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Islamic World News ( 5 Apr 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indonesian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced To Three Years In Prison Over Islamic Radicalism

New Age Islam News Bureau

06 April 2022

 

FILE - General secretary of the now-defunct Islam Defenders Front Munarman, left, who is also the lawyer of firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)

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Ayman Al-Zawahiri, The Head Of Al Qaeda: Hijab Controversy Exposes “The Reality Of Hindu • India And The Deception Of Its Pagan Democracy”

Tower Of London Hosts First Ramadan Iftar In An Interfaith Event In 900 Year History

Where Are National Security Committee Meeting's Minutes? Chief Justice Of Pakistan Asks Babar Awan

Teenage Girls’ Schools Closure Might Create Friction Among Taliban: US Representative For Afghan Women

 

Southeast Asia

Indonesians urged to keep wearing masks during Ramadan

Latest SOP for non-Muslim houses of worship in Sabah effective April 9, says state minister

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India

Bengaluru Police Notice For 125 Mosques, 83 Temples, 22 Churches For Ban On Loudspeakers During Banned Hours

Communal Amity: Thanks To Hindu Neighbour, Kozhikode Mosque Gets A Ramzan Facelift

Indian American Muslim Council Condemns Physical Assault On Muslim Journalists By Hindu Extremists In Delhi

UP Cleric Held For 'Issuing' Death Fatwa Against Muslim Doctor

After Halal, Loudspeaker Ban, Karnataka Outfits Call For End Of 'Muslim Monopoly' In Fruit Business

Muslim man thrashed in Karnataka for talking to Hindu girlfriend; two accused arrested

After opposition from BJP, Delhi Jal Board withdraws circular for short leave to Muslim employees during Ramzan

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Europe

Turkiye calls for global action to eliminate discrimination against diasporas

Turkey calls for probe into civilian deaths in Bucha

Turkiye's Embassy in Ukraine returns to capital Kyiv

Greece, Israel, Cypriot Greek administration foreign ministers tripartite meeting held in Athens

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Pakistan

Imran Khan's ‘foreign conspiracy’ charge: Shehbaz Sharif asks Pakistan army chief to produce proof

President Alvi asks ECP to propose dates for general elections

Envoy’s transfer exposes ‘threat letter’ drama, claims Maryam

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority Urges YouTube To Unblock Dr Israr’s Channel

Opposition grows restless as SC hearing continues

Bilawal urges apex court to strike down Imran Khan’s ‘coup’

3 killed in Dera Ismail Khan grenade blast

Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s Wife’s Friend Flees To Dubai For Fears Of Regime Change

Pakistan condemns burning, vandalisation of Muslims' houses by 'Hindu zealots' in India's Rajasthan

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South Asia

Taliban: 7 months of rule, 11 cases of violations

UN: Afghan women, Children bearing brunt of country’s humanitarian crisis

Following US, Iran welcomes Taliban’s ban on cultivation of poppies

Taliban sacks ex Afghan ambassador to Moscow, appointed their envoy

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Arab World

Saudi Authorities Warn Against Donating To Strangers Due To Terrorism Financing

Pope Francis To Visit Crisis-Hit Lebanon In June: Presidency

Mines killed, injured more than 500 children in Iraq: UN

Lawyer warns of drugs in chocolate bars in Egyptian markets

Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian body clears over 329,000 mines in Yemen

Saudi Authorities Arrested An Asian Woman For Begging After She Collected Over $30,000

Kuwait’s government resigns in latest standoff with parliament

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Mideast

Improving Turkish-Israeli Ties To Strengthen Regional Stability: Top Israeli Diplomat

Bennett’s Government Loses Majority In Israel Parliament

Volunteer’s dream of Al-Aqsa Library comes true

Israel's Gantz speaks with Palestinian president for Ramadan

Iranian Legislators Urge Gov’t to Take Strong Guarantees from US

Iran Calls for Continued Ceasefire, Full Removal of Siege on Yemen

Iranian Parliament Condemns Saudi-Led Coalition for War Crimes in Yemen

Iran won’t stop seeking ‘punishment’ of those behind Soleimani killing: Official

Iran stabbing attack leaves one dead, two injured at holy shrine

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Africa

Israeli Delegation Secretly Meets Sudanese Military Official

Nigerian Atheist Jailed 24 Years For Blasphemy

Tanzania’s Islamic banks draw non-Muslim customers

Tunisia calls Erdogan comments on president’s decree unacceptable interference

Sudan militia chief ‘rampaged’ across Darfur, court told

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North America

Iran Deal Advisor Defends Russia, Says US President Biden ‘Racist Piece Of Garbage’

UN hails Turkiye's role in hosting direct Russia-Ukraine talks

Russia condemns US ‘attempt to punish Imran’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/indonesian-human-rights-lawyer-islamic-radicalism/d/126739

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Indonesian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced To Three Years In Prison Over Islamic Radicalism

 

FILE - General secretary of the now-defunct Islam Defenders Front Munarman, left, who is also the lawyer of firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A former Indonesian human rights lawyer who joined an Islamic hard-line group was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday on charges of incitement with the aim to establish a caliphate in a secular country.

The three-judge panel at East Jakarta District Court found Munarman guilty of hiding information from authorities about militants pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group in January 2015 in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, and instead “giving a speech inciting people to carry out terrorism acts.”

“The defendant does not support the government’s program in eradicating terrorism,” the presiding judge said in the ruling.

Munarman, 53, who goes by a single name, was the general secretary of the now-banned Islam Defenders Front, widely known by the Indonesian acronym FPI, which has a long record of vandalizing nightspots, hurling stones at Western embassies and attacking rival religious groups. It wants Islamic Shariah law to apply to Indonesia’s 230 million Muslims.

The judges ordered the time he had already served to be deducted from his sentence.

Munarman was a former activist and human rights lawyer before joining FPI. He represented the group’s leader, Rizieq Shihab, an influential cleric who was sentenced to four years in prison last year.

Munarman was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 after his group attacked a religious event in Jakarta’s National Monument park that left dozens of participants injured.

During the trial, which began in December, Munarman denied any wrongdoing and said he was the victim of political persecution in an attempt to silence his criticism of the government. He denied that FPI had supported the Islamic State group.

Police said they obtained videos showing Munarman pledging allegiance to the IS. He told the court he couldn’t avoid it because he was an invited guest at an event.

Both Munarman and the prosecutors, who had sought an eight-year prison term for him, said they would appeal Wednesday’s verdict.

The government banned FPI in December 2020, saying it had no legal grounds to operate as a civil organization and that its activities often violated the law and caused public disorder.

Indonesia has been battling militancy since the al-Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah carried out bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. Attacks aimed at foreigners have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes targeting the government, police, anti-terrorism forces and people considered by militants to be infidels.

Source: AP News

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

https://apnews.com/article/islamic-state-group-indonesia-jakarta-terrorism-prisons-5be8b4f6ab76e3c302615557486bcb85

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Ayman Al-Zawahiri, The Head Of Al Qaeda: Hijab Controversy Exposes “The Reality Of Hindu India And The Deception Of Its Pagan Democracy”

 

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief of the terror group Al Qaeda

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Praveen Swami

6 April, 2022 

New Delhi: Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda, has released a new video message focussing on the Hijab controversy raging in Karnataka, which he claims has exposed “the reality of Hindu India and the deception of its pagan democracy”. The video, the first statement made by the world’s most-wanted jihadist since September, was posted to al Qaeda online groups late on Tuesday night.

In the eight-minute statement, al-Zawahiri hails Muskan Khan — the Karnataka student who became famous for her pro-hijab protest in February — for having “challenged a mob of Hindu polytheists with defiant slogans of Takbeer [God is the Greatest]”.

“May Allah reward her for showing a moral lesson to sisters plagued by an inferiority complex via-a-vis the decadent Western world,” al-Zawahiri says.

Al-Zawahiri’s last video, released in September, 2021, came on the back of rumours that he had died, and did not reference the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, which had taken place the previous month. The Taliban’s victory had been hailed by al Qaeda as the jihadist movement’s “greatest victory”.

In Tuesday’s statement, al-Zawahiri tells Indians in the subcontinent to “avoid being deceived by the pagan Hindu democracy of India which, to begin with, was never more than a tool to oppress Muslims”. “It is exactly the same tool of deception the true nature of which was exposed by France Holland and Switzerland when they banned the Hijab while allowing nudity,” he says.

“We must understand the way out is by holding on to our Shariah (Muslim religious law),” al-Zawahiri goes on, “uniting as a single Ummah (Arabic word for community) from China to the Islamic Maghreb, from the caucuses to Somalia.”

He also lashes out at other South Asian states, saying that “Governments imposed on us, specifically in Pakistan and Bangladesh, do not defend us, rather they defend the very enemies they have empowered to fight against us”.

India on his mind

Al-Zawahiri’s last India-focussed video had been released in 2014, to announce the formation of the Jamaat qaidat al-jihad fi’shibhi al-qarrat al-Hindiya, or Organisation of The Base of Jihad in the Indian Sub-Continent. The organisation was led by Asim Umer, an Uttar Pradesh-born, Deoband-educated seminarian, who had left for Pakistan in 1995. Umer is believed to have been killed in a United States military raid in Afghanistan’s Musa Qala in 2019.

In the 2014 video, al-Zawahiri had said the formation of al-Qaeda’s South Asia wing was “a message that we did not forget you, our Muslim brothers in India”. He vowed that the jihadist group will “break all borders created by Britain in India”, and called on the region’s Muslims to “unite under the credo of the one god”.

For many years before that, however, India had played a larger role in al-Zawahiri’s statements, than in those by other al-Qaeda leaders. In a 2001 book, for example, al-Zawahiri had called on Muslims to discharge “a religious duty of which the nation had long been deprived, by fighting in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Chechnya”.

Again, in September, 2003, al-Zawahiri invoked India to warn Pakistanis that their then-President, General Pervez Musharraf, was plotting to “hand you over to the Hindus and flee to enjoy his secret accounts”.

In spite of al-Zawahiri’s efforts, however, al Qaeda had had little success in building operational capabilities in India. Last summer, though, United Nations’ sanctions monitors reported that al-Qaeda’s South Asia wing remained active in Afghanistan, under Taliban protection. The organisation, it said, was made up mainly of “Afghan and Pakistani nationals, but also individuals from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar”.

The surgeon-turned-jihadist

Born into an upper middle-class family from suburban Cairo, al-Zawahiri is said to have excelled as a student, been drawn to poetry, and hated organised sports, seeing them as “inhumane”.

Drawn to the teachings of the Islamist ideologue Sayyid Qutb as a teenager, al-Zawahiri joined the Muslim Brotherhood — a transnational Sunni Islamist organisation — when he was just 14. Qutb, whose works Milestones and In the Shade of the Quran are foundational texts for the global Islamist movement, was executed in 1966.

In the years that followed, al-Zawahiri trained as doctor and surgeon. He married Cairo university philosophy student Azza Nowari in 1978. Their wedding, held at the Continental Hotel there, attracted attention in the liberal Cairo of the times — men were segregated from women, photographers and musicians were kept away, and joking and banter was discouraged.

Following the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981, Zawahiri was among hundreds arrested and tortured. Released after three years in prison, he fled the country, and began practising medicine in Saudi Arabia. There, he came into contact with Osama bin Laden. He first travelled to visit bin Laden-funded jihad facilities in Pakistan in 1985, a relationship that would slowly mature until 2001, when the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group formally merged with al Qaeda.

Azza, al-Zawahiri’s wife, and his youngest daughter Aisha would both die in November 2001, pinned under the debris of an al Qaeda guesthouse hit by American bombs in Afghanistan.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/muslims-oppressed-in-hindu-democracy-al-qaeda-chief-al-zawahiri-slams-hijab-row-praises-muskan/904349/

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Tower Of London Hosts First Ramadan Iftar In An Interfaith Event In 900 Year History

 

This is the first Ramadan iftar ever to be held at the Tower of London [Getty]

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05 April, 2022

Muslims have for the first time in history broke their fast at the Tower of London on Monday evening in an interfaith event.

The Naz Legacy Foundation, a British Muslim organisation that supports ethnic minority youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, teamed up with the Tower of London to host the first iftar in the London landmark's 900-year-history.

Religious leaders from different backgrounds, including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Cardinal Vincent Nichols attended the interfaith iftar.

They discussed issues relating to their own religious communities such as anti-Semitism and the historic execution of Catholics at the Tower Bridge.

"I was delighted to break my fast this evening at the first ever interfaith iftar at the Tower of London", said London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is of Pakistani Muslim heritage.

"It was inspiring to see young people from different faiths united in this incredible setting", he added.

Naz Legacy Foundation's founder Harris Bokhari reflected upon the frightening history of the Tower of London and said the interfaith iftar is a reset of what the monument represents to London.

"The Tower of London, once feared by religious minorities as a place of imprisonment and torture, should host the first major in-person interfaith iftar since the pandemic.

"The iftar, the first held in the Tower’s more than 900-year history and during the Platinum Jubilee, will highlight some of the Queen’s greatest values of public service, faith in God and the protection of minority communities," he wrote.

He added that the iftar was a refreshing moment in the face of rising hate crimes against Muslims and people of other faiths.

Muslims who are able to fast during the Muslim month of Ramadan do so from sunrise to sunset.

This year, poverty has shadowed the community with 46 percent of the British Muslim population living in the 10 percent most deprived areas of the UK.

Requests for help from the National Zakat Foundation (NZF) have also skyrocketed by 70 percent over the last twelve months. NZF gives out emergency grants from Zakat charity collected from British Muslims to those in need.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/tower-london-hosts-first-ever-ramadan-iftar

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Where Are National Security Committee Meeting's Minutes? Chief Justice Of Pakistan Asks Babar Awan

 

Supreme Court of Pakistan

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Haseeb Bhatti

Published April 6, 2022

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday asked the lawyer for the PTI government, Babar Awan, about the minutes of the recent meeting of the National Security Committee which had discussed a letter purportedly showing evidence of a foreign conspiracy to oust the PTI-led government.

The CJP made the inquiry as a five-member bench, comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, took up a suo motu case on the events of April 3 when National Assembly (NA) Deputy Speaker Qasim Shah Suri dismissed the no-confidence motion against the prime minister and President Dr Alvi dissolved the NA on the premier's advice.

During the hearing, Justice Bandial questioned the basis on which the speaker issued the ruling. He observed that, so far, the ruling consisted of accusations not findings. "Can the speaker announce such a ruling without presenting the facts," he asked, adding that this was the constitutional point on which the court had to make a decision.

He also asked Awan to inform the court whether the speaker could issue a ruling that was not on the day's agenda by bypassing Article 95. He told the PTI counsel to defend the ruling with "solid" evidence.

"Where are the minutes of the NSC meeting?" he asked Awan, also asking the PTI counsel about the basis on Suri exercised his authority.

