New Age Islam
Mon Mar 04 2024, 03:10 AM

Islamic World News ( 13 March 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’ Calls For Economic Boycott of Muslims among the Allegations of ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘Land Jihad’

New Age Islam News Bureau

13 March 2023

 

The protesters marched for about 2 km from Mira Road's Golden Nest Chowk. After the march ended, speeches were made against alleged 'love jihad' and 'land jihad' with some of the speakers giving a call to economically boycott the Muslim community. (Express Photo)

-------

• “Those Who Undermine Taliban Government Deserve Death”, Warns Taliban Minister

• 'Iraq Is Not an Islamic Country': Minorities Protest Baghdad's Alcohol Ban as Unconstitutional

• Tens of Thousands Rally Against Judicial Overhaul in Israel That Critics View As a Threat to Democracy

• Pakistan Foreign Minister Calls On Taliban to Lift Bans on Afghan Women, Girls


India

• 'What If Our Youths Start Demanding Muslim Rashtra': President Ittehad-e-Millat Council

• BJP Expecting Grand Muzaffarnagar Muslim Outreach Event

• Shia Clerics Demand Quota for Community in Parliament

• Islamic State conspiracy case: NIA searches 5 locations in MP, Maharashtra

• Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to meet Muslim leaders ahead of elections

--------

South Asia

• 10 Islamic Emirate Security Forces Die of Food Poisoning In Afghan Province

• Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Afghanistan Attack that Killed Journalists

• Bangladesh panel says fire at Rohingya camps ‘planned sabotage’

--------

Arab World

• OIC Calls For Intensive Efforts to Combat Islamophobia at the UN

• Saudi Arabia-Iran Détente: A Setback for Israel and Wake-Up Call on Relations with US

• Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt rank in top 10 largest arms importers over past 5 years

• Up to 500 ISIS fighters still active in Iraq: Military

• Iraq seizes three million Captagon pills on Syria border

• Saudi FM: Agreement with Iran doesn’t translate to resolving all differences

• Saudi agreement to re-establish ties with Iran stems from policy favouring dialogue: FM

• Egypt aims to consolidate economic, investment ties with China: President El-Sisi

--------

Mideast

• Houthis: Saudi-Iran deal has no impact on Yemen war, we are not subordinate to Tehran

• Hamas, Islamic Jihad vow to intensify resistance after Israeli killing of 3 Palestinians

• Iran Says Normalization with Saudi Arabia Will Help End War in Yemen

• Iran Underlines France's Lack of Respect for Human Rights

• Yemen's Houthi rebels release 117 prisoners ahead of Ramadan

• Israel to weigh action after Silicon Valley Bank collapse

• Iran Supreme Court upholds death sentence of Swedish-Iranian dissident

• Three Palestinian gunmen shot dead by Israeli soldiers in occupied West Bank: Army

--------

Pakistan

• ‘Mastermind’ of Karachi police chief office attack killed in operation: CTD

• ‘Pakistan must not follow high-emitting developed world’

• Murad warns of census boycott if Sindh’s concerns not addressed

• Imran greets President Xi Jinping, welcomes KSA-Iran’s resumption of diplomatic ties

• Foolproof security arrangements adopted for Qalandar’s Urs

• Saudi-Iran relations to yield positive results in region: Ashrafi

• US congressman expresses concern over rights violations under Sharif

• Pakistan: Jamaat-i-Islami to stage protest against delay in local govt polls in Karachi

--------

Africa

• Suspected Islamist Militants Kill 19 in East Congo Village Raid

• Libyan elections are possible this year: UN envoy

• Sudan repatriates 5 Daesh/ISIS-linked nationals from Syria

--------

Southeast Asia

• Ban on Politicians Giving Talks in Mosques, Surau Helps Ease Political Climate: Fahmi

• Guan Eng tells Muhyiddin to retract tax-exempt claim for Islamic charity or face legal action

• Weak ‘Malay pillars’ make DAP seem stronger, says analyst

• Your rights will be taken away, Muhyiddin warns Bersatu

--------

North America

• Bolton Warns US Against ‘Sitting Still’ As China, Russia, Iran Grow Closer

• Iran, US reach initial agreement for prisoner exchange: Amir-Abdollahian

• US rejects Iran claims of prisoner swap as ‘false’

--------

Europe

• European Investigators Allowed to Attend Lebanon’s Salameh Hearing: Sources

• ‘Heartbroken’ Head Teacher Slams UK Government Decision To Relocate Afghan Refugee Teenagers About To Sit Exams

• Humza Yousaf gains high-profile backing for SNP leadership amid racist, Islamophobic abuse

• Türkiye rescues 10 irregular migrants in Aegean Sea

• EU welcomes Saudi Arabia, Iran decision to resume diplomatic ties

• UK provides $6.31 million in assistance to Rohingya in Bangladesh

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/hindu-love-land-jihad-boycott-muslims/d/129312

--------

‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’ Calls For Economic Boycott Of Muslims Among The Allegations Of ‘Love Jihad’ And ‘Land Jihad’

 

The protesters marched for about 2 km from Mira Road's Golden Nest Chowk. After the march ended, speeches were made against alleged 'love jihad' and 'land jihad' with some of the speakers giving a call to economically boycott the Muslim community. (Express Photo)

-------

By Nayonika Bose

March 13, 2023

As part of the ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’ being organised by right-wing organisations across Maharashtra, yet another rally was held on Mira Road on Sunday, where calls to economically boycott the Muslim community were raised by speakers who addressed the protesters.

The protesters marched for about 2 km from Mira Road’s Golden Nest Chowk. After the march ended, speeches were made against alleged ‘love jihad’ and ‘land jihad’ with some of the speakers giving a call to economically boycott the Muslim community.

“There are three major aspects of Islamic aggression. First is love jihad, second comes land jihad and finally there is the problem of conversion…. For these three Suleimani keedas (pests) there is a Ram-led solution, a solution for which you will not be stopped by the political leaders, the Supreme Court or even the media and that solution is their economic boycott,” Kajal Hindustani, one of the speakers who addressed the protesters, said.

During the gathering which was recorded by police, Hindustani said, “Naya Nagar on Mira Road is today occupied by 97-98 per cent jihadis. Where will Hindus seek refuge.”

The rally was flagged off by Geeta Jain, Independent MLA from Mira Bhayandar. It was attended by BJP leaders including MLA Nitesh Rane along with local BJP leaders and members of outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal.

The rallies come against the backdrop of a Supreme Court directive that Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha would only be allowed if there is “no hate speech”. When asked about the inflammatory statements made by the speakers, Rane said he supported calls for economic boycott of the Muslim community.

“All that money is used by them against the Hindu community. If that money is used for the prosperity of the community, no one would have an issue. But they use money in the name of terrorism, love jihad and a lot of other things against Hindus. So obviously, we had to call out to stop their economic prosperity,” Rane told The Indian Express.

Source: Indian Express

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/jan-aakrosh-morcha-calls-for-economic-boycott-of-muslims-8492915/

--------

“Those Who Undermine Taliban Government Deserve Death”, Warns Taliban Minister

 

The acting Minister of Higher Education, Nida Mohammad Nadim. (Photo Credit - Twitter)

-----

13 March, 2023

Kabul [Afghanistan], March 13 (ANI): The acting Minister of Higher Education, Nida Mohammad Nadim on Sunday warned that whoever destabilizes the Islamic national “must be killed,” reported Tolo News.

Warning of consequences for opposing the Taliban government, he said, “Those who undermine the government whether that is via tongue, pen or undermining in practice, all of are committing rebellion, all of them deserve death.” He was addressing a graduation ceremony in Kandahar.

Nadim also said that they are ready to confront anyone who stands against the interim government, and he stressed that those who oppose the Islamic Emirate will be suppressed, reported Tolo News.

“If you are hard-headed and make problems for the people of Afghanistan based on strangers’ agendas, then we are ready to confront you and we will suppress you,” said Nadim.

Meanwhile, analysts called for negotiations as the best way to solve the current problems in the country.

“We want any issue that is being solved, even if it is war, to be solved through negotiations,” said Shams Kamran, a social analyst.

Earlier, the Islamic Emirate’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said if anyone complains about those in charge, they should do so discreetly.

The Taliban’s return to power preceded a deepening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, worsening issues that had long plagued the country.

Taliban banned women from attending university last December, nine months after the Islamist group barred girls from returning to secondary schools amid a brutal crackdown on women’s rights since it seized power in 2021.

Grades 7-12 have been closed for girls and young women for more than 530 days, reported Tolo News.

Taliban also announced a ban on female NGO workers – prompting multiple major foreign aid groups to suspend their operations in the country.

Kabul residents said that education provides the basis for the progress of the country, and they asked the Taliban to reopen schools for girls.

“If they reopen schools and universities it will be a very good thing, and we will get rid of the need of others. We should have doctors and engineers and serve our country,” said Janan, a resident of Kabul.

“We ask the Islamic Emirate to open schools for girls, and this is our only request and it will make everyone progress in the country,” said Amir, another resident of Kabul. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://theprint.in/world/those-who-undermine-deserve-death-warns-taliban-minister-against-destabilizing-govt/1438578/

--------

'Iraq Is Not an Islamic Country': Minorities Protest Baghdad's Alcohol Ban as Unconstitutional

 

A man walks inside a liquor shop in Baghdad on February 23, 2023. - MURTAJA LATEEF/AFP via Getty Images

------

Ali Mamouri

March 12, 2023

Iraq officially banned the import, production and sale of alcoholic beverages of all kinds on March 4, in a repeat of a ban that was passed in 2016, but its implementation was paused due to strong objections from secularists and minorities at the time.

The new law imposes fines for violations of between 10 million and 25 million dinars ($7,700-$19,000).

Last month, the law instituting the ban was published in Iraq's official gazette, paving the way for implementation. The coalition of new Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who took office last October, is dominated by Shiite Islamist parties and militias in the so-called Coordination Framework who support the ban.

Now, with the law going into effect, liquor stores are still open in Baghdad, Erbil and other parts of the country. But some Iraqis, especially those from the Yazidi and Christian communities, are raising concerns. 

'Not an Islamic country'

Iraq has great religious diversity. The majority of the population is Shiite and Sunni Muslims, but there are also sizable communities of Christians, Yazidis, Zorastrians, Mandaeans and others. Some analysts believe the law is a step toward turning Iraq into an Islamic country.

"This is ethnic discrimination," Diya Butros, an activist in the predominantly Chaldean Catholic town of Ankawa, told Al-Monitor. "It's a violation of the rights of non-Muslim religions that do not forbid alcohol."

Ali Saheb, an Iraqi political analyst, told Independent Arabia on March 6 that Iraq is not an Islamic country, and "Some religions allow drinking alcohol, and the government cannot impose a certain opinion or ideology on others."

Unlike Islam, the Yazidi and Christian faiths do not forbid alcohol consumption. Some even use it in their religious rituals.

Others argue the law violates the Iraqi constitution, which guarantees personal, religious and cultural freedom. Mirza Dinnayi is a Yazidi activist and chairman of Luftbrucke Irak, a non-governmental organization that helps victims of conflict in Iraq. He told Al-Monitor, "The law is contrary to the constitution because Iraq is a multi-ethnic, -religious and -cultural country, and drinking alcohol is not prohibited for many."

Dinnayi also argued that if alcohol drinkers turn to other alternatives, the ban could provide an opportunity for the spread of drug use

“The majority of Muslim countries do not ban alcohol, but rather regulate it. Why doesn’t the Iraqi government do something similar, instead of banning it totally?”

The law is especially troublesome for Yazidis and Christians, who manage the overwhelming majority of alcohol shops in the country. Many Christians and Yazidis have been attacked in recent years for working in this sector, and some fear this law could lead to an increase in violence against them.

It is therefore unsurprising that Iraqi civil society groups have come out strongly against the law. More than 1,000 prominent Iraqi researchers, academics, journalists and activists drafted an open letter to the secretary general of the United Nations earlier this month criticizing the ban.

In addition to the objections on constitutional grounds, the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq may reject the law. The Kurdistan Region is home to much of Iraq's Christian and foreign population, particularly in Ankawa and the nearby regional capital Erbil. A KRG customs official told the Kurdish news outlet Rudaw earlier this month that they reserve the right to make their own decision on the ban.

