• Indian Profs, Lawyers, Social Workers
Issue Statement Against Communalisation Of COVID-19
• No Transport, Muslim Men Carry Hindu
Woman's Bier for Cremation In Indore
• UP Shia, Sunni Waqf boards ask Muslims
not to visit graveyards on Shab-e-Barat
• 'Stigmatising Minorities Unacceptable':
US 2nd Tough Message for India
• Indonesian People Asked to Scrap Joint
Iftar Plans, Mass Idul Fitri Prayers
• Egypt To Ban Ramadan Gatherings to
Counter Spread of Coronavirus
• Muslims Should Still Fast Ramadan
Despite Coronavirus: Al-Azhar Committee
• As A Muslim, I Consider It My Duty To
Pray For Boris Johnson. I'm Shocked By My Peers Who Don't Think The Same
• Taliban Halts Negotiations with Afghan
Government Over Release of Prisoners
• How Pandemic Has Altered Muslims Daily Call
• European Expertise To Help Restore
Ancient Mosque In Iran
• Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Hyderabad Donates
PPE To Doctors
• "Not Wrong to Shoot" Islamic
Sect Members Evading Quarantine: BJP MLA
• Muslim vendor forced to shut shop in
Haldwani after 5 Jamaatis test positive; FIR filed
• Two more held for attacking Jind Muslims
• Muslim Gujjars targeted in Hoshiarpur,
DC issues warning
• Muslim families in Ropar face Covid bias
• 3 arrested for making fake charges of
spitting, beating against a Muslim in Meerut
• Prospect of Coronavirus Flare-Up During
Ramadan Sparks Health Concerns
• COVID Disrupts Passover, Easter, Ramadan
And Vaisakhi, But Worshippers Adapt In Creative Ways
• Kaie Kellough, Doyali Islam among
Canadian nominees for Griffin Poetry Prize
• Trump attacks WHO over coronavirus,
threatens to withhold funding
• US pushes back on call by OPEC+ to join
big oil output cuts
• 42 Thai Muslims Return from Indonesia
Mosque With COVID-19
• Govt to announce decision whether to
extend MCO on Friday
• Mitigating Covid-19 infection risks at
• Latest casualty attended gathering in
• Jakarta will impose stronger mobility
restrictions on Friday. Here’s what you need to know.
• Mosques to Remain Closed, Charity Iftar
Tables Banned In Ramadan
• Iraq's PM-Designate to Basnews: Shia Factions
Have No Alternative To Me
• Egypt: The Failure of the Muslim
• SBA announces huge line-up of 90 shows
• Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi
Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister
• Saudi Arabia to host virtual meeting of
G20 energy ministers to discuss market stability amid coronavirus pandemic
• CAIR to Host Online Webinar on the
Coronvirus Stimulus Package for Maryland Muslim Communities
• Muslim firefighter contracts coronavirus
after Jewish teenager 'deliberately sneezed' on him
• Far-right racists in US are
'Zoombombing' Muslim groups during coronavirus lockdown meetings
• Pompeo Travelled to Kabul To Deliver
Harsh Message of Trump to Ghani And Abdullah
• 9 Pakistani Muslim preachers in Rautahat
• 44 killed, wounded in a deadly clash
between Taliban, militiamen in North of Afghanistan
• U.S. welcomes Ghani’s decision for
reversing decree to dismember finance ministry
• Bangladesh urges global partners to
honour terms of RMG purchasing contracts
• First coronavirus case confirmed in
• High Commission arranging flight to take
Australians home from Dhaka
• Chinese property tycoon and Xi critic
• How Pandemic Has Altered Muslims Daily
Call to Prayer
• Abia govt to distribute lockdown
palliatives through churches, mosques
• Why Central Asian Jihadists are Inspired
by the US-Taliban Agreement?
• Muslims in Turkey to observe Barat,
Islam's holy night of fate and forgiveness
• Iran ready to cooperate with Turkey on
fight against coronavirus: Zarif
• Yemen’s Ansarullah agrees to UN offer
for large-scale prisoner exchange with Saudi-backed ex-govt.
• Turkish forces, allied militants shell
villages in Syria’s Hasakah: Report
• Seven Terror Suspects Killed in Two
Operations In KP
• Punjab can conduct 3,100 virus tests
• Commanders asked to help govt in
• Court extends Jang chief editor remand
for 11 days
• Capital admin struggling to enforce
lockdown in rural areas
• NAB seeks detail of Shahbaz’s ‘foreign
• Lockdown affects routine immunisation of
• Fakhar Imam takes oath as federal
minister, Babar Awan notified as adviser
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Indian profs, lawyers, social workers issue statement
against communalisation of COVID-19
APRIL 07, 2020
Over a hundred people from different walks of life
have issued a statement condemning the communalisation of COVID-19 as has
happened in the aftermath of the Tablighi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin, Delhi,
and the spurt in cases since then.
The signatories included professors, lawyers,
anthropologists, political scientists, sociologists, scientists, researchers of
technology, food activists, NGO workers in the fields of gender, development
While acknowledging that the event should have been
cancelled, much like any other public events amid the pandemic, the signatories
point out that the jamaat’s event was organised before the COVID-19
restrictions against congregations were announced. “[…] the fact that other
religious gatherings occurred without eliciting a similar response, the move by
the Delhi police to file an FIR against members of the Jamaat is unacceptable,”
the statement says.
“The Delhi police’s directive to evacuate the premises
came only on March 24th; following the janata curfew, it became difficult for
people to disperse in the light of the tightened security and travel
restrictions. Besides, the Delhi government did not give clear instructions in
its order of 13th March on what was banned: while sports and conference events
were banned, there was no mention of religious congregations. The Delhi police
did not attempt to remove the attendees or stop the event while it was being
organised,” it adds.
The signatories also argue that singling out Tablighi
Jamaat attendees ignored other large gatherings that happened around the same
time. Many were even attended by politicians such as the swearing in ceremony
of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan on March 23, and Karnataka
Chief Minister attending a wedding on March 15 with over a thousand people
In contrast, the Tablighi Jamaat event has been
communalised to fan islamophia, the statement points out. “It is alarming to
see how the mainstream media has used this incident to fan anti-Muslim
rhetoric. Muslims are being blamed for the spread of the virus across the
country. They are being called ‘corona bombs’, and ‘enemies of the nation’ on
TV channels, and anchors are mouthing phrases like ‘corona jihad’. One channel
even ran a banner with the Islamophobic catchphrase “Corona aaya, maulana
laaya.” It is not only TV channels that have partaken of this hate fest; Amit
Malviya in his tweets clubbed the Shaheen Bagh protests and the Markaz
Nizamuddin congregation as ‘an Islamic insurrection of sorts’. Delhi’s BJP
chief, Manoj Tiwari called the congregation a conspiracy and asked for an
investigation into the event that allowed people who came on a tourist visa to
carry out religious activities.”
“The moves to brand Muslims as ‘superspreaders’ of the
disease are particularly abhorrent given that they are staged to coincide with
a massive infrastructural and administrative failure to deal with the
unspeakable tragedy of migrants losing lives on account of travelling across
states on foot. Coming on the back of the hate-filled rhetoric constructed
around the anti-CAA protests and the targeted violence against Muslims in North
Delhi, this only serves to expose them to even greater harm and potential
violence,” it adds.
Condemning the Islamophobia and communalisation of the
pandemic, the signatories say that the need of the hour is to facilitate
adequate access to testing, contact tracing, community testing, and for people
to refrain from criminalizing any particular community. It is also important to
create “safe exceptions for migrants to move within controlled conditions to
avoid further loss of life and health hazards,” the statement says.
The signatories have appealed to the Indian government
and media establishments to refrain from using Muslims and other minorities as
‘scapegoats’ on the pretext of COVID-19 safety measures.
No Transport, Muslim Men Carry Hindu Woman's Bier For
Cremation In Indore
April 07, 2020
New Delhi: Unable to find a vehicle amid the
nationwide lockdown, a Hindu woman's bier was carried by her Muslim neighbours
to a cremation ground in Madhya Pradesh's Indore. The young men also helped the
woman's sons with her last rites as most of her relatives did not participate
in the funeral due to fears of coronavirus. Videos and photos, that have been
widely shared on social media, show the woman's bier being carried by the young
Wearing masks, the youths made arrangements for the
funeral and carried the elderly woman's bier on their shoulders to the
cremation ground around 2.5 kms away, state Congress spokesman Narendra Saluja
told news agency PTI.
The 65-year-old woman died on Monday after a prolonged
illness. She is survived by two sons who could come home much after her death
due to lockdown restrictions.
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Kamal
Nath applauded the gesture of the Muslim youths,saying they have set an example
"It is praiseworthy that people from the Muslim
community along with the woman's two sons carried the body on their shoulders
for her last rites. This has set an example in society. It reflects our
Ganga-Jamuni culture and such scenes enhance mutual love and brotherhood,"
he said in a tweet in Hindi.
India has been under lockdown since March 24 to fight
the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus that has affected over 4,000 people
in India alone.
UP Shia, Sunni Waqf boards ask Muslims not to visit
graveyards on Shab-e-Barat
Apr 07, 2020
Clerics of both Shia and Sunni sects on Tuesday urged
members of Muslim community to not visit graveyards on the upcoming occasion of
Shab-e-Barat in view of the lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak in
Shab-e-Barat, also known as the night of forgiveness,
will be observed on April 9. On the day, members of the Muslim community visit
graveyards to pay homage to their dead kin.
President of UP Shia Central Waqf Board, Waseem Rizvi
in a press statement, said the board has decided to keep all their graveyards
closed to avoid congregation of people.
He has appealed to members of the sect to offer
prayers at home and said illumination at the graveyard like lighting of candle
at every grave will be done by the waqf staff.
Prominent Sunni cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi
Mahali too appealed to the community members to stay indoors and offer prayers
on the day.
'Stigmatising minorities unacceptable': US 2nd tough
message for India
07 April, 2020
New Delhi: A senior US State Department diplomat
dealing with Central and South Asia, Alice G Wells, has called "targeting
of ethnic and religious minorities" over covid-19 unacceptable.
In a tweet she said, "Stigmatizing ethnic or
religious minorities is unacceptable, at any time & at any place. Let’s not
let anxiety & fear of #COVID19 divide us..."
According to a News 18 report, this comes after the US
Ambassador at Large for International religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, said on
Friday that hashtag 'CoronaJihad' trending in India was "unfortunate".
"This is wrong by governments to do this. It is —
the governments really should put this down and state very clearly that this is
not the source of the coronavirus. It’s not the religious minority
communities," he said.
While putting the onus on the government, he said, “We
hope it gets pushed back aggressively by those host governments.” But he also
added that he had not had any specific conversation with Indian officials yet,
on the matter.
After a cluster spread of covid-19 was reported from
Delhi’s Nizamuddin where a religious congregation had taken place in the first
half of March, a backlash was reported not just against the Tablighi Jamaat
members who participated in the event but reports of Muslims being harassed
over it started surfacing.
Social media saw a surge in fake news related to how
the minority community in India was deliberately spreading covid-19, so much
so, that police had to start debunking these reports officially on social media
too. Hashtag 'CoronaJihad' started trending on micro-blogging site Twitter.
There were also cases of discrimination against people
from the North East of the country. In one case, a girl posted pictures of
herself on social media having been spat on for “spreading the infection”.
News18 had reported of how students from the north
east were not allowed to buy grocery from a store in Mysuru lest they “infect
others”. The owner of the store was taken into custody over this racially
discriminatory behaviour towards the students.
Indonesian People Asked To Scrap Joint Iftar Plans,
Mass Idul Fitri Prayers
Nina A. Loasana
April 8 2020
The Religious Affairs Ministry has issued prayer and
worship guidelines for Ramadan, asking people not to hold gatherings and adhere
to the physical distancing policy to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Ramadan, expected to start on April 23 and end May 23,
traditionally includes gatherings, such as breaking-of-the-fast, or iftar,
dinners and tarawih (Ramadan night prayers), usually held at mosques.
“These worship guidelines can help prevent the spread
of COVID-19 and protect Muslims in Indonesia from the risk of contracting the
disease,” Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said in a statement on
The guidelines, issued in the form of a circular, have
been distributed to the ministry’s regional offices throughout the archipelago.
As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the globe with more
than 1.2 million infections and 70,000 deaths, the ministry has ad.
Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings to counter spread of
CAIRO: Egypt will ban any public religious gatherings
during the holy Muslim fasting month Ramadan starting in around two weeks to
counter the spread of the new coronavirus, a government statement said on
Muslims usually break the fast at sunset together with
their families, go to the mosque to pray and spend maximum time with relatives.
But with health experts recommending social distancing
measures during the global coronavirus crisis, Egypt will ban any gatherings
and public iftars, or fast-breaking meals, as well as collective social
activities, the ministry of Islamic endowments said in a statement.
Typically mass iftars are held for poor people.
The ban will also apply to the seclusion of Itikaf
when Muslims spend the last 10 days of the month in mosques to pray and meditate,
the ministry said.
Egypt has reported more than 1,300 confirmed cases of
the coronavirus with more than 250 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
Egypt is home to some 100 million people and also the
seat of the Al-Azhar university, Egypt’s highest religious authority and one of
the world’s most eminent seats of Sunni Muslim learning.
Ramadan will start around April 23 depending on the
sighting of the moon marking the start of the month.
Egypt already last month ordered mosques and churches
to shut their doors to worshippers. Prayer calls are broadcast via
Muslims should still fast Ramadan despite coronavirus:
Tuesday 7 Apr 2020
Muslims should fast during Ramadan regardless of the
coronavirus outbreak, an Al-Azhar committee said in an urgent session on
Tuesday, amid concerns that the pandemic would affect affect the Islamic
fasting month, which is set to begin on April 23.
Al-Azhar’s jurisprudence committee said in an official
statement that there was “no scientific evidence yet of a link between fasting
and contracting the virus.”
“Sharia rulings on fasting remain unchanged that
fasting is an obligation for all Muslims, except those exempted from the
fasting with a valid excuse,” it said.
The statements come amid debate on social media over
whether the pandemic will affect Ramadan, and uncertainty over the effect on
the hajj pilgrimage, which is normally undertaken by over 2 million pilgrims.
The Egyptian authorities have said that all
congregational religious activities, including communal prayers in mosques,
will continue to be suspended during Ramadan.
Other public activities planned for Ramadan, such as
public banquets for the needy to break their fast, have also been suspended.
Egypt suspended prayers at mosques and church services
last month in a move aimed at curbing the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in
the Arab world's most populous country.
Egypt has so far registered 1,322 coronavirus cases,
including 85 deaths. The number of coronavirus patients who have retested
negative for the virus has reached 396, 259 of whom have fully recovered and
left isolation hospitals.
As a Muslim, I consider it my duty to pray for Boris
Johnson. I'm shocked by my peers who don't think the same
17 hours ago
As a TV writer specializing in political satire, I’ll
look for any opportunity to ridicule the powerful. In fact, I recently wrote a
sketch about Boris Johnson that was set to be broadcast in the coming days. But
when the news broke over the weekend that Boris had been admitted to hospital,
we decided to pull this sketch.
I was immediately concerned about Boris’
hospitalisation as Downing Street communications tend to be a lagging indicator
under such circumstances. I wasn’t convinced by Number 10’s suggestion that the
PM’s hospitalization was entirely a precautionary measure; so I privately
prayed for BoJo.
Then yesterday the news broke that Boris had been
admitted to the ICU — a deeply worrying turn of events. With a heightened sense
of concern about Boris, I encouraged my Muslim friends and family to pray for
the prime minister. However, this request generated some significant pushback.
