beat him until he dies”. He was eventually taken, unconscious, to a hospital to treat his injuries, which included cuts to the head requiring stitches, broken teeth, broken ribs, a broken nose, and a partial loss of vision.

Scared, disoriented and drowsy after being reportedly tortured, Salas awoke to find a police investigator by his bed, who forced him to sign a pre-written statement “confessing” to the murders. Salas was unable to read the statement because he has limited literacy and also cannot read without his glasses. The interrogation was conducted without a lawyer present.

Another man who was also in the room then put a camera and microphone in front of Salas and asked him why he had killed the three policemen. This video of his “confession” was broadcast on Iran’s state news agency, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), on 20 February, the day after his arrest.

He was subsequently transferred to Shapour detention centre in Tehran, run by the Investigation Unit of Iran’s police (Agahi), which is notorious for extracting “confessions” through torture, where he was held in solitary confinement without access to his family or lawyer.

On 1 March 2018, weeks before Salas’ trial had begun, Tehran’s Police Chief and Revolutionary Guards General Hossein Rahimi said in an interview with IRIB that Mohammad Salas would be executed for the murder of the policemen, thus violating the right to presumption of innocence.

Salas has said he was beaten in the Agahi detention centre and made to “confess” in court that he had killed the policemen. He has said that his beatings were so severe that one of his fingers was broken.

During the trial, state news agencies broadcast selected clips from the courtroom, attempted to smear Mohammad Salas’ character by using details about his personal life, and featured interviews with family members of the deceased policemen stating they want the punishment of qesas (retribution in kind) through his execution.

At the final trial session on 18 March 2018, he retracted his “confession” and said that he only “confessed” because he had been tortured and threatened. He denied murdering the policemen, and said he was already under arrest and in detention, with several witnesses present, when they were killed.

According to information received by Amnesty International, there are several witnesses, some of whom were also arrested at the protest, who were ready to give eye witness testimonies to support Mohammad Salas’ statement. According to his lawyer, new witnesses have also claimed that the person behind the wheel of the bus that ran over the policemen was a young man.

At no point was Mohammad Salas allowed a lawyer of his choosing, even though his family had retained a lawyer to represent him. At trial, the judge did not order any investigations into his allegations of torture, nor did he allow any of the witnesses who could testify on behalf of Salas to do so.

Instead, on 19 March, using only the “confession” Mohammad Salas had made on his hospital bed, Branch 9 of the Criminal Court of Tehran convicted Salas of murder and sentenced him to death. The conviction and sentence were upheld by the Supreme Court, which later rejected an application for a judicial review of his case. His lawyer will submit a second application for a judicial review to Branch 35 of the Supreme Court on 17 June 2018.

Gonabadi Dervishes in Iran consider themselves to be Shi’a Muslims. They are Sufis who describe Sufism as neither a religion nor a sect, but rather a way of life by which people – from any religion – may find God. However, Iran’s Supreme Leader and influential figures deem their beliefs to be “false mysticism”. Consequently, Gonabadi Dervishes have faced discrimination, harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, imprisonment and flogging sentences, and attacks on their sacred or important sites.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The organization campaigns for the total abolition of the death penalty



UAE’s Gargash: Arab Coalition’s Full Control of Hodeidah Only a Matter of Time


June 18, 2018

DUBAI: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis for control of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah will take a “calculated and gradual” approach to the battle, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE was taking into consideration a “fragile humanitarian situation,” avoiding civilian casualties in addition to military calculations.

Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000. He declined to reveal the size of coalition forces but said they had “numerical superiority.”

He said that the Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time.

Gargash added that the Hodeidah port is a “major artery” for weapons smuggling from Iran to the Houthis.

“The liberation of Hodeidah is a major step in freeing Sanaa,” the UAE minister said, adding that “the roads leading to the port are filled with mines.”

France is said to be helping the Arab coalition in demining the roads.

“We have opened the road from Hodeidah to Sanaa to allow the militias to flee without resistance,” Gargash said.

The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa for emergency talks.

Martin Griffiths was expected to propose to militia leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee and halt heavy clashes against advancing government troops backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(With AFP - Reuters)




South Asia


Peace Convoy Arrives In Kabul after Almost 40-Day March from Helmand

By KHAAMA PRESS - Mon Jun 18 2018

The convoy of peace activists arrived in capital Kabul on Monday morning after marching for nearly 40 days from the restive Helmand province in the South.

The convoy arrived to Kabul city from Maidan Shahr city, the provincial capital of central Maidan Wardak province.

The convoy has around 90 members and started their march in support of peace process from Lashkargah city more than a month ago with only 8 members.

However, more and more activists joined the march as they were walking through some of the most volatile provinces to reach Kabul.

The members of the convoy have spent three days of Eid while marching towards Kabul and call on Taliban militants to join peace as they emphasize that enough blood have been shed during the past several years.

A number of the convoy members have even abandoned their jobs and call on people and youths to join them in raising and expanding voice in support of peace.

The Helmand peace convoy participants are expected to march through Kabul city today and will travel towards Abdul Rahman Khan and Eidgah mosques.

This comes as efforts are underway to put an end to the ongoing violence and conflict through peace and reconciliation talks.

However, the Taliban group has so far rejected to participate in any form of negotiations aimed at ending the conflict through reconciliation.




Suicide attack leaves nearly 70 dead, wounded in Jalalabad city

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jun 17 2018

Nearly 70 people were killed or wounded after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the governor’s compound in Jalalabad city city at around 3 pm local time.

The eyewitnesses in the area are saying that a suicide bomber has detonated his explosives among the Taliban, security forces, and the ordinary civilians who had gathered near the governor’s office to celebrate Eid and ceasefire.

The provincial government media office in a statement said at least 19 people were killed and more than 50 others were wounded in the attack.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Ataullah Khogyani had earlier confirmed the incident and said a number of people have been killed or wounded in the explosion.

Provincial public health director Dr. Najibullah Kamawal had earlier said that the dead bodies of at least 15 people have been shifted to the hospitals so far along with at least 45 others who have sustained injuries.

However, another security source had said at least seventeen people have been killed and at least fifty others have sustained injuries in the attack.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.




National Security Council extends ceasefire with Taliban for 10 days

By KHAAMA PRESS - Mon Jun 18 2018

The ceasefire with the Taliban group was extended for ten more days during the meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said the meeting was organized on Sunday evening during which a comprehensive discussion was held regarding the extension of ceasefire with the Taliban group.

The source further added that the meeting concluded with the extension of ceasefire with the Taliban for ten more days.

The participants of the meeting welcomed the presence of the Taliban militants to celebrate the three days of Eid with the security forces and the ordinary civilians.