Religious authorities' views

The law is religiously motivated by the Islamic prohibition on alcohol, but Shiite religious authorities did not play a role in it. The highest religious authority for Iraq's Shiite majority, in the holy city of Najaf, is headed by Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Throughout the 21st century, Sistani has vocally supported a civil state and rejected the imposition of religion.

Sistani has not commented on the law, but a prominent cleric told Al-Monitor that the religious authority in Najaf is against this legislation or any similar action.

“The religious authority in Najaf has been always calling for a ‘civil state’ in Iraq, rejecting any kind of imposition of religiosity in the state institution,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.  

The source referred to stances taken by Sistani in the past, such as when he rejected the Personal Status Law in 2013 due to its imposition of Sharia, as well as the leader's rejection of displaying religious symbols in state offices.

When asked about Sistani's current silence, the cleric said, “Sistani had made it very clear for a long time that he is against such a law, and there is no need to repeat the same thing.”

With corruption and militia control rampant in Iraq, however, many worry that the ban will drive Iraqis to the black market to purchase alcohol. In this context, the ban may increase drug smuggling into the country, as well as encourage other forms of substance abuse.

Source: Al Monitor

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2023/03/iraq-not-islamic-country-minorities-protest-baghdads-alcohol-ban-unconstitutional

--------

Tens of Thousands Rally Against Judicial Overhaul in Israel That Critics View As a Threat to Democracy

 

Demonstrators lift national flags during a protest against the Israeli government’s controversial judicial reform bill in Tel Aviv on Saturday. Photo: AFP

------

12 March, 2023

Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated across the country Saturday in the 10th consecutive week of protests against government judicial reform plans that critics view as a threat to democracy.

The demonstrations come as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government prepares to press on with its legislative agenda next week, shunning calls for a pause to allow for negotiations on the divisive plan.

The biggest demonstration, in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, drew some 100,000 protesters, according to estimates given by Israeli media.

Many of them were waving blue and white Israeli flags.

“I’m demonstrating because the measures that the new government wants to take represent a real and immediate threat to Israeli democracy,” one protester, tech entrepreneur Ran Shahor, told AFP.

Demonstrations were held in other cities and towns in the country of more than nine million.

Some 50,000 Israelis protested in the northern city of Haifa and 10,000 in Beersheba -- the biggest yet in both -- according to Israeli media.

The rallies broke up without major incident, although police arrested three protesters who were blocking traffic on Tel Aviv’s ring road.

The chair of parliament’s law committee, Simcha Rotman, has scheduled daily hearings on parts of the government’s reforms from Sunday through Wednesday ahead of votes.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin has said the coalition plans to pass key elements of the reforms before parliament goes into recess on April 2.

The judicial overhaul is a cornerstone of Netanyahu’s administration, an alliance with ultra-Orthodox Jewish and extreme-right parties which took office in late December.

The legislation would give more weight to the government in the committee that selects judges and would deny the Supreme Court the right to strike down any amendments to so-called Basic Laws, Israel’s quasi-constitution.

These provisions have already been endorsed by lawmakers at first reading.

Israeli President Issac Herzog -- who, in his largely ceremonial role, has tried to broker dialogue -- on Thursday called on the coalition the halt the legislation, dubbing it “a threat to the foundations of democracy”.

Another element of the reforms would give the 120-member parliament power to overrule Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority of 61 votes.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/12/Tens-of-thousands-rally-against-judicial-overhaul-in-Israel

--------

Pakistan Foreign Minister Calls On Taliban to Lift Bans on Afghan Women, Girls

 

But the Taliban have imposed a slew of restrictions on women, effectively banning them from many government jobs, policing what they wear and preventing them from travelling outside of their cities alone. Photograph :( AFP)

-------

Mar 12, 2023

Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, urged Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to lift its restrictions on women and girls in the nation. Bhutto Zardari said that the IEA's treatment of women and girls is not typical in the Muslim world.

Taliban banned women, including students and female professors, from colleges. This came over a year after the Taliban forbade girls from attending secondary schools.

He was speaking at a conference on the outcome of the Women in Islam Conference this week in New York.

“There is no other country on the planet, Muslim or otherwise, that condones depriving women and girls from the right to education,” Bhutto Zardari said adding “There is no space for groups such as those in Afghanistan or anywhere else to claim that Islam justifies their actions."

Bhutto Zardari also said that the IEA was not living up to its commitment, which makes it tough for Pakistan to advocate for Afghanistan.

“It puts us in a very difficult situation to advocate for some of the things that the people of Afghanistan need in the form of humanitarian aid, the unfreezing of their funds, the functioning of their economy, etc.” he said.

In addition, Bhutto Zardari said that the IEA was not upholding its obligations, which made it difficult for Pakistan to support Kabul. The conference at the UN was presided over by Zardari, who earlier in the week told delegates that he disagrees with the widespread belief that Islam oppresses women.

“Islam was the first religion to give rights to women,” he declared adding that “Islam forbids injustice against women.”

There are other underlying difficulties between the two nations that are still challenging to settle. Clashes between their security forces have been brought on by Kabul's persistent unwillingness to recognise the Durand Line as the international boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This has continued to be a major source of tension that undermine trust and fosters animosity.

Even as Bilawal calls out the Taliban to address the women's rights issues in Afghanistan, the condition of women in Pakistan is not to be overlooked.

Pakistan's Islamabad Police on Wednesday allegedly baton-charged participants in the Aurat March. On Wednesday footage showing the Islamabad police impeding the Aurat March went viral. The police deployed water cannons on women as the world observed the special day to show solidarity in their battle for their rights.

Source: WIO News

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.wionews.com/south-asia/pakistan-foreign-minister-calls-on-taliban-to-lift-bans-on-afghan-women-girls-571216

--------

 India

 'What If Our Youths Start Demanding Muslim Rashtra': President Ittehad-e-Millat Council

By Poulomi Ghosh

Mar 12, 2023

Maulana Tauqeer Raza, the national president of Ittehad-e-Millat Council, said those who speak of Hindu Rashtra should be charged with sedition law. "What if tomorrow our youth start demanding Muslim Rashtra?" Maulana Tauqeer Raza said. Interacting with the media in Moradabad and Rampur, he also questioned why only Muslims are being targeted by the bulldozers in Uttar Pradesh, Live Hindustan reported.

In his speech, he also called Prime Minister Narendra Modi 'Dhritarashtra' as he condemned the recent demands for Khalistan, raised by self-proclaimed Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh. He said in the name of Ghar Wapsi, Muslim girls have been lured by Hindu organisations. Citing a survey, he said 10 lakh Muslim girls have been forcefully converted to Hinduism.

"Where did those bombs go which used to explode before 2014? If Muslims were then terrorists, then where are those bombs now? Now they should use bombs as they are most tormented now. But Muslims were never terrorists -- not then, not today. In reality, those who are sitting in the government used to do all these to terrify the Hindus against the Muslims. Yogi Adityanath says there has been no riot in his government. True, but the actual reason is you only perpetrated all these," Maulana Tauqeer Raza said.

Source: Hindustan Times

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/what-if-our-youth-start-demanding-muslim-rashtra-maulana-tauqeer-raza-101678636077693.html

--------

BJP expecting grand Muzaffarnagar Muslim outreach event

Mar 13, 2023

Around 400 Muslims from Azamgarh and it adjoining districts are expected to attend the BJP’s ‘Ek Desh, Ek DNA’ programme in Muzaffarnagar likely to be held next month, BJP’s minority wing officials said.

The party’s Azamgarh minority wing chief Ismail Faruqi said many from the community have promised to attend the April event, in a series of meetings held in the last few days. Over the next two weeks, a dozen similar meetings will be conducted, he added.

Fuzail Khan, co-convenor of BJP Azamgarh Sahakarita Cell, also claimed to have met several people from the community to apprise them of the programme and developmental policies of the BJP government at the centre and the state. Khan said such meetings were also being held with the community members in the adjoining districts such as Mau and Ghazipur.

“Many people have responded positively and assured us that they will be participating in the event when it is organised,” he said, adding ‘sneh milan’ (gathering of love) under ‘Ek Desh, Ek DNA’ will succeed in connecting large number of Muslims to the party.

Azamgarh is considered a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party. In the 2022 Vidhan Sabha election, the SP won all 10 assembly seats from Azamgarh. Muslims play a decisive role in at least eight assembly seats.

Source: Hindustan Times

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/bjp-expecting-grand-muzaffarnagar-muslim-outreach-event-101678650222288.html

--------

Shia clerics demand quota for community in Parliament

Mar 12, 2023

LUCKNOW: Shia clerics in the state capital on Sunday organised a convention in the Bada Imambada where they made a demand for representation in Parliament through a quota. Cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad had made a call to all Shia clerics of Uttar Pradesh to come to Lucknow for the convention.

Addressing the gathering, Jawad said that in Lucknow alone there are three assembly seats where candidates win only if they get the vote of the Shia community.

"The Shia community decides who will win the election in Lucknow and yet we are being ignored," he said.

The community needs to be politically strong in order to get the benefits of the government. A community which is not politically strong does not get any benefits, he said, as he asked for a special package for Shias from the government.

Jawad said the government keeps on talking about Pasmanda Muslims, but the fact is that a large number of Pasmandas are from the Shia community.

He said Shia community doesn't have any representation in the parliament and demanded a quota such as reserved for Parsis.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/shia-clerics-demand-quota-for-community-in-parliament/articleshow/98586985.cms

--------

Islamic State conspiracy case: NIA searches 5 locations in MP, Maharashtra

March 12, 2023

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has carried out searches at five places in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as part of its ongoing investigation to unravel a conspiracy hatched by the global terror group Islamic State to expand its activities in India, an official said on Sunday.

The searches were conducted by different teams at the houses of the suspected persons at four places in Seoni (Madhya Pradesh) and one location in Pune (Maharashtra), a spokesperson of the anti-terror federal agency said.

Following up on leads, the official said, NIA teams searched the houses of suspects Talha Khan in Pune and Akram Khan in Seoni in the Islamic State- Khorasan Province (ISKP) case.

"This case was initially registered by Delhi Police special cell after the arrest of a Kashmiri couple—Jahanzaib Sami Wani and his wife Hina Bashir Beigh —from Okhla in Delhi. The couple was found to be affiliated with ISKP," the spokesperson said.

During investigations, the role of another accused, Abdullah Basith, who was already lodged in Tihar Jail in another case being investigated by the NIA, emerged, the official said.

The NIA also carried out searches at three other locations in Seoni in the Shivamogga Islamic State conspiracy case. The places searched included the residential and commercial premises of suspects Abdul Aziz Salafi and Shoeb Khan, the official said.

On the Shivamogga case, the NIA said as part of a conspiracy hatched from abroad, the accused persons—Mohamed Shariq, Maaz Muneer Khan, Yasin and others—based on instructions of their handler based abroad, targeted public and private properties such as warehouses, liquor shops, hardware shops, vehicles and other properties belonging to members of a particular community and committed over 25 incidents of arson and sabotage.

"They even carried out a mock IED blast. They were being funded through crypto-currencies by their online handler. As part of the larger conspiracy, accused Shariq planned to carry out IED blast at Kadri temple, Mangalore on November 19 last year but the IED exploded prematurely through an accident, when the perpetrator was enroute to the target location, the official said.

The spokesperson said Salafi (40) is a prayer leader at the Seoni Jamia Masjid, while 26-year-old impressionable Shoeb sells automobile spare parts.

"Salafi, along with his accomplice Shoeb, were found actively propagating pernicious ideas such as voting in elections is sinful for Muslims'. The group led by Salafi was in the process of radicalising gullible Muslim youths of MP, Maharashtra and many southern states through provocative and inflammatory speeches on YouTube,” the spokesperson said.

The official said they were also trying to bring together such radicalised individuals in Seoni district.

The spokesperson said that from the material seized during the searches, it has come to light that this group was actively collecting information about ongoing activities and events in different jihadi theatres, including Afghanistan.

"Initial examination of the suspects have brought out the fact that they are radically motivated individuals, who totally abhor the idea of democracy in India, and were preparing for carrying out jihad against the people who believe otherwise,” the agency said.