People who opposed Boris’s politics and policies had decided that praying for
his health wasn’t on their agenda, something which I frankly found shocking.
To be clear, I oppose Boris’ politics. For example,
his position and disingenuity on Brexit and undercutting of the NHS are not
policies I can ever support. Even though I no longer reside in Britain, I voted
against him in the last general election. Beyond his policies, I’m offended by Boris’
politics; especially his casual (and well-documented) racism. After all, this
is a public figure who has asserted that Islamophobia is a “natural reaction”
to Islam and that Africans have “watermelon smiles”. That sort of rhetoric
could easily appear on Breitbart.
But I’m also offended by the pushback I got, fed by
the idea that Boris's rhetoric and policies make him a villainous character who
does not deserve prayer. This argument represents a frighteningly basic form of
reasoning that essentially categorizes people into goodies and baddies and
doesn’t recognise political leaders as complex characters. For example, it’s
perfectly possible to recognise that Winston Churchill presided over some
horrific policies in India but also acknowledge that he heroically guided
Britain to victory in the Second World War. There’s no inconsistency in
recognizing both of these aspects of Churchill’s leadership. Doing so is, in
fact, historically sensible and appropriate.
Praying for the man leading Britain’s fight against a
deadly disease in his moment of need shouldn’t be remotely controversial. How
incredulous it is that educated people in civilised society need to be
convinced that Boris Johnson’s survival is good for every single person in
Britain, no matter what your political preferences are?
Heaven forbid, if we lose Boris to coronavirus it
would be an unmitigated disaster. In the short run, the cabinet would be
operating without a leader in a high-stress environment, which risks infighting
and a lack of clear direction at a time when every hour counts. Longer term,
losing the chief executive could derail Britain’s continued public health and
economic response to the coronavirus. Given the stakes of this moment, policy
decisions made today will have ramifications for years to come.
Those on the left frequently (and often fairly) decry
the callous nature of Conservative politics: Theresa May’s bungled reaction to
the Grenfell disaster springs to mind. But indifference to Boris’s struggles
with Covid-19 is callous too and smacks of hypocrisy if it’s coming from those
who lament Tory policies.
Even if you oppose Boris on Brexit, immigration,
healthcare or any other matter as I do, losing him doesn’t change the policy
agenda of this Tory government. The Tories will forge ahead with the core of
their political agenda, whoever is in charge. There’s also a personal element:
it’s tough to see any individual struggle with and/or succumb to this virus,
but in Boris’s case the stakes are even higher, as he has a baby on the way.
Some may argue that the prime minister’s
decision-making has exacerbated coronavirus in Britain; that he should have
enforced a lockdown far earlier. I’d agree that Britain should have acted
earlier but would add that Britain’s response has been far better than that of
the US, where I currently reside. No Briton was forced to hear the nation’s
chief executive promote potentially fatal measures as cures for coronavirus. In
fact, Boris’ Treasury has responded to coronavirus admirably, with a bailout
for affected individuals and enterprises. Sadly, here in the US, the $2
trillion bailout tilted in favour of large corporations, so is set to
exacerbate inequality which is already worryingly high.
To me, praying for Boris isn’t remotely controversial,
as it is so very clearly the right thing to do. I will continue to pray for the
prime minister and urge you to do the same. Get well soon, Boris. Britain is
counting on you to lead us through this challenge. I look forward to voting
against you at the next election. Godspeed.
Taliban halts negotiations with Afghan government over
release of prisoners
07 Apr 2020
The Taliban group announced that it has stopped
negotiations with the Afghan government over the release of Taliban prisoners
with effect from today.
“We sent a technical team of the Prisoner’s Commission
to Kabul for verification and identification of our prisoners as release of
prisoners was to start as per the signed agreement and the promise made (to
us),” Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson for Taliban’s political office said in a
Shaheen further added “But, unfortunately, their
release has been delayed under one pretext or another till now. Therefore, our
technical team will not participate in fruitless meetings with relevant sides
starting from tomorrow.”
The director of the Independent Directorate for Local
Governance Abdul Mateen Baig had earlier said the Taliban group is attempting
to release those Taliban commanders who had major role in suicide attacks.
Speaking to reporters in Kabul, Mr. Baig said the
Taliban group has presented a list of 15 prisoners and demand their release in
the first phase of the release of prisoners.
Baig further added that some of the prisoners have
serious cases and were involved in some major attacks including in the attacks
on Intercontinental Hotel and the NDS Hospital in Kabul.
The Taliban delegation arrived in Kabul late last
month to negotiate the release of 5,000 prisoners which was included in the
peace deal between the United States and Taliban.
The release of the prisoners was expected to pave the
way for the launch of intra-Afghan talks.
How pandemic has altered Muslims daily call to prayer
08th Apr 2020
Long before police began storming churches to flush
out worshipers in the wake of coronavirus, Muslims had already heeded the call
to stay home.
Yet the Muslim call to prayer or the Adhan faithfully
rings out from the majestic towers of the mosques daily.
So what did the Muslims do right to still faithfully
pray without congregating, and in so doing make an invaluable contribution in
preventing the spread of Covid-19?
This is what they did: Observant Muslims and
non-Muslims have noted the slight but significant alteration of the Muslim call
to prayer or Adhan.
The adhan, recited by the muezzin or muadhin (caller
to prayer), traditionally from the mosque’s towers, summons Muslims to the five
obligatory prayers (salat).
Recited five times a day, the adhan serves as a brief
summary of the Islamic faith whilst urging faithful to congregate for prayers,
mostly, in the mosque.
Traditionally salat or swalat in the mosque is
obligatory for adult males. But Prophet Mohamed advised that women who wish to
participate in congregational prayers should not be denied the chance.
But in line with government directives on combating
coronavirus and advice by Muslim leaders and scholars, Muslims found a unique
way of still praying together without congregating in mosques.
Like other aspects of Muslim prayer, the adhan has
undergone some slight change to accommodate changed circumstances, and Muslims
are no longer urged or obligated to congregate for prayers in mosques.
As soon as coronavirus was reported in Kenya, Islamic
leaders and scholars immediately searched and found jurisprudence for not
congregating, derived from the Koran, which is the primary source, and hadith
(the recorded words and actions of Prophet Mohamed).
They found that this accommodates slight but
lifesaving changes to the adhan, thus addressing the anxieties of Muslims who
may have felt like they are descending into sin for not congregating in
Additionally, this jurisprudence was derived from the
experience of early Muslims and the Prophet when they encountered circumstances
like extreme weather and disease that would hinder them from performing the
In brief, the muezzin recites that Arabic words hayya
‘ala salah (hasten to the prayer), hayya ‘ala falah (hasten to the salvation).
In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the doctrine of
necessity, which is permissible in Islam has compelled a slight rendition of the
According to Sheikh Hassan Omar, the national
treasurer of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, Muslims have,
historically, since the day of Prophet Mohamed, been advised to pray from home
in times of danger or during any other calamity that requires people to seek
safety at home.
The Friday sermon is an opportunity to advise the
faithful on current affairs, which would have been the ideal platform to
sensitise the public against the pandemic.
Besides, Muslims observe ritual purification or wudhu
using water before engaging in prayer. This involves washing of hands, mouth,
feet, face and ears which in themselves are touted as among the best practices
against the spread of the disease.
Situations that require quarantine are not new in
Islam. One hadith states that Khalifa Umar, a close companion of Prophet
Mohamed, was on an excursion when he and his companions came across a town
whose citizens were suffering from a contagious disease.
One companion, however, narrated that he had overheard
the Prophet say, “If you hear a contagious disease exists in a country, do not
travel there,” he reported.
Khalifa Umar ordered that they return to Madina on the
strength of that hadith whereupon one of the companions asked him: “Are you
running away from the qadar (predestination) of Alah ya amiirul Muumineen
(leader of the faithful)?”
Another hadith states that Abdul Rahman bin Awf, who
was also a companion of the Prophet, narrated that he heard the Prophet say:
“If you hear of a plague in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a
land where you may be, do not leave.”
One hadith says a blind person went to the prophet and
told him there was no one to guide him to the mosque. He asked the Prophet
whether for those reasons he could be exempted from swalah. The prophet
initially agreed, but after angel Jibreel (Gabriel) immediately spoke to him on
the matter, he called the blind man and told him, “Do you hear the adhan?”
The man said he did. The prophet then said to him, “If
you hear the call, answer it by going to the mosque.”
European expertise to help restore ancient mosque in
April 7, 2020
TEHRAN – Several European professionals have announced
readiness to share expertise and offer advice for partially restoring Jameh
Mosque of Qazvin, which is one of the oldest congregational mosques in Iran.
“The European experts are affiliated with an experienced
scientific group in the field of restoration and rehabilitation of historical
monuments, which [their competence] is endorsed by [Iran’s] Ministry of
Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts,” provincial tourism chief Alireza
Khaza’eli announced on Monday, CHTN reported.
The official, however, did not provide any further
details on the experts but said the project will be launched after the
coronavirus pandemic is contained.
Locally known as the Masjid-e-Jameh Atiq, the mosque
is originally built on the site of a Sassanid fire temple, it was subsequently
developed and expanded over several different periods. Its construction was
first ordered in 807 CE (192 AH) by the Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid. Under
the Seljuk leaders (1038-1194), two iwans were added to its north. After a
renovation in the eleventh century, the twelfth century saw the construction of
the main prayer hall, a dome, a courtyard, and a religious school. Under the
Safavids (1501-1732), the southern and western iwans and arcades were added,
and the Qajar period (1779-1924) witnessed a major renovation and expansion.
The mosque follows the four-iwan typology; each iwan
is centered on a large courtyard with a central fountain. This courtyard is one
of the largest mosque courts in Iran, measuring nearly four thousand square
meters. Its two main prayer halls are located along the north and south sides
of the court. Two narrow arcaded halls, five meters wide, run along the east
The mosque is constructed of brick, which is clad with
tiles and inscriptions in some areas. The main prayer hall is the most
ornamented part of the mosque. Both its mihrab and minbar are made of stone,
and the upper part of the walls is ornamented in different floral patterns and
small polychrome tiles.
Half-dome roofing the south iwan also has a
double-shell structure. The two northern minarets are clad with colorful tiles
in floral patterns. The interior of the iwans are decorated with muqarnas; in
the north iwan, these muqarnas are stuccoed, while those in the southern iwan
are of exposed brick.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Hyderabad Donates PPE To Doctors
Apr 8, 2020
Hyderabad: The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Hyderabad,
donated a hundred personal protective equipment (PPE) to doctors at Chest,
Niloufer and Fever hospitals on Tuesday.
The kits were handed over to principal of Osmania
Medical College P Shashikala Reddy by Hamed Mohammed Khan, state president of
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH).
JIH said the city chapter of Doctors Association for
Relief and Education (DARE) , which was working closely with resident doctors,
identified and decided to fulfil PPE requirements of medical staff by approaching
“Healthcare personnel in the state must have adequate
PPE,” Khan said. TNN
"Not Wrong To Shoot" Islamic Sect Members
Evading Quarantine: BJP MLA
April 08, 2020
New Delhi: It is "not wrong to shoot"
Tablighi Jamaat members who are "purposely evading" screening to
check for signs of COVID-19 infection, a Karnataka BJP MLA told reporters on
In a shocking statement the MLA also accused Tablighi
Jamaat members - who have been linked to over 1,400 cases of novel coronavirus
nationwide after a religious gathering in Delhi's Nizamuddin held last month
despite social distancing protocols - of "anti-national" activities
and called them "traitors".
"... one thing is true, some of those who had
been to (the) congregation at Nizamuddin, despite appeal made by Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and (Delhi) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, are purposely evading
citing religious reasons," MP Renukacharya was quoted by news agency PTI.
"... those who attended the congregation and have
not come out for treatment and escaped, government should not protect them...
it is not wrong to shoot them with a bullet," he declared.
In his fierce tirade against the Jamaat Mr
Renukacharya also charged the members with "anti-national" deeds and
said it was correct to say they were participating, indirectly, in terror
MP Renukacharya, who is also Political Secretary to Karnataka
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, claimed he was not blaming all Muslims.
"I request them to come voluntarily to the
doctors and district magistrates. Not all minorities are terrorists, not all of
them are anti-nationals," he was quoted by news agency ANI.
His comments came a day after the Chief Minister
warned of action against those blaming the entire Muslim community for isolated
In January the same MLA caused a controversy after
accusing Muslims of storing lethal weapons, including swords, knives and soda
bottles, in mosques across the state.
"Instead of offering prayers (namaz), Muslims are
storing weapons and their priests (khazis) are giving fatwas instead of
sermons," he claimed at a pro-citizenship law rally in his constituency.
Mr Renukacharya wasn't the only BJP leader from the
state to call for action against missing Jamaat members. BJP Karnataka General
Secretary Arvind Limbavali said: "Enough time has been given... those who
have not come out, arrest them in 24 hours".
Across India there are more than 5,000 confirmed cases
of COVID-19 infection, with at least 1,445 of them linked to the Tablighi
Jamaat. In addition, more than 25,500 people - either local workers of the
group or those who came in contact with them, have been isolated.
The Nizamuddin neighbourhood in which the gathering
was held - in a 100-year-old mosque complex - has been declared a coronavirus
hotspot (one of three in Delhi) and a containment zone.
By the time the scale of the crisis was realised late
last month - after Indonesia nationals who had attended the event tested
positive in Telangana - thousands had dispersed across the country.
In Karnataka around 920 Jamaat attendees have been
identified so far, the state government has said. Of these 27 tested positive
for the virus and 623 are negative. Results for the rest are awaited.
The Karnataka government has urged Jamaat members yet
to be traced to voluntarily identify themselves, be screened for signs of
infection and go into quarantine, if necessary.
Muslim vendor forced to shut shop in Haldwani after 5
Jamaatis test positive; FIR filed
Apr 08, 2020
Six people were booked in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani for
asking a fruit vendor from the minority community to shut shop in the wake of
five members of Tabhligh Jamaat testing positive for coronavirus disease
The police said that the case was registered after a
video of the incident, which took place on Monday, went viral on social media.
“In the video of the incident, six accused identified
as Manish Khati, Kamal Negi, Manoj Singh, Harendra Goswami, Rakesh Tapola and
Chaman Goswami - all residents of Haldwani - could be seen inquiring about the
names of the fruit vendors in the area. And when they come to know about a
Muslim vendor hailing from Banbulpura area of the town from where five jamaatis
tested positive, they asked him to close his shop and open it only after the
pandemic gets over,” said Sanjay Kumar, station house officer of Haldwani
Kotwali police station.
Two more held for attacking Jind Muslims
JIND: Police on Tuesday arrested two more persons for
attacking their Muslim neighbours who did not honour the Prime Minister's
appeal to switch off lights at 9pm on April 5. On Monday, cops had arrested
four men in the case.
Four men were injured in Sunday's attack and one with
serious injuries on his nose was referred to PGIMS, Rohtak, for treatment. The
arrested accused have been identified as Sanjay, Ramniwas , Binu, Purshotam,
Saurabh and Sandeep - all residents of Thathrath village in Jind.
In his police complaint, Sadik Khan (34), who was one
of the injured, alleged that they were at home in Thatharth village when their
neighbours used objectionable language against them. "They asked why our
electricity was not switched off when others had honoured the PM's advice and
attacked us with sharp-edged weapons. They inflicted caused injuries to us,
including my three brothers," he said.