President Ghani hailed the nation and the international allies of Afghanistan for their support to ceasefire.

He said the three days of ceasefire proved that the Afghan nation wants peace.

In the meantime, the participants of the meeting said necessary security measurements are place in all provinces of the country and the security forces are prepared to respond in the event of an aggression.




Taliban roaming Afghan cities at will, raising fears amid Eid euphoria

Reuters | Jun 17, 2018

KABUL: Taliban militants headed into cities across Afghanistan on Sunday as they continued to celebrate their Eid ceasefire with feasts and selfies, raising questions about what happens when the ceasefire ends at midnight.

President Ashraf Ghani extended a government ceasefire on Saturday and urged the Taliban to do the same, garnering praise at home and international backing, but critics said such overtures have allowed the Taliban to pour into cities unchecked and win the upper hand.

Ghani had committed "a grave mistake" by allowing Taliban fighters to enter government-controlled areas, said Amarullah Saleh, a politician and a former head of the National Directorate of Security.

"We don't have mechanisms in place to mitigate the breach of ceasefire by the Taliban," Saleh told Reuters.

Members of parliament opposing Ghani's move said he had not consulted politicians and would be left with no recourse if the Taliban rejected his impromptu request.

A senior western diplomat in Kabul said Ghani's decision was "a bold move" but questioned what happens if the Taliban do not extend their unprecedented halt in hostilities against government forces.

"The consequences could be disastrous," he said.

Over the weekend, ecstatic men and children crowded around the soldiers and Taliban fighters, some of whom had checked in their weapons at the entrances to cities, and urged them to turn their ceasefire into a permanent peace.

Governors and senior government officials hosted small feasts, played music to welcome the militants' ceasefire, coinciding with the close of the month-long Ramadan fasting season.

"So far, no decision has been made for the extension of the ceasefire, so today is the last day of our three-day truce," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

"Our normal operations will start tomorrow (Monday)."

Ghani's office has yet to declare a new timeframe for the extended ceasefire.

Members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council supported the decision and urged the Taliban, whose numbers on the streets of Kabul and other cities are impossible to calculate, to extend their ceasefire.

"Good steps for peace have been taken, but more steps have to be taken," said council chairman Karim Khalili.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, echoing Ghani's remarks, said peace talks would have to include a discussion on the role of "international actors and forces".

Pakistan role

"Ghani has full blessings of the USadministration and it is crucial for the US officials to prove that Trump's policies are working and talks with the Afghan Taliban are imminent," said a senior diplomat who met Afghan officials on Sunday to monitor the chance of back-channel talks with Taliban leaders.

The United States wants Pakistan, which it accuses of harbouring Afghan Taliban commanders, to exert more influence on the group to bring it to the negotiating table.

The only time direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have been held, in 2015, they broke down almost immediately.

The Taliban are fighting US-led Nato forces, combined under the Resolute Support mission, and Ghani's US-backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after their ouster by US-led forces in 2001. Resolute Support did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Afghanistan has been at war for four decades, ever since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

A car bomb killed 36 people at a gathering of Taliban and Afghan armed forces in the eastern city of Nangarhar on Saturday. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

On Sunday, Taliban insurgents were travelling freely with their flags and meeting civilians despite curbs imposed after the Nangarhar attack.

"In order to prevent our countrymen from being harmed and ... we become a reason for that, all officials should ban all mujahideen (Taliban fighters) under their command from participating in such crowds and gatherings," Taliban spokesman Mujahid said.

The Taliban already roam huge swaths of the country and, with foreign troop levels of about 15,600, down from 140,000 in 2014, there appears little hope of outright government victory.

For now the atmosphere is festive - a story doing the rounds on social media is that one Talib, after hugging Kabul residents, asked for directions to Baharistan, to the west of Kabul.

"I have heard there is very good ice cream there," he said.






Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM, governor, Akhilesh Yadav share space with imam at Eidgah

Rohan Dua | TNN | Jun 18, 2018, 11:18 IST

LUCKNOW: While Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath skipped the tradition set by his predecessor of visiting Eidgah on Eid, his deputy Dinesh Sharma along with the UP governor and Samajwadi Party chief went on to attend prayers at the Lucknow mosque with the imam, ending their last week's bitter rivalry.

SP president and former CM Akhilesh Yadav and BJP leaders had traded barbs over the controversy over bungalow vacation and subsequent damages to the property. Yadav had even accused governor Ram Naik of possessing "an RSS spirit" after he ordered a probe against him over the allegations of missing items. On Saturday, however, Akhilesh was seen shaking hands with Naik while repeatedly seeking peace among all religions and their leaders. "Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma is here. I am very happy that many people from different religions are present here today. On this occasion, I only extend warm wishes. We follow Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb. We believe in all festivals whether Christmas, Diwali or Eid and like to hug people from different religions," Akhilesh told the crowd.

Sharma also wished the crowd, standing beside Sunni cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali.

Sharma had also tweeted Eid wishes. Governor Naik, meanwhile, visited homes of BJP minister Mohsin Raza, the only Muslim face in the cabinet, Vidhan Parishad member Bukkal Nawab and Congress leader Ammar Rizvi to wish them.

In March, Yogi had told the UP assembly that he is a Hindu and hence would never celebrate Eid but his government would always work for a peaceful celebration of Eid. "I am not one of those who wear a 'janeu' (sacred thread) inside the house and put on a skull cap after coming out if required. I am not like them because I am a Hindu and have no reason to celebrate Eid," Yogi had told the House.




'Ramzan truce' ends, anti-terror operations to restart in Kashmir

Bharti Jain | TNN | Updated: Jun 18, 2018

Security forces fire tear smoke shells during clashes in Srinagar on Saturday. (AFP photo)'Ramzan truce' ends, anti-terror operations to restart in Kashmir

Ebased cordon-and-search and search-and-destroy operations would restart.

Singh took to Twitter to commend the forces for their "exemplary restraint" during Ramzan despite grave provocations that saw targeted attacks including the killing of Shujaat Bukhari. "Government (is) committed to working for creating an environment free of terror and violence in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Threats to the approaching Amarnath yatra and likely political costs - in the absence of any engagement in the Kashmir Valley - prompted the Centre to end the partial truce. "Terrorists continued with wanton killing of civilians and attacks on security forces. Even separatists failed to seize the opportunity to reciprocate the initiative," said a home official.

However, the Centre felt the experiment was not without its benefits as its sincerity in offering an interlude of peace to break a cycle of violence in the face of provocation was appreciated by common citizens. Actions of separatists and terrorists negated normalcy with the murder of Bukhari serving to underscore how Kashmiris were bearing the brunt of violence.