'SC can't review speaker's ruling'

After Awan, President Arif Alvi's counsel, Ali Zafar, began his arguments, insisting that any direction from the court on the matter of the deputy speaker's ruling would exceed its jurisdiction.

Zafar pointed out that the case under discussion concerned the interpretation of Articles 95 and 69. "There are six rules for interpreting the provisions of the Constitution. It should be understood in accordance with its true spirit rather than just words."

He said just like judicial proceedings could not be debated in the parliament, courts, too, could not interfere in the proceedings of the parliament.

"Unfortunately, the petitioners want the case to be heard as an appeal against the ruling of the deputy speaker," he said, adding that the case was in fact an interference in the prerogatives of the NA.

Zafar explained that even if 10 MNAs were not allowed to vote and were expelled from the house, such a move could not be challenged by anyone.

Here, the CJP said: "But they [opposition] are saying that a new speaker should come and voting should be held again."

"To approach the court against the ruling of the deputy speaker is interference in the parliament," Zafar said, adding that giving instructions to the speaker was equivalent to giving instructions to the parliament, which was unconstitutional.

To this, CJP Bandial asked if interference was not possible even if the Constitution was violated.

"I will give my arguments on what is constitutional and what isn't later," Zafar replied.

The lawyer recalled that Justice Maqbool Baqir, on his retirement, spoke of balance in institutions.

"Only mutual respect can create balance in institutions."

He went on to say that if the house was not satisfied with the speaker, it could opt for a no-trust motion.

"But if the speaker's ruling is reviewed, every decision taken by him would be brought to court," Zafar argued, reiterating that the court had no power to review the speaker's ruling.

At this point, Justice Ahsan asked if the court could review the prime minister's advice to dissolve the NA.

'Opposition wants court to issue order in its favour'

Taking the rostrum during today's hearing, PTI's counsel Babar Awan pointed out how the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and Jamaat-i-Islam (JI) were not made respondents in the case.

"Balochistan Awami Party and Rah-i-Haq are also members of parliament but haven't been made respondents," he said.

"The court was informed that the deputy speaker's ruling is malicious and unconstitutional," he said, but also questioned whether what occurred at Sindh House and Lahore's Avari Hotel could be ignored, referring to the stay of party dissidents there amidst allegations of horse-trading. "No one said a word about Article 63-A."

Awan said that the opposition was claiming to "save parliamentary democracy" while PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif had demanded the formation of a judicial commission to probe the matter.

He claimed that the opposition wanted the court to issue a short order in its favour immediately, adding that they wanted to set aside the mention of the National Security Committee in the deputy speaker's ruling.

At one point, the CJP asked whether the speaker had the power to issue a ruling by deviating from the order of the day. He also questioned whether it was possible to set aside a constitutional process.

"Can the speaker keep constitutional requirements aside," Justice Bandial inquired, adding that the court would not take rumours and allegations into account. He also told Awan to refrain from giving long-winded speeches, directing him to inform the court about the basis on which the speaker gave the ruling.

Continuing, Awan said that a meeting took place between Pakistani officials and a diplomat from another country, the "cipher" of which arrived on March 7. The head of mission and the defence attache were also present, he said.

The court inquired when the meeting had taken place, noting that the PTI counsel was not aware of the date. "The ruling is based on accusations not facts," the CJP observed. He repeated Awan's words and said that the cipher came and was decoded by the Foreign Office, asking him to continue.

However, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan interjected and said that such facts should come from the government and not a political party as they concerned foreign affairs.

"We don't want to interfere in foreign affairs," the CJP said as the AGP told the PTI lawyer to read from the ruling.

Awan said that four things were underlined in the letter, adding that more details could not be given due to the Official Secrets Act.

After seeing the letter, the FO met with the prime minister and the foreign minister, he said. "In the cabinet meeting, the DG concerned gave a briefing on the letter," Awan said, asking whether an in-camera hearing was possible.

"I want to keep the FO's briefing in front of the court," he said. However, the CJP replied that the court was currently not asking for the letter, subsequently rejecting Awan's request.

The PTI lawyer went on to say that Pakistan issued a demarche to the country who allegedly sent the threat. He also noted that Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, in a recent interview, had said that the army's stance was the same as the NSC.

At one point, Justice Mandokhail remarked that under the Constitution loyalty to the state was compulsory. "But the question is what should be done with MNAs who are not loyal with the state," he observed.

Awan said that he belonged to a political party where 22 lawmakers had been "bought". "Forty lawmakers from Punjab were holed up in a hotel," he said, requesting the court to also hear the case of party dissidents with this case.

"Parliament teaches people honesty but this is what has happened in parliament," he said.

Justice Mandokhail observed that political parties should think for themselves in order to prevent floor crossing. "Why don't political parties self-anaylse? The same faces are sometimes seen at one place and then at another," he said.

He added that the judges had taken an oath to protect the Constitution. "We will take a decision that is in favour of the nation," he added, at which point Awan concluded his arguments.

'Will try to wrap up case today'

During today's hearing, the government's lawyers presented their arguments in the case.

The courtroom was packed at the start of the hearing with politicians from both the government and the opposition in attendance.

At the outset of the hearing, the lawyer for the PML-N, Azam Nazir Tarar, noted that the Punjab Assembly deputy speaker had summoned a session for today to elect the province's new chief minister.

He also pointed out that the assembly staff were not following the directives issued by the deputy speaker and expressed concerns regarding the election for the province's chief minister.

"We are hearing a very important case," the chief justice said, adding that the court would try to wrap up the case today. He also said that the court was coming under fire for not deciding the matter.

He told political parties to solve the issue concerning the Punjab Assembly on a political basis, asking how the apex court could make a unilateral decision.

Opposition completes arguments

During yesterday's hearing, CJP Bandial had said that the apex court would not interfere in matter of the state and foreign policy and would only determine the legality of the deputy speaker's ruling.

His remarks had come after PML-N lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan suggested that the court hold an "in-camera briefing about the foreign conspiracy from the intelligence chief". Khan's proposal was made in the backdrop of the invocation of Article 5 by the deputy speaker while proroguing the house without holding a vote on the no-confidence resolution.

"Right now we are looking at the law and Constitution," the CJP had replied, adding that all the respondents would be told to focus on this matter at the moment and subsequently sought records of NA proceedings on the no-trust motion.

Meanwhile, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani described the abrupt prorogation and dissolution of the national assembly as "civilian coup in hybrid system" during his arguments. Subsequently, he had demanded the restoration of status quo as before the April 3 NA session.

He argued that on more than one occasion, when the house was in session, it was shown that the prime minister had lost the majority, adding that it was a matter of record that Imran Khan had said that he was given three options: face the vote of no-confidence, resign or hold early elections.

Rabbani had also requested the apex court to summon the original text of the purported ‘threatening’ cable and the minutes of the meeting of the National Security Committee that condemned it.

He said that independent proceedings should be initiated, which may include the formation of a judicial commission, to examine the veracity of the allegations.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, who was representing Shehbaz Sharif, claimed that the deputy speaker’s April 3 ruling was “manifestly illegal and a constitutional violation of gravest kind”, rather than a simple procedural lapse. Therefore, he maintained that the Supreme Court had every right to intervene in the matter.

The counsel argued that if the court came to the conclusion that the ruling of the deputy speaker and the subsequent prorogation of the assembly was unconstitutional and illegal, then all consequential actions, including the advice to President Arif Alvi to dissolve the assembly and the continuation of the incumbent Imran Khan as interim prime minister, as well as his nomination for appointment of a care taker prime minister, would be equally unconstitutional.

The bar under Article 69 that protects the speaker’s actions from being challenged in court, the counsel for Shehbaz Sharif argued, relates to procedural irregularities in parliamentary proceedings, adding that the apex court would invoke Article 54, which deals with the power of the speaker to summon and prorogue the assembly session, as a doctrine of condonation for procedural irregularities and not as a doctrine for legitimising constitutional wrongs.

Citing an example, the counsel argued that if a prime minister had no support left in the house except for the speaker, then Article 95 would become unworkable if he (the speaker) scuttles every move to remove the premier through a no-confidence motion.

“One can be the purest human being possible, but if he has no majority in the house, he cannot remain the prime minister,” the counsel argued.

During the hearing, Justice Munib Akhtar observed that if the argument of the counsel was accepted, it would open the doors to the courts and there would be a writ on minor illegalities of the house every other day, thus undermining the dichotomy of power. Is this the intent of the Constitution, Justice Akhtar wondered?

‘Suggesting ex-CJP as caretaker attempt to influence SC’

At Tuesday's hearing, former opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif’s lawyer argued that the nomination of a former CJP for the post of caretaker prime minister was “not only a blatant attempt to influence the court, but also smacks of mala fide and is in very poor taste”.

To this, the CJP replied: “Yes, you are right.”

On Monday, interim Prime Minister Imran Khan had nominated ex-CJP Gulzar Ahmed for the office of the caretaker PM.

The former CJP's nomination followed a letter written by President Alvi to the prime minister and Shehbaz to propose names of suitable persons for appointment as caretaker premier under Article 224-A(1) of the Constitution.

Suo motu notice

On Sunday, CJP Bandial had taken suo motu notice of the situation after the deputy speaker's dismissal of the no-confidence motion against the premier, clubbing multiple petitions filed by various parties with it.

After a brief hearing, a written order was issued which said the court would like to "examine whether such an action (dismissal of the no-trust motion on the basis of Article 5) is protected by the ouster (removal from the court's jurisdiction) contained in Article 69 of the Constitution."

Article 69 of the Constitution essentially restricts the court's jurisdiction to exercise authority on a member or officer of parliament with respect to the functions of regulating parliamentary proceedings or conducting business.

"No officer or member of Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) in whom powers are vested by or under the Constitution for regulating procedure or the conduct of business, or for maintaining order in Majlis-i-Shoora, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise by him of those powers," clause two of the Article reads.

The court had also ordered all state functionaries and authorities — as well as political parties — to refrain from taking any advantage of the current situation and stay strictly within the confines of the Constitution.

Dismissal of no-trust motion

The weeks-long political turmoil in the country reached its climax on April 3 after the NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri prorogued a much-awaited session of the lower house of parliament without allowing voting on a no-trust motion against PM Imran.

Suri, who was chairing the session, dismissed the motion in a shock move, terming it against Article 5 of the Constitution.

At the outset of the session, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI's) Fawad Chaudhry took the floor and referred to the clause, reiterating the premier's earlier claims that a foreign conspiracy was behind the move to oust the government.

"On March 7, our official ambassador was invited to a meeting attended by the representatives of other countries. The meeting was told that a motion against PM Imran was being presented," he said, noting that this occurred a day before the opposition formally filed the no-trust move.

"We were told that relations with Pakistan were dependent on the success of the no-confidence motion. We were told that if the motion fails, then Pakistan's path would be very difficult. This is an operation for a regime change by a foreign government," he alleged.

The minister questioned how this could be allowed and called on the deputy speaker to decide the constitutionality of the no-trust move.

At that, Suri noted that the motion, which was presented on March 8, should be in accordance with the law and the Constitution. "No foreign power shall be allowed to topple an elected government through a conspiracy," he said, adding that the points raised by the minister were "valid".

He dismissed the motion, ruling that it was "contradictory" to the law, the Constitution and the rules.

Dissolution of NA

Within minutes after the NA sitting, PM Imran, in an address to the nation, said he had advised the president to "dissolve assemblies".

He also congratulated the nation for the no-trust motion being dismissed, saying the deputy speaker had "rejected the attempt of changing the regime [and] the foreign conspiracy".

The premier further said he had written to the president with advice to dissolve the assemblies, adding that the democrats should go to the public and elections should be held so the people could decide who they wanted in power.

"Prepare for elections. No corrupt forces will decide what the future of the country will be. When the assemblies will be dissolved, the procedure for the next elections and the caretaker government will begin," he added.

Subsequently, President Alvi dissolved the NA under Article 58 of the Constitution.

Later in the evening, the Cabinet Division issued a notification, declaring that Imran Khan ceased to hold the prime minister’s office with immediate effect. “Consequent upon dissolution of the National Assembly by the president of Pakistan, in terms of Article 58(1) read with Article 48(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan… Mr Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi ceases to hold the office of prime minister of Pakistan, with immediate effect,” it read.

However, later, the president issued a notification allowing him to continue as the prime minister:

"Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, shall continue as Prime Minister till the appointment of caretaker Prime Minister under Article 224 A (4) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan."

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683715/where-are-nsc-meetings-minutes-cjp-asks-babar-awan

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Teenage Girls’ Schools Closure Might Create Friction Among Taliban: US Representative For Afghan Women

 

Photo: Khama Press

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06 Apr 2022

US special representative for Afghan women Rina Amiri has said the reopening of teenage girls’ schools in Afghanistan might lead to frictions among the Taliban leadership.

Speaking to Turkish TRT, Rina Amiri said that there are people among the Taliban who are pro-freedom for people in particular the freedom of work and education for women and the reopening of schools for girls.

Amiri added that this group of the Taliban believes in the importance of reopening schools for their political survival and interests in Afghanistan.

“While there is another group of the Taliban that sees Afghanistan as it is in their mind not as it really is. They see Afghanistan in line with their strict understanding of Islam that is in opposition with other Islamic countries.” Said Amiri.

The special representative warned that Afghanistan might lead to disintegration if the Taliban remain resistant to their strict position regarding girls’ schools and if they do not embrace the will of the Afghan people.

This is the first time that a US official talks about the consequences of the closure of schools in Afghanistan.

The ban has not only triggered the anger of the World Community but also the Afghan people and a number of Taliban officials and pro-Taliban figures.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/school-closure-might-create-friction-among-taliban-rina-amiri-548755/

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 Southeast Asia

 Indonesians urged to keep wearing masks during Ramadan

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Government spokesperson for COVID-19 Handling Wiku Adisasmito reminded Indonesians to continue to wear masks while conducting their activities during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as part of the efforts to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

“Wearing masks should be an indispensable habit during shopping, visiting relatives, or attending worship activities at mosques,” Adisasmito noted during a press conference for the development of COVID-19 handling in Indonesia accessed here on Tuesday.

Adisasmito lauded the community for continually complying with the health protocols, so that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country can be decreased.

The spokesperson also urged all relevant parties to continuously supervise the implementation of health protocols in their surrounding areas.

The role of volunteers, officers of the Indonesian Military (TNI), and the National Police (Polri), as well as the ambassadors for behavior change, who are assets in supervising the implementation of health protocols, should be maximized, according to Adisasmito.

He appealed to village governments to continue to report the level of compliance of health protocols in their respective areas.

In addition, Adisasmito pressed for again reactivating micro-level public activity restrictions (PPKM) posts in villages ahead of the Eid homecoming exodus period.