Pillu Khera police station investigation officer
Rajbir Singh said a case has been registered under sections 341 (wrongful
restraint), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly),
506 ( criminal intimidation) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by
public servant) of the IPC against the accused. "We trying to trace the
two unknown accused. Situation is under control in the village and a police
control room vehicle has been deputed in front of the victim's house," he
Muslim Gujjars targeted in Hoshiarpur, DC issues
Jalandhar: Muslims Gujjars are facing discrimination
because of their religion in villages of Mukerian and Chabbewal areas of
Punjab's Hoshiarpur district and are not being allowed to supply milk.
The community has been accused of spreading novel
coronavirus due to unfounded rumours about their links with Tablighi Jamaat.
Some of the community leaders also alleged that they have not been allowed to
even buy groceries.
The issue took such a serious turn that Hoshiarpur
deputy commissioner Apneet Riyait had to issue a warning on Monday that discrimination
on basis religion was simply not acceptable and that the district
administration would act tough in case this continues.
"Communal discrimination would not be allowed at
any cost," the DC said adding that she had received several complaints that
Gujjars were being stopped from supplying milk in Punjab.
It has come to my notice that some cooperative milk
societies have also refused to accept milk from people of a particular
community which was very unfortunate. No society would discriminate or they can
face strict legal action,” she said.
“After Tablighi Jamaat issue on coronavirus got to the
centrestage, rumours were spread in the villages that Gujjars were linked to
Tablighi Jamaat and could spread coronavirus infection. Our people were not allowed
to enter villages to supply milk and for a few days we had to waste our entire
milk production. Even our cattle were blocked from grazing and we were not even
allowed to collect of fodder for them. Owners of grocery shops also refused to
sell essentials to our people and we have been facing a social and economic
boycott,” said Bashir Ali, a resident of Fuglana village and general secretary
of Doaba unit of BC wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal). “In Rajpur Bhaiyaan,
there was a lot of trouble and in villages of Chabbewal and Mukerian areas, our
people complained of similar problems,” he said. “Things have started improving
after the DC’s warning,” Bashir Ali added.
Haji Kaasam Deen Khataana, a resident of Jeevan Waal
village in Hajipur block of Mukerian sub-division said his community was solely
dependent on rearing cattle and supplying milk. Their entire milk production
went waste in the last few days, he said. “Our people have been even denied
sale of medicines and groceries. We have never ever faced any discrimination
and this is the first time that we are facing such a situation,” he said.
“Rumours have been spread about our community that we
are carriers of corona infection,” he added.
Muslim families in Ropar face Covid bias
Ropar: Muslim ftamilies in a few villages and towns of
Ropar district have claimed that they have been facing discrimination from
locals due to a large number of Tablighi Jamaat members testing positive for
The district administration has got complaints of
discrimination against Muslim families, said Ropar deputy commissioner Sonali
Giri. She said the administration was now planning to make announcements in
villages to counter the phobia.
In Kotla Ranewal village, a Muslim Gujjar family said
it faced discrimination at the hands of villagers and panchayat. The family
said their relatives from Jammu and Kashmir got stuck in their house due to the
curfew, but they were asked to leave the village by panchayat members.
A relative of the family who came from Jammu and
Kashmir, Sharif, said he and his family had come to his younger brother's house
in Kotla Ranewal for the marriage of his daughter in Samrala. "We reached
on March 19. The very next day, there was a lockdown and then curfew in Punjab.
My daughter's marriage was fixed for March 25 and we postponed it indefinitely.
We continued staying in the house and we did not find it feasible to leave.
However, the sarpanch is now harassing us, fearing that we are fro m Tablighi
Jamaat and could spread the virus. We were asked to undergo a test. We had made
it clear to the panchayat that we do not belong to Tablighi Jamaat and had not
gone to attend any congregation in Nizamuddin, Delhi. They asked us to leave
the village. Where will we go in this lockdown?" he said.
Kotla Ranewal sarpanch Shamsher Singh said the family
was changing statements and they had asked them for their documents. "We
reported them to the police and asked them to get a health check-up done to
ensure are not infected as their family members are also at risk," he
In Dulchi Majra village, another Muslim Gujjar family
could not take a pregnant woman to the hospital for hours for a regular
check-up after neighbours objected to them moving out of village and feared
they belonged to Tablighi Jamaat. The family claimed that it was only after
village sarpanch intervened they were able to go to the hospital. Dulchi Majra
sarpanch Avtar Singh said emergency services could not be stopped. "From
Wednesday, we will get announcements made in villages from gurudwaras, asking
people not to discriminate on the basis of religion," the DC said.
3 arrested for making fake charges of spitting,
beating against a Muslim in Meerut
Three persons have been arrested for making fake
charges of spitting and beating against a Muslim in village Lakhwaya of
This is the second case in the last 24 hours in the
region in which fake charges were made against people from this minority
community which has been exposed by the police.
In village Lakhwaya of Kankerkhera police station in
Meerut Shopkeeper Arun Kumar had lodged a
complaint against Naemuddin on Saturday night. He accused Naemuddiun who
also resides in the same village of spitting on him to infect him with Corona
and also charged him of thrashing.
Prospect of coronavirus flare-up during Ramadan sparks
April 8, 2020
BY DANIEL SIRYOTI
April 8, 2020 / Israel Hayom) Israeli officials on
Tuesday expressed concern that the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which hundreds
of millions of Muslims worldwide will mark starting on April 24, will cause a
flare-up of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
Israeli authorities have made sure to make information
and every form of assistance available to the Arab sector, but compliance with
the Ministry of Health’s prevention directives, especially with respect to
social distancing, has been slow. As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed
coronavirus cases in Israel was 9,248. Sixty-five Israelis have died from
COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and 770 have recovered
Israeli Health Ministry officials have expressed
concerns that the considerable efforts Israel has invested to “flatten the
curve” of infections will be severely compromised if Ramadan customs are
observed as usual during the pandemic. Large gatherings for prayer, and
particularly family gatherings for the breaking of the daily Ramadan fast, are
a key part of Muslim tradition during the holiday, as is the custom of visiting
the elderly—a group particularly vulnerable to the virus.
A senior Arab-Israeli official told Israel Hayom that
it was only in recent days that the Health Ministry began to consult with
senior officials in the sector about how to successfully weather Ramadan with
minimal impact on religious customs but maximum compliance with public health
directives. Joint Arab List Knesset members were also weighing in on the issue,
said the official, who added that there is a consensus about the need for a
comprehensive information campaign.
Still, at this time, no government plan has been
devised to address the challenge that Ramadan poses with respect to the
“What we’re seeing in Bnei Brak is nothing compared to
what can happen in the Arab sector during Ramadan,” warned the official,
referring to the ultra-Orthodox city in central Israel under military-enforced
quarantine. The measure proved necessary after the city’s residents refused to
adhere to Health Ministry directives, and the community turned into a
Ministry officials said this week that at least 75,000
people of the 200,000 who reside in Bnei Brak could be infected.
Many European and Arab countries share similar
concerns, fearing that the Muslim public will flout social-distancing
directives, which would inevitably lead to higher morbidity and mortality
Some Arab media outlets have called on senior Muslim
clerics to issue edicts prohibiting mass prayer services in mosques and scaling
back any Ramadan-related events.
COVID disrupts Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Vaisakhi,
but worshippers adapt in creative ways
For Nasreen Khan and her family the month-long Ramadan
holiday that starts this month is going to look much different from years past.
“My children are already disappointed we won’t be
breaking our fast in our community every night,” said Khan, whose family as
members of the Masjid Al-Salaam would normally observe the holiday by fasting
until sundown and then breaking the fast and performing the communal Tarawih
prayers at the Burnaby mosque.
And seniors in the community who usually spend
Ramadan, which this year begins around April 23, preparing the food for the
gatherings and for the Eid al-Fitr feast to mark the end “now they will be sort
of out of jobs,” she said.
Nasreen, her husband, Shaheem, their children Nylah
and Shoayb, and Shaheem’s parents, Mehtab and Aslam, are among the millions of
British Columbians whose religious observances are affected by stay-at-home
Also this month are the nine-day Jewish Passover
beginning Wednesday and Christianity’s holiest of days, Easter, on Sunday. The
Sikh Vaisakhi festival and parades in Vancouver on April 18 and in Surrey on
April 25 have both been cancelled because of COVID-19. Last year 500,000 people
took in the Surrey parade.
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry,
Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan had a conference call with
religious leaders Tuesday and Henry said in her daily address to gather even in
groups smaller than the maximum of 50 would put the vulnerable elderly at risk
of becoming infected.
Henry also is “really imploring people” this long
weekend to avoid all non-essential travel, including to cottages, because
smaller communities aren’t equipped to deal with extra sick people or medical
Religious leaders are preaching the stay-at-home
order, and worshippers are getting the message to pray at home with only
immediate family or online.
Nasreen said praying at home is difficult because “not
all of us have the Holy Qur’an memorized. We depend on the imams who do have it
memorized to lead us and we follow behind.”
An important part of Passover for religious Jews is
the communal two-night Seder dinner that involves special foods and special
“For many people, this will be one of the first Seders
they’ve ever done,” said Shanken, who was on his way to deliver to a family a
“Seder in a box” from a caterer who said they prepared more than 500 boxes.
Catholic churches have been offering services
online-only for weeks, with 52,000 attending mass online last weekend, said
Roman Catholic Archdiocese spokeswoman Melissa Godbout.
The stay-at-home order means the cancellation this
weekend of baptisms or receptions for 500 adults and First Holy Communion for
2,700 children, she said.
“I was actually a bit shocked (when I heard the
services were cancelled),” said Brittany Howard, 21, who has been studying to
join the church since last September and is among the catechumens whose baptism
was postponed until her church reopens after the pandemic. “I thought church
could never close and I was disappointed until I understood why.”
All religious leaders said an important part of the
holidays is charitable work and the cancellation of communal gatherings meant
to include the needy is making that difficult.
The Union Gospel Mission (UGM) traditionally serves
2,500 meals at Easter each year in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, said the
UGM’s Jeremy Hunka.
And the Catholic Charities’ DTES soup kitchen, the
Door is Open, will serve takeout dinners to hundreds with food donated by
Global Gourmet Foods of Richmond, which sponsors the Easter dinner each year,
said the charity’s organizer, Frances Cabahug.
“Many of the other places (serving food in the DTES)
aren’t able to stay open because they don’t have the windows like we have to
serve people,” she said. “The onus is really on us to go above-and-beyond” to
serve the homeless.
Kaie Kellough, Doyali Islam among Canadian nominees
for Griffin Poetry Prize
16 HOURS AGO
Kaie Kellough is among this year’s Canadian nominees
for the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize.
The Montreal-based, Calgary-raised writer is
shortlisted for his third collection, “Magnetic Equator,” a continent-spanning
exploration of identity.
Also in the running is Doyali Islam, the Toronto-based
editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, for “Heft,” which examines rupture and
Rounding out the Canadian short list is
Vancouver-based Chantal Gibson for her debut book of poetry, “How She Read.”
The international contenders are “How to Dress a Fish”
by Colorado-based Abigail Chabitnoy; “Arias” by New York-based Sharon Olds;
Sarah Riggs for her translation of “Time,” written in French by Beirut-born
Etel Adnan; and Natalie Scenters-Zapico, who grew up on the U.S.-Mexico border,
for “Lima :: Limon.”
The Canadian and international winners, who will each
receive $65,000, will be announced on Griffin’s social media channels on May
Organizers cancelled this year’s readings and gala
dinner because of concerns over COVID-19.
The Globe has five brand-new arts and lifestyle
newsletters: Health & Wellness, Parenting & Relationships, Sightseer,
Nestruck on Theatre and What to Watch. Sign up today.
Trump attacks WHO over coronavirus, threatens to
08 April 2020
US President Donald Trump has blamed the World Health
Organization for getting every aspect of the coronavirus "wrong,"
threatening to pull back funding from the international organization.
Speaking at a White House press conference Tuesday,
Trump said that “they did give us some pretty bad play calling ... with regard
to us, they’re taking a lot of heat because they didn’t want the borders
closed, they called it wrong. They really called, I would say, every aspect of
He criticized the organization as being “very
China-centric” for condemning his Jan. 31 travel ban, which led to foreign
nationals, who had traveled to China within the last 14 days, being barred from
entering the US.
“Take a look, go through step by step. They said
there’s no big deal, there’s no big problem. There’s no nothing, and then
ultimately when I closed it down, they said I made a mistake in closing it down
and it turned out to be right.”
The WHO, the United Nations’ health agency, began to
sound the alarm on the outbreak of a new coronavirus in Wuhan, China in
Later on January 30, it designated the COVID-19
pandemic as a global health emergency after there had been only 8,200 cases in
18 countries across the world.
Paramedics take a patient into emergency center at
Maimonides Medical Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease
(COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, US, April 7,
2020. (Reuters photo)
So far, the virus has affected over 1,430,000
worldwide and killed more than 82,000, according to worldometers.info. In the
United States, more than 400,000 people have tested positive and 12,000 have
The US president also said on Tuesday that Washington
would put a “very powerful hold” on money it sends to the WHO. However, when
asked if it was the right thing to do amid the ongoing crisis, he said, “I’m
not saying I’m going to do it, but we will look at ending funding.”
According to the WHO’s most recent notice of
assessment, the United States was expected to pay $115,766,922 to the agency
for the biennium of 2020-2021.
Trump’s criticism of the WHO came while the agency
itself disapproved of some of his policies and practices surrounding the virus.
The organization has urged people against calling
COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” as Trump has done, arguing that it could
unintentionally result in racial profiling.
US President Donald Trump insists on calling the novel
coronavirus a “Chinese” one, arguing that it refers to where it is from and
“Viruses know no borders and they don’t care about
your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank.
So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to
the profiling of individuals associated with the virus,” Dr. Mike Ryan, the
executive director of WHO’s emergencies program, said on March 18 at a news
conference when asked about Trump’s remarks inciting violence against Asians.
Executive Director of the World Health Organization's
(WHO) emergencies program Mike Ryan speaks at a news conference on the novel
coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland February 6, 2020. (Reuters photo)
President Trump has removed, Glenn Fine, the inspector
general tasked with overseeing the government’s $2 trillion in emergency
Fine was named last week to chair the Pandemic
Response Accountability Committee, a committee acting as a sort of
uber-watchdog over the federal government’s response to the new coronavirus,
including health policy and the largest economic relief package in US history.
The decision to remove Fine, the acting inspector
general for the Defense Department, from his post fueled concerns in Congress
about oversight of the relief package.
“We will continue to exercise our oversight to ensure
that this historic investment of taxpayer dollars is being used wisely and
efficiently,” she said in a statement.
Trump has attacked the US Health Department’s
inspector general Christi Grimm over a report that shows American hospitals are
suffering shortages on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.
The president described as a “fake dossier” the
findings that confirmed hospitals nationwide had insufficient capacity to
handle the surge of coronavirus patients as reported by governors, mayors and
local health officials.
An overflowing trash can including personal protective
equipment (PPE) is seen on a sidewalk outside Maimonides Medical Center during
the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of
New York City, New York, US, April 7, 2020. (Reuters photo)
Trump accused the inspector general of being
politically motivated, asking why she had not spoken to admirals, generals, the
vice president or other relevant authorities before working on the report.
According to an HHS OIG spokeswoman, the office
“approached this survey with the same integrity and quality standards as we
have in previous work.”
The spokeswoman also said that staff had interviewed
“knowledgeable professionals at more than 320 hospitals across 46 states.”
Hospitals have complained about major challenges in
testing and treating patients, reporting having sufficient capacity to handle
the increase in needed care, the HHS inspector general said in the report which
is based on 323 hospitals surveyed from March 23 to 27.