The spokesperson said they were using social media platforms for dissemination of such false propaganda to impressionable youths.

"In furtherance of such efforts, Salafi was also in contact with the arrested accused Maaz Muneer Ahmed of Karnataka who had procured the explosive materials for the trial blast. Ahmed was arrested by NIA in November last year,” the spokesperson said.

Source: The Week

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2023/03/12/islamic-state-conspiracy-case-nia-searches-5-locations-in-mp-maharashtra.html
--------

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to meet Muslim leaders ahead of elections

Mar 12, 2023

AMARAVATI: In a move to ready the strategy for the next elections, chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy will be meeting Muslim leaders and religious scholars at his residence on Monday.

The chief minister is expected to interact with the Muslim leaders to take feedback about the schemes being implemented for the community.

He will also seek their guidance in designing new schemes for the community.The chief minister is expected to highlight the way his government gave the highest priority to the Muslim community and their grievances in the last four years.

He would brief the Muslim leaders about various initiatives of the state government to empower the Muslims in the state.

The YSRCP had been claiming that it has given one deputy CM post, and deputy chairperson of the legislative council apart from giving four MLC seats to the community leaders.

The YSRCP had also given an opportunity to two Muslims to become mayors and over 30 people chairpersons of different civic bodies.

Besides, several hundred were given a chance to become sarpanches, MPTCs, ZPTCs and mandal presidents.

“This government belongs to Muslims. Our chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had never shied away from giving due recognition to the muslims which never happened in the past,” AP waqf board chairman Khader Basha said.

Several chiefs of dargah committees, trusts and madrasas were invited to the meeting with the chief minister.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/andhra-pradesh-cm-ys-jagan-mohan-reddy-to-meet-muslim-leaders-ahead-of-elections/articleshow/98587765.cms?from=mdr

--------

 

South Asia

 

10 Islamic Emirate Security Forces Die of Food Poisoning In Afghan Province

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 12, 2023

A reliable security source in Southern Helmand confirmed that at least ten Taliban members have died due to serious food poisoning in the Nawa district of the province.

The source which avoided mentioning its identity on Sunday told Khaama Press the report about the death of Islamic security forces caused due to food poisoning in Helmand province is true.  

The source added that food poisoning was intentional and pre-planned as a result of which ten members of the Islamic Emirate suffered serious health issues on Friday before they died.

It is stated that Taliban officials in the province are trying to hide the incident with claimed the lives of scores of the group’s members, and they have not yet commented about the incident so far.

This comes as the Islamic Emirate’s opposite groups have intensified their attacks on Afghanistan’s de facto authorities in Kabul and other provinces.   

On February 9, a suicide attack took place in the premises of the Mazar-e-Sharif governor’s office around 10 am in morning, which claimed the life of Mohammad Dawood Muzammil, the governor of Balkh province, and his two security guards.

The Taliban-run administration claims to have ended the war and restored security throughout Afghanistan. However, since their return to power in August 2021, there has been no considerable improvement security-wise.

Source: Khaama Press

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.khaama.com/10-islamic-emirate-members-die-of-food-poisoning-in-afghan-province/

--------

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Afghanistan Attack that Killed Journalists

By Fidel Rahmati

March 12, 2023

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a Saturday attack in Afghanistan’s Balkh province, the group’s telegram account said on Sunday.

The blast at a cultural centre during an event for journalists in northern Afghanistan killed at least one person and wounded eight, according to authorities and journalists.

However, the Tebyan Cultural Centre states, “Three persons were killed, and 30 others, including journalists, were injured in the incident”.

This was the second incident within three days in the Balkh province; the first was a suicide attack that killed the governor of Balk, Mullah Dawood Muzmal, and the second blast targeted the Afghan journalist’s award event.

The Islamic State claimed both incidents.

IS-Khorasan is the main rival of the Taliban-led government, aiming to target Taliban officials, foreign citizens and people.

Recently, the group has intensified their attacks on Afghanistan’s Kabul, Herat and Balkh provinces.

Source: Khaama Press

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.khaama.com/islamic-state-claims-responsibility-for-afghanistan-attack-that-killed-journalists/

--------

Bangladesh panel says fire at Rohingya camps ‘planned sabotage’

12 March ,2023

A fire that left thousands of Rohingya Muslims homeless in Bangladesh camps was a “planned act of sabotage”, a panel investigating the blaze said on Sunday.

Nearly 2,800 shelters and more than 90 facilities including hospitals and learning centers were destroyed in the fire on March 5, leaving more than 12,000 people without shelter, officials said.

More than 1 million Rohingya refugees live in tens of thousands of huts made of bamboo and thin plastic sheeting in camps in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, most having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.

“The fire was a planned act of sabotage,” senior district government official Abu Sufian, head of the seven-member probe committee, told Reuters by phone from Cox’s Bazar.

He said the blaze broke out in several places at the same time, proving it was a planned act, adding it was a deliberate attempt to establish supremacy inside the camps by militant groups. He didn’t name the groups.

“We recommended further investigation by the law-enforcing agency to identify the groups behind the incident,” he said, adding that the report was based on input from 150 eye witnesses.

The panel also recommended the formation of a separate fire service unit for the Rohingya camps. Each block of Rohingya camps needs to be widened to accommodate fire service vehicles and the construction of water cisterns, and the camps should use less flammable materials in shelters, among other recommendations.

Fires often break out in the crowded camp with its makeshift structures. A massive blaze in March 2021 killed at least 15 refugees and destroyed more than 10,000 homes.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/03/12/Bangladesh-panel-says-fire-at-Rohingya-camps-planned-sabotage-

--------

 

Arab World

 

OIC Calls For Intensive Efforts to Combat Islamophobia at the UN

March 12, 2023

RIYADH: The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Hissein Brahim Taha, drew the attention of the UN and the international community to the negative repercussions of violence based on religion or belief, while underscoring the fact that religious hatred and intolerance must not be given space in any society.

This came in his video address at a high-level event recently at the UN General Assembly in New York to commemorate the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, in line with the relevant UNGA resolution adopted on March 15, 2022.

The event was chaired by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is also the chair of the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC.

The event was also attended by Csaba Korosi, president of the UN General Assembly, and Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN.

The OIC chief called upon all countries as well as international and regional organizations to commemorate March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia, as part of their collective efforts to combat incitement of hatred and intolerance based on religion or belief and promote dialogue and mutual understanding.

Other high-profile speakers at the event included Miguel Moratinos, high representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and Nazila Ghanea, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2267091/saudi-arabia

--------

Saudi Arabia-Iran détente: a setback for Israel and wake-up call on relations with US

March 13, 2023

JERUSALEM: The Saudi-Iran detente sets back Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to isolate Tehran, but time will tell whether it also hinders his outreach to Riyadh or planning for any eventual military strike against Iranian nuclear sites.

The more pressing worry for Israel, some experts argue, is that Friday’s Chinese-brokered deal between the top Muslim powers suggests the United States is giving ground in the region just when the Netanyahu government needs it most.

An Israeli official who requested anonymity described the detente as an unsurprising and preliminary process that should not hinder any parallel progress towards normalisation between Israel and Saudi Arabia. After all, Israel has drawn close to the United Arab Emirates despite Abu Dhabi also engaging Tehran.

Meanwhile, Israel is keeping up a campaign of veiled threats to attack Iran alone if it deems nuclear diplomacy a dead end. But all scenarios still hinge on Washington — a sponsor and sweetener of Israeli-Arab peace accords and guardian ally which, if it red-lights military action, Israel will be loath to cross.

“This is a brilliant stroke by China and Iran to undercut Saudi-American and Saudi-Israeli normalisation. It helps bring Tehran in from the cold and undermines American and Israeli efforts to build a regional coalition to confront Iran as it is on the cusp of developing nuclear weapons,” said Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies in Washington.

There are unrelated strains on the Israeli-US alliance, however. The Democratic administration of President Joe Biden, which has yet to invite Netanyahu to the White House, has voiced unusually strong concern at his religious-nationalist coalition.

Netanyahu is also beset by unprecedented mass demonstrations in Israel against his judicial overhaul push. The protests have included pledges by some air force reservists not to turn up for training, a signal that combat readiness and morale have been shaken.

Amos Yadlin, a former military intelligence chief under Netanyahu, said the Saudi-Iran detente should be a wake-up call.

“The government’s focus on the judicial overhaul, which is tearing the nation apart and weakening Israel in all dimensions, reflects a deep disconnect between Netanyahu and international geopolitical trends,” Yadlin said on Twitter.

Screengrab of Amos Yadlin’s tweet.

Accusing Netanyahu of “generating extraordinary damage to our national security,” Yadlin said he should scrap the reforms — which critics call an attempt to subordinate the courts to the government — and close ranks with Biden on how to forge Israeli-Saudi ties and jointly tackle Iran’s nuclear programme.

That suggested that Yadlin — who was among pilots who bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and served as a top general during Israel’s 2007 attack on a suspected reactor in Syria — may not place much store in Israel’s ability to go solo against Iran, whose nuclear sites are distant, dispersed and defended.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1741874/saudi-arabia-iran-detente-a-setback-for-israel-and-wake-up-call-on-relations-with-us

--------

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt rank in top 10 largest arms importers over past 5 years

13 March ,2023

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt ranked among the top ten largest importers of weapons and arms in the world in the five years through 2022, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think-tank said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia ranked as the second largest arms importer globally in 2018-2022. The Kingdom received 9.6 percent of all arms imports during that period. Saudi arms purchases during 2022 included aircraft, air defense systems, armored vehicles, missiles, naval weapons, sensors and ships.

Saudi Arabia’s main suppliers and their share of its total imports: US (78 percent), France (6.4 percent) and Spain (4.9 percent). The US arms transfers to Saudi Arabia included “the delivery of 91 combat aircraft with hundreds of land-attack missiles and over 20,000 guided bombs,” according to SIPRI’s report.

The Kingdom’s overall imports decreased by 8.7 percent when comparing between 2013-2017 and 2018-2022.

Qatar ranked as the third largest arms importer over the past five years, climbing up from being ranked sixth over the prior five-year period. Its imports increased by 311 percent when comparing the data between the two time periods.

Qatar’s purchases during 2022 included aircraft, air defense systems, armored vehicles, missiles, naval weapons, sensors and ships. The Gulf country’s main suppliers and their share of its total imports: US (42 percent), France (29 percent) and Italy (14 percent). Its imports included “36 combat aircraft from France, 36 from the USA and 8 from the UK, as well as 3 frigates from Italy,” SIPRI said.

Egypt ranked as the six largest arms importer over the past five years; its ranking dropping from being ranked third over the prior five-year period as its overall imports were down by 5.3 percent when comparing between the two time periods. During the last year, Egypt purchased aircraft, missiles, naval weapons, sensors and ships.

Russia’s arms exports to Egypt increased by 44 percent when comparing the data between the two time periods of 2013-2017 and 2018-2022, making it Russia’s third largest recipient. The Arab country’s main suppliers and their share of its total imports: Russia (34 percent), Italy (19 percent) and France (19 percent).

The top 10 largest importers of arms in the Middle East were: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain, and Iraq.

The UAE’s arms imports over 2018-2022 were 38 percent lower than in 2013-2017, making its ranking drop out of the top 10 importers to being ranked 11th globally. SIPRI highlighted: “Notable arms imports in 2018–22 included hundreds of air defense missiles and over 20,000 guided bombs from the US.”

The highest majority of arms and weapons imports to the Middle East came from the US (54 percent), followed by France (12 percent), Russia (8.6 percent) and Italy (8.4 percent). SIPRI data showed that those imports included more than 260 advanced combat aircraft, 516 new tanks and 13 frigates. The think-tank highlighted that “Arab states in the Gulf region alone have placed orders for another more than 180 combat aircraft.”

However, overall arms imports to the Middle East were down 8.8 percent when comparing between 2013-2017 and 2018-2022.