While the crackdown against terrorists will resume, the Centre will continue to reach out to Kashmiris with further confidence-building measures. The government's special representative Dineshwar Sharma will reach J&K on Monday and stay there until Saturday, talking to all sections of people and also reaching out to separatists in Hurriyat.

The government said the decision to halt offensive operations was intended to provide a conducive atmosphere for fasting. "Government commends the role of security forces for having implemented the decision in letter and spirit in the face of grave provocation, to enable Muslim brothers and sisters observe Ramzan peacefully," it said.

"This decision has been appreciated by people all over the country, including J&K, and has brought relief to common citizens," tweeted Singh. "While security forces displayed exemplary restraint during this period, terrorists continued with attacks, on civilians and security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries," he added.

Even as the 'Ramzan ceasefire' played out, there was concern in the government and BJP that the continuing terror incidents would have an adverse political impact, not only in J&K but elsewhere in the country. Resuming operations against terror groups at a time when Pakistan continues to fire across the Line of Control and the International Border will reassure BJP's constituency that a hard line against jihadis has not been abandoned.

The recent violent incidents in J&K seem to have also dimmed the chances of a dialogue with the Hurriyat




108 migrants from Pakistan get Indian citizenship

IANS Jodhpur: June 18, 2018

A total of 108 migrants from Pakistan received Indian citizenship here in Rajasthan on Sunday.

Jodhpur District collector Ravi Kumar Surpur distributed the citizenship certificates to the former Pakistanis.

Most of these migrant-turned-Indian citizens were teary eyed when they got the certificates.

The surroundings of the Town Hall where they were given the certificates echoed with slogans such as "Bharat Mata Ki Jai".

Hindu Singh Soda, President of Seemant Lok Sangathan who has played an active role in highlighting the plight of the migrants, said directions to give them citizenship were issued way back in December 2016.

He said some 6,000 people were still awaiting Indian citizenship.





'India to free five Pakistani prisoners tomorrow'

Sachin Parashar | TNN | Jun 18, 2018

NEW DELHI: Despite the recurring strife in bilateral ties, India and Pakistan continue to work together on humanitarian issues. Official sources here said India will release five more Pakistani prisoners on Tuesday.

Pakistan has been seeking the release of 54 prisoners who, it says, have completed their sentences.

India and Pakistan had in March agreed to release women prisoners and those above 70 years of age. As per the understanding, India had sought visas for a team of medical experts to examine mentally ill and elderly prisoners before their release and repatriation.

India and Pakistan had also agreed to resume visits by Joint Judicial Committee which looks into the issues of fishermen and prisoners in each other's custody.



J&K violence: Youth shot dead by militants, 7 injured in blast

M Saleem Pandit | TNN | Jun 17, 2018

SRINAGAR: Sporadic violence marked the second day of Eid celebrations in J&K in which a youth was gunned down by militants and seven other civilians were injured in an explosion on Sunday evening.

The youth, Mohammad Iqbal Kawa, was attacked by militants in the Kelam area of South Kashmir's Kulgam district. Confirming the incident, Kulgam senior superintendent of police Harmeet Singh said militants fired upon Kawa, who was rushed to the nearest Jaglat Mandi hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Soon after the incident, the whole area was cordoned off to nab the attackers, he said.

At least seven persons were injured when a low-intensity bomb exploded in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. The bomb was kept in a dustbin inside a park near the Manasbal Lake. The park was mostly packed with children and youngsters celebrating Eid.

According to reports, out of the seven injured, the condition of one man is serious. He has been shifted to a Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment. The other six are receiving treatment at a nearby hospital. The police are yet to reveal the identities of those injured.

Both were taken to SKIMS Soura for treatment. Medical Superintendent of SKIMS Soura, Dr Farooq Jan confirmed that War was brought to the hospital in critical condition. “His condition is very serious and he is on ventilator support,” he said.

An officer of the local police station said that they were investigating as to how War suffered injuries.




India welcomes Afghanistan's decision to extend ceasefire with armed groups

PTI | Jun 17, 2018

NEW DELHI: India on Sunday welcomed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's announcement extending the unilateral ceasefire with militant groups, and hoped that the gesture would be reciprocated by them as well as their supporters.

Last week, the Afghan government announced a seven-day ceasefire with an aim to encourage the Taliban to join the reconciliation process. Subsequently, the Taliban also announced a three-day ceasefire till on Sunday.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India supports a "truely" Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.

"We welcome the decision of President Ghani to announce ceasefire and its extension. We hope this gesture would be reciprocated by armed groups and their supporters with complete cessation of terrorist violence," Kumar said, responding to a question on Ghani's announcement.

"We support all efforts that can bring relief to the long suffering of the friendly people of Afghanistan; pave the way for a truely Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process in an atmosphere free from terror and violence; and help build a peaceful, secure, inclusive, prosperous, united and pluralistic Afghan nation," Kumar said.

In a tweet, Ghani requested the Afghan Taliban to extend their ceasefire.

"We also request the Afghan Taliban to extend their ceasefire. During the ceasefire, we will provide medical assistance to the wounded Taliban, and will provide them any humanitarian assistance if needed. Taliban prisoners will also be allowed to contact and see their families," Ghani tweeted.






Israel Extends Detention Of Female Palestinian Lawmaker

AP | Jun 17, 2018

JERUSALEM: Israel on Sunday said it has extended the detention of a female Palestinian lawmaker held without charge over the past year for an additional four months.

Khalida Jarrar had been scheduled to be released on June 30. But the army said a military court had determined that the 55-year-old woman continued to pose a security threat. Her husband denounced the decision as "political.''

Jarrar is being held under Israel's policy of "administrative detention,'' which allows it to hold people for months or even years at a time without without pressing charges.

Israel says it uses administrative detentions only in exceptional cases that threaten security, while critics say the policy is used too often and violates the right to due process. Lawyers say it is impossible to defend their clients because they are not allowed to view evidence against them.

The military said the extension was based on "secret information'' and determined Jarrar "still presented a substantial threat.'' Her husband, Ghassan, accused the military of fabricating the case against his wife.

"It's a political detention,'' he said. "In her trial, Israeli security failed to provide any proof against her. Therefore, they referred her to administrative




Yemen army offers safe routes for Hodeidah civilians


June 17, 2018

JEDDAH: The Yemeni army said on Sunday it was ready to open safe corridors for civilians who want to leave Hodeidah.

Houthi militants willing to put down their weapons would also be given safe passage, the army said.

Fighting continued to rage around Yemen’s largest port as forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition pushed their offensive to recapture the city. Coalition jets bombed the airport as pro-government forces moved closer to dislodging the militants.

The UAE, a main coalition partner, said the operation was designed to help the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to persuade the Houthis to withdraw.

