New Age Islam
Thu Nov 30 2023, 04:12 PM

Islamic World News ( 19 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Mufti Ahmet Unsal's Instruction to Dutifully Accept A Husband's “Invitation to Bed” Angers Turkish Cypriots

New Age Islam News Bureau

19 January 2023


ABP Photo/Petros Karadijas


• In UP Women Students Denied Entry to Campus in Burqa, Moradabad College Cites ‘Dress Code’

• ‘Ittehadul Mujahideen-i-Khurasan’ Behead Teenager in Lakki on Spying For Army Charge

• Thai Muslims Enjoy Acceptance in Thailand: Call for Dialogue between Buddhist and Muslim Scholars

• Amid Outrage over Normalization with Israel, Bahraini ‘Security’ Delegation Visits Occupied Territories



• Jimmie Akesson, Swedish Far-Right Leader Calls Erdogan 'Islamist Dictator'

• European Parliament urges EU to list Iran’s IRGC as terrorist group

• European Parliament calls for sanctions against Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik

• North Macedonia signals more military cooperation with Türkiye amid Ukraine war



• UP Madrasa Board Rejects NCPCR Advice to Shift Non-Muslim Students to Other Institutions

• SIMI’s Aim of Realising Islamic Rule Can’t Be Permitted, Centre Tells SC

• J&K Waqf Board Forms District-Level Panels for Takeover Of Shrines, Mosques

• Tension Grips Kerala Capital As Muslim Youth League Workers Clash With Police before Secretariat

• PM Modi Asked Us to Win Confidence of Muslims: Yediyurappa to K'taka BJP

• Opposition distorting BJP’s stand on Muslims: UP Minority Welfare Minister

• Clerics in UP welcome Centre’s decision to do away with VIP Haj quota



• ‘Appeasement’ Of Militants Created Problems, Bilawal Accuses Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf

• Broken pledges behind fresh wave of terror, says Imran

• LHC Orders Punjab Govt to Issue Divorce Certificates to Non-Muslims

• PTI has no contact with new military leadership: Imran Khan

• Pakistan is proof that Islamism as State policy kills the economy

• ECP decides to notify Imran’s victory on 7 NA seats

• World Bank delays approval of $1.1bn for Pakistan

• Pakistan backs ‘two-state formula’ to end Palestinian-Israel conflict


South Asia

• Qatar opposes Taliban’s decision of banning women, says it will worsen the situation

• UN Officials Hold Talks with Taliban (IEA) Authorities on Protecting Women’s Rights

• Afghan-Uzbek Joint Market Enhances Visa-Free Trading Opportunities for Afghans

• Last two Sikh’s Holy Scriptures arrive in New Delhi from Afghanistan

• China slams US ‘blatant and egregious’ plundering of Syria’s natural reserves


Arab World

• Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala to Focus on Asia with Eye on China Recovery

• Saudi Arabia Mulling ‘Creative Ways’ To Support Pakistan

• IS attacks still claim Iraqi lives five years after defeat

• Saudi FM ‘positive’ about Middle East, but calls for return of Yemen truce, solution to Palestine crisis

• Saudi Arabia a ‘bright spot’ for global economy

• UAE rolls over $2B loan as Pakistan's foreign reserves fall to record low of $4.3B



• Judiciary Spokesman: Hysterical Reactions to Execution of MI6 Spy Show British Enmity towards Iran

• Iran: Killing of Black teacher an example of US hypocrisy concerning human rights

• Iran Rejects West's Allegations on Secret Nuclear Program

• Houthis Put Two Yemeni YouTube Activists On Trial for Critical Videos

• Iran Raps US Inaction on Israeli Murder of Palestinian Journalist

• Iran Detains German National on Espionage Charges

• Iran Condemns US Human Rights Violations Following Grisly Murder of Unarmed Black Man

• Iran warns EU against listing Revolutionary Guards as terrorist entity

• Israeli military kills two Palestinians in West Bank raid

• Two killed in Israeli raid in Jenin: Palestinian ministry


North America

• Türkiye 'Important Partner, Not Only In Region but Around World': Pentagon

• US Muslim Inmate Wins Second Chance in Religious Freedom Lawsuit against Jail

• Israel, US meet to smooth relations under new government

• Top US military general for Middle East discusses regional threats in Israel

• US sees Türkiye 'as a reliable ally,' says White House


Southeast Asia

• State Islamic Religious Councils to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Govt’s Appeal In ‘Allah’ Case

• Ministry to provide funding assistance to Islamic schools soon

• Illegitimate non-Muslim child entitled to share in father’s estate, says court

• Ulama council can help draw Umno closer to PAS, says spiritual leader



• Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Tinubu’s Disqualification over Muslim-Muslim Ticket

• 2023: Islamic group attacks Dino Melaye over statement on Tinubu

• Algeria frees opposition figure after vow to quit politics

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Mufti Ahmet Unsal's Instruction to Dutifully Accept A Husband's “Invitation to Bed” Angers Turkish Cypriots


ABP Photo/Petros Karadijas


By Menelaos Hadjicostis

January 18, 2023

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- A Muslim religious leader’s instruction to women to dutifully accept a husband's “invitation to bed” to procreate has sparked outrage among many Turkish Cypriots, who saw the remarks as an imported encroachment of fundamentalist Islam on their secular community.

“We don’t live in a theocratic regime. This is neither Afghanistan nor Iran, sir!” said Dogus Derya, a prominent female lawmaker with the left-wing CTP party in ethnically divided Cyprus’ breakaway Turkish Cypriot north.

Derya has led a chorus of condemnation against Ahmet Unsal, the Turkish-appointed head of the Turkish Cypriot Department of Religious Affairs. Unsal reportedly told women during a lecture earlier this month on marriage obligations under Islam that it was essential for women to marry without delay and have children because matrimony “isn’t about having fun.”