Meanwhile, the global overall ranking of the top ten largest arms importers over the past five years were: India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, China, Egypt, South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, US. And the top 10 largest arms exporters were: US, Russia, France, China, Germany, Italy, UK, Spain, South Korea and Israel.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/03/13/Saudi-Arabia-Qatar-and-Egypt-rank-in-top-10-largest-arms-importers-over-past-5-years

--------

Up to 500 ISIS fighters still active in Iraq: Military

13 March ,2023

The ISIS group still has up to 500 active fighters in Iraq, a senior military official estimated Sunday in the country where extremist cells continue to launch sporadic attacks.

But Iraqi General Qais al-Mohamadawi, part of the anti-extremist coalition, stressed that ISIS -- now based in remote desert and mountain hideouts -- has “lost its ability to attract new recruits”.

The United Nations estimated in a report published last month that ISIS still has “5,000 to 7,000 members and supporters” across Iraq and neighboring Syria, “roughly half of whom are fighters”.

The ISIS extremists in 2014 launched their self-proclaimed “caliphate” across swathes of both countries in a campaign marked by its brutality including mass killings, torture, rape and slavery.

US-backed counter-offensives ended their territorial hold in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria in 2019, but ISIS cells continue to target security forces and civilians in both countries.

With thousands of suspected ISIS fighters and relatives now held in vast detention camps, US General Michael Kurilla, head of Central Command, warned Saturday of the persistent threat of an “ISIS army in detention”.

General Mohamadawi, deputy commander of the Iraqi operations unit working with the international anti-extremist coalition, said Sunday that hundreds of ISIS fighters remain active in Iraq.

“According to information from intelligence agencies, the total number of ISIS members does not exceed 400 to 500 fighters, in three or four provinces,” he told a press conference.

The group has “lost its ability to attract new recruits,” he added, also pointing to a February 26 military operation that had killed 22 ISIS members and destroyed a “training camp” in Al-Anbar province.

The UN report last month said ISIS had been much depleted by “sustained counter-terrorism operations” in both countries.

It said the group still operates cells of around 15 to 30 individuals across Syria and continues “guerrilla warfare tactics” against government forces, other fighters and civilians.

In Iraq, ISIS cells operate in rural mountain areas, “leveraging the porous Iraqi-Syrian border and retaining maneuverability to evade attacks” while trying to “rebuild and recover”, the UN report said.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/13/Up-to-500-ISIS-fighters-still-active-in-Iraq-Military

--------

Iraq seizes three million Captagon pills on Syria border

11 March ,2023

Iraqi authorities on Saturday said they seized three million pills of Captagon, an amphetamine-type stimulant that has been sweeping the Middle East for years, near the Syrian border.

The pills had been hidden in apple crates “loaded onto a refrigerator truck” and discovered at al-Qaim crossing between Syria’s Deir Ezzor province and western Iraq’s Anbar desert region, the Iraqi border authority said.

The truck driver had been arrested, the agency added in a statement.

A border authority official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the shipment from Syria into Iraq contained Captagon pills produced by several manufacturers.

Iraqi security forces have intensified narcotics operations in recent months, with several high-profile drug seizures reported.

Sharing borders with Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and other countries, Iraq has served as a major conduit for traffickers of Captagon, which is primarily produced in Syria and has its largest market in Gulf Arab states.

The sale and use of drugs in Iraq has soared in recent years.

In June, Iraqi security forces said they had forced down a microlight aircraft near the Kuwaiti border headed to the emirate from Iran with one million Captagon pills.

Weeks earlier, Iraqi police announced they had seized more than six million pills of the stimulant in a major drug bust.

Areas in central and southern Iraq bordering Iran have become major narcotic trafficking routes for drugs, including crystal methamphetamine.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/11/Iraq-seizes-three-million-Captagon-pills-on-Syria-border-

--------

Saudi FM: Agreement with Iran doesn’t translate to resolving all differences

12 March ,2023

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that the agreement with Iran to restore diplomatic ties confirms the mutual desire “to resolve differences through communication and dialogue,” but stressed that it doesn’t translate to “resolving all the differences between the two countries.”

Saudi Arabia and Iran announced on Friday a China brokered deal reestablishing diplomatic relations and agreeing to reopen embassies after seven years of heightened tensions.

Prince Faisal said in an interview with Saudi-owned Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper he was looking forward to meeting his Iranian counterpart soon as per the agreement. “We are preparing to resume diplomatic relations between our countries within the next two months, and it’s natural that we exchange visits in the future,” he said.

The Saudi FM highlighted that Saudi Arabia and Iran were neighboring countries that had many common threads such as religion, culture, and history.

As for the outstanding differences between the two countries, the Saudi FM stressed that the deal “served as evidence of our mutual desire to resolve [the differences] through communication and dialogue, through peaceful ways and diplomatic instruments.”

He added: “We in the Kingdom hope to open a new chapter with Iran and to enhance the prospects of cooperation in a way that positively impacts the strengthening of security and stability, and the advancement of development and prosperity, not only in our two countries, but in the region as a whole.”

Prince Faisal expressed concerns about Iran’s nuclear program: “With regard to Iran's continued development of its nuclear capabilities, this is undoubtedly a concern for us, and we repeat our call for the Gulf region and the Middle east to be free of weapons of mass destruction. We call on Iran to commit to its nuclear obligations and increasing its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. We will continue to work with allies and friends in order to ensure this.”

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/03/12/Saudi-FM-Agreement-with-Iran-doesn-t-translate-to-resolving-all-differences

--------

Saudi agreement to re-establish ties with Iran stems from policy favouring dialogue: FM

11 March ,2023

Saudi Arabia’s agreement with Iran to re-establish diplomatic ties is based on the Kingdom’s policy of favoring political solutions and dialogue, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi foreign minister, said on Friday.

“Restoring diplomatic relations between the Kingdom and Iran also stems from [Saudi Arabia’s] keenness to favor political resolutions and dialogue [to resolve disputes] in the region,” Prince Faisal said in a tweet.

“The region’s countries share one destiny and [have a lot] in common, and this makes it necessary to work together to build a model of prosperity and stability,” he added.

Prince Faisal also told Al Arabiya that the agreement with Iran came after talks that lasted for two years.

“In the end, we reached agreements that are based on [the concept] of good neighborliness, respect of states’ sovereignty… [The agreement] also stems from the Kingdom’s belief that dialogue is the best way to resolve all matters,” he added.

“We are optimistic about the future, and we are working on strengthening the relation with Iran,” he said, adding that the Kingdom “aspires to serve the interests of all countries in the region and protect their security.”

Asked about how the agreement may impact the situation in other countries such as Lebanon, the FM said Lebanon needed “Lebanese rapprochement” and not “Saudi-Iranian rapprochement.”

“Lebanon must [realize] its own interests, and politicians must put Lebanon’s interest before any other. Once they do this and work on building the Lebanese state, Lebanon will prosper,” he added.

The decision to re-establish relations, which were severed in 2016, came following talks that took place from March 6 through March 10 in Beijing.

The announcement, which was made on Friday in a joint statement with China, has been welcomed across the globe as a victory for peace and dialogue.

During the last round of talks before signing the agreement, head of the Saudi delegation Musaed bin Mohammed al-Aiban said that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed Xi’s initiative based on the Kingdom’s adherence to the principles of good neighborliness and to the principle of resorting to dialogue and diplomacy to resolve conflicts.

“King Salman and the Crown Prince thank President Xi Jinping for the kind initiative… [that aims] to develop good neighborly relations between the Kingdom and Iran,” al-Aiban added.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/03/11/Saudi-agreement-to-reestablish-ties-with-Iran-stems-from-policy-favoring-dialogue-FM

--------

Egypt aims to consolidate economic, investment ties with China: President El-Sisi

GOBRAN MOHAMED

March 12, 2023

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said his country was keen to consolidate economic and investment cooperation with China and Chinese companies in areas of common interest.

His remarks came during a meeting on Saturday with the chairman of the China International Energy Group and his accompanying delegation of senior executives.

El-Sisi congratulated President Xi Jinping on his re-election for a new term in office and praised the Chinese leadership and nation for “achieving steady development progress and an important position at international level.”

The head of the Chinese delegation said the motives for investment and expansion in Egypt were based on “the deep friendly relations between the two countries, the two leaderships, and the two peoples.”

A qualitative development in infrastructure and industrial facilities in Egypt over recent years had provided new investment opportunities, he added.

The Chinese official pointed out the tangible improvements in the road network, transportation, communications, new cities, seaports, desalination and water treatment plants, electricity, and new and renewable energy.

And he said the Chinese group intended to launch a green hydrogen production project in Egypt with investments ranging between $5 billion and $8 billion.

On Wednesday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said attracting investment was a key priority of the Egyptian government.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2267086/middle-east

--------

 

Mideast

 

Houthis: Saudi-Iran deal has no impact on Yemen war, we are not subordinate to Tehran

12 March ,2023

Saudi Arabia’s normalization agreement with Iran will have no impact on the Yemen war because the Houthis are not “subordinate” to Tehran, a spokesman of the Iran-backed militia told Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV.

“Saudi Arabia must know that our relationship with Iran is not one of subordination. It is an Islamic brotherly relationship. Resolving the Yemen issue [can only be achieved through negotiations] between Sanaa and Riyadh, and not Tehran and Riyadh,” said member of the Houthis’ political wing Abdulwahab al-Mahbashi.

Saudi Arabia and Iran announced on Friday a landmark agreement brokered by China to re-establish diplomatic ties and reopen embassies after seven years of heightened tensions, backing opposing sides in regional conflicts and supporting differing parties in political rows across the Middle East.

The war in Yemen, since its eruption in 2014, has been a battlefield where the two warring sides were backed by Riyadh on one hand and Tehran on the other. Saudi Arabia backed the internationally recognized Yemeni government and formed an Arab Coalition to support it militarily against the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

It has been long-established by both Arab and Western governments that Iran provided weapons to the Houthi militia – which the latter used to carry out cross-border attacks mainly targeting Saudi Arabia and the UAE. US and British navies in the region have repeatedly over the years intercepted many shipments of Iranian-made weapons on vessels heading to Yemen.

Al-Mahbashi said: “Even if Saudi Arabia signed a joint defense agreement and [formed a] military alliance with Iran, that wouldn’t protect it from us, so long as it continues its aggression against us.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said on Sunday the breakthrough reproachment agreement with Saudi Arabia normalizing ties will help bring about a political resolution to the war in Yemen, state news agency IRNA reported.

Al-Mahbashi added that despite Saudi Arabia’s deal with Iran, the Kingdom was unlikely to normalize ties with the groups that are aligned with Iran such as Hezbollah in Lebanon or Palestinian “resistance movements” – referring to Hamas and other anti-Israel groups.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/03/13/Houthis-Saudi-Iran-deal-has-no-impact-on-Yemen-war-we-are-not-subordinate-to-Tehran

--------

Hamas, Islamic Jihad vow to intensify resistance after Israeli killing of 3 Palestinians

12 March 2023

The Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements have denounced ُSunday's killing of three Palestinian men by Israeli forces near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, saying the incident will intensify resistance against the occupying regime.

On Sunday, Israeli troops fatally shot three Palestinian men near the Sarra military checkpoint, southwest of Nablus.

In a brief statement, Hamas said “The blood of the martyrs will not be wasted,” stressing that the occupying regime’s crimes against Palestinians and desecration of the holy sites in the occupied territories will be met with more steadfastness and resistance.

The movement said Palestinians would continue to deal painful blows to the occupying regime until the full liberation of Palestinian lands.

In a separate statement, the Islamic Jihad said “the blood of these martyrs will intensify the armed struggle against the occupying Israeli regime,” adding that Palestinians are determined to continue their path with great sacrifices.

The movement said the resistance is ready to respond to Israeli crimes in the occupied territories, emphasizing that “We renew our covenant with those who have lost their lives and will be loyal to their jihadist approach.”

At dawn on Sunday, Israeli soldiers opened fire at four Palestinians in their vehicle near the checkpoint, killing three of them in a “targeted assassination.”

Shortly after the shooting, Israeli occupation soldiers stormed shops and seized the recordings of surveillance cameras to keep their crime untold, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency cited witnesses as saying.