“We are at a turning point, because as long as the Houthis hold Hodeidah, they will continue to impede the political process,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, said on Twitter. “We firmly believe that the liberation of Hodeidah will pull the Houthis back to the negotiating table.”

The people of Hodeidah did not want to be governed by “Iranian backed religious extremists,” he said. “We will continue to focus on our two main goals: To protect the flow of humanitarian aid and to protect civilians.”

The Yemeni military said about 500 Houthis had been killed in the battle for Hodeidah, which is a crucial aid supply line, but also a conduit for supplies of Iranian arms to the militants.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sunday that nearly 5,000 families have been displaced from Hodeidah province this month.

Yemeni government spokesperson Rajeh Badi told Arab News the Houthi militias understand only the language of force.

He said they were not optimistic about the outcome of talks between Griffiths and the Houthi leaders.

“Unless they get the green light from their leaders in Iran they will never give up their weapons or surrender in peace and spare the innocent citizens in Hodeidah and the rest of the Yemeni territories under their control their atrocities,” Badi said.

The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site

“Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months

JERUSALEM: Israeli warplanes on Monday conducted strikes against nine Hamas “military targets” in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.

The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.

“Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months.

The Israeli army on Saturday wounded two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip attempting to launch incendiary balloons across the border into Israel, officials said.

Since major border protests broke out at the end of March, more than 300 fires have devastated several thousand hectares of fields and shrubland, the Israeli fire service has said.

According to Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 400 kites have been intercepted from some 600 launched since the start of the recent protests.

At least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the same time span. No Israelis have been killed.

Palestinians are calling to return to the homes their families fled or were forced from in 1948 during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.

The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas which Israel considers its chief enemy.

The two sides have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense cease-fire.




Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza over burning kite flying

By AFP: 18th June 2018

JERUSALEM: Israeli warplanes on Monday conducted strikes against nine Hamas "military targets" in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.

The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.

"Fire Balloons" and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months.

The Israeli army on Saturday wounded two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip attempting to launch incendiary balloons across the border into Israel, officials said.

Since major border protests broke out at the end of March, more than 300 fires have devastated several thousand hectares of fields and shrubland, the Israeli fire service has said.

According to Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 400 kites have been intercepted from some 600 launched since the start of the recent protests.

At least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the same time span. No Israelis have been killed.

Palestinians are calling to return to the homes their families fled or were forced from in 1948 during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.

The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas which Israel considers its chief enemy. The two sides have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense ceasefire.



Turkey says its air strikes kill 35 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

Reuters | Jun 17, 2018

ANKARA: Turkish warplanes killed 35 militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in air strikes in northern Iraq's Qandil mountain region on Friday, the Turkish military said.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan had said on Saturday that Turkish warplanes had struck a meeting of the outlawed PKK in Qandil, where he believed high-profile militants had been hit.

The Turkish military in its statement on Sunday, released via Twitter, did not specify whether the air strikes it referred to were the ones Erdogan had talked about on Saturday.

The Turkish military has ramped up air strikes in northern Iraq, targeting PKK bases in Qandil, close to the Iraq-Iran border, where Ankara suspects high-ranking members of the militant group are located.

The PKK, which has fought a decades-old insurgency against the state in southeastern Turkey, is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

Ankara has also recently stepped up its warnings of a potential ground offensive into the Qandil region, with Erdogan vowing to "drain the terror swamp" in Qandil.




Arab World


Dozens of pro-regime fighters killed in east Syria strike

AFP | Jun 18, 2018

BEIRUT: An air strike has killed nearly 40 pro-regime foreign fighters in eastern Syria, with a US-led coalition denying accusations from Damascus that it was behind the attack.

The strike just before midnight hit Al-Hari, a town controlled by regional militias fighting in the complex seven-year war on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the conflict, said it was one of the deadliest air attacks on government loyalists in recent months.

"Thirty-eight non-Syrian fighters from regime loyalist militias were killed in the night-time raid on Al-Hari, on the Syrian-Iraqi border," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

He could not give any further details on their nationalities, but there are Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese and even Afghan fighters stationed in the area.

Syrian state media reported the attack overnight, citing a military source and accusing the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group of carrying it out.

It said several people were killed and wounded but did not give a specific number or their nationalities.

The coalition's press office said it had heard reports that a strike in the area had killed and wounded members of a pro-regime Iraqi militia, but denied it was responsible.

"There have been no strikes by US or coalition forces in that area," it told AFP by email.

IS overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring an Islamic "caliphate" in areas under its control.

Separate offensives have since whittled down the jihadists' territory in Syria to just a handful of pockets in the eastern desert, including in the Deir Ezzor province where Al-Hari lies.

A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters and Russia-supported regime forces are carrying out separate operations against those IS-held pockets, and even Iraqi warplanes have occasionally bombed IS positions in Syria's east.

The two forces have mostly avoided crashing into each other thanks to a de-confliction line that runs across the province along the winding Euphrates River.

Syrian troops are batting IS on the western river bank, while the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fight on the east.

Al-Hari lies on the western side, close to the river and the de-confliction line.

The buffer has largely been successful in keeping the two offensives apart, but there have been exceptions.

Last month a dozen pro-regime fighters were killed in an air strike on Syrian government positions that the Observatory and state media blamed on the coalition.

The Pentagon denied responsibility.

In February US-led coalition air strikes killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters in Deir Ezzor province, including Russians.

"The strike on Al-Hari produced the highest death toll for regime forces since the February incident," the Observatory's chief Abdel Rahman told AFP.

More than 350,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict erupted in 2011 with protests against Assad's rule.




Syria state media says US-led coalition hits regime position in east


June 18, 2018

In the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian government forces have carried out parallel but separate offensives against Daesh

Regime forces control land west of the Euphrates River that runs through the province

DAMASCUS: Syrian state media said overnight Sunday to Monday that US-led coalition aircraft had carried out a deadly strike on a regime position in the country’s east near the Iraqi border.

Both US-backed Kurdish-led fighters and Russia-supported regime forces are separately fighting the Daesh militants in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

“Aircraft of the American coalition bombarded one of our military positions in the area of Al-Hari southeast of Albu Kamal” town in Deir Ezzor, state news agency SANA reported a military source as saying, adding a number of people had been killed.

Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” in areas they controlled.

But the jihadists have since lost most of that territory, in Syria seeing their presence largely reduced to the country’s vast desert and a few villages near the frontier with Iraq.

In the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian government forces have carried out parallel but separate offensives against Daesh.

Regime forces control land west of the Euphrates River that runs through the province, while the SDF are battling to expel IS from a string of villages on the river’s eastern banks near the Iraqi border.

Both sides have mostly avoided running into each other and a deconfliction line exists to avoid such incidents.