Unsal also said women must stay away from men except their husbands to “protect their virtue” and to safeguard their men’s property. In turn, men are obliged to pay for their wives’ food, shelter and clothing, he said, noting that Allah abhors divorce.

Derya blasted Unsal as presenting “his fantasies about subjugating women as the word of Allah” and insisted that there’s no place for religious diktats in a state that functions under the rule of secular law.

Recent Stories from ABC News

“He has exceeded his authority and area of responsibility,” Durya said of Unsal.

“He considers women as incubators and men as money machines. He sees women not as human beings but as 'goods' subjugated to men,” the lawmaker continued.

“We want him to know that Cypriot women don’t ask their men how many children they’ll have, what job they’ll do, whether they’re going to divorce or not," she said. "We won’t allow you to impose your fundamentalist way of life on us women or on our country.”

Unsal defended his remarks, saying his expressed views were in accordance with the teachings of Islam.

Several hundred protesters from 46 trade unions and other organizations braved the rain on Monday and took to the streets of the northern part of the divided capital Nicosia to voice their anger at Unsal.

The protesters chanted “Onsal go home, what do you care about Cyprus.” A joint statement read at the event said there would be no stop to efforts to block “”all those who are trying to change our way of life.”

Turkey has for decades tried to fit Turkish Cypriot society into its own mold, which has become more religious under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Although the Religious Affairs head is technically appointed by Turkish Cypriot authorities, Ankara has final say.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup aimed at union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and keeps more than 30,000 troops in the north.

Source: ABC News

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


In UP Women Students Denied Entry to Campus in Burqa, Moradabad College Cites ‘Dress Code’


The female college students said that they were denied entry into the college for wearing Burqa, and were allegedly being compelled to remove the black robe at the entrance gate. File Image.


January 19, 2023

Several students of the Hindu college in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district alleged that they were denied entry into the college for wearing burqa, with college authorities maintaining that the college has implemented a dress code for all students, reported ANI.

The female college students said that they were denied entry into the college for wearing burqa, and were allegedly being compelled to remove the black robe at the entrance gate.

Following this, a scuffle broke out between students belonging to the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha group, and the professors, who said that rules had to be followed. The group submitted a memorandum to include wearing burqa as dress code for Muslim women and demanded that the college allows Muslim girls to attend their classes wearing the robe.

Speaking about the incident, Professor AP Singh said that the dress code has been implemented by the college, and anyone who doesn’t follow it, will be barred from entering the college.

Hijab row started in Jan 1, 2022

A row over wearing hijab at educational institutions began in India on January 1, 2022, when Muslim students studying in the government pre-university (PU) college in Karnataka’s Udupi were barred from wearing the hijab on campus. The college administration stated that they were following the state government’s orders. A day later, six students were suspended for protesting.

Reacting to Muslim students waning to wear their traditional attire, students of different colleges had arrived at Shanteshwar Education trust in Vijaypura wearing saffron stoles.

On January 26, the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government set up an expert committee to find a solution to the issue. On January 31, one of the protesting students filed a petition in the Karnataka high court challenging the ban.

In February, the Karnataka government issued an order under the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 prescribing a uniform for all students to wear in state-run educational institutions. In March, a three-judge bench of the Karnataka HC upheld the hijab ban in all state educational institutions. They held that the wearing of the Hijab was not an ‘Essential Religious Practice’ and hence, would not receive constitutional protection.

Later, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board filed an appeal against the Karnataka HC decision at the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court’s split verdict in hijab case

A top court bench delivered a split verdict in the hijab ban case. Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia set aside the High Court ruling and quashed the state government’s order in his judgement, while Justice Hemant Gupta dismissed the appeals. The case is now before the Chief Justice of India for his direction.

Over 1,000 Muslim students dropped out after hijab row: PUCL report

Meanwhile, a report by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka unit (PUCL-K) on the impact of the hijab ban on Muslim girl students in Karnataka revealed that a total of 1,010 hijab-wearing girls dropped out of PU colleges “because of the hijab ban and other reasons as well”.

The report, ‘Closing the Gates to Education: Violations of Rights of Muslim Women Students in Karnataka’, study for which was conducted by the PUCL in five Karnataka districts – Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shimoga, and Raichur, stated that Muslim women students were not only “actively prevented from accessing their right to education but also bore the brunt of a climate of hate, hostility, and misinformation”.

Source: Financial Express

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


‘Ittehadul Mujahideen-i-Khurasan’ Behead Teenager In Lakki On Spying For Army Charge


Representative photo? The Truth International


January 19, 2023

LAKKI MARWAT: A teenager was found beheaded in a remote area of Lakki Marwat, police said on Wednesday.

They said that beheaded body of a teenager was found in Bargai village. The victim was identified as Raheedullah, 19. He was killed by unidentified armed men believed to be militants on charges of spying.

Murad Khan, an uncle of the slain boy, told police that his nephew had gone to the fields on January 15 but did not return home.

He said that they came to know that armed men took him away along with his motorcycle.

An official said that the militant group ‘Ittehadul Mujahideen-i-Khurasan’ had left a dagger and a hand written chit in Pashto language along the body, carrying a message that Raheedullah was found guilty of spying for army and counter-terrorism department.
Source: Dawn

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


Thai Muslims Enjoy Acceptance in Thailand: Call for Dialogue between Buddhist and Muslim Scholars


Photo: Buddhist-Muslim Inter-religious Dialogue in Songkhla, Thailand


January 19, 2023

Former Head of the Department of International Relations & Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University of Bangkok Prof. Dr Jaran Maluleem has called for dialogue between the Buddhist and the Muslim scholars of Pakistan and Thailand to promote interfaith harmony.

During an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, Dr Jaran who is also Professor Emeritus and currently faculty member at Krirk University said both Islam and Buddhism gave a universal message of peace, harmony and brotherhood and those few individuals linking militancy or terrorism with Islam had in fact nothing to do with religion. They are the ones who have gone astray from the righteous path i.e. the path of universal brotherhood.