The latest Israeli crime brings up the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces since the beginning of the year to 84, including 15 children and an elderly woman, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin, where Israeli forces have been trying to stifle a growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied cities.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/12/699751/Palestine-Israeli-forces-kill-Palestinians-West-Bank-Nablus-Hamas-Islamic-Jihad-intensify-resistance

--------

Iran says normalization with Saudi Arabia will help end war in Yemen

12 March ,2023

Iran’s mission to the United Nations said on Sunday the breakthrough rapprochement agreement with Saudi Arabia normalizing ties will help bring about a political resolution to the war in Yemen, state news agency IRNA reported.

The Iranian UN mission said: “The restoration of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran [will] accelerate the ceasefire, help start a national dialogue, and form an inclusive national government in Yemen,” IRNA reported.

Saudi Arabia and Iran announced on Friday a landmark agreement brokered by China to re-establish diplomatic ties and reopen embassies after seven years of heightened tensions, backing opposing sides in regional conflicts and supporting differing parties in political rows across the Middle East.

Gulf countries have long accused Iran of fanning the flames of violence in the Middle East through financial and military support to its network of Shia proxies in the region, specifically in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Iran

The war in Yemen, since its eruption in 2014, has been a battlefield where the two warring sides were backed by Riyadh on one hand and Tehran on the other. Saudi Arabia backed the internationally recognized Yemeni government and formed an Arab Coalition to support it militarily against the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

It has been long-established by both Arab and Western governments that Iran provided weapons to the Houthi militia – which the latter used to carry out cross-border attacks mainly targeting Saudi Arabia and the UAE. US and British navies in the region have repeatedly over the years intercepted many shipments of Iranian-made weapons on vessels heading to Yemen.

The Chinese-mediated major diplomatic breakthrough has been touted by analysts far and wide as a giant stride towards the end of several regional armed conflicts.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/12/Iran-says-normalization-with-Saudi-Arabia-will-help-end-war-in-Yemen

--------

Iran Underlines France's Lack of Respect for Human Rights

2023-March-12

He mae the remarks in a Sunday statement about ongoing anti-government protests in France.

Kana'ani criticized the French police for not respecting human rights, and said that the way the protestors have been treated in France is a typical example of how human rights are observed in the "Garden of Europe.

"There are many such examples in the United States and Europe, " he added.

Source: Fars News Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011221000585/Iran-Underlines-France's-Lack-f-Respec-fr-Hman-Righs

--------

Yemen's Houthi rebels release 117 prisoners ahead of Ramadan

12 March, 2023

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have released 117 prisoners ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the country’s SABA news agency reported.

The prisoners were released from jails in the cities of Al-Bayda and Rada'a following visits to them by local and judicial officials.

Prisoners were able to voice complaints to the public prosecutor, particularly those whose visit aimed at inspecting prison conditions ahead of Ramadan, according to SABA.

In separate developments on Saturday, representatives from Yemen's government and the Sanaa-based Houthis met in Geneva to kick off a series of talks on exchanging prisoners.

The new round of closed-door negotiations amid years of civil war were being overseen by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Set to last 11 days, the talks mark the seventh meeting aimed at implementing an agreement on prisoner exchanges reached in Stockholm five years ago, the UN said.

Under that deal, the sides agreed "to release all prisoners, detainees, missing persons, arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared persons, and those under house arrest", held in connection with Yemen's nearly decade-long conflict, "without any exceptions or conditions".

The latest meeting comes almost a year after the Houthis said they had agreed to a prisoner swap that would see 1,400 rebels freed in exchange for 823 pro-government fighters - including 16 Saudis and three Sudanese nationals.

Source: The New Arab

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.newarab.com/news/yemens-houthi-rebels-release-117-prisoners-ahead-ramadan

--------

Israel to weigh action after Silicon Valley Bank collapse

13 March ,2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the government would assess the effect of Silicon Valley Bank's collapse on Israeli companies and determine whether or not to assist them.

Israel is home to a vibrant high-tech industry, and local media said Sunday that hundreds of local firms could be exposed to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Israeli business paper Globes said the bank was considered “the major funding body for Israeli companies” and that its fall was “closing the oxygen pipe” for the sector.

Silicon Valley Bank, the US's 16th largest bank, served mostly technology workers and venture capital-backed companies. Its collapse is the biggest bank failure since the collapse of Washington Mutual in 2008.

The bank had a branch in Tel Aviv. It was not immediately clear how many local companies did business with the bank.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said he and senior Israeli officials would consider “whether or not actions are necessary to assist Israeli companies in distress, mainly with cash-flow, due to the collapse of SVB.”

A day earlier Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, said he formed a team that would track the issue and assess the bank collapse’s impact on Israel’s economy.

Israel’s banking regulator, Yair Avidan, said that Israel was “closely examining the case and following developments.”

The bank failure came as Israeli tech leaders and economists are warning that the Netanyahu government’s proposed overhaul to the country’s judicial system could drive away investment and impact the economy.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/13/Israel-to-weigh-action-after-Silicon-Valley-Bank-collapse

--------

Iran supreme court upholds death sentence of Swedish-Iranian dissident

12 March ,2023

Iran’s supreme court has upheld the death sentence handed down to a Swedish Iranian dual national convicted of leading an Arab separatist group accused of attacks including one on a military parade in 2018 that killed 25 people, state media reported on Sunday.

Iran said in 2020 that its security forces arrested Habib Farajollah Chaab abroad, without saying where or how he was captured.

“Chaab was sentenced to death after several court sessions with the presence of his lawyer... The Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence,” Iran’s judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported.

Chaab was charged with leading the separatist Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, which seeks a separate state in the oil-rich Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran, and plotting and carrying out “numerous bombings and terrorist operations” state media reported when his trial began that same year.

He was also charged with being “corrupt on Earth”, a capital offense under Iran’s strict form of Islamic law, Iranian state media said.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/12/Iran-supreme-court-upholds-death-sentence-of-Swedish-Iranian-dissident-News-website-

--------

Three Palestinian gunmen shot dead by Israeli soldiers in occupied West Bank: Army

12 March ,2023

Three Palestinian gunmen were shot dead after they fired at Israeli soldiers in the northern occupied West Bank near Nablus, the Israeli army said on Sunday, as violence in the region continued.

The military said that “armed gunmen opened fire” on soldiers at an army position near the Jit junction west of Nablus, with the soldiers responding with “live fire.”

“Three armed gunmen were neutralized during the exchange of fire and an additional armed gunman surrendered himself to the forces and was apprehended,” the army said in a statement.

Violence intensified last year but has worsened in the West Bank since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office in December in a governing coalition with ultra-Orthodox Jewish and extreme-right allies.

Since the start of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 81 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/12/Three-Palestinian-gunmen-shot-dead-by-Israeli-soldiers-in-occupied-West-Bank-Army-

--------

 

Pakistan

 

‘Mastermind’ of Karachi police chief office attack killed in operation: CTD

Imtiaz Ali

March 13, 2023

The Sindh Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed on Monday to have killed the “mastermind” of the audacious attack on the Karachi Police Office (KPO) on Feb 17.

Last month, hours-long combat between terrorists and law-enforcement agencies — comprising Pak Army Special Service Group (SSG), Pakistan Rangers Sindh and Sindh Police — at the KPO located at Sharea Faisal had left five people martyred and 17 injured.

In a statement issued today, CTD spokesperson Raja Umer Khattab said that Aryadullah and his accomplice were killed in an operation near the Northern Bypass in the Mangophir area.

The identification of the other slain terrorist is underway, he said, adding that two other terrorists were also arrested during the operation.

The CTD statement added that a search and clearance operation was being conducted in the area.

Khattab also said that Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon will address a press conference in Karachi at 3pm today and brief the public on the CTD encounter.

It is pertinent to mention that the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed the responsibility for the Feb 17 attack on the KPO.

Three militants, who wore suicide jackets, were killed and three law enforcers and one civilian were martyred while 18 others, mostly police and Rangers’ personnel, were injured during the hours-long joint operation carried out by the police, Rangers and army personnel.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1741967/mastermind-of-karachi-police-chief-office-attack-killed-in-operation-ctd
--------

‘Pakistan must not follow high-emitting developed world’

Amin Ahmed

March 13, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Noting that the melting of glaciers in the Himalayan region affects the water needs of the billions that live in South Asia, a noted climate scientist has urged Pakistan to decarbonise and avoid following the footsteps of the high-emitters in the developed world.

Prof Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a former vice chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Belgium’s pick to lead the Geneva-based panel this year, was in Pakistan last week to gather support for the election, scheduled to be held during a special IPCC session to be held in Nairobi in July this year.

The IPCC is a scientific body created by two United Nations specialised agencies: UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) more than thirty years ago with a mandate to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts and solutions.

After a meeting with Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, he told Dawn the interaction proved very productive. “She was very positive about my candidacy and said that the decision will be taken after consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said.

Belgium’s pick to lead UN’s IPCC panel holds meetings in Islamabad

Prof van Ypersele, who has to his credit forty years of experience in climate science and diplomacy, told Dawn that Pakistan was contributing very little to global emissions, but its vulnerability is very high, as made evident by the last year’s heat wave in spring and floods in the monsoon season.

He said that Pakistan and other developing countries should avoid following the developed countries. If these countries follow the same carbon-intensive path that developed countries have followed, in a few decades these countries will also be high emitters, he cautioned.

“We have to decarbonise as much as possible, and also need to take into account the need for energy access to everyone,” he said.

He also noted that the vulnerability of the South Asian region was quite high. Being a tropical region where the level of temperature is relatively high, therefore the impacts are also larger.

The melting of glaciers in the Himalayas, he said, is a big problem for all the countries which depend on the existence of those glaciers for their water resources. If those glaciers melt quickly some of the rivers will have flooding, especially if it is combined with extreme rainfall, Prof van Ypersele said.

Similar themes were explored in this discussions in Islamabad. According to him, Ms Rehman spoke about the effects of climate change on Pakistan that resulted in the devastating floods of 2022. The minister spoke about the lack of funding and emphasised adequate resources from multilateral institutions needed particularly for adaptation measures.

The professor also held a group discussion with legislators, environmental experts and government and non-governmental officials at the residence of Belgian Ambassador Charles Delogne.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change; former adviser to PM on climate change Malik Amin Aslam and former UNEP deputy executive director Shafqat Kakakhel also participated in the discussion.

IPCC is expected to announce the official call for nominations for its chair next month. Belgium announced Prof van Ypersele’s candidacy in October 2022. He also contested for the post in 2015, but missed out by just 12 votes.

As part of his campaign for the post, Prof van Ypersele has now completed a tour of the South Asian region, visiting Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, and holding video calls with officials from Bhutan and Sri Lanka, the two countries where Belgium has no diplomatic presence.

The IPCC is currently composed of 195 member states and as per rules, each country has one vote for the single-term post. This year, IPCC will also hold elections to its 34-member bureau for the new term.

The unique power of this UN climate body lies in the breadth and depth of its climate assessment reports. Thousands of experts from around the world synthesise the latest scientific findings on the impacts of and the potential responses to climate change with the IPCC’s comprehensive Assessment Reports released every five to seven years.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1741864

--------

Murad warns of census boycott if Sindh’s concerns not addressed

Tahir Siddiqui

March 13, 2023

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Sunday warned that the provincial government would have no option but to withdraw the support it extended to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) for conducting the ongoing 7th Digital Housing and Population Census if the province’s reservations on the census process were not addressed.

As many as 8,010 provincial government employees, mainly from the education department, have been deputed as enumerators and supervisors to collect population data after being trained by the PBS. Besides, the enumerators, the provincial government has also assigned a large number of policemen for the security of the census staff.

Talking to the media at an event organised by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation as part of Karachi Games, he said that the objections the provincial government and the Pakistan Peoples Party had raised during the census of 2017 had proved to be valid and genuine now.

“If a transparent system is not evolved or adopted the ongoing census exercises would meet the same fate as of 2017,” he observed.

He said that if the reservations raised by the people of the province were not addressed his government would withdraw the support it had extended to the federal government for the ongoing census process.

He said that he had asked census authorities to share a copy of the data/enumeration of a family with the family members concerned. “We must know how many members of a family in a particular area have been counted so that a claim can be filed in case of any inaccuracy,” he said, adding that the provincial government must have access to the data of the province.