All parties are expected to collaborate for supporting the revival of economic activities and facilitating normalcy to be restored in people’s activities.

“For the past two years, we have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and currently, we can revive and start to conduct our activities again like before. Of course, this needs to be preserved with the spirit of mutual cooperation and full responsibility," he remarked.

Source: Antara News

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https://en.antaranews.com/news/223601/indonesians-urged-to-keep-wearing-masks-during-ramadan

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Latest SOP for non-Muslim houses of worship in Sabah effective April 9, says state minister

05 Apr 2022

KOTA KINABALU, April 5 — The Sabah government has issued the latest standard operating procedures (SOP) and guidelines for non-Muslim houses of worship today effective this Saturday (April 9), in line with the country entering the transition to endemic phase.

Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said new SOP and guidelines were also issued for the management of funerals and paying of last respects at non-Muslim houses of worship and funeral parlours.

He said prayer ceremonies at non-Muslim houses of worship were allowed to operate from 6am to 10pm, based on the premises’ capacity, taking into account the one-metre physical distancing, where only fully vaccinated individuals were allowed to enter.

Masidi said members of the management committee (AJKP) were required to display notices to remind devotees to bring their prayer equipment, and to perform sanitation work 30 minutes after the completion of each prayer session.

“Children under the age of 12 are only allowed to attend with their fully vaccinated parents,” said Masidi who is also the state government’s Covid-19 spokesperson in a statement tonight.

Masidi said religious activities at non-Muslim houses of worship were also allowed in compliance with the SOP including recording attendance via the MySejahtera app and wearing a face mask to curb the spread of Covid-19 infection.

“AJKP needs to clean the space and the surrounding area, including toilets, as soon as the religious event is over,” he said, adding that social activities such as feasts and gotong-royong are also allowed by observing the physical distancing rule.

“Prayer activities at home in the evening are allowed subject to the size of the residence or funeral parlour for those who have been fully vaccinated.

“Paying the last respect is allowed and visitors are required to line up to take their turn,” he said, adding that social activities such as eating and drinking are allowed except for social gambling and cockfighting activities.

Masidi said the scattering of ashes ceremony was allowed to operate from 6am to 6pm following the SOP set and family members had to disperse immediately in an orderly manner after the ceremony was over.

Source: Malay Mail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/04/05/latest-sop-for-non-muslim-houses-of-worship-in-sabah-effective-april-9-says/2051787

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India

 

Bengaluru Police Notice For 125 Mosques, 83 Temples, 22 Churches For Ban On Loudspeakers During Banned Hours

Apr 6, 2022

BENGALURU: Police in Bengaluru issued notices to at least 310 entities including places of worship, industries, and commercial establishments for using loudspeakers during banned hours or crossing prescribed noise level of 60 decibels.

Rules ban the use of loudspeakers between 10pm and 6am. In action taken, police seized several loudspeakers and other devices in over 40 cases and registered cases against violators. This comes in the wake of the high court, in April 2021, pulling up authorities for their failure to crack down on illegal use of loudspeakers at places of worship. Data submitted by the city police to the HC shows police had issued 301 notices till February 2, this year. Of them, 125 notices were issued to mosques, 83 to temples, 22 to churches, 59 to commercial establishments including pubs and bars, and 12 to industries.

Kamal Pant, Bengaluru city police commissioner, told reporters that they booked over 40 cases for violation of a Supreme Court order banning the use of loudspeakers during certain hours. “We are strictly enforcing the SC order and regularly monitor places of worship, factories, industries, pubs, bars and commercial establishments,” Pant said.

Asked about early morning prayers, Pant said, “Everyone should obey the court order. ”

A senior officer told TOI that personnel on patrol duty have been directed to monitor use of loudspeakers. “Seniors like deputy commissioners and joint commissioners of police, who are on night rounds, visit places of worship which are known to use loudspeakers,” the officer said. “Assistant commissioners and inspectors also visit such places at least a couple of times a day. ”

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/noise-check-in-bengaluru-police-notice-for-125-mosques-83-temples-22-churches/articleshow/90675299.cms

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Communal Amity: Thanks To Hindu Neighbour, Kozhikode Mosque Gets A Ramzan Facelift

Apr 6, 2022

KOZHIKODE: In a heart-warming instance of communal amity, a Hindu expat has given a mosque in his neighbourhood a fresh coat of paint just before the commencement of Ramzan.

While it is customary for mosques to get cleaned up and painted in the run-up to the holy month, the authorities of Masjidul Ummarul Farook at Vattaloor in Malappuram had not done that for the last few years due to constraints following the pandemic.

P V Soorya Narayanan (58), who had come on a one-month leave from Qatar, noticed that the walls of the mosque were soiled and unpainted just two weeks before Ramzan and enquired with the mosque authorities about it and arranged to get it painted.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/kozhikode-thanks-to-hindu-neighbour-mosque-gets-a-ramzan-facelift/articleshow/90674608.cms

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Indian American Muslim Council Condemns Physical Assault On Muslim Journalists By Hindu Extremists In Delhi

6th April 2022

Washington: The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today unequivocally condemned the Hindu supremacist event Hindu Mahapanchayat in India’s capital city of New Delhi, where at least seven journalists, mostly Muslims, were physically assaulted and harassed by a mob of extremist attendees. Two Muslim journalists reported that the Hindu mob nearly lynched them.

Hindustan Gazette reporter Meer Faisal, photojournalist Md Meharban, and Newslaundry journalists Shivangi Saxena and Ronak Bhat were all physically assaulted at the event. Article 14 reporter Arbab Ali and The Quint reporter Meghnad Bose and a fifth unnamed journalist were verbally abused.

Ali and Faisal, both Muslim, were further attacked with Islamophobic slurs, called “jihadis,” had their phones and cameras snatched, had their footage deleted, and were pushed around. Ali reported that had the police not intervened and removed them from the scene, they might have been lynched by the mob, which was growing increasingly agitated with the presence of Muslim journalists.

Hindu Mahapanchayat, which was held illegally without permission from the authorities in Delhi, was similar to the Dharma Sansad (Hindu religious parliament) genocidal meet held in Uttarakhand state’s Haridwar city last year in December.

On Sunday, the inflammatory speeches made by Hindu militant leaders like Yati Narsinghanand and Suresh Chavhanke, included calls for Hindus to “take up weapons” against Muslims and other minorities in defense of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s extremist Hindu nationalist ideology.

“As horrific as this incident was, it is not surprising. The dangerous decline of democracy and restriction on press freedom in India should be a cause of concern for everyone,” said Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of IAMC.

“This is the latest in a series of attacks against journalists in India, where the state and non-state actors are actively using different methods including violence to silence those critical of the BJP government and its hateful Hindu nationalist ideology,” Ahmed added.

Source: Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/iamc-condemns-physical-assault-on-muslim-journalists-by-hindu-extremists-in-india-2303472/

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UP Cleric Held For 'Issuing' Death Fatwa Against Muslim Doctor

Apr 6, 2022

MORADABAD: A Muslim cleric was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly issuing a fatwa against a doctor who had recently showered flower petals on RSS members at Mahmudpur village, under Mainather police station of Moradabad district.

The action came after Dr Nizam Bharti lodged an FIR, in which he claimed that cleric Hafiz Imran Warsi announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who killed him or drove him out of the village. Dr Nizam claimed that the fatwa also banned his entry into mosques.

Cleric Warsi, however, refuted the allegations and said he has not issued any fatwa. "I am not a mufti and I cannot issue a fatwa. This doctor has lodged a false case against me, as I am opposed to his illegal activities," said cleric Warsi when he was brought to district hospital for medical check-up after his arrest on Tuesday afternoon.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/up-cleric-held-for-issuing-death-fatwa-against-doctor/articleshow/90674728.cms

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After halal, loudspeaker ban, Karnataka outfits call for end of 'Muslim monopoly' in fruit business

Nolan Pinto Nagarjun Dwarakanath

April 6, 2022

Even while the demand for a ban on halal meat and the use of loudspeakers in masjids during azan is being criticised, some Hindu outfits in Karnataka have now sought an end to the "monopoly of Muslims" in the fruit business.

Chandru Moger, Coordinator of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti in Karnataka, took to Twitter and urged Hindus to buy fruits from Hindu vendors, claiming that most fruit businesses is done by Muslims.

“There is a monopoly on the fruit business by Muslims. We are also seeing that they are spitting on fruits and bread before selling it,” said Chandru Moger. He said that these Muslim businesses are "spitting Jihad".

“I am requesting all Hindus to help end the monopoly of Muslims in the fruit business. I also urge them to only purchase fruits from Hindu vendors,” he said.

Hindu right-wing leader Prashanth Sambargi also shared his thoughts on boycotting Muslim fruit vendors.

“The hard work is done by the Hindu farmers and the benefits are taken by the intermediate Muslim vendor. We’ve done research on this business cycle and understood that the Hindu farmer is at mercy to the unorganised particular group. To remove this intermediate in the business, we’ve created a campaign,” said Prasanth Sambargi.

He said that they are aiming to spread awareness among farmers that there’s a larger market for business and that farmers would get fair prices for their yield by removing the intermediates.

BJP MINISTER REACTION

Ashwath Narayan, Minister of Higher Education of Karnataka, said, “This is all some fringe organisation trying to instigate issues. We don't take any responsibility nor are we party to that. As a government, the leadership of our Honourable Prime Minister and our party and our leaders, we are very clear we are not against any of our Indians or our brothers who belong to different communities.”

“There is no question of hating the relationships that have been built over centuries and decades. We have differences, we need to talk to each other and set it right and not continue with hatredness,” he said.

“Our government is completely against this. We are all here for the success of our society and we want everybody to have communal harmony,” said the BJP leader.

FORMER CM KUMARASWAMY REACTS

Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also reacted to the demand by Hindu outfits to end the "monopoly of Muslims" in the fruit business. He said that not buying mangoes or fruits from Muslims is anti-national and anti-farmers.

“Muslims buy mangoes grown by farmers and they help farmers grow economically. Muslims buy mangoes grown by Hindus,” said the former CM.

He said that the Hindu outfits’ call to boycott Muslims was a ‘droh’ (betrayal) against the country and its farmers.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/after-halal-loudspeakers-ban-hindu-outfits-call-for-end-muslim-monopoly-in-fruit-business-spitting-jihad-1934076-2022-04-06

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Muslim man thrashed in Karnataka for talking to Hindu girlfriend; two accused arrested

06th April 2022

MANGALURU: In a moral policing incident, a Muslim man was thrashed by a group of men apparently belonging to a Hindutwa outfit in Uppinangady police station limits of Dakshina Kannada district.

Police gave the names of the accused as Surendra, Theertaprasad, Jithesh, Ranjit, Balachandra and others.

According to SP Rishikesh Sonawane, the incident took place at Derane of Siribagilu village of Kadaba taluk, at 12.15 pm on Tuesday, when the complainant Nazir, 21, was travelling with his friend of another faith in his autorickshaw.

In a complaint, Nazir said the autorickshaw was waylaid at Derane by a group of men. After knowing their religious identity, they abused and beat him up severely with bare hands. Then they picked up a stick found on the roadside and thrashed him and also threatened to kill him if was seen moving around with Hindu girls.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/apr/06/muslim-man-thrashed-in-karnataka-for-talking-to-hindu-girlfriend-two-accused-arrested-2438435.html

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After opposition from BJP, Delhi Jal Board withdraws circular for short leave to Muslim employees during Ramzan

Apr 5, 2022

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Tuesday withdrew its circular for short leave to all its Muslim employees during the days of Ramzan after opposition from BJP.

The DJB on Monday had allowed its Muslim employees to avail a "short leave of around two hours a day" during the ongoing Ramzan fasts till May 2.

Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which the followers of Islam fast from dawn to dusk, pray for peace and guidance, and give back to the community in the form of charity.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/after-opposition-from-bjp-delhi-jal-board-withdraws-circular-for-short-leave-to-muslim-employees-during-ramzan/articleshow/90666816.cms

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Europe

 

Turkiye calls for global action to eliminate discrimination against diasporas

Fuat Kabakcı  

05.04.2022

Turkiye called Monday for international action to eliminate discrimination against diasporas.

"We call on the international community to take concrete steps to eliminate all forms of discrimination against diasporas," said Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran during an address to the Global Diaspora Summit organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Dublin via video conference.

Noting that Turkiye is a strong partner of the IOM in the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration, Kıran said: "We are actively involved in all initiatives to protect the dignity, welfare and human rights of migrants."

He underlined that diaspora communities are facing tougher challenges and that Islamophobia, xenophobia, discrimination and racism are on the rise, especially in Europe, and they pose a threat.

Diaspora communities provide support for the sustainable development of both the host countries and the countries they come from, he said.

Kıran said more than 200 million migrant workers worldwide help their families with their remittances, adding diaspora members act as social, economic and cultural bridges as politicians, entrepreneurs, innovators and opinion leaders in the societies they live in.

"Turkish society is well integrated into the countries they live in and they have become valuable members of the society they live in," he said, noting that Turkiye is home to one of the largest diaspora communities of over 5 million.

Providing examples of the achievements of Turkish society, Kıran said that more than 2,600 politicians of Turkish origin assumed political positions in Europe and the US and that eight members of the European Parliament, three ministers and 91 deputies were of Turkish origin.

Also, 100,000 Turkish businesses generate an annual income of €50 billion ($54.8 billion) in Germany, he said.

"The founders of BioNTech, Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin, are an important example of the diasporas being a strong driving force for sustainable development.

"We make every effort to strengthen the well-being of the Turkish community abroad," he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkiye-calls-for-global-action-to-eliminate-discrimination-against-diasporas/2555223

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Turkey calls for probe into civilian deaths in Bucha

06 April ,2022

Turkey on Wednesday joined the global condemnation of the murder of civilians in the town of Bucha and other cities in Ukraine, and called for an independent investigation.

“The images of the massacre, which have been published in the press from various regions including Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv, are appalling and sad for humanity,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Aside from a tweeted message by the Turkish embassy in Ukraine on Monday, it was the first official reaction from Turkey after dozens of bodies were found in mass graves or littering the streets near the Ukrainian capital over the weekend.

The Kremlin has rejected accusations that Russian forces were responsible for killing civilians near Kyiv and suggested images of corpses were “fakes”.

The Ukrainian army retook control of the key commuter town of Bucha outside Kyiv just a few days ago and said it had found dozens of bodies after Russian forces pulled out.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the killings “war crimes” and “genocide” and Western countries have ramped up sanctions against Russia in reaction to the deaths.

But the Kremlin has denied the accusations and claimed the images emerging from Bucha and other towns are fakes produced by Ukrainian forces, or that the deaths occurred after Russian soldiers pulled out.

“Targeting innocent civilians is unacceptable,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.

“It is our main expectation that the matter will be subject to an independent investigation and that those responsible will be identified and held accountable.”