The interview was part of the efforts by Chief Monk of Thailand Most Venerable (MV) Arayawangso to promote inter-faith harmony between the followers of Islam and Buddhism.

“I have decades of experience in teaching and lecturing not only at the Thammasat University, but in other univer sities of Thailand also but never have I seen discrimination against the Muslims or any other religious minority in Thailand,” Dr Jaran Maluleem said.

In fact, the constitution and the law of Thailand both disallow any such singling out, he said adding the Thailand society has complete acceptance for the followers belonging to all the faiths, and the Muslims being the second largest population (around 5pc of the total population) after the Buddhists have been enjoying complete religious, political, social, cultural and economic freedom in Thailand society.

There is no compulsion or ban on member of any community, let alone tbe Muslims with regard to participating in politics.

We have had a Foreign Minister, a military commander, Members of the Parliament and top business executives who were all Muslims, he said. They contributed to the uplift of Thai society which is multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, said the learned professor. To a question, he said tolerance was the essence of Islam and Buddhism too preached respect for others’ faith. In this sense, both the religions have many things in common.

Majority of the Muslim population in Thailand are the Muslims, he said, adding however there were Shias also but they are living in complete peace and harmony.

We celebrate/observe all our religious festivals like Ramadan, Eid al-Fitri (Eidul Fitr), Eid al-Adha and the month of mourning Moharram al-Haram without any problem.

About the current phase of the revival of Buddhist tourism between Thailand and Pakistan, Prof Jaran said it was quite encouraging to see the Buddhists visiting the ancient sites in Taxila, Peshawar and the Khyber Pass which once used to be the centre of the Buddhist civilizations.

The credit for this revival of Buddhist tourism between the two countries goes to the untiring efforts of Most Venerable monk Arayawangso who through Dhamma Diplomacy has brought the two nations together, he said.

In fact MV Arayawangso is the pioneer of Dhamma Diplomacy, he said.

MV Arayawangso spent

three-month (mid-July to mid-October 2022) rain retreat in Taxila and also wrote a book “The Buddhist Civilization of Gandhara” during that period.

He has done a marvellous job and the book will serve to introduce the rich Buddhist heritage to the followers of Lord Buddha, the professor said.

MV Arayawangso while speaking on the occasion said he was happy to listen to Prof Jaran’s views and agreed that the Muslims in Bangkok were living in complete peace and harmony with the fellow Buddhists, Christians, Hindus or other communities.

We have Masjids in far and wide of Thailand and the Muslim brothers offer their prayers in their places of worship just like other communities, he said

About some insurgent elements in the southern part of the country, MV Arayawangso said they were doing no service to Islam by challenging the writ of the state.

He urged them to surrender all their weapons and return to the mainstream society just like the rest of their Muslim brothers and sisters in other parts of Thailand.

At the end, MV Arayawangso presented his book about Gandhara Civilization to Dr Jaran.

Source: Pak Observer

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


Amid Outrage over Normalization with Israel, Bahraini ‘Security’ Delegation Visits Occupied Territories


In this undated picture, a high-level Bahraini security delegation visits the Israeli-occupied territories in January 2023. (Photo via Twitter)


18 January 2023

Bahrain’s Al Khalifah regime has dispatched a “security” delegation to the Israeli-occupied territories, amid outrage among the public in the Persian Gulf kingdom over normalization with the regime in Tel Aviv.

The New Khalij news website, citing a post published by Israel in the [Persian] Gulf Twitter account of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reported that the visit took place recently, without specifying its location.

The account, which defines itself as the official account of the virtual Israeli embassy in the Persian Gulf region, announced on Tuesday evening that a delegation headed by Bahrain’s Public Security Deputy Chief Major General Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Khalifah, arrived in Israel on an official visit and met with the Commissioner-General of the Israel Police.

Bahrain has made no official comment about the visit as of yet.

Bahrainis have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the normalization of ties with the Israeli regime by holding demonstrations.

Bahrain’s main opposition group al-Wefaq and the kingdom’s top cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim have also repeatedly condemned the normalization move made by the al-Khalifah dynasty.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel in an event in Washington in September 2020.

Sudan and Morocco followed suit later in the year and inked similar US-brokered normalization deals with the occupying regime.

The move sparked widespread condemnations from the Palestinians as well as nations and human rights advocates across the globe, especially within the Muslim world.

Palestinians slammed the deals as a treacherous “stab in the back” and a betrayal of their cause against the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Palestinians are seeking an independent state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East al-Quds as its capital.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:,-Bahraini-security-delegation-visits-occupied-territories-





Jimmie Akesson, Swedish Far-Right Leader Calls Erdogan 'Islamist Dictator'


Jimmie Akesson, whose party is currently propping up the Swedish government, made the comments in an interview with the Dagens Nyheter newspaper published Wednesday.

There are limits on how far the country would go to appease Turkey to secure its NATO membership "...because it is ultimately an anti-democratic system and a dictator we are dealing with," Akesson told the newspaper.

Akesson also questioned whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who prides himself on having never lost a national election over 20 years of rule, could be called democratically elected.

"I'm the party leader for the anti-islamic party SD and I have strong views on an Islamist dictator like Erdogan. He is elected by the people, yes. But so is Putin in that sense," Akesson said.

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) rose to be the country's second largest party in the September general election with 20.54 percent of the vote. Their support is crucial in order to prop up Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson's right-wing coalition government.

Turkey's conditions

Turkey and Hungary are the only two countries who have yet to ratify Sweden's NATO membership.

Ankara wants Stockholm to crack down on activists close to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) before it will approve Sweden's NATO aspirations.

It also wants them to go after people accused of ties to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based preacher it accuses of involvement over a failed 2016 coup, but who Washington has refused to extradite.