He said that the data being collected by the PBS should be given directly to the National Database and Registration Authority so that they could issue CNIC/B-Forms to the people and also make data of foreigners and illegal immigrants living here.

Talking about the importance of a proper system of birth and death counts, he said: “When a child is born or dies his/her details must enter into the family tree made in the national data developed at Nadra.”

He said currently the deaths and births were not recorded in the national data until and unless the family concerned get it recorded.

The CM said that the old or inaccurate maps had been uploaded to the tablets given to enumerators for feeding data digitally. “These maps and data must be accurate, proper, and latest,” he demanded.

He also demanded that the PBS inform families/persons through SMS that they were counted.

Rejects JI’s allegations

The chief minister said that the PPP, which emerged as the single largest party in the local government elections in Karachi, would take over the coveted office of Karachi mayor.

Replying to a question, he said that it was loud and clear that PPP would get its candidate elected as the mayor of Karachi. “We are the majority party and our candidate for mayor will easily be elected by the City Council,” he said.

Giving an oblique reference to the allegations levelled by Jamaat-i-Islami’s candidate Hafiz Naeemur Rehman on the ruling party, the chief minister said that his “cries, claims, and allegations” had no foundation.

He urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to expedite the process of conducting the election on the remaining local government seats and declare the withheld results so that the final round of election for the offices of district chairmen and mayors could be finalised.

Earlier, the CM congratulated the winners of the donkey cart race and distributed prizes among them.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1741858/murad-warns-of-census-boycott-if-sindhs-concerns-not-addressed

--------

Imran greets President Xi Jinping, welcomes KSA-Iran’s resumption of diplomatic ties

March 12, 2023

LAHORE: Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has congratulated Chinese President XI Jinping on his re-election for a third term.

“Heartiest congratulations to President Xi Jinping on his re-election for a third term as China’s President,” the former prime minister said in a brief statement on Twitter.

In a historic move, Xi Jinping was handed an unprecedented third term as President of China. The appointment comes after he was handed in October another five years as head of the Chinese Communist party (CCP) and the military.

Meanwhile, the former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman welcomed the normalization of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Taking to Twitter, the former premier shared a news story regarding the restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, welcoming the development.

Imran Khan noted that his government had taken an initiative to bring Iran and Saudi Arabia together for dialogue “as part of our policy of wider engagement for peace and unity of the Ummah”. He also appreciated China’s role in the diplomatic breakthrough.

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to re-establish relations after seven years of hostility after reaching an agreement in Beijing. According to a joint statement, Tehran and Riyadh agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies within two months.

Source: Pakistan Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/12/imran-greets-president-xi-jinping-welcomes-ksa-irans-resumption-of-diplomatic-ties/

--------

Foolproof security arrangements adopted for Qalandar’s Urs

March 12, 2023

HYDERABAD: The Deputy Commissioner (DC) Jamshoro Captain (retd) Fariduddin Mustafa and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Imran Qureshi on Sunday said that the foolproof security arrangements were made for the 771st Urs of Hazrat Qalandar Lal Shahbaz.

Addressing a press conference in Sehwan, the DC said foolproof security arrangements have been made in which Police, Rangers, and Navy troops were deployed to facilitate devotees.

Security arrangements are being monitored through CCTV cameras in the central control room set up at the shrine of Lal Shehbaz Qalandar, the DC said.

He said as many as 0.3 million drinking water bottles had so far been distributed among the devotees while health facilities are being provided to them through the medical camps set up in the premises of the shrine.

In response to a question, DC said the artists are our asset, and reports regarding deduction in their compensation were wrong.

He said the budget for Urs has not been released till now and hoped that it will be received soon.

Speaking on the occasion, SSP Imran Qureshi said best security measures were adopted in Sehwan city and Police along with Rangers personnel were deployed to maintain peace during Urs celebrations.

The SSP said that in terms of security, Sehwan city was divided into 8 zones where ASPs, DSPs and SHOs have been posted.

Qureshi said that 19 suspicious persons have been detained through detectors.

Source: Pakistan Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/12/foolproof-security-arrangements-adopted-for-qalandars-urs/

--------

Saudi-Iran relations to yield positive results in region: Ashrafi

March 12, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Sunday said the revival of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran would yield positive results in the region.

He, in an exclusive talk with APP, said the ease of diplomatic row between two brotherly countries would help to reduce the problems and sufferings of Islamic world.

Ashrafi who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council appreciated the efforts of Chinses President XI Jinping to bring Saudi Arabia and Iran closer. As per reports, the Iran and Saudi Arabia had agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies within two months, he added.

He said both of the countries had agreed to revive agreements made in 2001 and 1998 regarding security and trade.

“The most important thing is that the two countries would not interfere in the internal affairs of one other,” he maintained.

He said this news had spurred a wave of happiness in the Muslim Ummah as it would help dismantle the nefarious designs of enemies who tried to create conflict between the Muslim countries on the basis of sectarianism.

Shedding light on the background of this new development, he asserted that during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia a couple of months ago, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman requested the former to bridge the gap with Iran.

Ashrafi said the Arab world had termed the crown prince the ‘leader of peace’ due to his peace-building measures between the two brotherly countries.

He said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following the footprints of King Salman bin Abdulaziz had given a new vision not only to Saudi Arabia but to all the Muslim world by making all-out efforts to unite them at one platform.

He said that whether it was the matter of Palestine or Kashmir, the Muslim world should sit together and devise a combined strategy to meet all the challenges being faced by the Muslim Ummah on the globe.

He expressed the hope that this constructive step would further strengthen fraternal ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran and bring peace and stability in Yemen, Syria and in the days to come ahead.

He also appreciated the role of Saudi Arabia in connection with Russia and Ukraine’s war.

He said the Saudi foreign affairs minister was in Russia these days after visiting Ukraine as per reports in a bid to remove differences between the two war-torn countries.

Source: Pakistan Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/12/saudi-iran-relations-to-yield-positive-results-in-region-ashrafi/

--------

US congressman expresses concern over rights violations under Sharif

March 12, 2023

WASHINGTON: US Congressman Brad Sherman, a Democrat representing California’s 32nd congressional district, has expressed his concerns over the “violation” of human rights and democracy in Pakistan, urging the government of Shehbaz Sharif to ensure freedom of speech and the application of rule of law in the country.

Sherman’s comments come after he spoke to former prime minister Imran Khan and Dr. Asif Mehmood, a Pakistan-origin philanthropist and Democratic candidate running for Congress.

In a video message shared on Twitter by the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Sherman recalled the US and Pakistan have a long history of working together on various global and regional issues since the 1940s.

“America must support democracy and human rights around the world and particularly in Pakistan,” he pointed out.

“It is not the role of the United States to involve itself in Pakistan’s internal governmental matters with respect to Pakistan’s constitutional and democratic process. But we must not shy away from raising our voices for human rights and democracy in Pakistan or anywhere else.

“The government of Pakistan and every government should respect the right of people to speak, the right to organise, the right to demonstrate,” he said.

He noted that Pakistan was facing several internal and external challenges, such as growing extremism, intolerance, and dissent that threatened the country’s social cohesion.

Sherman also emphasized the need for a calm, orderly, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan where citizens could freely engage in political dialogue.

He also expressed concern over the alleged incidents of “custodial torture” and “sexual abuse” of PTI leaders Shahbaz Gill and Azam Swati, as well as the deaths of journalist Arshad Sharif and party worker Ali Bilal.

Source: Pakistan Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/12/us-congressman-expresses-concern-over-rights-violations-under-sharif/

--------

Pakistan: Jamaat-i-Islami to stage protest against delay in local govt polls in Karachi

12 March, 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 12 (ANI): The chairperson of the Karachi chapter of Jamaat-i-Islami, Hafiz Naeem ur-Rehman, has announced that the party will stage sit-ins across the metropolis to protest against the delay in the local government polls on the remaining 11 seats, Pakistan Today reported.

Addressing a sit-in outside the office of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Sindh chapter, Hafiz Naeem ur-Rehman raised concern over the delay in the release of local government poll results and schedule for polls on the remaining 11 seats.

Hafiz Naeem ur-Rehman said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has betrayed Karachi with the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) after the “regime change” in April last year, as per the Pakistan Today report. He said that despite negative tactics, Jamaat continued its Haq Do Tehreek and stressed that a large number of people participated in it.

Furthermore, he said that Jamaat emerged as the biggest political party in Karachi in the recent local government elections despite flawed voter lists and delimitations. He said that the residents of Karachi want to see development in the metropolis, as per the news report.

Criticizing the Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner, Hafiz Naeem ur-Rehman said that Sikandar Sultan Raja performed duties as the chief and bureaucrat of all three provinces, however, he is unaware about the real issues faced by the people in Karachi.

On March 5, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released the results of the Karachi local government elections. According to the results announced by ECP, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) have won equal number of union council (UC) seats, according to Pakistan Today report.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won 40 UCs, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secured five seats and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) won one seat. The ECP had withheld the results of 20 union council seats due to complaints and recounting requests.

Source: The Print

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://theprint.in/world/pakistan-jamaat-i-islami-to-stage-protest-against-delay-in-local-govt-polls-in-karachi/1437765/

--------

 

Africa

 

Suspected Islamist militants kill 19 in east Congo village raid

12 March, 2023

Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 19 people and burned a medical facility in a raid on a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo early on Sunday morning, two regional officials and a resident said.

The attack, which occurred around 1 a.m. (2300 GMT) in the village of Kirindera in North Kivu province, took place just a few kilometres from another attack on a village that killed at least 35 people last week.

The army blamed last week's attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group based in eastern Congo that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and conducts frequent raids on villages. A resident of a nearby village and a member of the local civil society blamed Sunday's attack on the ADF too.

"Gunfire was heard around Kirindera. The ADF arrived, they set fire to a hospital after looting it with medicines, and they set fire to a hotel," said Sadame Patanguli, the resident.

He said that the militants kidnapped several others, who are now missing. The details of the burned buildings and the death toll were confirmed by two regional officials.

The ADF was created in Uganda before moving to eastern Congo in the 1990s, and has been blamed for thousands of deaths in the last decade.

Source: The New Arab

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.newarab.com/news/suspected-islamist-rebels-kill-19-east-congo-village-raid

--------

Libyan elections are possible this year: UN envoy

11 March ,2023

UN Libya envoy Abdoulaye Bathily said on Saturday that if a clear road map and electoral laws are put in place by June, national elections could be held by the end of the year.

A political process to resolve more than a decade of conflict in Libya has been stalled since an election scheduled for December 2021 collapsed amid disputes over the eligibility of major candidates.

Bathily last month announced a new initiative to break the deadlock by creating a steering committee to enable the elections, seen as critical to any lasting peace.

On Saturday, he told a news conference in Tripoli that the two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the High State Council, had agreed to form a joint committee of six members each to draft electoral laws, adding: “There is no reason for any more delay.”

However, the two chambers have spent years negotiating about the political system without moving closer to elections that would in effect replace them.

The House of Representatives was elected in 2014, while the High State Council was formed as part of a 2015 political agreement and drawn from a parliament elected in 2012.

Libya’s interim government, put in place in early 2021 through a UN-backed peace plan, was only supposed to last until the election scheduled for December that year, and its legitimacy is now also disputed.

“Successive interim arrangements, endless transition governments, legislative bodies whose terms of office have expired are a source of instability,” Bathily said.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/03/11/Libyan-elections-are-possible-this-year-UN-envoy

--------

Sudan repatriates 5 Daesh/ISIS-linked nationals from Syria

11.03.2023

KHARTOUM, Sudan

Sudan said Saturday it has retrieved five nationals who had joined the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group in Syria.

A Foreign Ministry statement said that two women and three children were returned from Syria.

“The five are the first group of nationals held in northern Syria,” the statement said, without giving any exact number of Sudanese held in Syria for joining the terrorist group.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/sudan-repatriates-5-daesh-isis-linked-nationals-from-syria/2843055

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Ban on politicians giving talks in mosques, surau helps ease political climate: Fahmi

12-03- 2023

JOHOR BAHRU: The move by several states to prohibit any politician from holding talks or lectures in mosques and surau is seen to be helpful in easing the country’s political climate.