But there have been exceptions.

In April, rare clashes broke out between both sides, killing more than a dozen combatants.

In February, the US-led coalition backing the SDF carried out air strikes in Deir Ezzor province that killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters.

Washington said the strikes were in retaliation for an attack on its own personnel and SDF forces.




Islamist detained in Cologne intended to meet ISIS in Syria – report

By News Desk - 2018-06-171

The 29-year-old Tunisian, who was preparing a terror attack with the use of a deadly toxin, ricin, according to the German police, has given himself away by attempting to depart for Syria to meet with terrorists.

The suspected terrorist, in whose apartment large amounts of poison allegedly used for producing biological weapons was found, had been on the German domestic intelligence’s radar since April 2017 because of his plans to go to Daesh in Syria, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper reported, citing its sources in German security services.

During the man’s arrest, police found a key that openshis two apartments and eight other vacant properties. There, the investigators sought more evidence of an  bio bomb attack the core of which would have released the highly toxic ricin.

One of the neighbours managed to film the moment the 29-year-old Tunisian was arrested by the police after the search in his appartment.

The suspect was detained on Wednesday after the police found large amounts of ricin — an extremely dangerous toxin, which might be used by the Islamist to prepare a terrorist attack. The Tunisian is charged with a serious crime threatening a state.

According to the media outlet, the suspect arrived in Germany in November 2016 and had no previous criminal record.

Ricin is an extremely poisonous organic substance found in certain plants.






Pakistan's Imran Khan Says 'Feminism Degrades Role of Mother'

Shailaja Neelakantan | TIMESOFINDIA.COM |Jun 18, 2018

NEW DELHI: Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan is in the eye of a storm after his comment that the "Western notion of feminism degrades the role of a mother."

He said he doesn't agree with the feminist movement which he called a Western import.

"A mother has biggest influence on a person ...A real mother, that is. I completely disagree with this Western concept, this feminist movement... it has degraded the role of a mother...when I was growing up my mother had the most impact on me," said Khan in a TV interview.

Meanwhile, two days ago, Khan's second ex-wife Reham Khan gave some gender equality lessons to another Pakistani, former military dictator Pervez Musharraf.

Reham has been in the news lately for her reportedly tell-all memoir - which is said to include salacious details - about her months married to Khan.

Last week, Musharraf retweeted a post from his political party which said, among other things, that Reham, being a woman - or "lady" as the tweet said - should be "ashamed of herself" for writing whatever she has reportedly written about. The tweet also said Reham was being used by another political party, the PML(N), to further its agenda.

Reham was having none of it. Who is anyone else to decide, when and what a woman should speak she asked, according to ANI news agency.

"General Pervez Musharraf has tweeted that a lady should not speak such things. It means, men can do anything, but lady should keep quiet after seeing a lot. The question that arises is why? Why shouldn't I or any other woman speak? Who will decide as what women should speak and write and what should she should get exposed to. This is wrong," said Reham to ANI.

Reham, a British-Pakistani journalist, was married to cricketer-turned-politician and Prime Minister aspirant Khan from January 2015 until October 30, 2015, when they divorced




Taliban Commander Molvi Bahadur Jan arrested from Peshawar airport: FIA sources

Web Desk

June 17, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has apprehended proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Commander Molvi Bahadur Jan, Immigration sources said Sunday.

The most wanted TTP Commander Bahadur Jan was taken into custody by FIA Immigration personnel from Bacha Khan International Airport, the sources said.

The sources further said the militant commander wanted to flee Dubai via a private airline.

The Taliban Commander, whose name was included in the stop list by interior ministry, had changed his getup, the sources said and added that he was arrested while verification of his travel documents.




Balochistan ameer of Jamat Ahle Hadees released 9 months after he was kidnapped in Quetta

By Muhammad Zafar

June 18, 2018

QUETTA: A senior cleric in Balochistan has returned home on Friday – nine months after he, along with a son and driver, was kidnapped from the provincial capital.

Maulana Abu Turab, the provincial ameer of Jamat Ahle Hadees, was kidnapped by gunmen from Airport Road on September 8, 2017 while he was travelling to his seminary.

Later, the kidnappers had released his son and driver but took away Maulana Abu Turab.

The Jamat Ahle Hadees had staged countrywide protests against the kidnapping while the law-enforcement agencies followed different clues but could not trace him.

On Friday, the kidnappers released Maulana Abu Turab but his family refused to share any details with the media.

It was not immediately known if the family has paid any ransom for his release.




Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz delay return to Pakistan

Web Desk

June 18, 2018

LONDON: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son Hasan Nawaz, all of whom are currently in London to be with ailing Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, have delayed their return to Pakistan for the time being.

The decision followed a two-hour meeting of Sharif family with doctors at the Harley Street Clinic in London where Begum Kulsoom is admitted.

According to the advice given by doctors, Nawaz Sharif has postponed his immediate return to the country, having reached London along with Maryam Nawaz on Thursday to tend to Begum Kulsoom, Geo TV reported.

The doctors say they cannot give a timeframe of the progress of Begum Kulsoom's health. Their initial plan was to return on Sunday.

According to sources said the counsels for Nawaz and Maryam have been asked to seek exemption from appearance in the accountability court of Islamabad, which is hearing corruption cases against them.

The accused's counsels would also submit Begum Kulsoom’s medical report and the doctor’s letter with the exemption request, the sources added.

The medical report, as per sources, states that doctors have decided to keep Kulsoom Nawaz on the life support machine.

Last Sunday, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), had allowed Nawaz and Maryam to visit the ailing Begum Kulsoom in London.

The two had sought, on June 7, a five-day exemption from their appearance before the accountability court in the corruption references.

The former premier and his family face three corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following his disqualification in July, last year.

Meanwhile, Hussain Nawaz says that his mother remains unconscious and doctors are yet to reach a decide whether to take her off the ventilator.

Doctors and the Sharif family were unable to come to a decision regarding the removal of life support of Begum Kulsoom, who was shifted to intensive care late Thursday after a cardiac arrest.

“The doctors are making every possible effort to stabilize my mother,” he said, adding that he hoped that his mother would get better quickly. "InshAllah, her health will improve soon," Hussain said.




Paramilitary forces' vehicle attacked on Quetta's Sariab Road, 3 martyred

Ghalib Nihad

June 16, 2018

Three levies forces personnel were martyred in a targeted attack on Quetta's Sariab Road on Eid day, DawnNewsTV reported.

Initial reports suggest that a paramilitary forces vehicle was intercepted by unidentified men on Sariab Road near Killi Bangulzai.

The levies personnel sitting in the car were fired at by the attackers. They lost their lives after suffering bullet injuries.