Akesson's comments come a week after pro-Kurdish activists hung an effigy of Erdogan by its legs outside Stockholm city hall. The display was meant to evoke the fate of Italy's dictator Benito Mussolini, whose body was strung up after he was shot dead in 1945.

Both the Turkish and Swedish governments condemned the act, but that sparked a debate in Sweden about the need to avoid making sacrifices on freedom of expression.

Turkey and Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding at the end of June, paving the way for the membership process to begin. But Ankara says its demands remain unfulfilled -- in particular for the extradition of Turkish citizens Turkey wants to prosecute for "terrorism".

The Swedish government has stressed that the Swedish judiciary has the final say in these cases -- and that the courts are independent.

Source: France24

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


European Parliament urges EU to list Iran’s IRGC as terrorist group

18 January ,2023

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to urge Brussels to list Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terror group, amid mounting pressure on Western powers to do so.

MEPs backed an amendment added to an annual foreign policy report calling for “the EU and its member states to include the IRGC on the EU’s terrorist list in the light of its terrorist activity, the repression of protesters and its supplying of drones to Russia.”

The vote does not oblige the European Union to act, but it comes with foreign ministers already due to discuss tightening sanctions on Tehran at a meeting in Brussels next week.

Iran has launched a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests since the September 16 death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Several detainees have been condemned to death.

Tehran has also been criticized for supplying its ally Russia with kamikaze drones, which Moscow has in turn used to bombard Ukrainian cities, often hitting civilian homes and infrastructure.

Some EU capitals have begun to move towards adding the IRGC to the terrorist blacklist, which would expose another important plank in the Islamic republic’s government to sanctions.

In the past, some have resisted this call, fearing it would be based on shaky legal grounds and further poison already dreadful ties with the West.

Europe’s position is hardening, however, and the opening of this week’s parliamentary session in Strasbourg was marked by a rally of Iranian expatriates demanding the terror listing.

“I guarantee that all options allowing the EU to react to events in Iran remain on the table,” EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders told the parliament earlier this week.

The MEPs are expected to repeat their plea on Thursday in another vote to accept a non-legislative report on Europe’s response to protests and executions in Iran.

This amendment will go into more detail about which IRGC-linked groups will be targeted, and the crimes that they are alleged to have committed.

This would urge Brussels to blacklist the IRGC military force, the paramilitary Basij militia involved in protest crackdowns and the covert Quds Force sent to spread Iran’s revolution abroad.

Source: Al Arabiya

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


European Parliament calls for sanctions against Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik

Talha Ozturk  



The European Parliament on Wednesday called for the introduction of sanctions against Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik.

“The EP reiterates its call for the adoption of targeted sanctions against destabilizing actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH), including those who threaten its sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially Milorad Dodik,” said a resolution adopted by the European Parliament.

The resolution was passed by a vote of 407-92, with 142 abstentions.

Dodik, president of Republika Srpska, the Serb-controlled half of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that European Parliament can vote on anything but that not all of it is useful or appropriate.

He said the policy of sanctioning instead of a policy of dialogue and understanding others and differences has unfortunately appeared in the European Parliament as well.

“Nobody suffered due to my policies. The European path was not brought into question, nor its territorial integrity, so I’m curious what inspired the Euro parliamentarians to propose such a measure,'' said Dodik.

The resolution also expressed concern about the timing, content, and manner of changes to Bosnia's electoral law and the Constitution, which were initiated by the high representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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


North Macedonia signals more military cooperation with Türkiye amid Ukraine war

Aysu Bicer and Muhammet Ikbal Arslan 


North Macedonia's President Stevo Pendarovski has signaled further military cooperation with Türkiye in the coming period, saying "the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine is only making the whole matter more urgent."

Military cooperation between the two countries started many years ago and many high-ranking soldiers in the North Macedonian army were trained at Turkish military schools, Stevo Pendarovski told Anadolu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

Asked whether the purchase of military drones from Türkiye is on Skopje's agenda, Pendarovski said in the last one-and-a-half years, North Macedonia made new arrangements for purchasing some military equipment and weapons from Türkiye.

"But of course, that is a sensitive matter, and I would not like to discuss in detail all of that publicly," he underscored.

The president described bilateral relations as excellent, saying Türkiye was one of the staunchest supporters of North Macedonia's independence in early 1990s and at the moment, economic cooperation is slowly building up year by year.

OSCE presidency 'great challenge' for North Macedonia

On Jan. 1, North Macedonia assumed the rotating 2023 presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Pendarovski said the term presidency would be "a great challenge" for them as they are a small country with limited resources.

"We have taken the lead of an organization with 57 member countries, spanning from the US and Canada, including Russia, Central Asia, so it's not an easy task, but we are prepared well for that task. We started from the first of January and will chair that organization for the whole year."

He said North Macedonia is carrying out its efforts for easing the conflict in Ukraine.

"We are in contact with both sides. I recently dispatched a Macedonian ambassador to Moscow in order to hear the other side, despite it being beyond doubt that the Russian invasion is completely illegal and it is not allowed by any international rule or principle."

Pendarovski also said they have been trying their best to solve the problem from the very beginning.

Bujar Osmani, North Macedonia's foreign minister and OSCE term chairman, visited Ukraine a couple of days ago and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy while North Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski will also hold talks in Ukraine next month.

Türkiye has 'legitimate security concerns,' says Pendarovski

On a question whether North Macedonia supports Türkiye's concerns over NATO membership bids of Sweden and Finland, Pendarovski said Ankara has "some legitimate security concerns" which should be addressed.

"I am not saying that it should happen this time as well. But I'm quite confident that with the help of third countries, with NATO's secretary general, with our friends, that Finland and Sweden will as soon as possible complete the ratification process, including in the Turkish parliament, because there is no doubt that we do need as an alliance, we do need these two countries, which are democratic countries with a long tradition, and they can only help all of us in this situation with the war on the continent after so many decades," he added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is exerting great diplomatic efforts to end the Russia-Ukraine war, Pendarovski said. "President Erdogan is probably the only politician in the world who communicates with both Russia and Ukraine about the crisis," he added.