Communications and Digital (KKD) Minister Fahmi Fadzil (pix) said this was also a reminder to all, that religious premises is not a platform that can be used by any individual or party for political gain.

He said it was also seen as an effort to ease escalation of political extremism which has the potential to create a perception of government instability which would affect investor confidence.

“The prohibition order imposed on politicians especially in mosques is an effort which I see would be able to cool down the situation and KKD will also play its role in increasing awareness on the importance of respecting this law.

“The reason we go to the mosque is to worship, not give political speeches, so leave politics out and don’t misuse any premises to have activities that shouldn’t be held there,“ he told a press conference after a Town Hall session with the management and agencies under KKD at RTM Johor here today.

Also present were Deputy Minister Teo Nie Ching and the Ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek.

The media had earlier reported that politicians have been barred from delivering religious lectures or ceramahs in mosques and surau in Terengganu and Perak as religious institutions should be respected and free of political elements.

Fahmi said the move to ease the political climate by curbing the growing threat of political extremism was important in ensuring political stability and the government administration is not disrupted.

“Political stability in the federal government is important in attracting foreign investors, for example the investment by AWS (Amazon Web Services) was because of their confidence in the stability of our country.

Source: The Sun Daily

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.thesundaily.my/local/ban-on-politicians-giving-talks-in-mosques-surau-helps-ease-political-climate-fahmi-HC10742353

--------

Guan Eng tells Muhyiddin to retract tax-exempt claim for Islamic charity or face legal action

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

13 Mar 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng said today he would be filing a defamation suit against Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for accusing him of revoking the Albukhary Foundation’s tax-exempt status, an allegation he described as racially incendiary and denied. Lim said he would take legal action if the former prime minister refuses to withdraw the allegation.

The DAP chairman also demanded that Muhyiddin show proof he had ordered the revocation.

“Unless vigorously rebutted, such seditious statements can inflame sentiments that undermine racial goodwill and threaten religious harmony... Muhyiddin should either produce the revocation letter issued by me or ask his lawyers to advise him properly to avoid facing unnecessary civil proceedings of defamation,” Lim said in a statement issued this afternoon.

“Since there is clearly no such revocation letter, he should apologise and withdraw his false remarks or else face defamatory action that will require him not only to do the same but also pay compensatory damages,” the Bagan MP added.

At a press conference outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Putrajaya on March 9, Muhyiddin claimed Lim had revoked the tax exemption for Yayasan Albukhary as the finance minister of the first Pakatan Harapan administration.

The Pagoh MP reiterated the same allegation at a PAS centre in Taman Melewar, Gombak, in Selangor that same night.

Despite Lim's warning, Muhyiddin said he would not retract his allegation.

Muhyiddin instead told Lim to explain himself, saying Yayasan Albukhary’s request was given approval during Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s time.

Muhyiddin added that Lim was finance minister and the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) was under his ministry when Pakatan Harapan (PH) took federal power.

Lim suggested he would likely win the suit since Muhyiddin failed to show any documented proof that he ordered the revocation, citing a similar accusation made against him by a non-Muslim taxpayer from Penang.

“The non-Muslim taxpayer could not produce any evidence or letter that I have directed LHDN to act against him. I filed an action of defamation and succeeded, with the High Court ruling that I was not involved," he said.

Lim claimed that in the absence of proof of any instruction, a minister cannot be held responsible for every single action of the numerous agencies and government-linked companies under his purview.

Source: Malay Mail

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/03/13/guan-eng-tells-muhyiddin-to-retract-tax-exempt-claim-for-islamic-charity-or-face-legal-action/59387

--------

Weak ‘Malay pillars’ make DAP seem stronger, says analyst

Dineskumar Ragu

13 Mar 2023

PETALING JAYA: The weakness of the “Malay pillars” of Anwar Ibrahim’s government has left the DAP as being perceived by Malay voters as the strongest party in the unity government, says a political analyst.

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said the issue lay with PKR, Amanah and Umno, which he described as the “Malay pillars” of the coalition, rather than Anwar himself.

He told FMT that the three parties had failed to woo Malay support for the government since its formation.

“The perception (Malay voters have) is that DAP is much, much stronger (than the three parties). They don’t see these parties as currently being capable of defending their religious and ‘Bangsa Melayu’ interests.

“That is why the unity government is lacking legitimacy in the eyes of the Malays, which we saw from the results of the 15th general election,” he said.

While admitting that PKR was the best multiracial platform, Azmi said Anwar’s party was still struggling to win over Malay voters. He said Umno remained the best bet in the coalition to gain the community’s support, if the party would embrace more reforms.

He added that the unity coalition could make inroads in the Malay heartland in the coming state assembly elections if Umno members elected reform-minded leaders.

Last week, political analyst Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid said the biggest weakness of the government was its lack of legitimacy in the eyes of the Malays.

Fauzi, of Universiti Sains Malaysia, said Anwar was trying to shore up support from the Malays but there was still not enough backing from the community.

Azmi agreed with Fauzi, saying Anwar was doing his best to provide incentives and perks for the Malay, Muslim and Bumiputera communities in the 2023 budget.

However, Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim said the government should refrain from taking a communal-based approach in solving the people’s problems and adopt a needs-based approach instead.

The PKR MP believed that Anwar and Pakatan Harapan were capable of delivering policies that looked after the people’s welfare regardless of race.

“The real beneficiary would be the Malays because they make up the majority in the B40 socioeconomic stratum,” said the two-time MP.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya agreed, saying Anwar should endeavour to uplift the wellbeing of lower and middle-income Malaysians and combat corruption to obtain legitimacy in the eyes of the Malay populace.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/03/13/weak-malay-pillars-make-dap-seem-stronger-says-analyst/

--------

Your rights will be taken away, Muhyiddin warns Bersatu

Elill Easwaran

12 Mar 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin claims party members and supporters will soon see their right to free speech and assembly stifled, with the likely arrest of TikTok users too.

Speaking to the party’s delegates at its annual general assembly here, the former prime minister called for them to be prepared.

Stay up-to-date by following FMT's Telegram channel

This comes in the wake of the police probe into a gathering in support of Muhyiddin outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

He was arrested by the MACC on Thursday and charged in court the next day on charges related to abuse of power and money laundering.

Meanwhile, police said last night that they had summoned a man who criticised the government in a speech outside the Kuala Lumpur court complex on Friday.

“Be prepared. The media’s freedom will be restricted, free speech will be constrained, and freedom of assembly will be restricted,” Muhyiddin said.

“Don’t be surprised if some TikTok users will be arrested and those who comment on social media will face pressure.

“That is how they are. When they are not in power, they tell lies. When they are in power, they oppress others.”

On Friday, Muhyiddin claimed trial to four counts of abuse of power in relation to the Jana Wibawa programme to obtain RM232.5 million for Bersatu. He also pleaded not guilty to two charges of money laundering amounting to RM195 million.

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman has repeatedly said the charges against him were politically-motivated and meant to damage his reputation and that of Bersatu and PN.

Democracy is dead in Umno

Meanwhile, criticising Umno for its decision to form the unity government with Pakatan Harapan (PH) after the last general election (GE15), Muhyiddin claimed that Umno – the country’s largest Malay party – could no longer be relied on to champion the interests of Malays and Islam.

He also claimed that Umno’s decision in allowing no contests for its top two posts in the party’s polls proved that “democracy is dead in Umno”.

Muhyiddin went on to allege that Umno’s constitution had been violated to protect the interests of an individual, alluding to Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“This individual is also protected by PH’s leadership, and by this individual’s control over Umno, PH will remain in power,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/03/12/your-rights-will-be-taken-away-muhyiddin-warns-bersatu/

--------

 

North America

 

Bolton warns US against ‘sitting still’ as China, Russia, Iran grow closer

12 March 2023

Former US national security adviser John Bolton sounded the alarm following a China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic ties.

In an interview Sunday, Bolton warned the United States against “sitting still” as China expands its role in the world and grows closer to Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“We’re sitting still, and the Chinese, the Russians, Iran, North Korea, and several others, are moving to shore up their relations and threaten us in a lot of different places,” Bolton, a US foreign policy hawk, said on a radio morning show on Sunday.

Bolton’s warnings came two days after Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume their diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies and diplomatic missions within the next two months. The pact followed days of intensive talks in Beijing.

In a joint statement issued by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China, Tehran, and Riyadh highlighted the need to respect each others’ national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.

They agreed to implement a security cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 and another accord reached in May 1998 to boost economic, commercial, investment, technical, scientific, cultural, sports, and youth affairs cooperation.

“It’s an indication that the Saudis and others are trying to hedge their bets with China and Russia, because they don’t think the United States has the resolve and the fortitude necessary to do what they need to do to protect the world against Iran and its intentions,” Bolton said.

“The Chinese have a strategy they’ve been following,” he added. “We kind of wander around from day to day.”

“Bolton is a fine one to talk about strategy. His strategic record includes WMDs in Iraq and Juan Guaido in Venezuela, among others. Not exactly a record of success,” said New York-based journalist Don DeBar.

Top US officials have expressed concerns that Russia also appears to have moved closer to China, warning that Beijing is “strongly considering” providing Moscow with lethal aid for its war in Ukraine.

However, China has said it is a neutral arbiter in the war in Ukraine and rejected US allegations.

“One of the biggest winners of the war in Ukraine has been China,” Bolton said. “If Russia were to win, and at the maximum retake all of Ukraine, that would be a victory for China’s ally that would strengthen China as well.”

“But, frankly, if Russia continues to get chewed up in Ukraine, that just makes Russia more dependent on China,” he continued. “So China wins there as well.”

Bolton also claimed that in a reversal of China-Russia relations during the Cold War, Beijing is now the senior partner in the relationship.

“It’s exactly right to say that we’re watching Russia slip increasingly under Chinese control,” he said. “This is China’s alliance it’s putting together, and Russia is the junior partner.”

“That’s not good for any of us. I’d like to find ways to pry Russia away from China,” Bolton continued.

CIA Director William Burns said the United States believes that China is considering providing weaponry to support Russia in its war in Ukraine.

“We’re confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment,” he said in an interview aired late last month. “We also don’t see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don’t see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment.”

“If Burns is correct, this is a new development. Russia and China haven't had a military alliance since the early 1960s and perhaps, actually, since the Korean War. In fact, they've never had an overt military alliance, and whenever they've had anything resembling that alliance, both were still severely damaged in terms of their ability to produce hardware and project power by World War II,”  jouranlist DeBar said in response.

“In fact, such an alliance could be decisive, both in a war limited to Ukraine and in a global conflict, should it come to that,” he told Press TV.

Over the past year, Ukraine has been showered with weapons and billions of dollars in financial support by the United States and its allies.

Still, the US intelligence chief warned that such a step by China would be "a very risky and unwise bet.”

DeBar denounced the CIA chief's statement and said that the "war in Ukraine is an American war against Russia."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said his country is opposed to the emergence of a unipolar world that revolves around Washington’s interests.

He said Russia is striving to create a multipolar world rather than one that is centered around the US.

Russia began its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 with a declared aim of “demilitarizing” Donbas, which is made up of the Donetsk and Luhansk self-proclaimed republics. Back in 2014, the two republics, which are predominantly Russian-speaking, broke away from Ukraine, prompting Kiev to launch a bloody war against both regions. The years-long conflict has killed more than 14,000 people, mostly in the Donbas.

Since the onset of the conflict between the two countries, the United States and its European allies have unleashed an array of unprecedented sanctions against Russia and poured numerous batches of advanced weapons into Ukraine to help its military fend off the Russian troops, despite repeated warnings by the Kremlin that such measures will only prolong the war.

Meanwhile, China has defended expanding relations with Russia against the backdrop of growing American unilateralism.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last month that despite the challenging international landscape, China-Russia relations have stood the test of time.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/12/699746/US-policy-hawk-sounds-the-alarm-following-Iran-Saudi-d%C3%A9tente

--------

Iran, US reach initial agreement for prisoner exchange: Amir-Abdollahian

12 March 2023

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Iran and the United States have reached an initial agreement to exchange prisoners.

“We reached an agreement in recent days on the issue of prisoner swap,” Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday, adding that if everything goes well by the American side, the exchange would take place soon.