Rescue teams later reached the scene and moved the slain personnel's bodies to Civil Hospital Quetta.

The slain men have been identified as Anwar Ali and the brothers Najeebullah and Haseebullah.

Quetta's Deputy Inspector General of Police Razzaq Cheema said the miscreants had escaped unhurt from the spot after the attack.

"This seems to be an act of targeted killing," he said.

Cheema had earlier said over 4,000 police and Frontier Corps personnel had been deployed on the eve of Eid in Quetta city.




Fear of PPP, PSP forces MQM factions to patch up


June 16, 2018

KARACHI: Wary of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pak Sarzameen Party’s prospects in the upcoming general elections, the PIB and Bahadurabad groups of the Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment-Pakistan on Friday decided to put aside their differences for now to show their voters and supporters that they will go to the polls together under the same election symbol of kite.

Dr Farooq Sattar seems to be the sole loser in the battle that began on Feb 5 over MQM-P leadership, as background interviews with some key leaders of the Bahadurabad group indicated that they were unwilling to give him back the responsibility of the party convener, especially after the June 11 decision of Islamabad High Court.

The IHC had ruled that the MQM coordination committee convener was Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and not Dr Sattar as per decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan. While Dr Sattar told a press conference following the decision that he could challenge the IHC ruling before the Supreme Court, Dr Siddiqui at his press conference invited him to the Bahadurabad office of the party though without mentioning his future role in the MQM-P.

Also read: What's behind the rift?

Sources said most of the PIB group members were against any further confrontation with the Bahadurabad group as they did not want Dr Sattar to approach the Supreme Court, citing that a division within the MQM-P would only benefit the rival PSP and PPP in the July 25 general elections.

The sources said candidates of the two factions had filed nomination papers for national and provincial assembly seats against each other, but there was a realisation in both camps that none of them could win even a single seat if the division persisted.

While most members in the PIB camp are ready to return to Bahadurabad unconditionally, the Bahadurabad faction seems uninterested in giving Dr Sattar the importance they were promising until a few days back.

Even a day before the IHC decision, the Bahadurabad faction offered Dr Sattar to return to the party as convener of the coordination committee. “This [offer] is no longer valid,” said a senior Bahadurabad group leader, adding that the IHC declared Dr Siddiqui convener on a plea filed by Dr Sattar himself.

“Our doors are open for every worker, office-bearer and leader, including Farooq bhai, and they should return to the party and we all should go to polls from the united platform of the MQM-P,” he said.

He said that it was decided during behind-the-scene talks between the two camps that the PIB group would submit a list of their candidates to a parliamentary board, which would make a final decision.

Asked whether the Bahadurabad group would give Dr Sattar the right to grant election ticket, another senior leader briefly replied: “I doubt.”

Dr Sattar was earlier told that he could return to the party as convener but the power to grant election tickets and authority to oversee internal organisational matter would rest with other persons.

On Friday, a meeting was held at Dr Sattar’s residence in which it was decided that the PIB group would go to Bahadurabad as MQM-P workers “for the sake of unity”.

Former MQM MNA Ali Raza Abidi, who is currently associated with Dr Sattar-led PIB group, in a video statement said that “we all have decided after consultation to go to Bahadurabad headquarters as workers on Friday night and will contest election together”.

Differences within the MQM-P had surfaced on Feb 5 when Dr Sattar had announced boycott of a coordination committee meeting, as his rival had refused to give a party ticket to his favourite, Kamran Tessori, for the Senate elections.

Later, the Bahadurabad group removed Dr Sattar from the position of party convener and appointed Dr Siddiqui as the new party leader. Dr Sattar, however, did not budge. He held his group’s intra-party elections and appointed himself as the convener. The Bahadurabad group challenged the intra-party elections before the ECP that later accepted Dr Sattar’s removal and declared Dr Siddiqui the party convener.

The split cost the MQM-P dearly as the party failed to retain its four seats in the Senate during the March 11 elections. The Bahadurabad group managed to get only one seat, while the PIB faction remained empty-handed, as the PPP bagged 10 of the 12 seats.

Party insiders believed that even if the PIB and Bahadurabad groups managed to reconcile, the two sides could fight again at the time of finalisation of party tickets for the general elections.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2018




Chaudhry Nisar rules out seat adjustment with PTI

June 18, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Senior politician Chaudhry Nisar on Sunday ruled out the possibility of seat adjustment with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the upcoming general polls.

In a statement issued by the disgruntled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, his spokesperson denied negotiations with PTI over NA-59, PP-10 and PP-12.

Nisar’s press release was followed by a denial by PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry. “We have no seat adjustment with Chaudhry Nisar,” he said while terming the news “unreal, fictitious and baseless.”

“PTI has directly nominated senior vice-president Ghulam Sarwar Khan. We will field our own candidates throughout Pakistan.”

Nisar says not upset with Sharif, not leaving PML-N

In April, the former interior minister had announced contesting elections from his stronghold of NA-59 and two provincial assembly seats.

Nisar served as a parliamentarian from NA-52 Rawalpindi-III. After the delimitation process, the new constituency of NA-59 comprises almost 60 per cent of areas which earlier formed NA-52.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has been winning National Assembly seats since 1985. He has served as an MNA from the Potohar region eight times in the lower house of parliament.

Khan successfully contested National Assembly seats in general elections of 1985, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2008, and 2013.






Woman yelling 'Allahu Akbar' slashes two with blade in France

Jun 17, 2018,

MARSEILLE: Two people were hurt in a town in southern France on Sunday when a veiled woman shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) attacked them in a supermarket with a boxcutter knife, prosecutors said.

A customer was struck in the chest during the late-morning assault in La Seyne-sur-Mer, outside the Mediterranean port of Toulon, but the wound is not life-threatening, prosecutor Bernard Marchal told AFP.

A woman working at a checkout counter was also injured, though not as seriously. Both victims were taken to hospital.

"It appears to be an isolated case by a person with known psychological problems," Marchal said, "though that doesn't exclude the possibility that she may have been radicalised."

France has been on high alert following a string of jihadist attacks since early 2015, often by people who have become radicalised or claim to have acted in the name of the Islamic State group.

The 24-year-old assailant, who was dressed in black and wore dark sunglasses, did not have a police record.

She was overpowered by a customer and two supermarket employees and was taken into custody.

"I grabbed her wrists to get hold of the cutter," said the customer who gave only his first name, Sebastien.

"I asked her 'Why did you do it.' She did not answer."

The woman "was in a panic, she was afraid, she did not understand what was happening to her, she had no strength left," Sebastien said.

Police later searched her home to determine if she had any links to the Islamic State group.