Turkey will continue to work to stop “such shameful scenes in the name of humanity,” it added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/04/06/Turkey-calls-for-probe-into-civilian-deaths-in-Bucha

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Turkiye's Embassy in Ukraine returns to capital Kyiv

Merve Aydogan 

05.04.2022

Turkiye's Embassy in Kyiv, which was temporarily moved to Ukraine's southwestern Chernivtsi city due to the Russia-Ukraine war, returned to its location and is set to become operational as of Wednesday, an official statement said Tuesday.

The embassy issued a notification on Twitter, saying it had to temporarily move its activities to Chernivtsi, which acted as a logistics center for evacuations by Turkiye.

"As of today, we have returned home, to Kyiv," it added.

It further noted that as of Wednesday, the embassy will carry out its activities, including consular services, from its building located at "Panasa Mirnoho 22."

A number of countries, including the US, Israel, Netherlands, and Hungary, have temporarily relocated their embassies from Kyiv to the western city of Lviv due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Russia-Ukraine war, which started on Feb. 24, has drawn international outrage, with the EU, US, and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.

At least 1,480 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,195 injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be far higher.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkiyes-embassy-in-ukraine-returns-to-capital-kyiv-/2556164

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Greece, Israel, Cypriot Greek administration foreign ministers tripartite meeting held in Athens

Ahmet Gencturk  

05.04.2022

A tripartite meeting between Greece, Israel and Cypriot Greek administration foreign ministers was held Tuesday in Athens.

The meeting focused on the latest developments in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, including energy and security issues and the group discussed further strengthening trilateral ties, according to Greek state broadcaster ERT.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Twitter that his meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Greek Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides took place during a complicated time.

“There is a war in Europe. Once again, a large & powerful country has invaded a smaller neighbor without any justification. Once again, the ground is soaked with the blood of innocent civilians,” he said.

Maintaining that the war stands to change European and Middle Eastern energy markets, Lapid said the parties are examining further economic cooperation, with an emphasis on the energy market.

Dendias said Greece is worried about developments in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Asserting that the Little Petra hotel, belonging to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, was occupied by members of a settler group, he said the protecting patriarchate's rights, Holy Shrines, foundations and property, as well as its status quo is of top priority for Greece.

"We fear that this issue, unless addressed, could deteriorate and lead to escalation, ahead of Passover, Easter and Eid al Fitr," he added.

Before the meeting, Lapid and Dendias held a separate meeting.

Lapid detailed on Twitter that he discussed bilateral cooperation with an emphasis on security, commerce, and energy, in that meeting.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/greece-israel-cypriot-greek-administration-foreign-ministers-tripartite-meeting-held-in-athens/2556064

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Pakistan

 

Imran Khan's ‘foreign conspiracy’ charge: Shehbaz Sharif asks Pakistan army chief to produce proof

Apr 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday asked army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence chief General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum to bring evidence before the nation and the apex court of a “foreign conspiracy” about a regime change in Pakistan and involvement of the country’s opposition leaders in it. Prime minister Imran Khan has repeatedly levelled the allegation that there is a nexus between opposition leaders and a foreign state to bring about a change of government in Pakistan.

Speaking to journalists outside Supreme Court of Pakistan, Sharif said: “I demand Gen Bajwa and DG ISI to take notice of this issue and produce evidence in the SC if we (the opposition) have committed treason…I’ve never spoken such clear words before.”

Sharif, who was leader of the opposition in the dissolved National Assembly, said he will also present this request before the apex court. “We will forward this demand through our lawyers and ask the SC to review this matter and create a forum in which it is clarified,” the PML-N leader said.

Referring to the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting on alleged “foreign conspiracy”, which the joint opposition had refused to attend, Sharif said: “It is now time for the army officials, who have made innumerable sacrifices, to clarify whether the NSC passed a resolution in which the role of opposition in the ‘foreign conspiracy’ is stated.”

“Did they sign those minutes? See if it has the approval of the establishment (a reference to the powerful military leadership)?” he said.

Sharif said Imran’s government raised the issue of “foreign conspiracy” after the joint opposition, practising its constitutional right, submitted a no-confidence motion against him.

Replying to a question about the formation of a caretaker government, the PML-N president said that he has not received a letter from the president in this regard. “We want the SC to resolve the issue of the unconstitutional step taken by the president and prime minister and then we (combined opposition) will talk about other matters,” Sharif said.

“Pakistan will become a “banana republic” if these issues are not addressed,” Sharif warned.

Earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had also urged the army spokesperson to clarify proceedings of the NSC meeting. Taking to Twitter on Monday, Bilawal said: “Will DG ISPR (military spokesman) clarify if NSC meeting declared the 197 NA members (lawmakers who were ready to support no-trust motion against Imran) as traitors and part of a foreign plot… Can foreign office or the defence ministry produce any official correspondence between March 7 and 27 on foreign conspiracy?”

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khans-foreign-conspiracy-charge-shehbaz-sharif-asks-pakistan-army-chief-to-produce-proof/articleshow/90672110.cms

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President Alvi asks ECP to propose dates for general elections

Naveed Siddiqui

April 6, 2022

President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday wrote a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan to propose dates for holding general elections in the country under Article 224(2) of the Constitution.

The development comes after the National Assembly deputy speaker threw out a no-confidence motion against PM Imran and the president dissolved the lower house of Parliament on the former's advice on April 3.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the matter to decide the legality of the deputy speaker's ruling and the subsequent actions and orders of the prime minister and the president.

The president's letter to the ECP stated that under Article 48(5)(A) and Article 224(2) of the Constitution, the president had to appoint a date, not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution of the National Assembly, for holding general elections.

"In order to carry out the mandate of the Constitution of announcing the date of general elections, consultation with the Election Commission is required under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017," the letter added.

ECP considering options

On Tuesday, a Dawn report quoting ECP sources said that the electoral body could not hold polls within three months citing various legal hitches and procedural challenges.

However, the election commission had to clarify that it had not issued any statement about holding of elections, but at the same time did not say whether it was ready to conduct the polls in three months.

Meanwhile, sources told Dawn that the electoral body had started considering options to carry out delimitation of constituencies in the minimum possible time.

Sources in the ECP said Chief Election Commis­sioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja was chairing meetings to discuss the constitutional crisis arising out of the assailed dissolution of the National Assembly and the ECP’s preparations in case the Supreme Court refused to set aside Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling on the no-trust motion and the subsequent dissolution of the assembly.

Section 17 (2) of the Elections Act 2017 directs the ECP to delimit constituencies after every census is officially notified. The current delimitation had been carried out on the basis of provisional results of the 2017 census under a one-time waiver of the legal provision.

Even after the publication of final results of the census in May last year, the commission did not conduct delimitation, perhaps because of the declared intention of the PTI to carry out fresh census in 2023.

A source said the ECP was yet to reach a decision on how to manage early delimitation, adding that one of the possible solutions could be squeezing timelines for delimitation exercise through a presidential ordinance.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683718/president-alvi-asks-ecp-to-propose-dates-for-general-elections

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Envoy’s transfer exposes ‘threat letter’ drama, claims Maryam

April 6, 2022

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz has said that the main character behind the so-called ‘threat letter’, former ambassador to the US Asad Majid, was transferred to Belgium just a day before Imran Khan came up with the conspiracy drama to gain public sympathy.

“The so-called ‘threat letter’ was drafted at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Asad Majid was abruptly transferred to Brussels a day before Imran Khan waved the letter at a public meeting. Why is this letter not presented before the Supreme Court and the nation? In fact there is no such [threat] letter,” Ms Nawaz said at a press conference here on Tuesday.

“The letter was a drama that was why the ambassador [Majid] was transferred to Brussels overnight. This drama has completely been exposed,” she said.

Ms Nawaz urged the security establishment to take a clear position on the ‘threat letter’ perceived as a foreign conspiracy against Pakistan.

PML-N leader says Imran using NSC for political gain

“Imran Khan used the National Security Committee forum for his political narrative. He gave an impression that the NSC was with him on this issue but as a matter of fact it isn’t. The security establishment should come forward and clear its position on the matter,” she said.

Earlier, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, former president Asif Ali Zaradri and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had asked the military authorities to clarify their position on the government’s claim that the NSC had declared the opposition’s resolution a “part of foreign agenda.”

PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif has also urged Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa and ISI Director General Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum to present evidence of any alleged treason committed by the joint opposition.

Opposition parties have also drawn the attention of the judiciary and the military establishment to the fact that Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri had summarily declared 197 members of the National Assembly “traitors”.

Maryam Nawaz said both National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri had abrogated the Constitution on the order of Imran Khan and the three should be tried under Article 6.

“The Constitution is not under the speaker or deputy speaker, but they must act under the Constitution,” she said, adding that Mr Khan had also abrogated the Constitution only to cling to power for a few more days as he was afraid that his corruption stories would soon be exposed.

Meeting with diplomats

She rubbished the allegation by Mr Khan that a conspiracy against his government was hatched during the opposition leaders’ meeting with diplomats.

“We meet foreign diplomats for the betterment of Pakistan. Here are the pictures of Imran’s meeting with diplomats before the 2018 polls…what we should infer from this?” she asked.

Farah ‘Punjab CM’

Ms Nawaz alleged that Farah Khan, a close friend of first lady Bushra Bibi, was in fact the chief minister of Punjab, as Usman Buzdar was just a “dummy”.

Ms Farah had on Sunday last left for Dubai amid serious allegations of taking bribes in postings and transfers through former CM Buzdar.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683682/envoys-transfer-exposes-threat-letter-drama-claims-maryam

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Pakistan Telecommunications Authority Urges YouTube To Unblock Dr Israr’s Channel

Kalbe Ali

April 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tele­communications Authority (PTA) has called upon YouTube to review its decision to block a TV channel run by the late Dr Israr Ahmed’s foundation over charges of hate speech.

“This unilateral shutdown of Dr Israr Ahmed’s channel, a prominent Muslim scholar, raises questions about the arbitrary limits of online expression,” the PTA said in its appeal to YouTube on Tuesday.

Sources in the PTA said the channel concerned used to broadcast videos of Dr Israr Ahmed that tried to shed light on the socio-economic order envisaged by the Holy Quran.

The PTA pleaded that such videos were only aimed at “educating the viewers”.

Pleads videos on the channel are only aimed at ‘educating the viewers’

YouTube suspended the channel after Jewish groups complained that its programmes carried contents which incited hate against them.

Dr Israr’s channel had almost three million subscribers and his lectures were admired by a large number of people living in the West.

The channel, operated by the son of Dr Israr Ahmed, shows recordings of the late scholar’s old speeches.

These contain his views about the end of the world in the light of Quranic verses and the Jews’ place in history.

A disciple of Dr Israr Ahmed decried the move as a violation of free speech by the West.

Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza said on his own YouTube channel the move betrayed the West’s double standard. “They acted upon complaints just by Jewish groups, without hearing the other side,” he said.

The complaints lodged with YouTube expressed fears that Dr Israr’s “preaching could trigger violence against Jews in the West by Muslims”.

Indian action

The Indian ministry of information and broadcasting barred 22 YouTube channels, including four based in Pakistan, on Tuesday over charges of spreading disinformation that posed a threat to “national security and public order”.

The Indian government had banned 35 YouTube channels and multiple social media accounts in January on charges of spreading “fake news”. A similar action was taken in December when 20 YouTube channels were blocked for airing “anti-India content”.

Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency reported that the blocked YouTube channels had a combined following of 2.6 billion viewers.

According to the agency, New Delhi invoked “emergency powers” under IT laws to block 18 Indian channels.

“Multiple YouTube channels were used to post fake news on various subjects, especially against India’s armed forces,” the information ministry said in a statement.

The Indian government has been using IT rules introduced last year to crack down on social media dissent.

India has sought tough action by tech giants like Google and Facebook to root out “fake news” from their platforms.

In a meeting in February, officials told the firms their inaction had forced the government to order content takedowns, which in turn drew global criticism that authorities were suppressing free expression.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683684/pta-urges-youtube-to-unblock-dr-isrars-channel

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Opposition grows restless as SC hearing continues

Amir Wasim

April 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties seem to be getting impatient with the prolonged Supreme Court hearing of a case dealing with the current political situation, and this was evident from the tone and tenor of the statements, press conferences and tweets issued by a number of opposition leaders on Tuesday.

In a series of press statements, opposition leaders not only urged the apex court to decide the case at the earliest, they also expressed the hope that the judiciary would not resurrect the “doctrine of necessity” again.

PML-N leader and former finance minister Miftah Ismail was so upset during a news conference alongside Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that he stated there was a possibility that interim Prime Minister Imran Khan would win the case.

It is perhaps out of frustration and as a last resort that opposition parties on Tuesday asked top military officials, including Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Nadeem Anjum, to appear before the court and verify the claim of the interim Prime Minister Imran Khan that the National Security Committee (NSC) had also found a nexus between foreign elements and opposition parties.

Wants military leadership to appear before SC; hopes court will not resurrect ‘doctrine of necessity’

“If we are traitors, I demand that Army Chief General Bajwa and [the] DG ISI, who are members of the NSC, bring the evidence before the nation and the apex court,” PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif told reporters outside the SC before the start of the hearing.

“Have they (the military leadership) seen, vetted and signed the minutes of the NSC meeting?” asked Mr Sharif while referring to the March 31 meeting of the NSC, presided by Imran Khan, which was mentioned in the detailed ruling of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, through which he had disallowed a vote on the opposition-moved no-confidence resolution against Imran Khan.

“We have been protesting against him (Imran Khan) for more than three years now. But the day we decided to take a constitutional path [to oust him], we were called traitors,” he said.

Responding to a question, Mr Sharif said he had not received any letter from President Arif Alvi regarding suggestion of names for the appointment of caretaker prime minister.

Similarly, PML-N’s vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said there were seven military officials, including the army chief, the DG ISI and the chairman of the Joint Staff Committee, present in the NSC meeting. He said that he had himself presided over the NSC meetings as the prime minister and he knew the format of the meeting. He said civilian leadership sat on one side and the military on the other during the NSC meeting.

Mr Abbasi said the viewpoint of the civilian leadership was in front of the nation. Now, he said, it was the “responsibility” of the military leadership to tell the SC if the allegations on the basis of which the National Assembly had been dissolved were correct.

“The biggest responsibility now lies with the military leadership as they have also taken oath. Come to the SC and tell as to what was the decision (of the NSC)? If it was decided that we are traitors then register a case and if not, then try Imran Khan under Article 6,” said Mr Abbasi.

Mr Abbssi said unfortunately in the past, the SC had made the decisions which were directly in conflict with the Constitution. He said they had always respected the court’s decision. He said if the court could take a decision on the basis of an Iqama (work permit) then it should also play its role in defending the Constitution, stating that the judges had also taken oath to uphold and protect the Constitution.