US pushes back on call by OPEC+ to join big oil output
08 April 2020
Saudi Arabia, Russia and allied oil producers will
agree to deep cuts to their crude output at talks this week only if the United
States and several others join in with curbs to help prop up prices that have
been hammered by the coronavirus crisis.
However, the US Department of Energy noted in a
statement on Tuesday that US output is already falling without government
action, in line with the White House's insistence that it would not intervene
in the private markets. That decline, however, would take place slowly, over
the course of the next two years.
Global oil demand has dropped by as much as 30%, or
about 30 million barrels per day (bpd), as measures to reduce the virus' spread
have caused demand for jet fuel, gasoline and diesel to crash.
While Saudi Arabia, Russia and other members of the
group known as OPEC+ have expressed willingness to return to the bargaining
table, they have made their response conditional upon actions by the United
States and other countries that are not members of OPEC. No agreement has yet
"Before any meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC
there needs to be an agreement on production numbers for any country that will
reduce production," Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh tweeted on Tuesday,
adding that the United States and Canada need to play a role in determining
OPEC+ is due to hold a video conference on Thursday at
1,400 GMT, after US President Donald Trump said last week that Riyadh and Moscow
had agreed to cut an unprecedented 10 million to 15 million bpd, or about 10%
to 15% of global supply. He has not committed to any actions by US companies.
"With regards to media reports that OPEC+ will
require the United States to make cuts in order to come to an agreement: The
EIA report today demonstrates that there are already projected cuts of 2
(million bpd), without any intervention from the federal government," the
US Energy Department said.
After the OPEC+ talks, Saudi Arabia will host a video
conference on Friday for energy ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) major
economies to alleviate the effects of the pandemic on energy markets, the group
said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The scale of this challenge is so large that
OPEC+ cannot solve it," said Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia
University's Center on Global Energy Policy and a former Obama administration
official. "Only some and not all of the world's producers have the
willingness and ability to limit production."
Riyadh and Moscow are trying to overcome the rancor
stemming from March's talks, when a deal to extend production cuts fell apart.
Since then, Saudi Arabia has been flooding the market with extra crude, and it
has insisted it would no longer carry what it considered an unfair burden of
Three-plus years of production curbs by OPEC+ left an
opening for the United States to gain market share as it boosted shale
production to push national output to 13 million bpd, the most worldwide.
The US success in growing crude output has frustrated
some members of the production-cut pact, most specifically Russia, whose oil
companies have bemoaned giving up market share to the United States.
US Department of Energy projections now show US oil
output averaging 11 million bpd in 2021, which correlates to about a 2 million
bpd decline from the late 2019 peak.
US antitrust laws prohibit oil producers in the United
States from taking steps to push up oil prices. Output curbs would be legal if
state regulators or the federal government set lower production levels, experts
Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on imports of
Russian and Saudi crude, while two Republican US senators have introduced
legislation that would remove US forces from ally Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia, with by far the world's biggest reserve
of extra capacity and some of the lowest production costs, said it had raised
crude output to 12.3 million bpd on April 1 and planned to export more than 10
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said any output
cuts should be made from levels in the first quarter, before Saudi Arabia and
others hiked production. OPEC sources said Riyadh wanted cuts to be calculated
from its current higher level.
The OPEC source said there was no consensus between
Riyadh and Moscow on the baseline for any reductions. Russian TASS news agency
said cuts could last three months starting from May.
The head of top US oil firm Exxon Mobil Corp, Darren
Woods, said on Tuesday he supported "free trade and low tariffs",
when asked about the cuts. However, his firm cut investment by a third to $23
billion, mainly in US shale fields.
Occidental Petroleum, another large US producer,
argued in a letter to Texas regulators that mandated cuts would be
short-sighted. Texas is the largest-producing US state and regulators there are
meeting next week to consider production cuts.
Other oil producers outside the OPEC+ group have
already indicated a willingness to help, though private producers in Canada,
home to the world's third-largest oil reserves, were already reducing output
due to the sharp fall in prices.
42 Thai muslims return from Indonesia mosque with
More than half of the nearly 80 Thai muslims who
returned from a religious gathering in Indonesia were found infected with
COVID-19, health officials said Wednesday.
The 42, part of 111 new cases announced this morning,
had returned from an unspecified religious ceremony before testing positive for
the coronavirus. They are now being treated at hospitals, said Taweesilp
Wissanuyothin of Department of Disease Control at this morning’s daily
The group of 76 reportedly returned to Thailand from
Indonesia on Monday. Officials would not say where exactly the event was held,
but Indonesia hosted at least one large gathering late last month in South
Sulawesi province that drew about 10,000 pilgrims from throughout the region.
The infected include residents of Songkhla,
Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces. Satun saw the most infections –
16 people. Those who tested negative were ordered into isolation as well as
their flight’s cabin crew, Taweesilp said.
It comes after dozens of Thai muslims were infected at
another mosque gathering in late February in Kuala Lumpur that saw hundreds of
travelers return to their home nations infected.
Thailand on Wednesday reported new 111 COVID-19 cases
and three deaths, bringing the official tally to 2,369 infections and 30
fatalities since January. Due to testing limitations, the actual numbers are
likely much higher.
Correction: An earlier version of this story
misidentified the location of last month’s gathering in Indonesia. It was in
South Sulawesi, not East Java.
Govt to announce decision whether to extend MCO on
Friday (April 10)
08 Apr 2020
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): On Friday (April 10), the
public will know whether the movement control order (MCO), enforced since March
18, will be further extended to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The MCO was initially enforced until March 31, but
extended to April 14 and this Friday (April 10), the government is expected to
make the much-awaited announcement on whether it will be further extended.
Many people are hoping the MCO, which enters its 22nd
day Wednesday (April 8), will not be further extended so that they could return
to their normal lives, but it will all depend on the Covid-19 situation in the
country and the government will certainly not place the health of its people at
A total of 170 new Covid-19 cases, with one death,
were announced as of noon Tuesday (April 7), bringing the accumulated Covid-19
cases in the country to 3,963, with a total of 63 deaths.
The country’s crime index has dropped by 70% since the
MCO was enforced, but the number of individuals caught for defying the MCO
increased to 6,451 people as of Tuesday.
On public sanitation, Senior Minister (Security
Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government, through the
Housing and Local Government Ministry, had conducted 666 sanitation operations
in 79 zones, including all 18 Red Zones.
The operation is important because there is a new
location has been placed under the enhanced MCO, namely the Malayan Mansion and
Selangor Mansion buildings here.
Prior to that, the enhanced MCO was enforced in three
areas - Simpang Renggam, Kluang, Johor; Sungai Lui, Hulu Langat, Selangor, and
City One Tower, Jalan Munshi Abdullah here.
Apart from efforts by the government, the public and
corporate companies have also joined forces to help curb the Covid-19 outbreak,
including by donating to the Covid-19 Fund, which has reached RM22.6mil.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, through a
posting on his Facebook page, stated that as of Monday (April 6), a total of
RM5.68mil from the fund was channeled to the National Welfare Foundation (YKN)
for the purchase of daily necessities to be donated to those affected by the
As such, Malaysia needs the cooperation and support of
all the people during this MCO period to prevent Covid-19 from further
Citizens have been urged to comply with the rules of
the MCO, to not spread fake news, including on social media, and to appreciate
the role of the frontline personnel in protecting the people’s lives and
security in the country. - Bernama
Mitigating Covid-19 infection risks at your premises
On March 11, the World Health Organisation declared
Covid-19 a pandemic and many countries started restricting movement of people
to mitigate the disease’s exponential spread.
Mitigating the risks of Covid-19 infection in
workplaces or business premises and assisting in contact tracing are examples
of how technology can bridge the gaps to battle the virus.
“As a leading provider of integrated IT solutions in
Asia with a track record of success spanning over 60 years, HKBN JOS has yet
again harnessed technology as part of the response to battle Covid-19, ” said
HKBN JOS (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director Steven Soo.
“HKBN JOS’s Smart IoT Thermal Detection Solution helps
businesses across industries to mitigate the risks of Covid-19 infection at
HKBN JOS has a strong heritage in the region and has
earned customers’ trust through a reputation of high quality and always taking
the long-term view in their best interests.
Currently, the country is under a movement control
order (MCO) which involves social distancing, avoiding mass gathering, closing
of schools, working from home and reducing unnecessary travel.
Business hours are also restricted. These include
sundry shops, convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants and food and
beverage (F&B) outlets in hotels (dine-in service is banned, only takeaways
and deliveries are allowed), vehicle workshops and shops selling spare parts.
The health ministry is also working closely with the
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to mitigate the spread of
Covid-19 within the community, including contact tracing for health screening.
Meanwhile, 409 government buildings have been gazetted
as quarantine stations nationwide to house Malaysians who return from Covid-19
As of April 7, the number of positive Covid-19 cases
in Malaysia rose by 170, bringing the total to 3,963. While 1,321 patients have
recovered so far, there were 63 deaths reported.
The health ministry director-general has also
cautioned of a rise in new cases and added that Covid-19 could reach its peak
Soo believes organisations can play a role by
conducting stringent temperature checks for employees and customers in offices
and retail spaces as the first line of defence.
It is a cost-effective and well-timed service that
uses advanced internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) thermal
tracking technologies to detect abnormal body temperatures.
This convenient contactless body temperature tracking
solution supports real-time monitoring, smart alerts and record uploads via
WiFi or 4G mobile network. With this solution, staff members don’t need to
manually conduct thermal checking and avoid close proximity with those who may
Latest casualty attended gathering in Sulawesi
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia’s latest Covid-19 casualty is a
71-year-old man who had attended a religious gathering in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Identified as Patient 3764, he took part in the event
from March 17 to 24, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah
“The man from Perlis was treated at Hospital Enche’
Besar Hjh Kalsom, Johor on April 5. He was declared dead at 11pm on April 6, ”
he said yesterday.
An estimated 83 Malaysians were present in the tabligh
gathering, which was attended by about 8,000 people from all over the world.
Dr Noor Hisham also announced 170 new cases as well as
80 more recoveries yesterday. So far, 1,321 patients have been discharged since
the outbreak began, with the recovery rate for Malaysia currently at 33.33%.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said out of nearly 4,000
Covid-19 cases in the country, 69 had been identified as sporadic cases in
which the source of their infection is not known.
He said these were detected from tests conducted on
patients who have ILI (influenza-like illness) and SARI (Severe Acute
“For ILI and SARI patients, we have run 8,025 tests to
detect whether they are carriers of the virus. We have found from such tests
that 69 cases were positive while the rest tested negative.
Other significant clusters that have been identified
are the Bandar Baru Bangi wedding gathering, the Kuching church gathering and
the Italy “imported cluster” also found in Kuching.
Jakarta will impose stronger mobility restrictions on
Friday. Here’s what you need to know.
April 8, 2020
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is set to issue within
the next two days a gubernatorial decree on large-scale social restrictions
(PSBB) to further limit people's movement in the capital city – the country’s
epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The forthcoming decree is meant to officially enforce
anticipatory measures that have been in place for the past few weeks -- now set
to be coupled with sanctions for violators -- as Jakarta reports an
ever-increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of Tuesday afternoon, authorities had confirmed at
least 1,369 COVID-19 cases in Jakarta, making up nearly half the country’s
official tally of 2,738 cases. More than 100 fatalities from the disease have
been reported in the capital out of a nationwide death toll of 221 on Tuesday.
But what will such stronger physical distancing
measures mean? Here are several key takeaways expected in the upcoming decree
detailing the PSBB, which will be imposed in Jakarta starting Friday.
Students will continue to learn from home as schools
remain closed due to the pandemic. Access to other public spaces, such as
state-owned and privately owned entertainment venues, public parks, gyms and
museums will also continue to be restricted.
“The same [restrictions] apply to social and cultural
events. We will also limit them. Wedding ceremonies [may still be held], but
only if they take place at the religious affairs office,” Anies said in a press
conference on Tuesday evening.
Such restrictions are in line with Article 13 of
Health Ministerial Decree No. 9/2020 on PSBB guidelines, which stipulates that
large-scale social restrictions consist of closing schools and offices,
limiting religious gatherings, public facilities, social and cultural
activities and other matters related to defense and security, as well as
Public transportation services will limit passenger
numbers to 50 percent of their normal capacity and restrict operational hours
from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Anies said.
Private vehicles will still be allowed to pass through
Jakarta's streets, as well as in and out of the capital, albeit with a limited
number of passengers in each vehicle.
According to the Health Ministry's PSBB guidelines,
app-based motorcycle taxis are also not allowed to transport passengers,
although they are still permitted to transport goods.
Furthermore, gatherings of more than five people will
also be prohibited to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection, Anies said.
Eight industry sectors that provide products and
services considered to be essential will remain fully operational to cater to
the everyday needs of the public amid the public health emergency, Anies said.
These include companies and organizations in the
sectors of health, food, energy (including water supply, gas and fuel
stations), communications (including telecommunication providers and media),
finance (including banks and stock market), delivery of logistics, daily needs
retailers (including grocery stores and minimarkets), as well as strategic
sectors in the capital.
“So all businesses, except these eight sectors, are urged
to work from home. The health sector, for instance, is still allowed to resume
normal operations. The sector is not only limited to hospitals or clinics;
companies that produce soap and disinfectants, for example, which are very
relevant to the current situation will not cease [their operations],” Anies
told the press.
In addition, NGOs that manage relief funds and
community initiatives related to the ongoing mitigation efforts will also be
allowed to carry on with their activities.
That said, the aforementioned companies and
organizations must still comply with the established mitigation procedures.
“They all need to operate in accordance with the
COVID-19 mitigation procedures, which means physical distancing, making it
obligatory [for employees] to wear masks and providing access to hand-washing
facilities,” he said.
As of Tuesday, more than 3,300 companies across the
capital have issued work-from-home policies for some 1.2 million employees in
response to the outbreak, according to the Jakarta Manpower, Transmigration and
Anies said the administration, in cooperation with the
central government, would provide aid to low-income families, as well as those
considered most vulnerable to poverty during the implementation of large-scale
“The Jakarta administration, along with the police and
the military, will facilitate the distribution of Sembako [the nine basic
commodities] to people residing in densely populated areas starting this
Thursday,” he said, adding that he hoped the efforts would help low-income
families fulfill their daily needs during the crisis.
Anies ensured that markets would also remain
accessible during the self-isolation period as city-owned market operator Pasar
Jaya was already providing a home shopping service involving sellers in 150
Mosques to remain closed, charity iftar tables banned
The Ministry of Endowments announced on Tuesday that
it will continue the suspension of all group religious activities during
Ramadan, including prayer in mosques and large charity iftar tables, as a
precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak in Egypt.
The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs also called on
the Ministry of Interior and the Cairo Governorate authorities to cancel the
Islamic Thought Forum, held annually during Ramadan at the Imam Hussein Mosque
Square this year, and to also ban all religious public gatherings or symposiums
in any of the directorates during the holy Islamic month.
The ministry stressed that mosques would remain closed
as long as Egypt continues to record new coronavirus cases and as long as a ban
on gatherings is in force in Egypt.
Egypt’s Religious Endowments Ministry issued an order
on March 21 to halt Friday prayers and congregational prayers, closing all
mosques and their attachments starting for roughly two weeks.
Azhar’s Senior Scholars Authority, and Egypt’s Dar
al-Iftaa have earlier allowed the suspension of Friday prayers and congregation
prayers as part of measures against the virus.
Dar al-Ifta said it was forbidden to continue holding
prayers in mosques, even if they are usually obligatory, as preserving human
health is one of the most important goals of Islamic law.
Islam orders its own issuance of laws to prevent
diseases and epidemics, implement quarantine principles and preventive
measures, and prohibit contact with infected people.