He noted Iran regards the case as a “completely humanitarian issue,” adding that a document has “indirectly” been signed and approved between Tehran and Washington since March last year in this regard.

“The ground for its implementation has been prepared now, and from our point of view, everything is ready while the US is currently working on the final technical coordination,” the top Iranian diplomat explained.

An agreement on the exchange of prisoners was reached between Tehran and Washington in Vienna on the sidelines of negotiations concerning the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Tehran has repeatedly said it is ready for a prisoner exchange with the United States based on the agreement and independently of the nuclear deal, which the US unilaterally abandoned in May 2018 despite Iran's full and strict compliance.

Amir-Abdollahian also noted that exchange of messages between the two sides is underway on the revival of the JCPOA.

Iran-Saudi deal not detrimental to any side

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir-Abdollahian said a China-brokered agreement reached between Iran and Saudi Arabia on the resumption of mutual relations aims to promote peace, security and sustainable development in the region, emphasizing that the accord was broadly welcomed.

However, he said, there are specific mechanisms regarding the Yemeni, Syrian, Afghan and Ukrainian issues, emphasizing that Iran regards dialogue and negotiations as the main solutions to such challenges and regional conflicts.

The foreign minister expressed hope that the détente would serve the interests of the Iranian and Saudi people as well as all Muslim nations in the region.

Naturally, all countries act in line with their own interests, and it is not true that the decisions of the countries and those of the resistance forces in the region about the Israeli regime’s acts of aggression and threats are overlooked in this agreement, he said.

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia finally clinched a deal on Friday to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within two months.

According to the statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia highlighted the need to respect each others’ national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and China also expressed their firm determination to make their utmost efforts to promote regional and international peace and security.

US lacks needed courage to decide on JCPOA revival

Amir-Abdollahian further pointed to the negotiations to revive the US-abandoned nuclear deal and said removing baseless accusations against Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an important issue and one of the red lines for Iran.

During the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi’s recent visit to Tehran, the sides managed to make “good” progress, he said, adding that Iran and the UN nuclear agency have constructive cooperation which would have positive impacts on the JCPOA revival talks.

Amir-Abdollahian noted that he has told the American officials that they did not have the necessary courage to make a final decision to restore the agreement while the Iranian negotiating team put forward initiatives with wisdom and courage in a very transparent way.

He emphasized that the sides are on the right path and expressed hope that they would reach good outcomes.

Negotiations between the parties to the nuclear deal kicked off in Vienna in April 2021 with the intention of bringing the US back into the agreement and putting an end to its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/12/699737/Iran-US--Amir-Abdollahian-prisoner-exchange-swap-JCPOA

--------

US rejects Iran claims of prisoner swap as ‘false’

12 March ,2023

The US has denied a claim that Iran plans to release three American prisoners in exchange for the release of frozen funds.

Iran’s top diplomat said Sunday that a deal was close to being finalized, but did not elaborate.

“Unfortunately, Iranian officials will not hesitate to make things up, and the latest cruel claim will cause more heartache for the families of Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, and Morad Tahbaz,” a National Security Council official told Al Arabiya English.

The official added that the US remained committed to securing the freedom of Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, and Morad Tahbaz, “but we have nothing to announce at this time.”

The news of an imminent deal came shortly after Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restore ties and after Iranian officials were in Oman at the weekend. Muscat has long played a role as a mediator between Washington and Tehran.

A source familiar with the talks told Al Arabiya English that Iran would release Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, and Emad Sharghi. In return, they said that the US is expected to release Iranian funds frozen in South Korea, Iraq and Japan plus at least one prisoner.

However, the source said, the Iranians to be released were not expected to be prominent, such as Manssor Arbabsiar, who was charged in the US for an alleged plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in 2011.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian earlier told state TV that Iran and the United States have reached an agreement to exchange prisoners, adding that he hoped the exchange would take place soon.

“Regarding the issue of prisoner swaps between Iran and the US we have reached an agreement in the recent days and if everything goes well on the US side, I think we will witness a prisoner exchange in a short period,” Amirabdollahian said.

“On our part everything is ready, while the US is currently working on the final technical coordination.”

Namazi, a businessman with dual US-Iranian citizenship, was sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison for spying and cooperating with the US government.

Sharghi, an Iranian-American businessman was first arrested in 2018 when he was working for a tech investment company, is also jailed in Iran, as is Iranian-American environmentalist Tahbaz, who also holds British citizenship.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/12/Initial-agreement-reached-with-Washington-over-exchanging-prisoners-Iranian-FM

--------

 

Europe

 

European investigators allowed to attend Lebanon’s Salameh hearing: Sources

12 March ,2023

European investigators returning to Beirut will be permitted to attend a Lebanese judge’s questioning of central bank governor Riad Salameh, two sources said on Sunday, as Lebanon and several foreign countries investigate whether he embezzled public funds.

Salameh, 72, and his brother are being investigated in Lebanon and at least five European countries. They both deny any wrongdoing.

Last month, a Lebanese judge charged the Salameh brothers with embezzlement, money laundering, illicit enrichment, fraud, and tax evasion and set a first hearing for Riad on Wednesday.

European investigators landing in Beirut on Monday for their second visit as part of the probe will be allowed to attend the hearing, a judicial source and another source with knowledge of the visit’s details told Reuters.

The judicial source said the presiding judge would not allow the foreign investigators to direct questions to Salameh, who has been central bank governor since 1993.

He still enjoys backing from powerful Lebanese leaders, who in turn have significant say over judges’ appointments.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/03/12/European-investigators-allowed-to-attend-Lebanon-s-Salameh-hearing-Sources

--------

‘Heartbroken’ headteacher slams UK government decision to relocate Afghan refugee teenagers about to sit exams

March 12, 2023

LONDON: Two Afghan refugee girls who arrived in Britain following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 have been moved out of London weeks before taking their school-leaving exams by the UK Home Office, it was revealed on Saturday.

An Observer report said the two 16-year-old students at Fulham Cross Girls School in the city had been due to sit their GCSE exams, which start in the UK on May 15, but have been notified, along with their families, that they must leave London.

Their headteacher, Victoria Tully, told the newspaper she was “heartbroken” by the decision, adding the pair — and 13 other Afghan girls who enrolled at the school following their evacuation — would not find a school to take them in, or which would be using the same exam boards or textbooks.

The two girls and their families have been living in so-called “bridging accommodation” in a hotel, according to the Observer, but have been told they will be relocated by the end of March.

“I am heartbroken, these children have overcome unbelievable adversity, and despite living in a horrible hotel their work ethic has been through the roof, to take their GCSEs away seems barbaric,” Tully told the newspaper.

“The girls spoke no English when they arrived, but have blossomed due to their sunny natures and incredible hard work,” she said.

“One of the girls, Zara, came to me very upset last week and said: ‘Miss, they are moving us, please don’t let them.’”

According to the report, Zara, who hopes to become an engineer, was due to take exams in English, mathematics and science, but is now being relocated to Northamptonshire — more than 60 miles away.

British passport-holder Adib Kochai, Zara’s father, told the Observer: “I told local council officials I would rather sleep on the streets than go to Northampton, my wife is disabled and very ill and waiting for an operation in London, my daughter is going to take her exams. I said: ‘Please, please keep us here.’”

Along with his disabled wife and Zara, Kochai also cares for three other daughters, three sons and a granddaughter in a hotel where conditions are “very bad” he said.

Lawyers for them and other “vulnerable” families who were relocated to London from Afghanistan during the evacuation program in 2021 have slammed the decision as “disgraceful” and made without “consideration given to individual needs.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said all local authorities where Afghan refugees are moved to have a “legal obligation” to provide a school place within appropriate catchment areas within three weeks to avoid disruption.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2266946/world

--------

Humza Yousaf gains high-profile backing for SNP leadership amid racist, Islamophobic abuse

March 12, 2023

LONDON: The leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster has backed Humza Yousaf to become the next First Minister of Scotland, it was revealed on Saturday.

Stephen Flynn is the latest high-ranking SNP member to give his endorsement to Muslim politician Yousaf, who is currently Scotland’s health minister.

It comes amid claims from Yousaf of racial and Islamophobic abuse since putting his name forward to lead the Scottish parliament.

Yousaf joined fellow contenders Kate Forbes and Ash Regan at a hustings event at Strathclyde University on Saturday, and SNP members will begin voting on Monday.

The winner of the race will be announced on March 27.

“I think, for all of us, we need a big bit of hope at the moment,” Flynn told the BBC Good Morning Scotland radio program on Saturday. “We have had a difficult few years with Brexit, with Liz Truss crashing the economy in October, with the cost of living crisis, and I think that Humza can provide that hope,” he said.

Despite criticism from fellow leadership rivals, especially Forbes, other high-ranking members of the SNP regime have backed Yousaf, most notably SNP Westminster deputy-leader Mhairi Black.

Yousaf recently revealed he has had to call Police Scotland over claims of racist, Islamophobic abuse he experienced at the outset of his campaign, forcing him to discuss with his family his fears of running for the SNP leadership.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2266941/world

--------

Türkiye rescues 10 irregular migrants in Aegean Sea

Gokhan Duzyol 

11.03.2023

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 10 irregular migrants, including a child, in the Aegean Sea, security officials said on Saturday.

Acting on a tip-off, a team was dispatched off the coast of Didim in Aydin province, according to a statement released on the website of the Coast Guard Command.

The asylum seekers, mostly African nationals, were taken to the shore, and then transferred to a nearby hospital.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkiye-rescues-10-irregular-migrants-in-aegean-sea/2843114

--------

EU welcomes Saudi Arabia, Iran decision to resume diplomatic ties

Beyza Binnur Donmez

11.03.2023

GENEVA

The EU on Saturday welcomed the agreement by Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic ties after officials of the two countries met in China.

"The European Union welcomes the announced agreement on resumption of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and looks forward to its implementation," Peter Stano, the lead spokesperson for the external affairs of the EU, said in a statement.

"The EU acknowledges the diplomatic efforts leading to this important step," Stano added.

Riyadh and Tehran are central for the regional security, he emphasized, saying that the resumption of bilateral relations "can contribute to the stabilization of the region as a whole."

The EU's key priorities in the Middle East are to achieve deescalation of tensions and promote peace and stability, Stano stressed.

The union remains ready to engage with all actors in the region "in a gradual and inclusive approach, and in full transparency," according to the spokesperson.

The two Persian Gulf neighbors severed their diplomatic ties after the Saudi diplomatic mission in Tehran was attacked by an angry mob in January 2016 over the execution of a Saudi Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eu-welcomes-saudi-arabia-iran-decision-to-resume-diplomatic-ties/2842902

--------

UK provides $6.31 million in assistance to Rohingya in Bangladesh

SM Najmus Sakib

11.03.2023

The UK announced a new £5.26 million ($6.31 million) funding package Friday for persecuted Rohingya living in Bangladesh with a commitment to push for a long-term solution to enable their return to Myanmar.

Visiting Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, announced the new package, according to a statement.

A total of £4.26 million will be distributed through the World Food Program (WFP) and £1 million will go through the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, for pressure cookers to reduce the consumption of cooking gas in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingya in 33 squalid refugee camps in the southern border district of Cox's Bazar.

Trevelyan will visit refugee camps in Cox Bazar to set out how the UK is providing new humanitarian support through the WFP to supply food for 449,000 people living in the camps this month, according to the statement.

She will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen as well as hold talks with civil society organizations to strengthen UK-Bangladesh ties and partnership on climate action.

Trevelyan said that the UK is committed to supporting the Rohingya people who continue to live in Cox’s Bazar.

“The UK continues to push for a long-term solution that will enable the Rohingya to return to Myanmar on a safe, voluntary and dignified basis,” she said.

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Robert Chatterton Dickson, said: “This visit reaffirms the UK’s firm commitment to Bangladesh as a fast growing Indo-Pacific partner with strong people to people connections and our ambition to work even more closely together in the future.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/uk-provides-631-million-in-assistance-to-rohingya-in-bangladesh/2842660

--------

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/hindu-love-land-jihad-boycott-muslims/d/129312

 

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism

Loading..

Loading..