"We don't yet know if this is a terrorist act, but in any case it was terrifying," Marchal said.

More than 240 people have been killed in jihadist attacks since the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris in January 2015.

Last month a knifeman shouting "Allahu akbar" killed one person and wounded four others during a Saturday night attack in central Paris.




Clashes flare as UN seeks solution in Yemen's Hodeida

Jun 17, 2018

AL DURAIHMI, YEMEN: Yemeni pro-government forces, backed by Saudi Arabia, battled Huthi rebels around the key port city of Hodeida on Sunday, as a top UN envoy held crisis talks with the insurgents in the capital.

Saudi Arabia and its allies in a regional military coalition on Wednesday launched an offensive aimed at retaking the Red Sea city of Hodeida, home to the country's most valuable port which is controlled by the Iran-backed Huthis.

The United Nations has warned the offensive could spark a fresh humanitarian crisis in a country already hit by war and impending famine, sending its envoy for Yemen to the capital Sanaa in a bid to come to a solution with the rebels.

The Huthis, who accuse the UN of bias, however said there were major obstacles to any peace talks shortly after meeting with envoy Martin Griffiths on Sunday.

The United Nations and relief organisations have warned that an all-out assault on Hodeida by the Saudi-led coalition, which commands a massive joint air force, would put hundreds of thousands of people at risk.

Nearly 4,500 households have been displaced in Hodeida province so far this month, the UN said Sunday.

Yemen's military forces have closed in on areas south and west of the port, pushing closer to an airport just south of the docks, sources in the army said.

More than 70 percent of imports to all of Yemen pass through the docks of the Hodeida port.

The army on Saturday claimed it had seized the defunct Hodeida airport, which has been in Huthi hands since 2014.

The Shiite rebels, however, denied the claim in a statement on their Saba news agency on Sunday.

They have also reported Saudi air strikes on Huthi outposts across Hodeida, with the insurgents' representative Hisham Sharaf pointing to the raids as a major obstacle to peace talks.

The highway between Hodeida and the government-held port of Mokha was cut off Friday in battles between the two warring sides, disrupting precious supply lines to the military.

The fighting is already nearing densely populated residential areas, rights groups have warned, and aid distributions have been suspended in the west of the city.

At least 139 combatants have been killed since the launch of the operation on Wednesday, according to medical and military sources, most of them rebels.

The Huthi rebels drove Yemen's government out of Sanaa in 2014, pushing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi into exile and sparking an intervention by Saudi Arabia and its allies the following year.

The Saudi-led coalition earlier this year imposed a near-total blockade on Hodeida port, alleging it served as a major conduit for arms smuggling to the rebels by Riyadh's regional arch rival Iran.

The potential capture of Hodeida would be the coalition's biggest victory of the war so far.

Rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi has urged his forces to put up fierce resistance and turn the region into a "quagmire" for the Saudi-led coalition troops.

UN envoy Griffiths arrived in rebel-held Sanaa on Saturday for a second round of talks since taking the post in February.

Huthi representative Sharaf, however, accused the Saudi-backed government of "obstructing negotiations", saying the Hodeida offensive had foiled any potential peace talks in a statement carried by the rebels' Saba news agency.

Multiple rounds of UN-brokered talks between the rebels and the Hadi government have failed to find a solution to the conflict.

Griffiths, whose talks in Sanaa have been largely kept under wraps, is believed to be pressing the Huthis to cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee that would allow deliveries of commercial goods and aid to continue to flow.

On Saturday he called for restraint and said he was in contact with all the warring parties in a bid to halt the fighting.

The UN Security Council on Thursday demanded that Hodeida port be kept open to vital food shipments but stopped short of backing a Swedish call for a pause in the offensive to allow for talks on a rebel withdrawal.

The Yemen war has claimed some 10,000 lives since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015.

More than 22 million Yemenis are in need of aid, including 8.4 million who are at risk of starvation, according to the UN, which has described the conflict as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.




Southeast Asia


Indonesians’ Eid Balloons Force Flights To Divert

June 18, 2018

JAKARTA: Indonesians caught launching big, unmanned hot air balloons could face up to two years in jail or a fine of up to $35,000, authorities said, after balloons launched to celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month forced pilots to divert flights.

Balloons, along with fireworks have long been part of festivities like Eid in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, but with modern materials and designs they have become much bigger.

Some are up to 10 meters in diameter and more than 20 meters high, the transportation ministry said in a statement on Monday that warned of the penalties.

Air Transportation Director General Agus Santoso said some balloons had been “reaching cruise altitude level at 10,000 meters above sea level.”

The transportation ministry issued its statement after pilots sighted dozens of balloons in the skies over the archipelago in the days after Eid, which fell on Friday in Indonesia this year. Most of the sightings were over the provinces of Central and East Java.

Novie Riyanto, head of AirNav Indonesia, said the balloons posed a “very significant” hazard, and there had been 84 sightings over the weekend, prompting complaints from dozens of domestic and international pilots.

“Yesterday a great deal of traffic could not travel on routes, and had to ascend to avoid these balloons,” he said in the statement.

Riyanto added that the airspace over Java was the fifth-most crowded in the world and served as an international crossing.

As a result of the balloons, AirNav Indonesia had blocked off part of that air corridor for other aircraft, he said.

“This is a major disruption.”

Indonesia has a patchy air safety record, with 12 accidents in 2016 in which 30 people died, according to the Aviation Safety Network website.

Santoso urged the public to follow rules that balloons must be tethered and flown at a maximum height of 150 meters or lower near airports.

Police in East Java had confiscated 43 balloons before they could be launched, spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said in a statement sent by text message on Monday.




Philippine troops clash with remnants of defeated Islamist group


Philippine troops have clashed with remnants of a pro-Islamic State militant group that held a southern city for five months last year, the army said on Monday.

Colonel Romeo Brawner, the deputy commander of Joint Task Force Marawi, said security forces conducted air and ground assaults in the province of Lanao del Sur on Sunday in a bid to flush out Maute rebels and the group's new leader.

Col. Brawner said he could not confirm if there had been any casualties in military operations in two towns near Marawi City, which is now undergoing rehabilitation with some residents returning to their homes.

The military was targetting Abu Dar, who the government believes is the new “emir” of Islamic State in Southeast Asia, Col. Brawner said. It could not be independently verified if the Islamic State has chosen Dar as its new leader in the region.

Islamic State-inspired militants seized parts of the southern city of Marawi in May 2017, raising concerns about the influence of the extremist group in Southeast Asia.

The army ended combat operations after wresting control in southern Marawi in October, and has shifted its focus to the island's marshes where other pro-Islamic State militants operate.

The siege of Marawi, the country's biggest battle since World War Two, displaced some 350,000 residents and more than 1,100 people were killed, mostly militants.