Serbia-Kosovo conflict

About recent tensions between Serbia and Kosovo over border, Pendarovski said he does not believe that the conflict between the two countries will turn into a war in the Balkans.

"I do not believe that kind of development will unfold in the Western Balkans. It's important for the security of our people. Of course, the situation in Kosovo is completely under control," he said.

According to Pendarovski, the most important concern in Kosovo is the human rights, stability, and security for all people living there.

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. But Serbia has not recognized the move and sees its former province as part of its territory.

Tensions have been simmering between the two Balkan countries after a series of events in the region.

In November 2022, there was a row about license plates, with the government in Pristina demanding ethnic Serbs surrender Serbian-issued vehicle license plates to replace them with plates issued by Kosovo.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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





UP Madrasa Board Rejects NCPCR Advice to Shift Non-Muslim Students to Other Institutions

January 19, 2023

The Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Board on Wednesday rejected the recommendation of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to shift non-Muslim students from madrasas to other educational institutions. The decision was announced by Board chairman Iftikhar Ahmed Javed after a meeting of Board members in Lucknow Wednesday.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Javed said the Board is against such a “discriminatory” practice where students are categorised based on their religion. “We follow the ideology ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And under the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, we won’t indulge in a practice where students of non-Muslim faiths are removed from madrasas and transferred to other schools. This kind of practice should not be implemented in the education sector. If parents are sending their children to our madrasas, they will continue to study there,” said Javed. “The madrasa education board unanimously rejected the NCPCR recommendations,” he added.

In December, the NCPCR had written to Chief Secretaries of all states and UTs, recommending a detailed inquiry into all government-funded and recognised madrasas admitting non-Muslim children. The NCPCR had also recommended all non-Muslim children studying in madrasas be admitted to other schools after the inquiry.

Source: Indian Express

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


SIMI’s Aim of Realising Islamic Rule Can’t Be Permitted, Centre Tells SC

19th January 2023

By Shruti Kakkar

NEW DELHI: Justifying the ban imposed on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the Centre has told the Supreme Court that the outfit is against Indian Constitution, including its secular nature, and works to replace it with an Islamic order.

“Their stated objectives are contrary to the laws of our country. Especially their object of establishing Islamic rule in India can, under no circumstances, be permitted to subsist,” said the affidavit, filed by an undersecretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“The ‘constitution’ of SIMI in sum and substance not only disclaims, questions, and intends to disrupt the sovereignty and integrity of our country; but also cause disaffection against India and the Constitution of India. Furthermore, the objects as mentioned in the constitution of SIMI are liable to be qualified as offences under sections 153A and 153B of the IPC,” the affidavit states.

The government’s response has been filed in a plea challenging the September 27, 2019 order passed by the UAPA Tribunal in which the tribunal confirmed the declaration of SIMI as an unlawful association under the UAPA.

Denying allegations of SIMI being deprived of fundamental right, the affidavit states that Centre’s opinion is based on grounds that SIMI is knownto be indulging in activities which are prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country.

“SIMI continues to indulge in unlawful activities causing a serious threat to the internal security of the country. In this regard various intelligence inputs  received, further establishes that SIMI has been continuing its activities throughout the country,” the affidavit states. The Centre has further stated that SIMI, since the ban, is carrying out its activities under cover organisations in several states.

Source: New Indian Express

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


J&K Waqf Board forms district-level panels for takeover of shrines, mosques

Jan 19, 2023

By Ashiq Hussain

Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board has decided to compile a list of properties, including shrines, mosques and khankahs, not under the administrative control of the board, a month after taking over the jurisdiction of local auqaf (management) committees in the union territory.

The board had on Tuesday sanctioned formation of district-level committees as a first step towards the takeover of the administrative control of notified waqf properties. It also mentioned about takeover of properties which are not notified by the waqf, but there are “complaints” by the public over their administration.

“The J&K Waqf Board has a large number of notified properties that have not been administratively controlled till date, and were being managed privately by local committees. However, in view of receipt of a large number of complaints and representations by chairperson…regarding mismanagement and irregularities, it has become imperative to directly administer all such important shrines, jamia masjids, khankahs and other assets to ensure transparency and accountability,” said the order by Ishtiyaq Mohiuddin, executive magistrate, Waqf Board.

The Waqf Board under the chairpersonship of Darakshan Andrabi, who is also BJP’s national executive member, has issued a slew of orders after the Waqf Act, 1995, was extended to the union territory post-2019 constitutional changes.

It has also ordered a ban on priests from collecting offerings from people in major shrines, removed donation boxes and banned felicitation of politicians like turban tying in shrines. The orders have prompted antagonism against the board with people alleging that waqf was being used as a tool by the BJP to control Muslim religious places of J&K.

The latest order, in order to compile the list, gave sanction to the constitution of district-level committees for verification and submission of reports within a period of 21 days.

The terms of reference for the committees are to submit detailed reports of assets, finances and administrative affairs of such properties.

It also mentioned about the takeover of the properties which are not notified by the Waqf Board.

“A separate list of those shrines, mosques and allied properties be also prepared that are not waqf-notified properties, but are to be brought under administrative control on the basis of representations or complaints of general public,” the order said.

On December 17 last year, the Waqf Board had taken over the jurisdiction of local auqaf committees in the UT and warned of action for any kind of interference by local management bodies of waqf religious places.

It said that no association, self-styled local auqaf committee or management has any legal standing under the provisions of the Central Waqf Act. The board notified that all the local waqf or auqaf committees will be deemed as void ab initio throughout J&K.

Source: Hindustan Times

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


Tension grips Kerala capital as Muslim Youth League workers clash with police before Secretariat

January 18, 2023

Tension prevailed for hours in the city on Wednesday after the police fired tear gas shells and used batons to disperse Muslim Youth League (MYL) workers who had taken out a march to the Secretariat alleging corruption, nepotism in government appointments and failure to address unemployment.