Egypt on Monday confirmed seven additional deaths and
149 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s number of confirmed total
cases so far to 1,322.
Iraq's PM-designate to BasNews: Shia Factions Have no
Alternative to Me
ERBIL - Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Adnan al-Zurfi
told BasNews on Tuesday that the Shia factions had no alternative to him,
refuting any claims in this regard.
Earlier on Sunday, an Iraqi source claimed that the
Shia political factions of Fatah Alliance, Hikmah Movement, and State of Law
Coalition had jointly decided to boycott a parliamentary session slated to vote
Meanwhile, Hamid Maala, a leading member of Hikmah
Movement, also said that the leaders of the three Shia factions had agreed to
nominate Mustafa Kadhemi, the head of Iraq’s intelligence service, instead of
However, the premier-designate said that all the
claims that there was a figure to replace him, "are far from the
truth," and that "no names by anyone has been sent to the Iraqi
This also came after Falah Khafaji, an Iraqi lawmaker
and member of the Victory Alliance, said in a statement that the Shia factions
were collecting signatures to replace Zurfi with another figure.
Egypt: The Failure of the Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood failed to consolidate the power
they obtained in 2011. Stephan Roll analyzes why.
Mohammed Morsi's presidency is history. The mass
protests, which spread across the country on the anniversary of Morsi's
inauguration and the ultimatum given by the military leadership paved the way
for the removal of Egypt's first freely elected president at the hand of the
country's armed forces. Morsi's own failure is also a failure of the Muslim
Brotherhood, which is standing behind him, and the leaders of which are now
being arrested together with the deposed president. The group did not manage to
consolidate the power it gained in 2011. Three central factors were crucial for
First, the Muslim Brotherhood neglected to open up to
the population. After the fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime in 2011, the
Brotherhood leadership attempted, through the founding of the Freedom and
Justice Party (FJP), to transform its political arm into a catch-all party.
Indeed, the FJP managed to organize a majority and to win elections. The reason
was that the party, in contrast to other political parties in Egypt, had a good
organizational structure. The FJP, however, did not turn into a catch-all
party. Instead of integrating as many political factions as possible and having
an open debate, party positions were mostly discussed within the Brotherhood’s
leadership bureau, Maktab al-irshad. In this non-transparent executive board, a
small group of ideologically like-minded “conservative pragmatists” who were
part of the inner circle of Kheirat al-Shater, the deputy leader of the
Brotherhood, kept things firmly in their hands.
Liberal-minded members of the Muslim Brotherhood, like
Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who managed to achieve a decent result in the 2012
presidential election, have been successively pushed out of the governing body
of the group. The lack of appreciation for transparency is also mirrored in
Morsi’s governing style. The president often did not even try to explain his
decisions to the population. This lack of willingness to communicate was
coupled with an uncharismatic and largely unknown Morsi, until his election.
Second, the Muslim Brotherhood was unable to unite the
Islamist spectrum in Egypt. The Brotherhood, like foreign observers, was caught
by surprise by the political success of the Salafis. The Salafist al-Nour Party
(Party of light) was clearly the second strongest force in Egypt with 22% of
votes during the first free parliamentary elections in 2011. Ever since, the
party has developed further and has increasingly set itself apart from the
Brotherhood and the FJP.
Although it is more conservative regarding
socio-political positions, al-Nour showed a greater willingness to engage with
the opposition. The party did not participate in the mass demonstrations
against Morsi, but stressed the legitimacy of the elected president. However,
it unequivocally asked Morsi to set new elections and until then to form a
technocratic cabinet. It remains to be seen whether this strategy will pay off
for al-Nour. In any case, the Islamist camp is split because of this, and the
Muslim Brotherhood will have a harder time portraying the calls for Morsi’s
resignation as an attack against the “Islamic identity of the country” — a
formula which they were able to successfully deploy in the past in order to
mobilize for its goals.
Third, the Muslim Brotherhood was not successful in
coming to an agreement with important state actors. They only managed to bring
about a power-sharing agreement, apparently in the form of a “gentlemen’s
agreement,” with the military leadership. The military accepted the civilian
president and, in return, it was awarded significant autonomy through the new
constitution, pushed through by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood leadership apparently believed naively
that through the agreement with the military, it could gain control over other
established state institutions, like the internal security services and the
judiciary. This was not the case; although the media, often critical with
respect to the Muslim Brotherhood, decried an “Ikhwanization,” an infiltration
of institutions by the Brotherhood.
Due to a lack of control over the interior ministry,
the organization did not manage to start an urgently needed reform of the
security apparatus and to break the informal networks and structures of the
Egyptian police. The judiciary laws proposed by the Muslim Brotherhood, such as
a change in the electoral law, were successfully blocked.
The coming days will show how the Brotherhood will be
able to regroup with many of its leaders in prison or on the run, and which
path they will chose for the new political process that started with the
military's interference. This could be dependent on how successful the
Brotherhood will be in mobilizing its members and supporters, and how intact
its internal structure still is. On this point, it is completely unclear on how
many supporters the Brotherhood can count
– information ranges from several hundred thousand to several million
people. It is also unclear to what extent these supporters could be mobilized
for nationwide demonstrations – or whether there will be internal resistance
against the leadership’s policy. During the last several months, there have
been repeated reports of criticism against the movement's governing style,
coming from within the Muslim Brotherhood. Then again, the military crackdown
against the leadership could close the cracks that have opened during the
Brotherhoods 12 months in power. In the coming weeks, organization’s internal
cohesion could tip the scale for the brotherhood, and the democratic process in
SBA announces huge line-up of 90 shows during Ramadan
12 hours ago
The Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (SBA) has lined up
more than 90 programmes covering a range of topics to be broadcast on its radio
and television channels during the holy month of Ramadan this year. The
announcement came at a virtual press conference held on Tuesday.
Aligning with the UAE’s directives for social
distancing to combat the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), SBA announced
its Ramadan package will include 11religious, 28social and cultural programmes,
20 entertaining dramas and soap operas featuring the best of Arab TV stars, in
addition to entertaining competitions, and a variety of radio shows and
The virtual press conference saw the participation of
Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council (SMC); HE Mohammed
Hassan Khalaf, Director General of SBA; Directors of the SBA’sradio and TV
stations, and over 30local and international reporters.
In his speech, Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi
stressed the important role of the mass media particularly in times of crisis.
He said, “The media today has become an essential partner for social
development, providing a window for people not only to the distant world, but
also to the near. Now more than ever, the media’s responsibility is to support
the community, by providing credible information, guiding people towards
positive practices, helping them understand and be aware of the situation, and
“Reaffirming our commitment to the nation’s social
distancing directives, we meet virtually today to announce SBA’s Ramadan’s
lineup of programmes. The authority is keen on providing meaningful programming
that embraces education and entertainment for Emirati and Arab families and is
accessible to all people all around the world,” added Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed
For his part, Mohammed Hassan Khalaf said, “In times
of crisis, the media’s role and efforts must multiply to meet the demands of
the public. Managing a crisis of this magnitude means that media outlets should
display a high sense of responsibility, ethics and professionalism.
At SBA, we continue our efforts with faith in our wise
leadership to overcome this crisis, and commit to providing audiences quality
and creative content through our TV channels and radio stations during the holy
month of Ramadan,” Khalaf added.
During Ramadan, Sharjah TV channel will launch six new
educational, cultural, entertainment and religious programmes, as well as three
TV dramas suitable for all family members.
Al WoustaTV from Al DhaidWith a special fous on the emirate
of Sharjah’s central region, its traditions and culture, Al Wousta TV from Al
Dhaid will run three new programmes covering the region’s historical landmarks,
social topics, oral history and a traditional food show, in addition to two TV
dramas. Al Sharqiyah TV from KalbaAl Sharqiyah TV from Kalba has nine social,
cultural and cookery programmes lined up, in addition to five new TV dramas.
The radio station has lined up nine spiritual and
religious programmes, 15 programmes that cover a wide range of literary,
cultural and educational topics, and four radio dramas. Sharjah Radio’s daily
morning talk show Al Atheer will continue throughout the holy month.
The Holy Quran Radio in Sharjah will boost its
religious offerings with 15 Ramadan-focused programmes and segments, that delve
into the history, meanings and tafseer of the different Suras and verses of
Sharjah’s first English-language radio station will
launch a new daily talk show titled ‘Night Karak’, covering news, sports and
inspiring stories and presenting various competitions every Wednesday during
Pulse 95 Radio will also broadcast various 1-minute
segments covering topics related to Ramadan and fasting, meant to educate the
non-Muslim English-speaking community in the UAE on some essential Ramadan
practices. It also announced modified timings of its regular shows The Morning
Majlis, Life Beats, Future Talk, and Yalla Home.
Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit
200,000, says health minister
JEDDAH: The eventual number of coronavirus cases in
Saudi Arabia could be as low as 10,000 or as high as 200,000 depending on
compliance with curfews and social distancing, the Kingdom’s health minister
said on Tuesday.
“We stand today at a decisive moment as a society in
raising our sense of responsibility and contributing together with
determination to stop the spread of this pandemic,” Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said in a
rare televised address.
The Kingdom has reported 2,795 virus cases and 41
deaths, the highest in the six Gulf states.
Four studies by infectious disease experts suggested
the number of cases would reach between 10,000 and 200,000, the minister said.
New 24-hour curfews imposed on Monday night were
required because some people were not taking the danger of infection seriously
but were leaving their homes and gathering in groups, he said, and road traffic
was at 46 percent of normal, which was too high, he said.
In areas not already under 24-hour lockdown, the
Interior Ministry brought forward the start
of the daily curfew from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Saudi Arabia to host virtual meeting of G20 energy
ministers to discuss market stability amid coronavirus pandemic
LONDON: Saudi Arabia will host a virtual meeting on
Friday April 10 of energy ministers from the Group of 20 major economies in a
bid to ensure "market stability" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Saudi G20 presidency will hold an
extraordinary G20 energy ministers' virtual meeting on Friday... to foster
global dialogue and cooperation to ensure stable energy markets," said a
statement released Tuesday.
"The G20 energy ministers will also act,
alongside invited countries, and regional and international organisations, to
alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the energy markets,” it added.
The meeting comes a few weeks after the extraordinary
virtual summit of G20 leaders which was hosted by King Salman on March 26.
Also on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's Cabinet said in a
statement that its call for an OPEC+ meeting is an extension to its previous
efforts to achieve market balance and stability.
"Saudi Arabia's call for OPEC+ and a group of
other countries to hold an urgent meeting, seeking to reach a fair agreement to
restore the desired balance to oil markets, is an extension to the Kingdom's
previous efforts to achieve market balance and stability, and to continue its
enduring endeavors to support global economy in this exceptional
circumstance", the statement said.
CAIR to Host Online Webinar on the Coronvirus Stimulus
Package for Maryland Muslim Communities
(Baltimore, Md., 4/7/20) – The Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and
advocacy organization, will hold a webinar this evening to break down the
Coronavirus stimulus package (CARES Act) and what it entails for individuals,
mosques, and small business owners. Topics that will be discussed include
direct payments, unemployment insurance, WIC and SNAP benefits.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles,
mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los
musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
Muslim firefighter contracts coronavirus after Jewish
teenager 'deliberately sneezed' on him
7 April, 2020
A Muslim-American firefighter was tested positive for
the novel coronavirus just days after three teenagers allegedly taunted him
while on duty about the disease and sneezed in his face, the New York Post
Omar Sattar was inspecting a hydrant on 18 March in
Borough Park, Brooklyn when the group of Hasidic Jewish teenagers were said to
have deliberately infected the firefighter.
The government employee was "taunted" by the
trio and "asked him if he was afraid of the coronavirus", according
to a letter of complaint sent to the FDNY's chief of operations, Thomas
"After repeated attempts to keep [his] distance
from the boys, one of them sneezed into his face and they ran off," the
letter, written by Lt. Kasey Koslowski, continued.
The firefighter began showing symptoms of Covid-19,
four days after the incident, testing positive for the virus on 27 March.
It’s sickening how the media portrays muslim victims
in their articles. This is a new york firefighter who literally was serving his
community when he was approached by 3 jews that
coughed on him and yet they’re still trying to make him look bad....
Though the incident cannot scientifically be directly
linked to his positive testing, it shows a "lack of disregard" for
New York's lockdown, the letter added.
"In a time when personal space and social distancing
is at an all-time high, it is going to take a cumulative effort from everyone
to defeat this virus, including the residents of [Borough] Park," it said.
Meanwhile, social media users on Twitter mobilised
against what was described as Islamophobic reporting of the story, with many
slamming the initial report for highlighting convictions attributed to the
"@nypost take responsibility and stop trying to
make him look bad when he did absolutely NOTHING," one Twitter user said.
"Now he has coronavirus. but the article wants to
highlight things which are irrelevant, the article wants to talk about the
victims father, and trying to relate the father’s actions/past to the son’s
(victim) present. Trash," the user added.
The Covid-19 virus, which was first detected in
China's Wuhan in December, has killed more than 76,383 people worldwide, while
over 1,363,123 infections have been confirmed.
The majority of those that infected with Covid-19
experience only mild or moderate symptoms, including fever and a dry cough.
There are still no known treatments for the virus,
though more than 293,839 have already recovered from the infection.
Far-right racists in US are 'Zoombombing' Muslim
groups during coronavirus lockdown meetings
Far-right and racist groups in the US are using the
video meeting platform Zoom to spread Islamophobic hate, as millions of people
are forced to rely on the app due to the novel coronavirus lockdown.
Dubbed "zoombombing" by The New York Times
following an extensive investigation into these spaces, there has been an
increase in incidents of individuals and groups "raiding" Zoom
The Times found 153 Instagram accounts as well as
Twitter profiles and private chats on Reddit and 4Chan message boards
organising Zoom harassment campaigns.
This included a campaign of "sharing meeting
passwords and plans for sowing chaos in public and private meetings".
It comes after a right-wing group infiltrated a Zoom
call organised with the Concordia Forum, a global network of Muslim leaders who
had been discussing ways to maintain spirituality and wellbeing during the
Zahed Amanullah told the publication that he had
paused the meeting after he noticed a cursor begin to draw a racial slur across
one of the slides.
Comment: "Help us fight #coronavirus, then go
back to where you came from" https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2020/4/1/help-us-fight-coronavirus-but-dont-expect-to-stay
Shortly after, the person who had hacked into the call
began to screen-share a pornographic video and repeating the racial epithet
"We were all caught off guard," said Mr.
Amanullah, a resident senior fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in
London. "We had no clue where it was coming from."
In response, Zoom released a statement stating it
"strongly condemns harassment of this kind and we have been reporting
instances of this to various social platforms in order for them to take
Harassers have targeted Alcoholics Anonymous groups
with a GIF of a person drinking alcohol, and sent racist images as messages in
a meeting of the American Jewish Committee in Paris.
The frequency of the incidents is such that the FBI
issued a warning on Tuesday, stating that it had "received multiple
reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic or hate images and
threatening language" worldwide.
Pompeo traveled to Kabul to deliver harsh message of
Trump to Ghani and Abdullah
08 Apr 2020
The State Secretary Mike Pompeo traveled to Kabul to
deliver a harsh message of the U.S. President Donald Trump to Ashraf Ghani and
Abdullah Abdullah, it has been reported.
Citing a former senior official and foreign diplomat,
the NBC News reported that Pompeo delivered a message from Trump to the feuding
leadership of the Afghan government, telling them they should resolve their
differences and broker a deal with the Taliban or the president could not only
cut $1 billion in financial aid to Afghanistan but also could pull all U.S.
troops out of the country.