Speaking at a news conference, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) information secretary Shazia Marri and former deputy speaker Faisal Karim Kundi also urged the SC to decide the case at the earliest and in accordance with the law and Constitution of the country.

Ms Marri said the lawyers community, bar councils and human rights bodies of the country had already declared that the ruling of the deputy speaker was illegal and Mr Khan had abrogated the Constitution.

Mr Kundi said when the court had taken the suo motu notice and started hearing of the case on Sunday despite a public holiday, they were expecting that it would issue a short order. However, he said, it did not happen and the hearing was still continuing in the court. He said the PPP had requested the hearing of the case by a full court, but its plea was turned down.

“We hope the court will make decision on merit and not under the doctrine of necessity,” said Mr Kundi.

The PPP leader also appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan and the judges of the SC to summon the minutes of the NSC meeting as declaring 197 members of the assembly traitors was not a little thing.

Later, speaking at a news conference after chairing a meeting of the PPP’s Central Executive Committee alongside his father Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged the security establishment to come out with a clarification on the charges of foreign conspiracy.

The PPP chairman predicted ‘violent elections’ in the country if state institutions did not act in accordance with democratic and constitutional norms.

Mr Bhutto Zardari alleged that Imran Khan had made the security institution controversial for the sake of politics alone.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683675/opposition-grows-restless-as-sc-hearing-continues

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Bilawal urges apex court to strike down Imran Khan’s ‘coup’

April 6, 2022 

LARKANA: Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, has requested apex court to set a new precedent by striking down what he called Imran Khan’s coup and restore parliament to allow it go through no-confidence process.

“We respect judiciary and whatever verdict the court gives we will form an awami government,” Bilawal said while speaking to a gathering at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto which had been organised to observe the 43rd death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto late on Monday night.

He said: “The selected raj is over and awami raj will herald soon” and asked workers to gear up for all circumstance and elections.

Criticising Imran Khan’s foreign policy, he said that he [Imran Khan] had not only slowed to a stop progress on CPEC but also sabotaged and made it controversial. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto made Pakistan nuclear, Benazir Bhutto armed it with missile technology while Asif Ali Zardari inked Pak-Iran gas pipeline project to buy gas at cheaper rate and also brought in CPEC, he said.

He congratulated the crowd and said that real face of Imran Khan had been brought before world. He was not peoples’ representative, he was imposed on people through rigged elections and he worked against 18th Amendment to rob away rights of the provinces, he said.

He said referring to Imran Khan that: “Either we will oust him through democratic process or accept the ‘undemocratic’ suicide. We must capture the moment, pull out of present crisis and let both the judiciary and establishment to wipe stains. All institutions and political parties should respect the constitution and parliament should be given chance to carry out electoral reforms,” he said.

Bilawal said that PPP had suffered in elections in the shape of PNA and IJI in past and now the ‘selected’. “If parliament is undermined we are ready to go into elections,” he said and expressed optimistic to win and sort out economic problems.

He said that ‘puppet’ was trying to copy Zulfikar Ali Bhutto but “you cannot be Bhutto by just waving a fake letter. The ‘hypocrite’ would take a U-turn again but the real leaders were not those who compromised on democracy, he said.

He demanded Imran Khan produce proof of foreign conspiracy. “We have struggled continuously for three years and brought no-trust move for electoral reforms and elections,” he said.

He said that Imran Khan had backed out of his commitments and his policies had given birth to unemployment, losses to pensioners, rise in drug prices and ruined the country’s economy.

He alleged that Imran Khan had broken ‘corruption’ records and neither the PPP nor the PML-N but it was the Transparency International which pointed out corruption. “This is just a ‘trailer’ and more will come to the surface,” said Bilawal.

He said that Imran Khan had been treating the long march and no-trust move as a joke.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683587/bilawal-urges-apex-court-to-strike-down-imran-khans-coup

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3 killed in Dera Ismail Khan grenade blast

April 6, 2022

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Three people were killed in a grenade attack in Kulachi tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan district here on Tuesday.

Police officials said that three persons were killed when unidentified assailants threw a hand grenade on them in Kot Kundian area.

The victims were identified as 25-year-old Rozi Khan and his relative, 40-year-old Mohammad Ayub of Mohalla Sheikhanwala of Tank, while the third victim, Abdul Sattar, belonged to Tiarza area of South Waziristan tribal district.

The police officials said that the suspects managed to flee the scene after the attack.

The police registered a case on the report of Raees Khan, a brother of slain Rozi Khan. He told the police that his family had no enmity with anyone.

In a separate incident, a young man was killed and his cousin was seriously injured when their motorcycle collided with a truck in the limits of the University police station.

The police identified the deceased as 18-year-old Amirullah.

The police have registered a case against the driver of the truck.

Meanwhile, unidentified robbers snatched cash, a motorcycle and other documents from a citizen at gunpoint in the limits of the Cantonment police station, police said on Tuesday.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683621/3-killed-in-dera-ismail-khan-grenade-blast

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Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s Wife’s Friend Flees To Dubai For Fears Of Regime Change

05 APR 2022 

Farah Khan, a close friend of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s third wife Bushra Bibi, has fled the country following reports that she could be arrested if a new government is installed in Pakistan.

Her husband Ahsan Jamil Gujjar has already left for the US.

Farah left for Dubai on Sunday, The Express Tribune newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Opposition alleges that Farah received a huge sum of money for getting officers transferred and posted according to their choices, calling the scam the “mother of all scandals” amounting to 6 billion Pakistani rupees (USD 32 million).

Maryam Nawaz, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) Vice President and deposed premier Nawaz Sharif's daughter, claimed that Farah has done this corruption at the behest of Imran and his wife.

According to Maryam, Prime Minister Khan fears that once he is out of power, his “thefts” will be exposed.

Recently-sacked Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar and Khan's old friend and the party financer Aleem Khan also alleged that Farah had made billions of rupees in transfers and postings done in Punjab through chief minister Usman Buzdar.

There are reports that more close aides of Khan have planned to leave the country after he loses the top office.

On Sunday, Khan dissolved Parliament after the deputy speaker dismissed a no-trust motion against him.

The joint Opposition had presented the support of 197 lawmakers, 25 more than the required number, in Parliament on Sunday to oust the premier.

The Opposition moved the Supreme Court challenging the deputy speaker's act as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Source: Outlook India

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

https://www.outlookindia.com/international/pakistan-pm-imran-khan-s-wife-s-friend-flees-to-dubai-for-fears-of-regime-change-news-190155

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Pakistan condemns burning, vandalisation of Muslims' houses by 'Hindu zealots' in India's Rajasthan

Naveed Siddiqui

April 5, 2022

Pakistan strongly condemned on Tuesday the "senseless vandalisation and burning of more than 40 houses of" the Muslim community in the Karauli area of India's Rajasthan state by "Hindu zealots" during recent communal clashes, a statement issued by the Foreign Office said.

According to Indian publication The Wire, the clashes broke out on April 2 "after stones were pelted at a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate the Hindu new year, prompting authorities to clamp a curfew, suspend the internet and deploy 600 police personnel".

Around 35 people were injured in the violence and 46 people were initially taken into custody by police for interrogation, a report by NDTV said, adding that a case was registered against 13 people. Later, the report said, police arrested another 33 people for violating the curfew order.

The reports said houses and shops were set on fire during the episode but did not confirm the number of properties that were damaged.

However, in its condemnation, Pakistan said over 40 properties belonging to the Muslim community were set ablaze and vandalised by "radical Hindu zealots belonging to the BJP-RSS (Bharatiya Janata Party-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) dispensation with the connivance of local security authorities" during the clashes.

"Equally alarming is the apathy of state machinery which wantonly looked the other way and failed in its basic duty of protecting the lives and properties of its citizens," the statement said, adding that regretfully, minorities in India, especially Muslims continued to live under fear and intimidation.

"The BJP-RSS combine has enabled [the] perpetration of senseless violence against minorities as part of its ‘Hindutva’ agenda marked by hate and majoritarianism," the statement read.

It added that recent history was replete with traumatic instances that reflected the current Indian regime’s deep-seated animosity against Muslims in the country.

"Deafening silence of the BJP leadership and absence of discernible action against ‘Hindutva’ proponents must ring alarm bells across the international community. Rather than relenting in their hostilities against Muslims, the BJP-RSS activists have intensified the atrocities" the statement said.

In this connection, the FO cited the example of Yati Narsinghan, an infamous Haridwar priest, once again "brazenly" calling upon Hindus on April 3 to take up arms against Muslims.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683579/pakistan-condemns-burning-vandalisation-of-muslims-houses-by-hindu-zealots-in-indias-rajasthan

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South Asia

 

Taliban: 7 months of rule, 11 cases of violations

April 6, 2022

Following the developments in Afghanistan last year and the President Ashraf Ghani's fleeing from the country and the fall of the Kabul government and Taliban takeover of the power and the announcement of the Islamic Emirate foundation in this country, there have been different approaches among Afghan and foreign experts about the discourse and policy the group would apply in its governance, with some arguing that the Taliban leaders after 20 years in exile and experience they built would no longer turn to violent and authoritarian approaches and rather would seek cohesion and unity among various sectarian groups and pave the way for an inclusive government.

Others, however, believe that, given the ruling ideology of the group, the Taliban would take the same path as before by seizing power and consolidating it, and would not allow other groups in the governance.

These two groups of experts are monitoring the behavior and discourse of the Taliban concerning people to see if the group would continue the violent way of the past rule or in order to attract people and gain internal, regional, and international legitimacy it would entertain reforms and build trust. Not long before the Taliban seized the power and its government is yet to gain domestic and international legitimacy, it resorted to abusive and violent ways like in the past 20 years, triggering public reactions. Contrary to its commitments at Doha meetings, the group recently issued a set of restrictive laws and regulations in various fields. These restrictions affect all social, political, cultural, educational and economic areas of public life. Needless to say, the difference between the past and present rule of the Taliban is that this time, contrary to the past, the Taliban is applying its rules slowly and systemically and pushes the people under the obligation of respecting them.

In general, the Taliban's restrictions can be divided into different categories, and in each category the restrictions have been gradually imposed and the voices of dissent have been stifled. Restrictive laws were enacted as the Taliban rulers upon their arrival in Kabul declared support for free media and a general amnesty, stressing that women wound no longer be under restrictions of the past. However, a few days after their rule started, they introduced a limiting regime outlawing all kinds of gatherings, protests, and rallies, while giving green light to rallies organized by their supports.

This field research brings in spotlight the restrictive laws issued by the Taliban over the past 7 months of their rule. Here are some of them:

1. Contradictory instructions to the media

On September 20, last year, the Taliban, in its first action in the field of media, approved a nine-point instruction list and obliged the media to observe the following:

- Material that is in conflict with Islam should not be published.

- Do not insult national figures in media publishing.

- Do not insult national and personal privacy.

- Media and journalists should not distort reality in news content.

- Journalists should consider the professional principles of journalism in their writing.

- The media should be balanced in their publications.

- Matters that are not known for accuracy and unconfirmed by the authorities should be published with conservation.

- The media should be neutral and publish what is true in the news.

- The government's press center would be formed in a specific form for media outlets and journalists to work with.

Following these instructions, the group issued an 8-point instruction list, showing that it violated the earlier instructions and introduced new limitations. According to the new regulations, foreign shows, series, and movies are banned on internal televisions. Moreover, women are banned from acting in the films and full hejab codes are obligatory for the female presenters on media. Also, the media were asked to act within Islamic frameworks and Zabihullah Mujahed, the spokesmam to the group, said that the "Islamic codes and Afghan values" should be considered in media program productions.

According to a report by Reporters without Borders, because of the Taliban restrictions, out of 543 media outlets registered in the country, just 312 have been active by February, meaning that in 3 months, 43 percent of Afghanistan media halted activity. The report also informed that 80 percent of female journalists lost their jobs after Taliban takeover and in many provinces there is not even a single female journalist.

Media restrictions were not limited to this, and the Taliban beat journalists, detained them, and even killed them. In August, reporter of Etilaatroz newspaper in Dasht-e-Barchi of Kabul was detained and, then reportedly tortured, while reporting from women's protests.

In its latest stance on the Taliban's social crackdown, Amnesty International has expressed concern over the continued arbitrary detention of journalists and rights advocates in Afghanistan and called for an end to the violence against journalists. The organization says, in the first two months of 2022, 60 people, including children, were detained and then disappeared by the Taliban.

2. Cracking down on civil activists

Upon its seizure of Kabul, the Taliban began mass detentions targeting journalists, civil activists, women rights activists, political experts, and university professors. Here are some examples:

Faizullah Jalal, a professor at Kabul University who criticized the Taliban in a TV interview, was arrested after the interview and released under international community and internal pressures after a few days of detention.

Tamana Zaryab and Parvaneh Ibrahim Kheyl, two female activists, were also arrested and disappeared. Their offenses, according to the Taliban, were participation in women's protests against Taliban rule  and arrangement of rallies.

Seyyed Baqer Mohseni, a university professor and political analyst, was also detained and tortured for three days for criticism  against the Taliban in the media. He has not spoken to media since his release.

The managing director of Tolo News Network and Bahram Aman, the political presenter of this TV station, were also arrested by the Taliban. Since their release, they have not disclosed the treatment of them during the detention or what the group demanded from them.

The head of Noorin TV was also arrested without being charged and transferred to an unknown location. The fate of this individual is yet to be known.

3. Anti-women restrictions

Under the Taliban rule, women are banned from working in government offices and schools closed their doors to female students, while the Taliban had earlier vowed that girls would be allowed to continue their education in the new school year. However, on March 24 and after vacations, the girls above sixth degree were told to stay at home "until further notice." The ministry of education said the ban was because their hijab codes was not designed to "suit Afghan morale."

Restrictions on women in universities have increased, too, and boys and girls were separated in public university classes. Girls whose hijab is not meeting Taliban standards are expelled in an apparant act of official retribution.

In addition, the ministry for the propagatioen of virtue and the prevention of vice issued a five-article instruction on women and urban taxis. According to the directive, drivers are not allowed to provide services to women who do not wear the hijab properly and are not accompanied by a legal chaperone. Also, the ministry told drivers they should not admit women without male family member seeking to travel beyond 72 kilometres. The women were also banned from flights without a male family member company. According to the reports, so far Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif airports have not allowed women to fly out of the county.

4. Restrictive social instructions

With the start of new rule of the Taliban, its leadership announced a public amnesty and asked people, especially the political, scientific, university, and religious communities, to return to their normal life. Their empty promises only sought to calm the turbulence the country witnessed upon their takeover. Very shortly later, however, not only these promises proved empty but also the Taliban issued restrictive laws, returning the country to the black rule of pre-occupation in the 1990s by creating an atmosphere of terror, detention, threats, and even killing. The behavior motivated massive migration out of the country legally and illegally, with those remaining inside having no choice but accepting the plight of living under the Taliban rule.