The police resorted to lathi-charging when the protesters hurled chairs, bottles and flagpoles, pelted stones and tried to forcibly remove the barricades in front of the Secretariat gates. The protest turned violent after P.K. Kunhalikutty, MLA, and MYL State general secretary P.K. Firoz addressed the sit-in staged by the protesters.

The police then fired several rounds of tear gas shells and lathi-charged the protesters to disperse them. Several MYL workers were injured in the melee.

Source: The Hindu

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


PM Modi Asked Us To Win Confidence Of Muslims: Yediyurappa To K'taka BJP

18th January 2023

SHIVAMOGGA: Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the party leaders to take along Muslim leaders to bring the party back to power.

Yediyurappa told reporters here on Wednesday that the National Executive Committee meeting was successful on Tuesday and the strategies to win elections were discussed.

"Modi delivered a speech for over one-and-a-half hours and guided us. Now the task is to strengthen the party and bring it back to power in the state. We will utilise the time which will be given by Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda. We assured them that the BJP will win over 140 seats in the state. Leaders and workers have been asked to visit every house and meet voters," he said.

Source: New Indian Express

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


Opposition distorting BJP’s stand on Muslims: UP Minority Welfare Minister

18th January 2023

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Minority Welfare Danish Azad Ansari on Wednesday accused the opposition parties of distorting the stand of the BJP and the RSS on Muslims and claimed that the minority community considers Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as their well-wishers.

Ansari, the only Muslim minister in Uttar Pradesh, said the opposition parties are spreading falsehood that the BJP is against Muslims as they want to restrict the community members to a vote bank.

“The Opposition does not want Muslims to be associated with development. Today’s reality is that the common Muslim considers PM Modi and CM Adityanath as their well-wishers,” Ansari told PTI.

He said, “All Muslims have welcomed the statement made by the Prime Minister regarding the Muslim community on Tuesday. They will unite and play their role in the progress of the country under the leadership of the prime minister. The Pasmanda (backward) class of Muslims is a very large section. The progress of the Muslim community cannot be imagined without empowering them. The BJP government has worked to empower the Pasmanda community at every step.”

Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday asked BJP members to reach out to every section of society, including minorities such as Bohras, Pasmandas and Sikhs, and work for them without electoral considerations, party sources said in New Delhi.

Asked about RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s recent statements on Muslims, Ansari said the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak was “never anti-Muslim”.

“It would not be fair to say that Sangh’s attitude towards Muslims is now softening. Sangh has always been a benevolent organisation of the country. As I said that the Opposition works to confuse the society in the wrong direction, it did the same for the Sangh,” Ansari said.

Bhagwat had recently said Muslims have nothing to fear in India but they must abandon their claim of supremacy.

The Sangh chief had also visited a madrassa in Delhi a few days back. “There should be a better dialogue among every society, this is the thinking of the RSS,” the minister said.

Source: Siasat Daily

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


Clerics in UP welcome Centre’s decision to do away with VIP Haj quota

18th January 2023

Lucknow: The Centre’s recent decision to do away with the discretionary Haj quota has had a positive response from the Muslim clerics who said that it will end discrimination among pilgrims.

Registration for the upcoming Haj pilgrimage will start in a couple of days.

The discretionary Haj quota was available with people in top constitutional posts and the minority affairs ministry. Union minister Smriti Irani had last week said the step to end the quota has been taken as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to end ‘VIP culture’.

“This is certainly a welcome move and a positive development since there is no place for any VIP culture in Islam. In the ‘darbar’ of Allah, everybody is equal,” Mohsin Raza, the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh State Haj Committee told PTI.

He also said of the 1,75,025 Haj pilgrims this year, around 31,000 are from Uttar Pradesh. Last year, the number of pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh was around 8,700.

Welcoming the Centre’s move, prominent Muslim cleric of Lucknow and Eidgah Imam Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali termed the decision “positive”.

“This will end discrimination. The number of Haj pilgrims will increase. Most importantly, if one has to visit the home of the almighty, then one does not need any source or seek any form of discrimination,” he told PTI here.

General secretary and spokesperson of All India Shia Personal Law Board Maulana Yasoob Abbas welcomed the Centre’s move, saying it will enable a poor Muslim to undertake the Haj pilgrimage.

Drawing a comparison between Haj and Namaaz, Nasir Qureshi, media co-ordinator of Bareilly-based Ala Hazrat Dargah told PTI, “There should be no quota for Haj, similar to the practice in ‘Namaaz’ where there is no VIP quota.”

Uttar Pradesh’s minister of state for minority welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj Danish Azad Ansari told PTI, “Islam teaches that everyone is equal and there is no VIP. During namaaz in mosques, the rich, the poor, the rickshaw pullers and the vendors offer it together.”

The state government is doing everything possible to make the Haj pilgrimage smooth and a better experience for the pilgrims, he added.

Source: Siasat Daily

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





‘Appeasement’ Of Militants Created Problems, Bilawal Accuses Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf

January 19, 2023

KARACHI: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has accused the previous government of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of adopting an appeasement policy towards the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP), saying that it has created problems for the people of Pakistan.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Mr Bhutto-Zardari stated that the current coalition government has ended the ‘wrong’ approach, which was initiated by the previous [PTI) government.

Earlier this month, the top military and political leadership of the country decided to take to take strict action against all terrorist groups in the country.

In the interview, the foreign minister also reiterated the stance that the international community should engage with the Taliban and to convince them about their promises, despite the ban on women’s education and restrictions imposed by the Afghan Taliban on NGO workers and media.

Source: Dawn

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


Broken pledges behind fresh wave of terror, says Imran

January 19, 2023

KARACHI: Former prime minister Imran Khan once again apportioned blame for the recent resurgence of terrorism in the country on the unwillingness of the current government to abide by the commitments made by the previous regime, saying that despite an agreement among all political parties, no resources were provided for the rehabilitation of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters and their families.