The State Department earlier announced that Washington
is cutting $1 billion in economic assistance to Afghanistan in reaction to
ongoing political impasse.
According to a statement released by State Department,
Washington is prepared to further reduce its assistance to Afghanistan by
additional $1 billion next year.
The statement further added “The United States deeply
regrets that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former Chief Executive Abdullah
Abdullah have informed Secretary Pompeo that they have been unable to agree on
an inclusive government that can meet the challenges of governance, peace, and
security, and provide for the health and welfare of Afghan citizens.”
“Because this leadership failure poses a direct threat
to U.S. national interests, effective immediately, the U.S. government will
initiate a review of the scope of our cooperation with Afghanistan,” the State
Department said, adding that “Among other steps, we are today announcing a
responsible adjustment to our spending in Afghanistan and immediately reducing
assistance by $1 billion this year. We are prepared to reduce by another $1
billion in 2021.”
Tensions still remain high on political level
following the controversial announcement of presidential election results.
Both Abdullah and Ghani held oath taking ceremonies in
capital Kabul on 9th of March, further fueling political tensions amid ongoing
efforts to find a negotiated political settlement to ongoing violence in the
9 Pakistani Muslim preachers in Rautahat quarantined
RAUTAHAT: As many as nine Pakistani Muslim preachers
have been staying in quarantine at a local masjid in Rauthat district in the
wake of coronavirus crisis in Nepal.
A nine-member team, who landed in Nepal last month
from Pakistan with the objective of preaching their religion to native people
visited many districts before arriving in Rautahat district, has been staying
at a local masjid in Karuniya of Dewahi Gonahi Municipality-2 in the district.
After staying for three days at Muktam Masjid Idgaha
in Yamunamai Rural Municipality-1 of Saptari district, from there they moved to
the Karuniya in Rauathat district. They have been staying there since March 20.
Pakistani nationals–Mohammad Yusuf Khan, Jainullah,
Samsullah Khan, Mohammad Fawad, Rais Khan, Gurfandin, Asgar Khan, Gulam Rasul
and Halimullah—were kept in masjid under the recommendations of local Muslim
“We did not force them to stay in quarantine as they
had arrived in Nepal under a missionary visa prior to lockdown. Though they are
under our supervision in the masjid,” said the Chief District Officer (CDO)
Meanwhile, locals raised their eyebrows after the
administration led the foreigners to stay in masjid despite setting up 836
quarantine beds at 18 different locations in the district.
44 killed, wounded in a deadly clash between Taliban,
militiamen in North of Afghanistan
A deadly clash erupted between Taliban militants and
local militiamen in northern Samangan province of Afghanistan which left more
than 40 people dead or wounded.
The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the
Taliban militants attacked the security posts of the local militiamen in Dara-e
Suf district of Samangan province.
The statement further added that the attack sparked
fierce clash which resulted in to the killing of 15 Taliban militants.
The local militiamen also wounded 22 Taliban militants
during the clash, the statement said, adding that 2 local militiamen also lost
their lives during the clash and 5 others sustained injures.
U.S. welcomes Ghani’s decision for reversing decree to
dismember finance ministry
The United States welcomed President Mohammad Ashraf
Ghani’s decision for reversing his decree to dismember the ministry of finance
“Welcome media reports that President @ashrafghani
reversed his decree dismembering Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance. Donor
confidence depends on responsible and inclusive leadership,” Alice Wells, the
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia said in a
The acting minister of finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal
on Monday said that the president has issued a new decree, reversing the
previously taken decision to dismember the ministry of finance.
Speaking to reporters in Kabul, Arghandiwal said the
president issued a decree at the request of the finance ministry to prevent the
dismemberment of key parts of finance.
The U.S. Institute of Peace had earlier reported that
the Afghan government is eviscerating the ministry—carving out key constituent
parts, putting them directly under the presidential palace, and gravely
weakening one of the country’s most effective institutions.
The report by USIP further added that “It’s a move
that’s bad for Afghanistan’s governance and financial viability.”
“The ministry’s dismemberment began on February 19
when—amid the ongoing dispute over the results of the presidential
election—President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree instituting major changes in
its administrative structure and reporting arrangements,” the report said.
Bangladesh urges global partners to honour terms of
RMG purchasing contracts
April 08, 2020
Bangladesh and five other countries have urged global
brands, retailers and traders to consider all potential impacts on workers and
small businesses in the supply chain while taking significant purchasing
Nine textile and garment business associations of STAR
Network (Sustainable Textile of Asian Region) from six producing and export
countries also called on their global partners to honour the terms of
purchasing contracts, fulfil obligations therein, and not re-negotiate price or
This joint statement was made by Bangladesh Garment
Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear
Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), China National Textile and
Apparel Council (CNTAC), Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC),
Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA), Pakistan Hosiery
Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA), Pakistan Textile Exporters
Association (PTEA), Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (TMA) and
Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS).
They called for taking delivery or shipment, and
proceeding with payment as agreed upon for goods already produced and currently
in production with materials ready, and not cancelling orders that are already
The joint statement said during this unprecedented
time, responsible business has become more important than ever for the whole
world to survive and recover from the crisis.
Especially, responsible purchasing practices of brand
companies, retailers and traders of the global textile and apparel supply
chains will bring enormous impacts on the fundamental rights of millions of
workers and the livelihood of their families in the supplier end, the statement
The organisations said it is time for global
businesses to uphold and honour their commitment to labour rights, social
responsibility and sustainable supply chains.
They called for putting no responsibility on suppliers
for delay of delivery or shipment and for claiming no compensation for such
delays and no further improper pressure on suppliers by additional costs,
rushing orders or unnecessary visits and audits.
The organisations sought all efforts and engage with
local stakeholders for a better understanding of the local situation and
They underscored the need for dialogue and
collaborative settlement to ensure mutually acceptable solutions to disputes.
The organisations sought support for business partners
on supply chain as much as possible, and aim at long-term strategy of business
continuity, supply chain unity and social sustainability.
"We appreciate the understanding, collaboration
and support of our business partners and other stakeholders, and we are ready
to work and walk with all responsible buyers globally to get through this
crisis, towards a shared bright future," said the joint statement.
First coronavirus case confirmed in Tangail
A medical assistant of a private clinic has tested
positive for coronavirus in Mirzapur upazila of Tangail, making it the
district's first confirmed case.
Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and
Research (IEDCR) confirmed it to the upazila administration last night, our
Tangail correspondent reports quoting Mirzapur Upazila Health and Family
Planning officer Maksuda Khanam.
Soon after being informed, a team led by Mirzapur
Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Abdul Malek went to the house of the infected man
and sent him to the Kuwait-Bangladesh Maitree Hospital in Dhaka, said the
The 47-year-old man came to his village home in
Mirzapur from Narayanganj with coronavirus-like symptoms such as fever, cold
and cough on April 5. On information, some officials of upazila health and
family planning office collected samples and sent those to IEDCR for test,
Meanwhile, the local administration asked the family
members of the patient for home quarantine and placed 35 houses nearby the
patient's house under lockdown.
Narayanganj, which is now under complete lockdown, is
one of the hotspots of the spread of coronavirus in Bangladesh with 38 people
found infected with the virus yesterday. Among them, 15 tested positive for the
virus in the last 24 hours.
High Commission arranging flight to take Australians
home from Dhaka
The Australian High Commission in Bangladesh has
arranged a non-scheduled commercial flight to take back the Australians
currently in Bangladesh.
A message from Australian High Commissioner Jeremy
Bruer, posted on the official Facebook page of the high commission in Dhaka on
Tuesday, says this.
"The Australian High Commission in Dhaka is
pleased to announce that, through Sri Lankan Airlines, a non-scheduled
commercial flight has been arranged to bring Australians home from
Bangladesh," the message reads.
The post also contains instructions regarding the
registration process, encouraging all Australians in Bangladesh to make use of
this opportunity to depart, as "we may not be in a position to organise a
further non-scheduled flight," the post reads.
"While we will endeavour to provide enough seats
for everyone who wishes to return home, those who have registered already will
be prioritized," the post adds.
An Australian high commission official today told The
Daily Star that it is in the process of finalising things in this regard.
Chinese property tycoon and Xi critic under
An outspoken Chinese Communist Party critic and
millionaire property tycoon, Ren Zhiqiang, has been placed under investigation
for "serious violations of discipline and law", an anti-graft
The Beijing Commission for Discipline Inspection
announced late on Tuesday that the 69-year-old former chairman of the
state-owned real estate developer Beijing Huayuan Group was under
Rights campaigners accuse President Xi Jinping and the
Communist Party of using charges such as "disciplinary violations" --
often considered to refer to corruption -- as a way to silence dissent.
Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on civil society
since Xi took power in 2012, tightening restrictions on freedom of speech and
detaining hundreds of activists and lawyers.
Ren disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly
after penning an essay that was fiercely critical of Xi's response to the
His essay has been scrubbed from China's internet,
which regularly censors content that challenges the authorities, but it has
been shared online outside China and a copy has been saved by news aggregator
China Digital Times.
"This epidemic has revealed the fact that the
Party and government officials only care about protecting their own interests,
and the monarch only cares about protecting their interests and core
position," Ren wrote, without referencing Xi by name.
Nicknamed "Big Cannon" for his fiery
rhetoric, Ren formerly enjoyed close links with major figures in China's
political establishment, including his former classmate Vice President Wang
A Communist Party member for decades, Ren was also an
influential blogger on the Twitter-like Weibo platform, where he had millions
Yaqiu Wang, China researcher at Human Rights Watch,
said the probe against Ren fitted a pattern of the Communist Party using
charges such as "disciplinary violations" to silence its critics.
"It is quite clear that the Chinese government is
punishing Ren for his speech critical of President Xi Jinping and Chinese
government under the veneer of law," Wang said.
Human rights lawyer Li Fangping said the announcement
was deliberately timed to minimize its public impact, coming just hours before
travel restrictions were lifted in Wuhan, the city at the center of the
Abia govt to distribute lockdown palliatives through
By Chijindu Emeruwa
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has approved
the distribution of cash and food/relief materials as palliatives to vulnerable
persons in the State following the total lockdown of activities.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the
State Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu and issued to reporters in
Umuahia, on Tuesday.
The Items are to be delivered to churches and mosques
in the state through their representatives according to the schedule adopted by
the COVID-19 Committee.
It also added, “The designated representatives of the
Churches and Mosque are to come to the Government House food store located
within the Office of the Wife of the Governor, with vehicles to collect the
food and other palliative items for immediate distribution to their identified
widows, indigents and vulnerable members
“Each Church will receive the following items: bags of
rice, bags of beans, bags of Garri, tubers of yam, hand sanitizers, face masks
and cash to take care of vulnerable persons among their members. The designated
representatives have already been contacted”.
Continued, the Statement disclosed, “The state
geriatric services agency will immediately commence visits to senior citizens
who are above 70 years to deliver food, drugs, face masks and hand sanitizers
on behalf of the government.
“There will also be a mop-up exercise of the
distributions to include those who might have missed out in the initial phases
of the deliveries. Such people will be reached through the traditional rulers,
community president generals, and ward leaders”.
The Abia government has further restated its
determination and focus in ensuring the safety of lives of the people over the
spread of COVID-19 pandemic which had led to the economic and social lockdown.
It further stated, “We remain confident that
distributing these relief materials through our fathers in the faith, Abia
widows, orphans, indigents and other vulnerable persons will be reached through
a structured and effective process that will not compromise the already
established protocols in the efforts against the coronavirus pandemic”.
Why Central Asian Jihadists are Inspired by the
By Uran Botobekov
Al-Qaeda-backed Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups
were highly encouraged by the US-Taliban agreement which was signed in February
2020, aiming to bring peace to Afghanistan. Some Uzbek groups such asKatibat
Imam al-Bukhari (KIB), Katibat Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ), the Islamic Jihad Union
(IJU), and Tajik militants of Jamaat Ansarullah (JA), and Uighur fighters of
Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) from China’s Xinjiang region, have already
expressed their clear opinion about this particular deal through their respective
Telegram accounts. Some of the groups congratulated the agreement, while others
dedicated emotional eulogies to the Taliban.
The KIB which is formed primarily from Uzbek, Tajik
and Kyrgyz militants from Central Asia’s Ferghana Valley, was one of the first
organizations to congratulate the Taliban, denominating as a “the great victory
of the Islamic Ummah”. On February 29, 2020, Abu Yusuf Muhajir, the leader of
KIB’s Syrian wing, in his congratulatory letter said: “The US and NATO forces,
who imagine themselves to be the rulers of the entire world and the divine
judges of human destinies, and claim divinity on earth have stunned the world
with their humiliation, disgrace, and failure of the crusade.”
The KIB leader proceeds by saying that “the Americans
were forced to sign an agreement with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which
they considered a helpless crowd and below their dignity, but they [the
Taliban] survived all difficulties with the support of Allah and gained
Then Abu Yusuf praises the Taliban’s former Amir,
Mullah Mohammed Omar, “who did not flinch at all when America, intending to
extinguish the beam of Allah, had attacked Afghanistan.” The Uzbek jihadist
leader quotes Mullah Omar’s words: “Allah has promised us victory, and Bush [US
President George W. Bush] has promised to defeat us, so we, slaves of Allah,
shall see which of the two promises will be fulfilled.”
“Despite the fact that the whole world helped Kafirs-invaders,
today they experience the bitterness of defeat, because Allah was against them”
he continues. Further Abu Yusuf Muhajir continues to extol the Taliban:
“Neither the attacks of the infidels nor the arrests of the Mujahideen [holy
warriors] could force the Taliban to abandon the path of Sharia.[UB1] If the Taliban complied with the slightest
condition of infidels [he means US condition for the Taliban to extradite Osama
bin Laden], they could remain in power. But the Taliban’s leaders and glorious
Mujahideen did not bow their heads to the Kafirs.”
At the end, he congratulated the Islamic Ummah for the
Taliban’s ‘victory’ and attached to his letter a congratulatory poem, “My Dear
Taliban.” The author glorifies the Taliban with such phrases:
It should be noted that KIB’s chief terrorist Abu
Yusuf Muhajir is distinguished by his relentless oratory, reciting eloquently
Surah and Ayahs of the Quran during Juma Khutbah [preaching].
Also, the ideologists and militants of KTJ in Syria,
which swore allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2015, enthusiastically praised the
Taliban’s “successes”. Today, KTJ’s Uzbek jihadists are fighting alongside the
former al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the largest Sunni
jihadist group in Idlib, against the Bashar al-Assad’s forces. One of KTJ’s
propagandists on Telegram posted a short message that “today is a great day for
entire Ummah because, after the 18-year war in Afghanistan, America
humiliatingly acknowledged its defeat from the Lions of Islam. This victory
came at the behest of Allah, who subordinated the chief Shaitan to Mujahideen.”
The Uighur TIP on its radio Voice of Islam, published
on its Muhsinlar.net website on March 7, 2020, praised the Taliban’s victory
and described the Afghan government as traitor.
Thus, the US-Taliban “Agreement for Bringing Peace to
Afghanistan”, designed to put an end to the 18-year war, sharply raised the
morale of Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups. They did not hide their cheery
emotions on social media, and even
further posted gushing praises to the Taliban and widely expressed ‘Takbir’
[“Allah is greater”, used in prayer, as well as to express victory, celebration
The reason for the delight of Central Asian
Salafi-Jihadi groups is apparent as many of them, such as the KIB, TIP, IJU,
KTJ and IMU, have long-drawn and tight ties with both the Taliban and al Qaeda.
They have a common goal in aiming to establish an Islamic government in
Afghanistan, Central Asia and Chinese region Xinjian, which would be governed
by Sharia law, under the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence.