More than 6 million people have applied for passports and visas in addition to the large number of people who have left Afghanistan in the past seven months, according to reports. These behaviors lead to the notion that the Taliban have no belief in human rights, women rights, civil freedoms, and public amnesty. Here are some of their social decrees:

1- Ordering barbers not to shave or trim beards or cut the hair Western-style.

2. Male university students were recommended to "replace Western cloths with national ones".

3. Banning music and its publishing and its airing on media

5. Taliban and constitution

After establishing itself in Kabul, the Taliban leadership said the constitution approved under King Mohammed Zahir Shah, who ruled Afghanistan from 1933 to 1973, would make the basis of administration of the country. However, their comments showed that they have no belief in this issue and they adopt the laws announced by their leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada. When they are asked about the constitutional basis of their rule, they refer to Quranic laws without elaboration.

6. Taliban and music

This group does not approve of any kind of music and with assumption of the power by the group, the music industry went off in the country and the musicians and singers fled the country or forced to isolation internally. People across the country, mainly the drivers, were warned not to play music. TV stations in the country were told not to air music material. Molawi Naeem al-Haq Haqqani, the head of Information and Culture Office in Herat province, said in an interview with the private media "Asr" that Hanafi jurisprudence has been fully defined, and that "we still have a duty to have our point of view within that framework."

"In our religion, music is forbidden and any kind of music is forbidden. Music has no place in the religion of Islam," he told the outlet.

7. Taliban and congregational prayer

In the past rule and presently, the Taliban insist that all should attend congregational prayer and those absent from the religious event are fined. Reports from around the country hold that "propagation of virtue and prevention of vice teams", using car-mounted loudspeakers in the streets, encourage people to attend prayers.

8. Taliban and photography and painting

According to Taliban instructions, people are asked to abandon all kinds of photography and paintings. There are even reports that the it barred photography and filming. The Taliban's draconian rules on this art have caused concern for those interested.

9. Taliban and Nowruz

Molawi Mohammad Sadegh Akef Mohajer, spokesman for the ministry of information and guidance, said that Nowruz, a Persian celebration of new year and spring, is not in Islam.

"There is no other holiday called Nowruz in Islam," he said. "Nowruz is for the Majuses and I do not see the need to celebrate it," he continued referring to the ancient Persians with Zoroastrian faith.

Asked if the three-day Nowruz vacation would remain in place under the Taliban rule, he left the decision to the ministry of labor and social affairs. "But very likely there would not be vacations in these three days," he continued.

Concerning the measures of the ministry of information and guidance, Mohajer said that the ministry has played a big role in the new administration and during the past six months "we restored many Islamic laws including ban on alcoholic drinks, public use of drugs, and dance of women in Public. "The ministry has much to do and would report to the people."

10. Home-to-home search

Following clashes in Kabul and some other cities, the Taliban launched home searches of political, religious, and cultural leaders under the pretext of crackdown on armed groups, with its media reports suggesting discovery of massive amounts of arms and ammunition. Some reports held that the process went so inappropriate and violence affected even those figures announcing readiness to work with the group. Other reports also talked about looting of the assets of people during the searches. The search program in addition to bringing a sense of insecurity to non-Pashtun communities prompted the take that the group seeks to disarm the past opposition groups and figures under the ruse of fight against armed groups. Another action was seizure of houses and offices of political figures and parties, justifying its action by arguing that they were indebted to the electricity company.

11. Purges in state offices

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//taliban-7-months-of-rule-11-cases-of-violations_1245232.html

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UN: Afghan women, Children bearing brunt of country’s humanitarian crisis

06 Apr 2022

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Asia Pacific has expressed concern over the ongoing humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and added that women and children are bearing the brunt of the crisis.

UNHCR Asia Pacific in a Twitter post said that millions of Afghans have fled the country while others struggling to find enough food and shelter.

The Twitter post reads that women and children must have access to lifesaving assistance that needs a large amount of donor support.

“Robust donor support is vital; women, girls, and their communities must have access to life-saving aid.” Reads the Twitter post.

It comes as the UN stats denote that nearly six million people are still internally displaced in Afghanistan who need support.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/un-afghan-women-children-bearing-brunt-of-countrys-humanitarian-crisis-656589767/

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Following US, Iran welcomes Taliban’s ban on cultivation of poppies

06 Apr 2022

The secretary-general of Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters Eskandar Momeni embraced the Taliban’s announcement banning the cultivation and use of narcotics and added that they will wait for the implementation of the decree.

Eskandar Momeni vowed to be supporting a reduction in poppies cultivation in Afghanistan.

On Monday, US charge d’Affairs Ian McCay welcomed the ban on narcotics in Afghanistan adding that implementation of the decree will be key.

In the meantime, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation also welcomed the ban announced by the Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada.

Iran has accused the US to be behind the 50 fold increase in narcotics cultivation in Afghanistan in the past less than two decades.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/following-us-iran-welcomes-talibans-ban-on-cultivation-of-poppies-7548756/

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Taliban sacks ex Afghan ambassador to Moscow, appointed their envoy

06 Apr 2022

Sources have told Tass News Agency that the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has laid off the Afghan ambassador to Moscow appointed by the former Afghan government, Sayed Taib Jawad replacing him with Jamal Gharwal.

Jamal Gharwal who was appointed by the IEA as Charge d’Affairs will soon take the office as Charge d’Affairs.

On March 31, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that they have accepted the credentials of the first diplomat introduced by the Taliban to the country.

Russia becomes the first powerful country that accepts the credential of a diplomat introduced by the Taliban and now their ambassador.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amri Khan Muttaqi on Sunday said that China has also agreed to accept diplomats introduced by them (the Taliban).

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-sacks-ex-afghan-ambassador-to-moscow-appointed-their-envoy-5485776/

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Arab World

 

Saudi authorities warn against donating to strangers due to terrorism financing

05 April ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of State Security warned citizens and residents in the Kingdom against donating to strangers, noting that such practices increase the probability of financing terrorism.

“[Random strangers] may be more dangerous than you think,” the Presidency of State Security said in a statement on Twitter, urging people to only make donations via authorized channels.

The Presidency of State Security also posted a video that illustrates how some beggars scam people.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

In one instance, a man was disguised as a woman wearing niqab and accompanied by children whom he exploited “for the purpose of illegal activity.”

Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s General Security said in a statement that security forces will continue to arrest beggars and take legal measures against them.

It also urged citizens and residents to donate via authorized channels, particularly through the Ehsan platform which the Kingdom launched last year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/04/05/Saudi-authorities-warn-against-donating-to-strangers-due-to-terrorism-financing

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Pope Francis to visit crisis-hit Lebanon in June: Presidency

05 April ,2022

Pope Francis will visit Lebanon in June, the Lebanese presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Vatican’s ambassador to Lebanon informed President Michel Aoun, according to the statement.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

An exact date will be set in the coming weeks. “The Lebanese people await Pope Francis’s visit to express their gratitude for [the Pope’s] interest in Lebanon and to thank him for the initiatives and prayers he has carried out for peace and stability in the country,” Aoun said.

The Lebanese president was in Rome last month, where he met with the pope.

The pope has repeatedly expressed a desire to visit Lebanon, which is facing one of the worst economic crashes in history.

He also made a historic visit to Iraq last year.

The visit comes as more than 70 percent of Lebanon’s 6 million people, including 1 million Syrian refugees, now live in poverty because of the crisis rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement by the ruling class.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 percent of its value and tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs during the crisis that the World Bank described as one of the worst the world has witnessed since the 1850s.

The country, meanwhile, continues to struggle to overcome the fallout from a massive blast at Beirut’s port on Aug. 4, 2020 that killed more than 216 people, injured over 6,000 and damaged parts of the capital. The explosion of hundreds of tons of improperly stored ammonium nitrate was one the largest non-nuclear blasts in history. Twenty months later, the stalled judicial investigation has failed to provide answers.

Francis insisted last year that Lebanon must remain a “land of tolerance and pluralism” as he welcomed the country’s Christian patriarchs to the Vatican to pray for an end to the economic and political crisis that has thrown the country into chaos and threatened its Christian community.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/04/05/Pope-Francis-to-visit-Lebanon-in-June-Statement

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Mines killed, injured more than 500 children in Iraq: UN

05 April ,2022

At least 519 children have been killed or injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance in Iraq in the past five years, UN agencies have warned.

“More than 80 percent of children affected are boys,” the rights groups UNICEF, the world body’s children’s agency, and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said in a joint statement on Monday night.

They added that boys were “disproportionately impacted due to incidents of child labor, such as grazing animals or collecting scrap metal to sell.”

The statement said although Iraq has not “suffered from open conflicts” over past years, “the effects of explosive weapons will reverberate for years to come.”

A report by the charity Humanity & Inclusion said: “Iraq is considered one of the countries most contaminated by explosive devices in the world,” with more than 3,225 square kilometers (1,245 square miles) of land contaminated with unexploded ordnance.

The material is particularly present near the borders with Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, all areas where Iraq has been involved in armed conflicts over the past four decades.

Baghdad fought a war with Iran between 1980-1988, as well as the first Gulf War triggered by the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The Iraqi military between 2014 and 2017 backed by an international coalition fought a war against ISIS.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/04/05/Mines-killed-injured-more-than-500-children-in-Iraq-UN

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Lawyer warns of drugs in chocolate bars in Egyptian markets

05 April ,2022

An Egyptian barrister claimed on Monday that some chocolate bars being sold in the country contain the narcotic opium poppy, triggering the interior ministry to investigate the allegation.

Jaber Jad Nassar, the former president of Cairo University, said in a Facebook post that several people, including some who occupy high-ranking positions which require testing for drugs by the authorities, have been testing positive for opiates even though they do not consume them.

Nassar then “coincidentally came across chocolate bars which contain a high percentage of opium poppy” being sold in markets, malls and gas stations across the country.

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A photo he posted of a label of one chocolate bar shows that it contains 2.3 percent of opium poppy.

He noted that while using opium poppy and consuming it is legal in several western countries, it’s illegal in Egypt, adding that these chocolate bars could be the reason people are testing positive for drugs in Egypt.

Nassar’s post stirred controversy in the country, pushing the interior ministry to intervene to investigate the matter.

The ministry acknowledged that poppy seeds are in fact among the ingredients of some foodstuffs, adding, however, that they are processed before usage to make sure they do not contain any narcotics.

It added that it has taken samples of the chocolate bars which Nassar warned of to analyze them.

Drug users in Egypt can be subject to several penalties that include suspension from work.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/04/05/Lawyer-warns-of-drugs-in-chocolate-bars-in-Egyptian-markets

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Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian body clears over 329,000 mines in Yemen

06 April ,2022

Over 329,000 land mines in Yemen have been cleared by the Saudi Arabia-based King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) since the project first launched in 2018, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

Project Masan has reportedly saved “hundreds of thousands of people” in Yemen by removing mines that were placed in residential areas, roads, schools, and farms, SPA reported.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis are reportedly behind the use of the contraption.Anti-personnel land mines are prohibited under the UN-backed Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (or Mine Ban Convention), adopted in 1997 by over 150 countries.

At least 450 experts, part of 32 teams, are said to be behind the mine removal program with KSrelief.

The humanitarian body has extended the project for a fourth consecutive year to “enhance security across all the country,” SPA reported.

So far, KSrelief has spent over $4 billion on aid to Yemen, of which $1.3 billion has gone towards food security, according to data shared on the organization’s website.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/04/06/Saudi-Arabia-humanitarian-body-clears-over-329-000-mines-in-Yemen

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Saudi Authorities Arrested An Asian Woman For Begging After She Collected Over $30,000

05 April ,2022

An Asian woman who has managed to collect around 117,000 SAR ($31,200) from begging in Saudi Arabia was arrested by the Kingdom’s security forces, the Ministry of Interior said on Monday.

Other foreign currency and gold jewellery were also found in the woman’s possession.

The ministry reiterated its call on all residents to report any beggars they see to the authorities.

Brigadier General Sami al-Shuwirakh said penalties will be imposed against those arrested for practicing, facilitating or organizing begging.

The anti-begging law, which Saudi Arabia adopted in January 2021, imposes penalties that vary from a one-year prison sentence or a fine worth up to 100,000 SAR ($26,658) or both for anyone begging or cooperating with beggars or inciting someone to beg.

Shuwirakh added that in addition to the penalties, non-Saudis will be deported after serving their sentence and will be banned from re-entering the Kingdom.

Security forces across the Kingdom have arrested 3,719 beggars between March 22, 2022, and March 30, 2022, according to the ministry.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/04/05/Saudi-authorities-arrest-beggar-after-she-collected-over-30-000

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Kuwait’s government resigns in latest standoff with parliament

05 April ,2022

Kuwait’s government submitted its resignation on Tuesday, state news agency KUNA reported, ahead of a no-confidence vote against the prime minister in parliament, amid a lengthy political feud that has hindered fiscal reform in the Gulf oil producer.

KUNA reported that Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who took over most of the ruling emir’s duties late last year, received the government’s letter of resignation from Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Sheikh Sabah, a member of the ruling al-Sabah family and premier since late 2019, has faced a combative legislature as the head of successive cabinets, with opposition MPs bent on questioning him over issues including perceived corruption.

The no-confidence vote was scheduled for Wednesday. The current government was appointed in December, the third in 2021 as the standoff with the elected parliament dragged on.

Kuwait has given its assembly influence over the power to pass and block laws, question ministers and submit no-confidence motions against senior government officials.

Fitch Ratings downgraded Kuwait in January to ‘AA-’ from ‘AA’, citing “ongoing political constraints” hindering its ability to pass a debt law and address a heavy reliance on oil, a lavish welfare system and a bloated public sector.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has taken palliative measures to temporarily boost finances while more structural reforms remain deadlocked, including the debt law.

While higher oil prices have offered some relief, Kuwait has been unable to issue international debt since 2017.

Perennial political feuding in Kuwait has led to frequent cabinet reshuffles or dissolution of parliament holding up investment and fiscal and economic reform.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/04/05/Kuwait-s-government-resigns-in-latest-standoff-with-parliament

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Mideast

 

Improving Turkish-Israeli ties to strengthen regional stability: Top Israeli diplomat

Ahmet Gencturk 

05.04.2022

Improving Turkish-Israeli relations will strengthen regional stability, the Israeli foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Yair Lapid’s remarks came during his visit to the Greek capital Athens, where he arrived on Tuesday for a tripartite meeting among foreign ministers of Israel, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot administration.

Referring to the "warming of relations" between Turkiye and Israel, Lapid said "it is a blessed chance whose time has come," according to a statement by Israel's Foreign Ministry.