Military and security experts have said militants who escaped from Marawi are recruiting fighters using looted cash, gold and jewelry worth tens of millions of dollars.




North America


Separated at borders, hundreds of children wait in cages in Texas


Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.

One teenager told an advocate who visited that she was helping care for a young child she didn’t know because the child’s aunt was somewhere else in the facility. She said she had to show others in her cell how to change the girl’s diaper.

The U.S. Border Patrol on Sunday allowed reporters to briefly visit the facility where it holds families arrested at the southern U.S. border, responding to new criticism and protests over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy and resulting separation of families.

More than 1,100 people were inside the large, dark facility that’s divided into separate wings for unaccompanied children, adults on their own, and mothers and fathers with children. The cages in each wing open out into common areas to use portable restrooms. The overhead lighting in the warehouse stays on around the clock.

The Border Patrol said close to 200 people inside the facility were minors unaccompanied by a parent. Another 500 were “family units,” parents and children. Many adults who crossed the border without legal permission could be charged with illegal entry and placed in jail, away from their children.

Reporters were not allowed by agents to interview any of the detainees or take photos.

Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy, which directs Homeland Security officials to refer all cases of illegal entry into the United States for prosecution. Church groups and human rights advocates have sharply criticised the policy, calling it inhumane.

Stories have spread of children being torn from their parents’ arms, and parents not being able to find where their kids have gone. A group of congressional lawmakers visited the same facility on Sunday and were set to visit a longer-term shelter holding around 1,500 children many of whom were separated from their parents.

“Those kids inside who have been separated from their parents are already being traumatized,” said Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who was denied entry earlier this month to children’s shelter. “It doesn’t matter whether the floor is swept and the bedsheets tucked in tight.”

In Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for people trying to enter the U.S., Border Patrol officials argue that they have to crack down on migrants and separate adults from children as a deterrent to others.

“When you exempt a group of people from the law ... that creates a draw,” said Manuel Padilla, the Border Patrol’s chief agent here. “That creates the trends right here.”

Agents running the holding facility generally known as “Ursula” for the name of the street it’s on said everyone detained is given adequate food, access to showers and laundered clothes, and medical care. People are supposed to move through the facility quickly. Under U.S. law, children are required to be turned over within three days to shelters funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Padilla said agents in the Rio Grande Valley have allowed families with children under the age of 5 to stay together in most cases.

An advocate who spent several hours in the facility Friday said she was deeply troubled by what she found.

Michelle Brane, director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, met with a 16-year-old girl who had been taking care of a young girl for three days. Ms. Brane said that after an attorney started to ask questions, agents found the girl’s aunt and reunited the two.

“The government is literally taking kids away from their parents and leaving them in inappropriate conditions,” Ms. Brane said. “If a parent left a child in a cage with no supervision with other 5-year-olds, they’d be held accountable.”






Nigeria attacks: Blasts and rockets 'kill 31' in Borno state

17 June 2018

Two suicide bombers have attacked a town in north-eastern Nigeria only hours after the country's army chief urged displaced residents to return home because it was safe.

The blasts hit the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening and residents say at least 31 people died.

The explosions were followed up by rockets fired from outside the town.

Boko Haram militants are suspected. Army chief Lt Gen Tukur Buratai had said they were no longer a threat.

"Let me use this opportunity to call on the good people of northern Borno... to return to their communities which have long been liberated by our gallant troops," he said at an inauguration ceremony for gunboats earlier on Saturday.

A four-month military operation started on 1 May to expel Boko Haram insurgents from northern Borno and the Lake Chad region.

No group has said it carried out Saturday evening's attacks but a militia leader speaking to AFP, Babakura Kolo, said they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, a jihadist group that wants to establish a caliphate in northern Nigeria.

Officials said at least 20 people died in the attacks but residents said they had counted the dead and an anonymous local official confirmed the toll.

"It has destroyed our houses. We have also counted 31 innocent people including children and elderly killed in the attack," local resident Modu Usman, son of a community leader, told Reuters news agency.

More than 40 people were injured in the attacks, which were aimed at people celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday in the Shuwari and Abachari districts of the town.

The rocket attacks appear to have caused most of the casualties, a local official said.

The UN says 1.7 million people have been forced from their homes due to the Boko Haram conflict, which is now in its ninth year.

Boko Haram uses suicide bombers, often young girls, to target civilians and soldiers.

In one of the most recent attacks, bombers killed dozens of people in and around a mosque in the town of Mubi.

Despite the ongoing threat of suicide bombings, the security situation in north-east Nigeria has improved, says BBC Africa Editor Will Ross.

But there will be some scepticism about calls to return home, our correspondent adds. Previous promises that it is safe because the jihadists have been defeated have proved to be premature.




Libya: Haftar Forces Launch Push Against Militia In Oil Crescent

18 June 2018

The self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar have mobilised to drive out rival groups from the country's northeastern oil crescent, according to security forces in Ajdabiya.

Haftar's LNA announced on Sunday a "major offensive" after his forces lost control on Thursday of the Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra oil terminals - located about 650km east of Tripoli - to armed groups that attacked the area.

The LNA's air force on Sunday also told residents in the oil crescent to stay away from "areas where the enemy gathers, munition stores and sites with military vehicles".

"Fighter [planes] are carrying out raids against terrorist positions and gatherings in the operational military zone stretching from Ras Lanuf to the edge of the city of Sirte," the air force said on its Facebook page.

The LNA controls most of eastern Libya and is opposed to an internationally recognised government based in Tripoli, which has itself condemned Thursday's militia attacks.

Ibrahim Jadhran, who heads the Petroleum Facilities Guard, said in a video on Thursday that he had formed an alliance to retake oil terminals seized by Haftar's forces in September 2016.

Jadhran controlled the terminals for years following the 2011 overthrow and killing of long-time Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, but were eventually forced out by the LNA.

'National disaster'

The Red Crescent in Ajdabiya, 150km east of Ras Lanuf, on Friday said it received 28 bodies, without specifying to which group they belonged.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) on Saturday said a storage tank had been "significantly damaged" due to the armed incursions into Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra.

It called for the "immediate and unconditional surrender" of Jadhran's militia to "prevent an environmental disaster and further destruction of key infrastructure".

The NOC on Thursday said it had halted oil exports from Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra because of the violence.

NOC chief Mustafa Sanallah warned that if oil exports from these terminals remain at a standstill it could cause a "national disaster".

Libya's economy relies heavily on oil, with production at 1.6 million barrels a day under Gaddafi.

The 2011 uprising against Gaddafi saw production fall to about 20 percent of that level, before recovering to over one million barrels a day by the end of 2017.





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