Many Uzbek, Tajik, Kyrgyz and Uighur
extremists,persecuted by government forces in their homeland, were forced to
flee and found refuge in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule from 1996 until
2001. The ideological views of the Central Asian Muhajireen were formed and
crystallized under the influence of al Qaeda and the Taliban, which portrayed
itself as an exemplary Ansar [local fighters]. It was this that predetermined
the further fate of the Taliban when a U.S.-led invasion toppled its regime for
providing refuge to al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden. Then the Central
Asian jihadists so deeply integrated into the ranks of al Qaeda, which today
has become the Taliban’s Achilles’ heel in its relations with Washington.
The main point of the Doha agreement is the Taliban’s
obligation to sever ties with al Qaeda and other Central Asian terrorist groups
and disallow them to threaten the security of the US and its allies using
Afghan soil. However, the agreement lacks specific mechanisms, timelines and
evidence of breaking the Taliban’s ties with al Qaeda.
Judging by their reactions, the Central Asian
jihadists are not at all concerned about the Taliban’s commitment to break ties
with al Qaeda. For them, the withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan,
the Taliban’s return to power and the establishment of Islamic Emirate based on
Sharia law were a long-awaited treasured dream that could come true anytime
from now. They are sure that after 18 years of joint jihad against “the Western
crusaders” and when the sacred goal is just around the corner, the Taliban will
not leave them.
Since July 2018, the UN Security Council has published
several reports by monitoring teams responsible for assessing the status of al
Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist organizations. These reports document the
ongoing and close relationship of Central Asian terrorist groups with both the
Taliban and al-Qaeda. For instance, according to a new report released by the
UN Security Council in 2020, “in Afghanistan continuing activity by the Eastern
Turkistan Islamic Movement [former name of TIP], Jamaat Ansarullah, KTJ, IJU,
KIB and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Approximately 400 foreign
terrorist fighters from China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan now plan to continue
hostilities in conflict zones, transfer trained fighters to various countries
to carry out terrorist acts and disseminate propaganda via the Internet.”
Regarding the ideological views on jihad and Sharia
policy, the KIB is the closest group to the Taliban among the Salafi-Jihadi
movements of the post-Soviet area. The Uzbek KIB, which publicly swore
allegiance [Bayat] to the Taliban in 2014, has openly identified itself as an
integral part of the Taliban. The group officially refers itself “the Islamic
Emirate of Afghanistan — Katibat Imam al Bukhari” and has the same emblem as
the Taliban. KIB operates in both Afghanistan and Syria. The leader of the
KIB’s Syrian wing is the aforementioned Abu Yusuf Muhajir, who congratulated
the Taliban in poetic form.
KIB was sent to Syria from Afghanistan by the Taliban
and Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the Taliban’s top deputies and leader of the
powerful al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network. According to the UN Security Council,
“the leader of the Afghan wing of KIB, which mainly operates in the northern
Afghan province of Faryab, is Jumaboi Aka, a former member of IMU.” The US
State Department designated KIB to the list of global terrorist organizations
affiliated with al Qaeda on March 22, 2018. The UN Security Council
particularly concerned that “KIB leaders view Afghanistan as a new staging
ground to project attacks against neighboring Central Asia countries.”
It is a well-known that the al Qaeda-affiliated TIP
and the Taliban have a long and trusted relationship based on the general
principles of Jihad. The UN Security Council confirms that “the ETIM/TIP’s
leadership and Uighur militants remain present in Afghanistan.” The TIP’s emir,
Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, who is a steadfast brother in arms of Ayman
al-Zawahiri and Haibatullah Akhunzada, periodically claims his unfailing
allegiance to both al Qaeda and the Taliban. The TIP’s top leader, who was even
appointed a member of al Qaeda’s elite Shura Council in 2005, has ardently
criticized ISIS as an ‘illegitimate’ Caliphate and tried to maintain the unity
of Sunni Salafi-Jihadi groups under the leadership of the Taliban. Abdul
Haqlater followed the example of his ideological patron, Osama bin Laden, who
had personally sworn bayat to Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s leader.
Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist groups IJU, KTJ and IMU,
which are mainly comprised of Uzbeks, Tajiks and Kyrgyz, also fight under the
auspices of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The UN Security Councilstated that “IMU
is now integrated into Taliban forces operating in the Provinces of Faryab and
Zabul”, while “IJU, led by Ilimbek Mamatov, is operating primarily in the
Afghan Provinces of Badakhshan, Sari Pul and Takhar.” Almost all of the Central
Asian terrorist groups in Afghanistan via Telegram channel reported that they
had participated in Taliban’s “Al-Fath Jihadi Operations” last year.
The statement of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada
after the Doha agreement, posted on the Taliban’s website, saying “the
termination of occupation of Afghanistan…is the collective victory of the
entire Muslim and Mujahid nation”, became a compass for Uzbek and Uighur
militants. Thus, the UN reports show clearly the ongoing and close relationship
between the Taliban and Central Asian terrorist groups. Therefore, it is
clearly seen why there is a common thrill of the US-Taliban peace agreement
which they labelled as “Victory”.
Now that the US has legitimized the Taliban by
concluding a “peace” deal with them, five Central Asian governments will be
forced to build bridges with the Taliban. Prior to this, only Uzbekistan had
informal contacts with the Taliban, organizing an Afghanistan peace conference
in March 2018 in Tashkent.
Post-Soviet nations know that the Taliban will control
Afghanistan in the future. For them, the main security challenge remains al
Qaeda-linked Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups and the remnants of the Islamic
State Khorasan (IS-K) operating in Afghanistan, who dream of building an
Islamic Emirate in the Ferghana Valley of Central Asia.
The US-Taliban deal has already inspired Uzbek and
Uighur militant groups fighting in Afghanistan and Syria. Their propaganda, as
we witnessed above, claims that the Taliban vanquished the Americans and
already forces them out of Afghanistan. KIB and IJU used the US-Taliban deal to
recruit new militants from Central Asia. On April 2, 2020, Uzbek Jihadists
media center Khorasan Ovozi (Voice of Khorasan) on the Telegram channel posted
that “the Mujahideen managed to break the invincible US army, tomorrow we will
come to you, but today you can make hijra [migration] to Khorasan and join our
The Taliban factor also could provide inspiration and
a morale boost to underground radical Islamists inside Central Asia and
encourage them to raise arms against secular regimes. If in the future the
Taliban comes to power and establishes Sharia rule in Afghanistan, this could
increase the activity of the Islamic opposition in the Five “Stans”.
There are no illusions that the Taliban will so easily
and quickly abandoned al Qaeda and Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups, who are
closely aligned with the Bayat, which means the sacred Quranic Oath for all of
them. Moreover, the Taliban’s structure is rather fragmented and networked,
among which there are many local armed leaders who respect the relationship
with Muhajireen. Therefore, it should be expected that their relationship will
develop in an secretive manner until the US leaves the country.
Therefore, Central Asian pro-Moscow authoritarian
regimes must seriously prepare for a new redistribution of power and resources
in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops, which could be accompanied by
hostilities and felt far beyond Afghanistan’s borders and for several years to
come. The “peace” agreement strengthened the Taliban’s already strong position,
who demonstrates its clear desire by forcing to seize power and not to share
with anyone. After the deal, they intensified the attack on government forces.
If the US will not retain control to keep the Taliban
on a shorter leash, then soon the main actors in the conflict may return to the
battlefield and Afghanistan may again relive its four decades of civil war
story. As the bitter experience of Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq has shown, al
Qaeda, ISIS and other Central Asian terrorist groups take root only in war-torn
Muslims in Turkey to observe Barat, Islam's holy night
of fate and forgiveness
APR 07, 2020
Muslims across Turkey will observe the night of Barat
(Laylat al-Barat), Islam’s night of forgiveness and salvation, in their homes
with heavy hearts this year, instead of congregating together in mosques due to
the coronavirus. However, despite all the hardships posed by the public health
threat, thousands seem to hang on to their faith, praying for the good of all
In his message, Erbaş prayed for all humanity to
overcome the coronavirus pandemic. "Let's follow all the measures
announced by the authorities. Let us all continue to strive with hope, devotion
and determination to eliminate this nuisance."
Underlining that Barat is considered auspicious in the
Islamic tradition, Erbaş urged everyone to consider this holy night an
opportunity to "beg forgiveness with the determination and consciousness
of not repeating the same mistakes, by repenting to all mistakes we have done
knowingly or unknowingly, and the sins we have committed, with sincere
He also called on everyone to join a common prayer,
set to be broadcast on state-run TRT 1 and Diyanet TV channels on Tuesday
night, after Isha'a or the night-time prayer, for those risking their lives on
the frontlines, notably health care personnel, fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The night of Barat is one of the five holy nights in
Islam. Although these nights aren’t marked by public holidays in Turkey, the
minarets of mosques across the country are illuminated and special prayers are
recited for the occasion. These nights are usually known as “kandil geceleri”
in Turkish because Muslims used to light oil lamps called “kandils” in mosques
on these days. And although most people weren’t out on the streets this year,
waiting in line in front of bakeries and pastry shops for the traditional
kandil bagels, due to the coronavirus pandemic, some households baked their
Iran ready to cooperate with Turkey on fight against
April 7, 2020
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Iran’s Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that Tehran is ready to cooperate with
Ankara on the fight against the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Zarif made the remarks speaking during a phone
conversation with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Zarif sympathized with the Turkish government and
nation over the deaths due to the spread of the virus in the country, signaling
Iran’s readiness to assist the neighboring country and cooperate with it in
The two foreign ministers also discussed bilateral
cooperation on transportation and transit of commodities.
Yemen’s Ansarullah agrees to UN offer for large-scale
prisoner exchange with Saudi-backed ex-govt.
07 April 2020
Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has reportedly
agreed to an offer by the United Nations to implement a major prisoner swap
with Saudi-sponsored Yemeni militiamen loyal to the country’s former president
Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
“After the prisoner swap agreement signed in the
Jordanian capital city of Amman on February 16 failed to be put into practice,
the UN suggested that we execute the agreement in two stages,” the head of the
Houthi-affiliated National Committee for Prisoners Affairs (NCPA), Abdulqader
al-Mortada, said in a post published on his official Twitter page on Monday.
He added, “The first phase of the deal includes the
release of 1,030 prisoners from the two sides, while the remaining 390
prisoners will be exchanged in the second phase.”
Separately, the Lebanon-based Arabic-language
al-Mayadeen television news network reported that Yemeni army troops, backed by
allied fighters from Popular Committees, had established full control over the
strategic al-Khanjar camp in Yemen’s northern al-Jawf province following fierce
battles with Hadi loyalists and as Saudi-led coalition forces.
Back on March 18, the spokesman for the Yemeni Armed
Forces said the country’s troops, supported by allied fighters from Popular
Committees, had retaken Jawf province from Hadi loyalists.
Brigadier General Yahya Saree highlighted that the
liberation of the territory took place during an operation codenamed “God
Overpowered them,” and that the achievement proved the ability and prowess of
Yemen’s armed forces to impose new equations in a different geographical
terrain, and on more than one front in a very short period of time.
The spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces says the
country’s army troops and their allies have fully liberated the northern
province of al-Jawf.
“Our forces efficiently carried out all their
operational tasks after having been able, with God's help, to move from the
defense stage to the offense one through a comprehensive military strategy,” he
Also on Tuesday, Yemeni army soldiers and Popular
Committees fighters repelled an attack by Saudi-paid militiamen in the Dhubab
district, also known as the Bab al-Mandab district, of Yemen's southern coastal
province of Ta'izz.
Scores of the mercenaries were killed and injured in
the process, and a considerable amount of their military hardware was destroyed
Moreover, a human rights organization has condemned
Saudi-led forces over storming a complex housing internally displaced persons
in the Dar Sad district in the southern Yemeni province of Aden, detaining the
men and raping the women and children.
Entesaf Organization for Women and Child Rights
denounced in a statement the shameful international silence on the crimes,
which it described as prevalent in Aden and other territories occupied by
Saudi-led forces, and flagrant violation of the international law, humanitarian
covenants, the law of war and religious principles by Saudi mercenaries.
The organization stressed that the acts could be
characterized as war crimes and crimes against humanity according to the
Yemeni army and popular committees purge areas in
eastern al-Jawf Province and uncover homes-turned-prisons run by the Daesh
“The coalition of aggression led by Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates (UAE) bears full responsibility for all crimes against
(Yemeni) women and children over the past five years,” it said.
The organization then called on the international
community, international organizations and human rights bodies to assume their
legal and humanitarian responsibilities towards the abhorrent violations and
massacres that occur against Yemeni people.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies
launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring Hadi back
to power and crush Ansarullah movement.
Saudi Arabia conducts a rocket attack on a border
district in Yemen’s northwestern Sa’ada Province, killing all members of a
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data
Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the
war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have
purchased billions of dollars' worth of weapons from the United States, France
and the United Kingdom in their war on Yemen.
Riyadh and its allies have been widely criticized for
the high civilian death toll resulted from their bombing campaign in Yemen.
The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need
of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of
Turkish forces, allied militants shell villages in
Syria’s Hasakah: Report
Turkish army forces and militants allied to Ankara
have attacked several villages in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, a
The attacks against a number of villages in the
vicinity of Tal Tamr and Abu Rasin towns started at dawn on Tuesday, inflicting
material damage on the property of villagers, Syria’s official news agency SANA
said in a report.
Citing civil sources in the region, the report added
that Ankara-backed militants had been positioned at Turkish observation points
in the villages of Enq al-Hawa and Tel Mendel and from there began firing
mortar shells against villages around Tal Tamr and Abu Rasin.
Turkish military forces later joined the militants in
attacking the rural areas along the common border by firing artillery shells
from inside Turkish territory.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry says Turkish forces and
their allied militants are using water as a weapon against civilians in the
Arab country’s northeastern province of Hasakah.
On Saturday, Turkish forces also caused damage on a
power station in Hasakah by shelling the electricity lines in Tal Tamr, SANA
reported at the time.
This came a few days after the Turkish forces cut off
the water supply to local residents in the city of Hasakah and surrounding
residential neighborhoods for at least two consecutive days.
According to SANA, Turkish army troops and their
militant allies have been attacking villages in Hasakah, Raqqah, and Aleppo
with artillery shells and various other heavy weapons since their cross-border
offensive into Syrian territory in October last year and the subsequent
occupation of a long swath of the border with the Arab country.
Seven terror suspects killed in two operations in KP
PESHAWAR: Security forces killed seven suspected terrorists
in North Waziristan and Mohmand tribal districts in two operations spread over
Monday night and Tuesday.
According to the Inter Services Public Relations,
security forces cordoned off North Waziristan’s Idel Khel village after being
tipped off about the “presence of terrorists”. Four of the suspects were shot
dead when they tried to escape the cordon.
In the other operation, security forces killed three
terror suspects during a raid in Mohmand tribal district, according to ISPR.
The security forces recovered improvised explosive
devices (IEDs), night vision goggles, hate material and Indian medicines from
Punjab can conduct 3,100 virus tests daily: Buzdar
LAHORE: Punjab has achieved the capacity of conducting
3,100 Covid-19 tests daily, which will be increased to 5,000 tests in the next
few days, says Chief Minister Usman Buzdar while presiding over a video-link
meeting of the cabinet committee for eradication of coronavirus here on
As many as 1,785 people were tested on Monday, he said
and added that “around 19,000 diagnostic kits are available in the province and
2,000 more will be received from the National Disaster Management Authority
(NDMA) by Wednesday (today).”