“It also produces a great opportunity to deepen our ties and strengthen regional stability,” he also noted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier called the March 9 visit of his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog to the Turkish capital Ankara “a new turning point.”

Expressing his appreciation for Herzog's visit to Turkiye, Erdogan said strengthening the ties with Israel is of great importance for regional stability and peace as well as for the two countries.

He also underlined that Turkiye has the experience and capacity to implement big energy projects in the region, adding: “I expressed to Mr. President (Herzog) that we are ready to cooperate in projects to be carried out in the fields of energy and energy security. Recent developments in our region have once again demonstrated the importance of energy security.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/improving-turkish-israeli-ties-to-strengthen-regional-stability-top-israeli-diplomat/2556155

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Bennett’s government loses majority in Israel parliament

Abdelraouf Arna'out  

06.04.2022

JERUSALEM

The Israeli government on Wednesday lost its parliamentary majority after the withdrawal of lawmaker Idit Silman from the fragile coalition.

With Silman’s withdrawal, the ruling coalition is left in a position of neck-and-neck with the opposition headed by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at 60 parliamentary seats for both camps.

The current coalition government is formed by several Israeli right-wing, centrist and left-wing parties with 61 members backing the government of the 120-member parliament.

According to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Silman, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's Yamina Party, said she "could not continue undermining the Jewish identity of the State of Israel" -- in reference to her disagreement with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz on allowing the distribution of Chametz - bread - in hospitals, which is prohibited during the Jewish Passover holiday.

According to the KAN news channel, Silman agreed with Netanyahu's bloc to have the tenth seat in Netanyahu's election list in case there are polls.

KAN said another lawmaker from Bennett's Yamina Party, Nir Orbach, may also withdraw from the coalition.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/bennett-s-government-loses-majority-in-israel-parliament/2556538

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Volunteer’s dream of Al-Aqsa Library comes true

Salam AbuSharar  

06.04.2022

JERUSALEM

His passion for the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem has always led the life of Palestinian Marwan Nashashibi.

Born in Jerusalem in 1934, Nashashibi studied engineering at Haifa University. After graduation, he joined the Jordanian army’s engineering corps until Israeli forces occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war.

After the war, Nashashibi left the army to work as a mechanical engineer until 1988 when he quit his job and volunteered at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims.

Nashashibi used his engineering experience to do repair works at the mosque, fixing electric lights and cleaning machines.

The Palestinian engineer continued to do these maintenance works for some time until he came up with the idea of founding a library at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Nashashibi and his wife began to promote the idea of establishing a library in 1998 in the southern corner of the mosque compound and called it Al-Khataniah Library.

Their efforts coincided with attempts by Palestinian resistance icon Raed Salah to use the southern spaces of the Al-Aqsa complex to save the area from Israeli confiscation plans.

“We first built the library with 14 shelves that included tens of books,” his wife, who gave her name as Um Adnan, told Anadolu Agency.

“Step by step, we moved to buy more books and engaged in several partnerships to get other publications from outside the Palestinian territories,” she added.

They relied on donations from the Palestinians at the time to turn their dream of building a library inside Al-Aqsa Mosque into a reality.

Um Adnan said many of her husband's friends joined them in designing and building the library at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

"My husband was a highly organized person, and our work with him resulted in establishing the Al-Aqsa Library,” she said.

With the passage of time, Nashashibi and his team began to improve many departments inside the library and bought computers and connected them with internet to make the experience of the library’s visitors more enjoyable.

As for Um Adnan, she began to give Holy Quran lessons to students at the library twice a week.

Today, the library contains more than 500,000 books covering different fields. It also includes copies of newspapers that date back to the period before the creation of Israel in 1948.

The library also contains several books that were printed in the 16th century such as the Turkish History Book, which was printed in London in 1701.

A couple of years later, the Al-Khataniah Library was attached to the main library in the mosque, which was established in 1923 in the southwestern corner of the compound. Both libraries are now affiliated with the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs to manage them.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/volunteer-s-dream-of-al-aqsa-library-comes-true/2556477

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Israel's Gantz speaks with Palestinian president for Ramadan

05 April, 2022

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz spoke with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas over the phone on Tuesday on the occasion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Gantz's office said.

"Minister Gantz wished (Palestinian Authority) Chairman Abbas and the Palestinian people a blessed month of Ramadan," the statement said.

"Ramadan must be a month of peace and quiet and not a period marked by terror," Gantz told Abbas, according to the statement, pointing to recent deadly attacks in Israel.

Last year during Ramadan, Israeli forces attacked Palestinian worshippers visiting the occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The violence led to 11 days of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which killed over 250 Palestinians, including dozens of children.

"Israel is prepared to expand civilian measures during and after the month of Ramadan, in accordance with the security situation," Gantz added. The statement did not elaborate on the measures that would affect Palestinians.

He also expressed "appreciation" for Abbas's comments on an attack in the town of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv late last month.

The Palestinian president had issued a rare condemnation of the March 29 attack in which five people were killed after a Palestinian opened fire at passers-by, saying that the killings "will only lead to further deterioration of the situation, while we are all striving for stability".

A total of 11 people have been killed in attacks in Israel since March 22, including some carried out by assailants linked to or inspired by the Islamic State group.

Source: The New Arab

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/israels-gantz-speaks-palestinian-president-ramadan

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Iranian Legislators Urge Gov’t to Take Strong Guarantees from US

2022-April-5 

The letter, so far signed by over 190 legislators, demands the government to get “stronger guarantees” from the US in the Vienna talks on the removal of sanctions.

It also calls for respect for Iran’s previously-announced redlines and securing the national interests in the Vienna talks.

The Iranian lawmakers in a statement in February had called on the administration of President Rayeesi to adhere to Iran’s red lines as the talks inched forward in Vienna.

They said the US government and its European allies had shown that they were not bound by any agreement over the past few years, so Iran was obliged to learn from the experience and set clear red lines.

The red lines, according to the lawmakers, include guarantees by the United States and the three European signatories of the JCPOA that they would not abandon a potential agreement again and seek recourse to “the snapback mechanism”, which would reinstate the UN Security Council’s sanctions against Iran. They also asserted that all sanctions imposed under “false excuses” had to be removed.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said the US should remove all illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic in a verifiable manner and guarantee that a new US administration would not breach the JCPOA once again.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

In May 2019, following a year of strategic patience, Iran decided to let go of some of the restrictions on its nuclear energy program, resorting to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by the other side.

The Biden administration says it is willing to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010116000630/Iranian-Legislars-Urge-Gv%E2%80%99-Take-Srng-Garanees-frm-US

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Iran Calls for Continued Ceasefire, Full Removal of Siege on Yemen

2022-April-5

“Tehran seeks to make the voice of the Yemeni nation heard across the world through the United Nations and its partners in the region,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in an interview with Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah tv on Monday.

“We welcome the ceasefire in Yemen and creation of the atmosphere for the complete lifting of the siege and the realization of a political settlement,” he added.

The Iranian lawmakers on Monday condemned the Saudi-led devastating war on Yemen, expressing their support for brave resistance of Yemenis in the face of the aggression.

They said in a statement that as the atrocious war in Yemen enters its eighth year, "we condemn this blatant aggression and call for an end to military strikes, the killing of the oppressed Yemeni people, and the lifting of the blockade on the country".

The Iranian lawmakers also expressed their support for the "brave resistance" of Ansarullah movement and the resilient Yemeni nation.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies — particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — launched the brutal war against Yemen in March 2015. The war was meant to eliminate Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall a former regime.

The conflict, accompanied by the tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, killing hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people. Under the siege, the Saudi-led coalition has been preventing much-needed fuel shipments from reaching Yemen.

According to the UN Office for Humanitarian Coordination (OCHA), more than 23 million, out of 31.9 million people in Yemen, face hunger, disease, and other life-threatening risks as the country’s basic services and economy are collapsing.

In recent months, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have escalated their airstrikes across Yemen, and in response, have been targeted by the Yemeni forces in several retaliatory drone and missile attacks.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010116000280/Iran-Calls-fr-Cnined-Ceasefire-Fll-Remval-f-Siege-n-Yemen

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Iranian Parliament Condemns Saudi-Led Coalition for War Crimes in Yemen

2022-April-5

After seven years into the destructive war against an independent country, the double-standard behavior of the so-called supporters of human rights and the United Nations and other international organizations, which claim to support peace, freedom and rights of nations, is now clear to everyone, the statement said on Monday.

The legislators said that such organizations are dominated by the US and other “arrogant and evil” powers, leaving no hope for them to defend the “trampled rights” of subjugated nations.

“Over the past 7 years, the government of Saudi Arabia, backed by arrogant superpowers, has committed different war crimes by continued bombing of Yemeni cities and villages,” the statement added.

They have committed bloodshed against thousands of children, women and men and have blocked entry of drugs, food and humanitarian aid to Yemen by an unjust blockade, exposing millions of subjugated women, men and children to hunger, diseases, poverty and annihilation, it said.

“At the outset of the eighth year of the destructive war on Yemen, we as lawmakers of the Iranian paliament condemn this evident aggression and call for an end to the military attacks and killing of the subjugated people of Yemen and removal of the blockade on the country, and voice our support for the brave resistance of Ansarullah and the resilient Yemeni nation,” the Iranian MPs underlined in their statement.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies — particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — launched the brutal war against Yemen in March 2015. The war was meant to eliminate Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall a former regime.

The conflict, accompanied by the tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, killing hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people. Under the siege, the Saudi-led coalition has been preventing much-needed fuel shipments from reaching Yemen.

According to the UN Office for Humanitarian Coordination (OCHA), more than 23 million, out of 31.9 million people in Yemen, face hunger, disease, and other life-threatening risks as the country’s basic services and economy are collapsing.

In recent months, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have escalated their airstrikes across Yemen, and in response, have been targeted by the Yemeni forces in several retaliatory drone and missile attacks.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010116000248/Iranian-Parliamen-Cndemns-Sadi-Led-Caliin-fr-War-Crimes-in-Yemen

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Iran won’t stop seeking ‘punishment’ of those behind Soleimani killing: Official

05 April ,2022

Iran will not “abandon” the case of the killing of its top commander Qassem Soleimani by the US until those responsible for his death are “punished,” a top judicial official said earlier this week.

Iran’s Prosecutor-General Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri said that Tehran will not “abandon” the case even if it takes “years.”

“I assure you that we will not abandon the investigation and finalization of this case, and even if it takes years, we will bring it to fruition so that the perpetrators of the assassination of our dear martyr will be punished for their actions,” the semi-official ILNA news agency quoted Montazeri as saying on Sunday.

Soleimani headed the Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). He was widely considered to be the most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq on January 3, 2020, ordered by then President Donald Trump.

Iran responded to his killing days later, launching ballistic missiles at US forces stationed in Iraq. No American troops were killed in the attack.

Iran has since continued to threaten retaliation for Soleimani’s killing.

Speaking on the second anniversary of Soleimani’s killing, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in January that Trump must face trial for the killing or Tehran would take revenge.

“If Trump and (former secretary of state Mike) Pompeo are not tried in a fair court for the criminal act of assassinating General Soleimani, Muslims will take our martyr’s revenge,” Raisi said.

“The aggressor, murderer and main culprit - the then president of the United States - must be tried and judged under the (Islamic) law of retribution, and God’s ruling must be carried out against him,” he added.

Last month, the Associated Press reported the US State Department as saying that it is paying more than $2 million per month to provide 24-hour security to Pompeo and former Iran envoy Brian Hook.

The two officials face “serious and credible” threats from Iran, the AP reported, citing a report from the State Department to Congress.

Soleimani in Vienna

The US and Iran have engaged in indirect talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal for a year.

The removal of the IRGC from the US’ foreign terrorist organization blacklist is reportedly one of the few remaining unresolved issues in the talks. Iran has said lifting US sanctions against the IRGC is one of its top priorities in the talks.

“One of the main” US conditions for the removal of the IRGC from the FTO list is for Iran to drop its pursuit of revenge for Soleimani, Radio Farda, the Persian-language broadcaster at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported last week, citing a source close to the talks.

The US designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organisation under Trump in 2019.

Trump withdrew Washington from the nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, saying the deal failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional activities and did not block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, responded by expanding its nuclear program, breaching most of the deal’s restrictions.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/04/05/Iran-won-t-stop-seeking-punishment-of-those-behind-Soleimani-killing-Official

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Iran stabbing attack leaves one dead, two injured at holy shrine

05 April ,2022

An assailant stabbed three clerics at the most revered Shia site in Iran on Tuesday, according to Iranian state-run media, killing one and injuring two before he was arrested. The motive for the attack remained unclear.

One cleric died almost instantly after being stabbed at the Imam Reza shrine, a major pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims in Iran’s holy northeast city of Mashhad. Two others were hospitalized, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported.

State media identified the cleric who was killed as Mohammad Aslani. It did not provide information about the conditions of the other victims or identify the suspect.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

In a video from the scene that was shared on social media, two men could be seen splayed on the shrine’s gray marbled floor covered with blood. IRNA news agency posted a video of police arresting the assailant.

The attack happened on the third day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan that draws Muslim worshippers to communal prayers at mosques across the country.

The Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, some 900 kilometers (560 miles) northeast of the capital Tehran, is the largest complex housing a tomb in Iran and its most visited. The shrine draws about 20 million people a year, mostly Iranians and pilgrims from neighboring nations like Iraq and Pakistan.

Such violent acts at the holy shrine are rare. However, one of the biggest terrorist attacks in Iranian history occurred at the shrine in 1994. At the time, the government held an armed opposition group, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, responsible for the bombing that killed over two dozen people.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/04/05/Two-Muslim-clerics-stabbed-at-Iranian-shrine-Media

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Africa

 

Israeli delegation secretly meets Sudanese military official

April 6, 2022

The Israeli public broadcaster Kan, citing Sudanese sources, reported that Israeli officials landed in Sudan earlier this week, and held meetings there. There were no further details given.

Back in early February, reports emerged that a top Sudanese official was paying a visit to the Israeli-occupied territories to promote bilateral ties with the Tel Aviv regime, despite strong anti-Israel sentiment among the Sudanese nation.

Israeli media outlets reported at the time that a representative of Sudan’s ruling council was on the visit. The reports did not identify the representative or provide further details about the visit.

According to the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television news network, a Sudanese source said that the official was accompanied by "senior military and intelligence leaders."

The visit came a few weeks after an Israeli delegation visited Sudan to meet with Sudan's military chief and de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The Sudanese military, led by coup leader Gen. Burhan, seized power last October, after detaining Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other civilian leaders and dissolving the year-old transitional government as well as the joint ruling military-civilian sovereign council.

He also declared a state of emergency and vowed to form what he called a competent government.

The move drew anger and outrage across the North African country and sparked international outcry, including from the UN Security Council. The country has been rocked by protests since then.