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Urdu, published on Wednesday, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government did not pay heed to those returning from Afghanistan.

He recalled that as soon as the regime changed in Kabul, the outlawed TTP fighters in Afghanistan were asked by the Afghan Taliban to return to Pakistan.

“The previous Ghani administration used to patronise them and they used to attack Pakistan from there,” Mr Khan claimed, saying that at this point, the country had two options.

“We could either line up those 40,000 people, including fighters and their families, and shoot them, or we could rehabilitate them.”

He claimed there was consensus among all political parties on the issue, but regretted the fact that this did not happen.

“When the militants came, they were not rehabilitated or given any proper attention, and no money was spent on them. We were afraid that if we did not pay attention to them, then terrorism would start in different places, which [is what] has happened.”

Earlier, on Jan 10, Mr Khan had told a seminar in Islamabad that his government had planned to resettle TTP fighters in Pakistan’s tribal districts with the help of the Afghan Taliban, but the plan hit a snag owing to non-cooperation of the provinces.

At the time, he said, the plan did not materialise, because two provinces refused to foot the bill for this initiative. Sindh and Balochistan refused to give 3 per cent share from the National Finance Commission (NFC) for the uplift of tribal districts and then the federal government stopped its cooperation after PTI’s ouster, he said.

Relations with new brass

Asked about his relationship with the new army chief and whether he had established contacts with the new army leadership with the help of President Arif Alvi, Mr Khan said he had no contact with the fresh brass at present.

Speaking on the current political and economic instability, the ex-premier continued to blame retired former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, saying that the root cause of this instability was the ouster of his government.

He added that he and Shaukat Tareen (then-finance minister) had told Gen Bajwa that if he created political instability to ensure the success of this conspiracy, then nobody would be able to handle the economy, and that was what happened.

Reiterating that the current government was incapable of handling the economy, he said the market had lost faith in it and chaos began to take hold. “Just ask (any) business personality today. Is it because of us? As soon as the current government arrived, it realised that it did not have a road map.

“What Gen Bajwa has done together with them (PML-N), even the enemy would not have done this to Pakistan”, he added.

Early elections

On early elections, Mr Khan said he could not tolerate the current regime for even a couple of more months, as his prediction was that “this government will be forced to hold elections in April”.

He also claimed that the establishment had put pressure on Parvez Elahi to either join hands with the PML-N or not to leave the chief ministership, but he was loyal to the PTI.

Source: Dawn

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


LHC orders Punjab govt to issue divorce certificates to non-Muslims

January 19, 2023

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Wednesday directed the Punjab government to frame, within 90 days, rules under which union councils would issue divorce certificates to members of Christian and other non-Muslim communities in Pakistan.

In many parts of the country, the divorce certificates are not issued to non-Muslims by union councils that instead claimed such certificates were “not issued to the Christian community.” The issue was brought to the attention of the LHC during the case Shumaila Sharif vs the secretary union council etc.

The petitioner in her appeal requested that the court to diect the relevant union council to issue her the divorce certificate. The petition was heard on December 16 last year and the presiding judge was Judge Tariq Saleem Sheikh. During the proceedings, the counsel of the petitioner, Advocate Umar Saeed, said Punjab Local Government Act 2022 and Article 36 of the Constitution, expressly requires the state to protect the minorities’ legitimate rights and interests. He said by refusing to issue the requisite certificate, the council was failing to fulfil its legal duty. Additionally, Advocate Kashif Alexander, the court’s amicus curiae, contended that obtaining a divorce certificate is a legal right that cannot be denied.

Source: The News

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


PTI has no contact with new military leadership: Imran Khan

Jan 19, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday said that currently his party has no contact with the new military leadership, Pakistan based The News International newspaper reported.

Khan said that he has no links with the current Pakistan army chief, General Syed Asim Munir and claimed that the general elections will take place in April 2023.

He blamed the former army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa for helping the present Pakistan government in ruling the country and said that now, the government will be forced to hold the general elections in April.

"When they came to power, they ended their corruption cases worth Rs1,100 billion," he said, as quoted by The News International newspaper.

He blamed the incumbent government for the country's economic crisis and said that Pakistan's economic conditions were never like this, emphasising that fair and transparent polls were the only solution to these problems.

"The current government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has come to power through horse trading," Khan said.

According to the PTI chief, the coalition rulers kept themselves above the law and ended the corruption cases that they were booked in years ago. "Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Maryam Nawaz, all of their cases have been forgiven," he said, as quoted by The News International newspaper.

Khan said that PTI sacrificed two assemblies, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to move towards free and fair elections. "Now this government will be forced into holding elections in April."

He said that no investor or business person trusts the government and neither do foreign investors.

"Pakistan has been plunged into a quagmire. To save the country from a Sri Lanka-like situation, we need free and fair elections," Khan said.

Khan recently said that "establishment is a reality" and "above the law." Speaking on the existence of the establishment in the country's politics, Khan said that the situation in Pakistan will improve when the establishment starts working for the rule of law, Daily Times reported.

"The establishment is a reality and it is above the law. The situation [of the country] will improve when it starts working for the rule of law," Daily Times quoted Imran Khan as saying.

Source: Times Of India

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


Pakistan is proof that Islamism as State policy kills the economy

Abhijit Majumder

January 19, 2023

Jihad as the centrepiece of State policy does not augur well for a nation’s economy. Unless one has oil. Pakistan doesn’t.

Even the Arab world is realising that as the oil economy weakens and fades — as it inevitably will with new technology and newer forms of energy — Islamist instincts need to be curbed.

Mohammed bin Salman has launched a slew of economic and social reforms in Saudi Arabia, the capital of Sunni Islam and the leader of oil producing countries. Men and women have started mingling freely, bans on women driving or leaving home unescorted have been lifted, cinemas and concerts have opened, MBS has said hijab or abaya in public is not necessary.