Meanwhile, the chief minister said testing
laboratories were being established in Lahore and other districts of the
province, and directed the officials to make functional eight labs at the
He also ordered strict enforcement of Section 144 in
the province. “Violation of government orders will not be tolerated as these
steps are being taken to protect the lives of citizens,” he maintained.
Stressing the need for early screening of suspected
patients, he said: “The health authorities should complete the procurement of
necessary equipment as soon as possible. All patients in the quarantine
facilities or isolation wards will be tested again after 14 days and those
testing negative [for Covid-19] will be allowed to go home.”
The chief minister sought establishment of separate
wards for coronavirus-affected pregnant women in Lahore and other districts’
hospitals. He said the patients should be provided with every necessary
facility in quarantine centres.
He ordered provision of Personal Protective Equipment
(PPE) to doctors and nurses on a priority basis, besides resolution of their
other issues by the government.
Provincial ministers Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Mian Aslam
Iqbal, chief secretary, inspector general of police, secretaries of health,
information, finance and agriculture departments and military officials
attended the meeting at the chief minister’s office. Finance Minister Hashim
Jawan Bakht, senior member of Board of Revenue, additional chief secretary
(Home), relevant secretaries and other high officials participated in the
meeting through video link.
Meanwhile,Chief Secretary Azam Suleiman called on the
chief minister at his office and presented Rs1.2 billion cheque for Chief
Minister Fund for Corona Control.
This amount has been donated by Punjab government
employees to support the governmental efforts for overcoming the coronavirus
Government employees from grade 1 to 16 have donated
their one-day salary, while those in grade 17 to grade 19 donated two-day
salary for the fund. Similarly, three days’ salary of government officers in
grade 20 to grade 22 has been donated for the purpose.
Talking on this occasion, the chief minister
appreciated the employees’ passion and assured them that this amount would be
utilised transparently for helping the coronavirus patients.
“The Punjab government is standing with the affected
people and the poor will not be left alone. The government employees have set a
high example and every penny [of the donation] will be spent on the welfare of
the deserving people. I am monitoring the relief activities and there would be
no delay in this regard,” he said.
Commanders asked to help govt in supplying essentials
Baqir Sajjad Syed
ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa on Tuesday
directed his commanders to assist the civilian administration in uninterrupted
supply of essential items to remote regions.
Chairing the 231st Corps Commanders’ Conference, the
army chief, according to the ISPR, asked the commanders to “extend maximum
assistance in moving critical resources and reaching out to mitigate suffering
of people in far-flung areas including GB, AJ&K, Interior Sindh and
The corps commanders participated in the conference
through a video link from their respective corps headquarters. The conference
extensively discussed the situation in the country due to the Covid-19
Maintaining supply of basic food items and medical
equipment has emerged as one of the major challenges in the ongoing Covid-19
The army chief in a statement before the conference
reminded that even the “most advanced nations/ governments are finding it
extremely difficult to fight this pandemic”. He assured that the government was
striving hard to acquire and supply the required resources. “In this hour of
distress we must remain patient and steadfast,” he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his visit to the National
Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for Covid-19 last Friday, had also stressed
the need for uninterrupted supply of essential items during the countrywide
preventive restrictions on movement of people and transport because of the
pandemic. “There must be no compromise on availability of essential food items
and sustainability of supply lines throughout the country,” Mr Khan had said
A source, while talking separately to Dawn about the
availability of essential commodities, said that while there was presently no
shortage of basic food items (wheat flour, cooking oil/ghee, pulses and sugar),
there was, however, a need to keep an eye on the availability of flour.
Meanwhile, he said that there were sufficient stocks
of fuel in the country. However, logistics for continuing their uninterrupted
supplies to far-off areas like Gilgit-Baltistan, border areas of Baloch¬istan,
interior Sindh and Azad Jammu and Kashmir was proving to be challenging.
The other major priority is the provision of medical
supplies and protective gear for the doctors and paramedics. The ISPR had
earlier in the day tweeted that “emergency supplies of medical equipment
including PPEs [are] being dispatched to Quetta on orders of COAS to help
medical staff fight Covid-19 effectively in Balochistan”.
The source said that a detailed plan for maintaining
the supply chain of critical goods would be deliberated by the NCOC on
Wednesday for preparing recommendations for the National Coordination
Committee, the main government body overseeing the activities related to
managing the Covid-19 crisis.
“Every citizen counts as we strive to scale this
calamity. Being a nation with vibrant youth and resilient people ready to share
& sacrifice, we will emerge stronger from this challenge, Inshaallah,” Gen
Bajwa said at the conference.
The participants of the conference praised the
doctors, paramedics and other health workers as the country’s “frontline” in
the fight against Covid-19 under a “challenging environment”.
The military top brass also paid tribute to the
Kashmiri people who are fighting the pandemic under Indian atrocities and
struggling for their just cause of self-determination.
Court extends Jang chief editor remand for 11 days
LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday extended
physical remand of Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman for another
11 days in a 34-year-old land allotment case, while the Lahore High Court
dismissed two identical petitions for his bail and quashment of the remand.
Earlier, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)
produced Mr Rehman before the trial court on expiry of his previous remand and
also sought his further custody on the pretext of further investigation.
Initially, Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan put off the
hearing of the remand to wait a decision by the LHC on the petitions for the
After the judge resumed hearing, Special Prosecutor
Asim Mumtaz stated that a two-judge LHC bench dismissed the petitions filed by
the suspect and his wife against the remand and for his release.
Persuading the court to grant further remand of the
suspect, the prosecutor said most of the case record had been collected, while
the investigators awaited a copy of original map of the Johar Town housing
scheme to be furnished by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).
Asked about the role of then chief minister Nawaz
Sharif in the case, the prosecutor said the then chief executive of Punjab had
extended unprecedented concession to the suspect in allotment of the plots.
The prosecutor said the suspect had been in Karachi on
a transit remand for a week following death of his brother. Therefore, he said,
there had been no progress in the investigation. He said the suspect was yet to
be confronted with then director general of the LDA and other officials.
The judge, however, allowed the NAB to keep the media
mogul in custody for another 11 days and present him before the court again on
On the other side, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan argued
before the high court that his client Mr Rehman was not going to flee, so he
should be released on bail subject to surety bonds. He said the NAB itself
admitted that the inquiry was not completed so far.
The bench comprising Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and
Justice Farooq Haider dismissed the petitions.
Capital admin struggling to enforce lockdown in rural
ISLAMABAD: The capital administration is struggling to
implement its lockdown and social distancing measures in rural parts of
Islamabad to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition, the number of quarantine centres in the
capital has been increased to 13, and more than 50 houses have been sealed
because of confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Theadministration believes that the next two weeks
will be crucial, and if the rural residents do not practice social distancing,
the coronavirus could spread sharply among them.
Local politicians, religious leaders and influential
residents have been approached by the administration to convince them to take
safety measures such as practicing social distancing and avoiding gatherings.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat
told Dawn that the next two weeks are crucial, and any relaxation in
precautionary measures against the virus would result in a massive increase in
positive cases in the capital.
Next two weeks will be crucial and coronavirus could
spread rapidly if rural residents do not practice social distancing, DC says;
police asked to patrol rural areas
He said most urban residents have taken measures such
as social distancing, but the response in rural areas is not encouraging. Mr
Shafqaat said that despite warnings and requests, people in rural areas have
been gathering and have not been keeping a distance from each other.
In light of the situation, the administration has
sought assistance from local politicians including MNAs, as well as religious
leaders and notable residents, to educate people on the issue and to emphasise
the importance of social distancing in order to prevent an outbreak. He said
everyone approached responded positively to the request.
The administration has also directed police to patrol
rural areas to keep people in their homes and implement the lockdown, Mr
Law enforcement officials have been asked to remain
vigilant at rural areas’ points of exit and entry, and to seek assistance from
volunteers if needed to prevent unnecessary public movement.
No one in the capital has died of the disease, as the
woman who died at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences was a resident of
A total of 14 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, while
69 are isolated in their homes in rural and urban parts of the capital, he
said. Between 50 and 55 have been sealed and declared quarantines after
Covid-19 cases were reported there. A hostel in G-7 has also been sealed and
declared a quarantine after one of its residents tested positive, he said.
Mr Shafqaat said the number of quarantine centres in
the capital has also reached 13. The Pak-China Friendship Centre, Hajj Complex
and OGDCL rest house in I-10 have been declared quarantine facilities, along
with 10 hotelsthat the administration has taken over due to rising needs.
Mr Shafqaat said that more than 350 people are being
housed at these centres, along with 22 positive cases who travelled to the
capital from Turkey. People are being tested for the virus and reports in this
regard are awaited, he said.
He added that there is a massive shortage of
paramedical staff and doctors at quarantine centres, with just nine doctors and
a few paramedics available.
He said that 150 passengers are scheduled to arrive in
the capital from Baghdad, Iraq. Although the flight was delayed due to protests
by pilots, arrangements to quarantine the passengers have been made.
Capital administration officials told Dawn that the
need for quarantine centres is gradually increasing because all of the flights
bringing Pakistanis back from abroad are scheduled to land in the capital.
Assistant commissioners, magistrates and revenue
department officials have been asked to look for more hotels, motels, inns and
rest houses that could be suitable for quarantine facilities, so passengers and
suspected patients can be housed there.
They said such facilities are also being sought in
Rawalpindi, and it has been decided to approach the railways ministry to ask
for arrangements to bring coaches and bogies to the capital so quarantine
centres can be set up in them.
An area where these coaches and bogies could be kept
are not been selected, they said, but they could be placed at the Islamabad Dry
Port or the Golra or Margalla railway stations.
Mr Shafqaat also announced on Twitter that the administration
has also allowed private clinics can open and private hospitals can open
outpatient departments as long as they follow standard operating procedures and
take precautionary measures.
NAB seeks detail of Shahbaz’s ‘foreign assets,
LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has
asked PML-N President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz
Sharif to bring with him complete detail of his foreign assets and other
businesses on his appearance before the NAB’s combined investigation team on
April 17 in money laundering case.
In a fresh questionnaire sent to Shahbaz, NAB Lahore
said multiple call-up notices, along with questionnaires, were issued to him
but his replies were found “unsatisfactory, incomplete and evasive”.
“In this regard, you are once again required to
provide details (value, nature, name and location) of assets received as a
result of family settlement. A complete detail of your foreign assets along
with year of acquisition/disposal and source of personal/bank loans along with
details of loan repayment and current outstanding loan should be provided,” it
The bureau further sought details of the land gifted
to his wife Nusrat Shahbaz in Kasur and the gifts he received from other
members of his family or he gave to any of them. He was also asked to submit
details of agriculture income
he received during 2008 and 2019 and tax paid if any.
He was also asked to explain his “nature of relationship” with two other
suspects – Ali Ahmed Khan and Nisar Ahmed Gill --in the money laundering case.
Besides, Mr Shahbaz has been asked to provide complete
details of his business income as claimed before the Federal Board of Revenue
(FBR), along with investment and its volume and expenditures incurred during
the period when his Model Town residence was declared the chief minister
The NAB inquired about the PML-N leader’s “sources of
huge cash deposits in the personal bank accounts of his family members and
“unexplained cash deposits” in the businesses held in their name. Details of
rental agreement of house number 41-S, DHA, Lahore, and period of tenancy,
along with the amount paid in rent was also sought.
The former chief minister was asked to explain that
how during 1998-2018 the assets acquired and possessed by him and his family
members “increased from Rs23.7 million to Rs3.5bn” as the growth had been found
“disproportionate” to the declared sources of income.
The NAB had already served a call-up notice on Mr
Shahbaz, asking him to appear before a joint investigation team on April 17 at
its provincial headquarters at Thokar Niaz Beg to record his statement.
According to the PML-N, the “NAB-Niazi” alliance
(alleged nexus between the government and the bureau) was once again targeting
the opposition leader and was trying to implicate him in a fabricated case.
Lockdown affects routine immunisation of children
PESHAWAR: The lockdown enforced by government as part
of preventive strategy against spread of Covid-19 has been affecting adversely
immunisation of children in the province, according to sources.
Despite the closure of OPDs, there are about 1,230
centres of expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) but their 2,880 technicians
have been deputed to either track the travellers to foreign countries or have
been made part of the rapid response teams during multiple shifts.
The Pakistan Paediatric Association is concerned over
the situation with regard to child health and wants the government to ensure
immunisation of children against 10 vaccine-preventable childhood ailments.
It said that the annual target of the province for the
year 2020 was to fully immunise 1.2 million children but the lockdown was
The association said that in the absence of
immunisation, children would be exposed to deadly preventable diseases like
measles, diarrhoea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pertussis etc. It has request the
government to restore routine immunisation services, observing all necessary
At the end of 2019, the coverage of the fully
immunised children was 78 per cent, up from 69 per cent at the end 2018, which
is likely to drop if the immunisation activities remain suspended or stayed
Before the lockdown, the health department had planned
to further scale up coverage of children up to 90 per cent by end of 2020 but
it seemed a far dream now, according to paediatricians.
They said that EPI centres remained opened but workers
were busy in Covid-19 related assignments and very few children were being
vaccinated due to lockdown.
There are some reports that the polio staff, including
employees of WHO and Unicef, are engaged in immunisation activities but in fact
most of them work from home and attend offices either through teleconference or
Sources said that they were just collecting data about
Covid-19 from the districts and communicating the same to the federal
Experts said that government should have deployed the
polio staff for routine immunisation as it was more important to safeguard
children against the preventable diseases.
Senior officials in health department told Dawn that
the government was likely to issue directives regarding withdrawal of
notification of non-provision of other health services in the hospitals to pave
way for resumption of full immunisation activities.
There have been no outreach sessions for one month.
During the outreach activities, the vaccinators cover children. Routinely, the
children are brought to EPI centres located at the hospitals, which has been
stopped since enforcement of lockdown.
The overall EPI coverage varies from district to
district but it has dropped everywhere in March 2020 compared to February 2020.
PPA provincial president Prof Afzal Khan said that
although they endorsed the “social distancing measures” yet due to closure of
all OPDs and private clinics, parents were constrained to get treatment for the
routine and at times severe illnesses of their children.
He said that there was anecdotal evidence that in such
circumstances, quackery and self-medication were on the rise that may have dire
consequences for child health.
“It is therefore requested that limited and controlled
non-Covid-19 child health services should be allowed in secondary and tertiary
health care facilities. While providing these services, the hospital
authorities should take necessary steps to ensure social distancing and avoid
spread of coronavirus,” said Dr Afzal Khan.
He said that It was also noted with concern, that
immunisation services in the hospitals were suspended while they already had a
very low immunisation coverage.
He added that suspension of services would lead to
drop outs and further deterioration of the situation.
Fakhar Imam takes oath as federal minister, Babar Awan
notified as adviser
Apr 07 2020
ISLAMABAD: PTI-lawmaker Syed Fakhar Imam was sworn in
as federal minister today.
President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath to him at
a ceremony held in the lawns of the Presidential House.
On Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan replaced Makhdoom
Khusro Bakhtiar with Syed Fakhar Imam as Federal Minister for National Food
Security after the former was named in an inquiry report on the sugar price
In other changes made by PM Imran, MQM-P's Syed Aminul
Haq was appointed as minister for IT and telecommunication. However, due to
unavailability of flights, Haq was unable to take oath today.
While talking to Geo News, Haq said: “I have informed
the authorities of the situation. Looking forward to work with the government
for the better.”
Meanwhile, Babar Awan has been appointed as prime
minister's Advisor for Parliamentary Affairs. A notification in this regard was
issued today after President Alvi approved the summary.
The prime minister shuffled the portfolios of several
key ministers on Monday and removed Shahzad Arbab as Advisor on Establishment
following a damning inquiry report on sugar and wheat crisis in the country.
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