Sudan agreed to normalize ties with the Israeli regime in October 2020 as part of the US-led so-called Abraham Accords, a month after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed similar détente deals with Tel Aviv brokered by the US.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//israeli-delegation-secretly-meets-sudanese-military-official_1245228.html

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Nigerian Atheist Jailed 24 Years For Blasphemy

April 06, 2022

KANO, Nigeria: A Nigerian atheist and outspoken critic of religion was sentenced to 24 years in jail on Tuesday after pleading guilty to blasphemy charges in the largely Muslim northern state of Kano, in a ruling that puts a spotlight on religious freedoms in the country.

Charges against Mubarak Bala are linked to comments he posted on Facebook in April 2020 that were critical of Islam and which Authorities in Kano considered blasphemous and an insult to the religion, his lawyer said.

When asked by Kano High Court Judge Farouk Lawan whether he had been coerced to enter a guilty plea to the 18 charges, Bala said he did so of his own free will.

Bala’s lawyer, James Ibor, said Tuesday’s sentencing was “very outrageous” and could be challenged.

“The sentence infringes his right as an atheist,” Ibor told Reuters.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2057611/world

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Tanzania’s Islamic banks draw non-Muslim customers

Kizito Makoye  

06.04.2022

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania

High-interest rates and poor banking facilities are luring non-Muslims in the East African country of Tanzania to interest-free or Islamic banking to manage personal finances.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Lilian Lupogo, a customer at the Amana Bank counter, said the undue interests changed by the commercial banks drove her to do business with Islamic banks. She said that commercial banking was causing social inequalities.

“For me, it is not about religion, it is about personal ethics and human values,” said Lupogo.

The Muslims make up 35% of Tanzania’s 59.05 million population. Besides Amana Bank, which is a full-fledged interest-free bank established in 2011, other commercial banks have also opened Sharia-compliance windows.

According to experts the Shariah (Islamic law) compliance finances rest on two fundamental principles -- sharing of profit and loss and the prohibition of the collection and payment of interest by lenders and investors.

Tanzania, which attained the status of a middle-income country in 2020—reflecting sustained macroeconomic stability has one full-fledged Islamic bank. A dozen more conventional banks have opened a window for customers to bank the Islamic way.

Miraji Athumani, head of the Islamic Banking unit at Tanzania Commercial Bank, formerly known as Tanzania Postal Bank or TPB, told Anadolu Agency the Sharia-compliant window has helped his bank lure a flock of new customers, who otherwise prefer to keep money at home.

He said that the bank uses money through this window to make a profit by engaging in trade and sharing profits rather than interest.

“It has appealed to non-Muslim customers who wish to manage their finances ethically. We don’t ask our customers about their religious affiliation. But I know we have very many Christian customers for the Islamic banking window” he said.

He said the interest-free banking practice provides a sustainable alternative to conventional banking practices.

Managing finances and religious obligations

“Our customers are happy to know that their money is in safe hands and is not being invested in a manner contrary to their wishes,” said Athumani.

Residents said that for years many Muslims, who wanted to do business and manage their finances as per their religious obligations, were keeping the money at home to avoid interest.

Local banks are now eyeing a potentially growing Muslim market, promising non-interest-bearing services that comply with Islamic laws by opening Sharia-compliant windows.

“Islamic banking is the only way of financing that is more ethical, equitable, and adheres to the law of Allah,” said Alhaj Mussa Salum, Tanzania’s chief cleric based in the port city of Dar es Salaam.

With $2.7 trillion in assets stashed in the Islamic banking system across the world, the system is making great strides. Economists believe that the assets will grow to $4 trillion by 2023. In Africa, Kenya, a predominantly Christian nation, is taking up the lead in offering Sharia-compliant banking services.

Many people like Zubeda Fuime, who had an account in a commercial bank, are now shifting to Amana Bank.

“I wanted to lift the burden off my shoulders. I have the peace of mind now for I know I am in safe hands,” she said.

While Islamic banking still represents a tiny portion of banking activities in the country, its fast-growing appeal to both Muslims and non-Muslims makes it a potential competitor to conventional banking.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/tanzania-s-islamic-banks-draw-non-muslim-customers/2556368

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Tunisia calls Erdogan comments on president’s decree unacceptable interference

April 06, 2022

TUNIS: Tunisia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that comments by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tunisia’s leader dissolving parliament was “an unacceptable interference” in internal affairs.

On Monday, Erdogan criticized President Kais Saied’s decree dissolving parliament last week as a “smearing of democracy” and a blow to the will of the Tunisian people.

“Tunisia expresses its astonishment at the Turkish President’s statement ... these comments are unacceptable,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“Tunisia affirms its keenness on close relations with friendly countries but adheres to the independence of its decision and rejects interference in its sovereignty,” it said.

Tunisia’s political crisis intensified last week when more than half the members of parliament held an online session to revoke Saied’s decrees. Saied responded by dissolving parliament and imposing one-man rule.

Anti-terrorism police summoned the main opposition figure, Rached Ghannouchi, who is also Parliament Speaker, and other lawmakers for questioning last week.

Saied’s move was criticized at home and abroad. The US State Department expressed its deep concern while the opposition called for a protest next Sunday in Tunis.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2057626/middle-east

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Sudan militia chief ‘rampaged’ across Darfur, court told

April 05, 2022

THE HAGUE: A former Sudanese militia chief oversaw murder, rape and torture across Darfur, the International Criminal Court heard on Tuesday, as the first trial for war crimes in the region got underway.

Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, an ally of deposed Sudanese strongman Omar Al-Bashir, faces 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the conflict almost 20 years ago.

His trial is the first before the Hague-based ICC for crimes in Darfur, in which 300,000 people were killed and two and a half million fled their homes, according to UN figures.

It comes as the world’s eyes turn to possible war crimes committed in Ukraine.

“You will hear evidence that he (Abd-Al-Rahman) and his forces rampaged across different parts of Darfur,” the ICC’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan told judges.

He “inflicted severe pain and suffering on women, children and men in the villages that he left in his wake,” Khan said.

Abd-Al-Rahman, 72, a senior commander of the Janjaweed militia — a notorious armed group created by the Sudanese government — pleaded not guilty after the historic trial opened.

“I reject all these charges. I am innocent of all these charges,” Abd-Al-Rahman told judges at the ICC, a court set up in 2002 to try the world’s worst crimes.

Wearing a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and fiddling with his maroon tie, Abd-Al-Rahman sat motionless as the 31 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity allegedly committed in 2003-04 were read.

The long charge sheet describes acts of murder, rape, torture and pillaging.

Fighting broke out in Darfur when black African rebels, complaining of systematic discrimination, took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated regime.

Khartoum responded by unleashing the Janjaweed, a force drawn from among the region’s nomadic tribes.

Rights groups described it as a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing targeting the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.

In April 2007, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Abd-Al-Rahman, also known by the nom de guerre of Ali Kushayb.

He fled to the Central African Republic in February 2020 when the new Sudanese government announced its intention to cooperate with the ICC investigation.

Four months later, he surrendered voluntarily.

Abd-Al-Rahman’s trial is the first-ever stemming from a UN Security Council referral.

Former president Omar Al-Bashir and three others are still being sought by the ICC for crimes in Darfur.

Following his ouster in 2019, Bashir remains in Sudan despite calls for him and two other associates to be handed over to the ICC for prosecution.

Asked about efforts to get Bashir to The Hague to stand trial, Khan said negotiations with Khartoum’s military government continued, but “cooperation is challenging.”

“The situation has improved, but I would really like to close this situation,” Khan said.

“But I can’t do that unless we move forward... and it will be made much easier with an ever... deeper cooperation with the government of Sudan.”

Prosecutors said Abd-Al-Rahman, who carried the title of “colonel of colonels” in the Janjaweed, played a central role in a series of attacks on at least four villages in West Darfur.

He is charged with both directing attacks, as well as mobilizing, recruiting, arming and supplying to Janjaweed militia under his command.

Abd-Al-Rahman “took pride in the power that he thought he exerted... and a strange glee in his feared reputation,” Khan told the judges.

During these attacks, at least 100 villagers were murdered, women and girls were raped and the members of the predominantly Fur ethnic group subjected to forcible transfer and persecution.

After one such an attack in late February and early March 2002 on a village, 100 Fur men including community leaders, doctors and teachers were taken to a police station in the town of Mukjar, where they were interrogated and tortured.

Fifty detainees were driven out into the countryside, told to lie face down and were then executed, prosecutors said.

Still languishing in refugee camps today, victims of the Darfur conflict said they were relieved that justice was finally being done.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2057456/world

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North America

 

Iran deal advisor defends Russia, says US President Biden ‘racist piece of garbage’

05 April ,2022

A top advisor to Iran’s nuclear negotiating team jumped to the defense of Russia on Tuesday, saying US President Joe Biden was a “racist piece of garbage” because he called Vladimir Putin a war criminal.

“This racist piece of garbage was vice-president when Obama and Saudi Arabia destroyed Yemen. Biden also supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He was involved in the decimation of Libya & he supported ISIS/Al-Qaeda in Syria... Don’t racist western elites have any shame?” Mohammad Marandi tweeted.

Marandi, an adviser to the Iranian negotiating delegation in Vienna, made his remarks in a tweet above a video of Biden calling the Russian president a war criminal.

“You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal. Well, the truth of the matter is, we saw what happened in Bucha; this warrants he is a war criminal,” Biden told reporters on Monday.

The US president was speaking about the atrocities in Bucha after images shared over the weekend showed corpses of civilians thrown around the streets of the Ukrainian town.

Russia has denied these accusations, which were shown following their withdrawal from the town after controlling it since first invading Ukraine last month.

On Sunday, the Iranian advisor Marandi also denied the Bucha massacre in defense of Moscow.

This is not the first time Marandi has made rash comments.

On April 1, he threatened Saudi Arabia and said they were “playing with fate.”

“[Saudi Arabia] knows Patriot air defenses can’t block the missiles and drones of #Yemen and #ansarallah. Successful repeat attacks on key oil instillations make this quite clear,” he tweeted.

Marandi has been a key advisor in the indirect talks between Washington and Tehran, which have been taking part for over a year.

The Iranians refuse to meet directly with the American delegation in Vienna. In December, Marandi said he refused to meet with anyone associated with US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley.

He has also accused Biden of acting “in bad faith,” and slammed US sanctions as exposing “the stupidity of the Biden regime.”

Nevertheless, Marandi continues to be a member of the team US officials are negotiating with in Vienna.

Marandi was born in the US, and he has boasted about his participation in “fighting the US backed invasion of Iran.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/04/05/Iran-deal-advisor-defends-Russia-says-US-President-Biden-racist-piece-of-garbage-

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UN hails Turkiye's role in hosting direct Russia-Ukraine talks

Servet Gunerigok  

05.04.2022

WASHINGTON

The UN on Tuesday praised Turkiye for hosting diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said that direct talks between Ukrainian and Russian representatives have continued.

"We commend the government of Turkey for hosting these discussions, as well as the efforts of many others engaging with Russia and Ukraine to help bring about peace," said DiCarlo. "We welcome the willingness of the sides to continue engaging to reach a mutual understanding. This requires good faith and earnest efforts, and progress in the negotiations should be translated quickly into action on the ground.”

On March 10, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met in the Turkish resort city of Antalya for the first time since the beginning of the war, which did not result in any fruitful outcome.

On March 29, Russian and Ukrainian delegations met for peace talks in Istanbul as the war entered a second month with casualties piling up on both sides.

Ukraine wants to see countries, including Turkiye, as guarantors in a possible deal with Russia, a Ukrainian negotiator said after the talks.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/un-hails-turkiyes-role-in-hosting-direct-russia-ukraine-talks/2556052

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Russia condemns US ‘attempt to punish Imran’

Anwar Iqbal

April 6, 2022

WASHINGTON: Wading into the political battle raging in Islamabad over the alleged threat made against Imran Khan’s government by an American official, Moscow on Tuesday accused the United States of committing “another attempt of shameless interference” in the internal affairs of Pakistan to punish a “disobedient” Imran Khan for not supporting the US position on Ukraine.

But rejecting the Russian allegation of interference in Pakistan’s domestic politics, the US State Department said on Tuesday that it “does not support one political party over another”.

In a statement issued in Moscow, spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, noted that President Arif Alvi had dissolved the National Assembly on April 3 on Imran Khan’s advice, which was based on a claim that the US orchestrated a plan to topple his government.

“Immediately after the announcement of the working visit of Imran Khan to Moscow on February 23-24 this year, the Americans and their Western associates began to exert rude pressure on the prime minister, demanding an ultimatum to cancel the trip,” Ms Zakharova said.

Slams ‘shameless US interference’ in Pakistan’s internal affairs; State Dept says it ‘doesn’t support one political party over another’

“When he nevertheless came to us, [US diplomat Donald Lu] called the Pakistani ambassador in Washington and demanded that the visit be immediately interrupted, which was also rejected,” she stated.

“According to the Pakistani media, on March 7 this year, in a conversation with Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majid, a high-ranking American official (presumably Mr Lu) sharply condemned the balanced reaction of the Pakistani leadership to the events in Ukraine and made it clear that partnerships with the United States are possible only if Imran Khan is removed from power,” the spokesperson added.

The Russian official claimed that further development of the situation left no doubt that the US “decided to punish the ‘disobedient’ Imran Khan”, noting how lawmakers from within the PTI switched sides to the opposition while the no-confidence vote was submitted to parliament.

“This is another attempt of shameless US interference in the internal affairs of an independent state for its own selfish purposes. The above facts eloquently testify to this,” she said.

“The [Pakistan] prime minister himself has repeatedly stated that the conspiracy against him was inspired and financed from abroad. We hope that Pakistani voters will be informed about these circumstances when they come to the elections, which should be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly.”

The Russian foreign ministry’s statement came a couple of days after Imran Khan named US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Donald Lu as the official who made “threatening remarks” about his regime in a letter, which the premier had brandished during a public rally in Islamabad last month.

Last month, the National Security Committee, which includes all services chiefs, had decided to issue a “strong demarche” over the letter, terming it “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”.

The prime minister has alleged that the no-confidence motion against him is part of the “foreign conspiracy” to oust him from power.

When Dawn approached the US State Department for comment on the Russian statement, one of their spokespersons said that “there’s no truth to these allegations”.

The US official also explained the US position on the current political turmoil in Pakistan, pointing out that it had no favourites in this dispute.

The official said Washington “supports the peaceful upholding of constitutional and democratic principles”, indicating that the US does not want tensions between the ruling and opposition parties to lead to violence and it would support any solution that’s based on the Pakistani Constitution.

Further underlining Washington’s neutrality on this issue, the spokesperson said: “We do not support one political party over another. We support principles of rule of law and equal justice under law.”

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683678/russia-condemns-us-attempt-to-punish-imran

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