Prodded by Donald Trump, the UAE made its historic reconciliation with Israel in 2020 under the Abraham Accords. Flights started. Bahrain and Morocco joined the accord. Even Sudan, got off the ‘State sponsor of terrorism’ list and got a $1.2 billion economic bailout after agreeing to kiss and make up with Israel and sign the accord.

Strategic and economic ties between Egypt and Israel today are the warmest in history. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak with each other quite often, mainly on economy, counterterrorism, and fighting the Islamist threat in the Sinai Peninsula.

But as the rich and smart parts of the Islamic world move away from fundamentalism as State policy, Pakistan kept pushing extremism within and across its border through its alliance of three Ms — Military, Mullah, and Mujahideen. The sheer reason of its birth perhaps leaves it with no choice, no room to reform.

Pakistan is a nation not born out of unity of race, language, ethnicity, or cultural oneness. It was born out of bigotry, rejection, and fear of the ‘other’, that is Hindus, partitioned from unbroken India.

Under the disguise of a democracy, it really chose theocracy, with the three Ms appointing themselves as the chief power brokers in Allah’s dominion. They have also been covering for one other not just in matters of state-sponsored terrorism, sectarian murders, rapes and forcible conversions of minorities, but also gross corruption and economic indiscretions.

The generals run an entire parallel economy.

“Milbus, or the military’s ‘internal economy’, is military capital that is used for the personal benefit of military personnel, especially officers, but is neither recorded nor a part of the defence budget. Its most significant component is entrepreneurial activities that are not subject to state accountability procedures,” journalist Ayesha Siddiqa writes in her book, Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy. “There is also a high financial and opportunity cost in building and sustaining the military’s influence in power politics. Evidence shows that military businesses are not run more efficiently than others. Some of the military’s larger businesses and subsidiaries have required financial bailout from the government. Further, the companies use government resources, which distorts the market.”

While in 2007 Siddiqa estimated the 100 seniormost military officials to be worth UK pound 3.5 billion, today the Pakistan Army does not have money to feed its troops two meals a day. The International Monetary Fund is apparently insisting on a second massive defence budget cut in a year.

The government has no money for salaries of its employees. With forex reserves down to $4 billion or just enough for two weeks, it has outlawed all bonuses to staff.

While no reasonable human will wish such misery on the citizenry of even an enemy nation, for a moment imagine what would happen to India and the rest of the subcontinent if Pakistan were to become an economically strong nation with its core political ideology of radical Islam and jihad as a State tool intact.

It would embolden the radicals in the community across the subcontinent to look up to its model, militate against their host nations, and try to overthrow governments and replace democracies with Islamist rule. An economically strong and politically radical Pakistan would export radicalisation and terror with much more money and might.

It would have been much easier for jihad handlers to market Pakistan and its ideology to an Indian or Sri Lankan Muslim youth as the beacon. It is Pakistan’s and to an extent Bangladesh’s failure to mature as democracies and flourish as economies that quietly tell the Muslim youth of the region that there is no Sharia alternative to a secular democracy.

Contrary to what Left or ‘liberal’ political and economic experts have been telling us, a stable and prosperous Pakistan would not be good for India and its other neighbours.

But that hypothesis itself is flawed. Pakistan was not born out of the love for Islam as much as its hatred and fear of India and Hindus. If you take out that loathing and paranoia, what remains of its identity?

Islam? Perhaps not. Because blinding Sunni supremacy ensures regular killing and persecution of not just non-Muslims but also Shias, Sufis, Ahmediyas and Ismailis.

To run that kind of a hate machine, you need to put in motion certain imaginary god’s laws instead of man-made regulations needed to run a society, polity, and economy.

Running real factories is totally antithetical to running a massive Islamist terror factory. For the former, you need to establish transparency, rule of law, economic fundamentals, and trust in the system. To run the latter, you need to obfuscate, operate in secrecy, nurture the corrupt, bribe citizens with doles, channelise funds into the state’s dark arts.

To do business, you need fewer enemies. To run a bigoted State, you have to have enemies.

For your economy to prosper, you need friends who embrace your honesty and openness. To run a terror state, you need allies like China or Turkey who can benefit from your dark enterprises and eventually throw you out when the job is done.

Source: Firstpost

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


ECP decides to notify Imran’s victory on 7 NA seats

Irfan Sadozai

January 19, 2023

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday decided to issue a notification confirming PTI chief Imran Khan’s victory in by-elections on seven National Assembly seats that was earlier withheld for his alleged failure to submit the party’s funding details to the electoral body.

A five-member ECP body headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja announced the decision that was reserved on Dec 20 last year.

The electoral watchdog had taken notice of Imran’s failure to submit the details of the expenses incurred during the by-polls and subsequently withheld the notification of his victory over non-compliance of the commission’s orders.

The PTI chief had contested by-elections on six out of eight National Assembly seats — NA-22, NA-24, NA-31, NA-108, NA-118, and NA-239 on Oct 16, 2022 while the election on NA-45 was held on Oct 30.

He had emerged victorious on seven seats, while the PPP had managed to bag two constituencies.

In its verdict today, the ECP noted that the former premier had furnished all required details to the watchdog, hence paving the way for the issuance of the notification of his victory.

In the last hearing, PTI lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan had urged the ECP to allow him to cross-examine witnesses, including the bank managers who furnished PTI’s bank statements on the instructions of the State Bank of Pakistan.

Source: Dawn

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


World Bank delays approval of $1.1bn for Pakistan

January 19, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has delayed the approval of two loans for Pakistan worth $1.1 billion until the next fiscal year pending some steps on the country’s energy debt and tariffs, a finance ministry source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The approval of the loans have been pending since June, said the source, declining to be named as they were not authorised to talk to the media. Pakistan’s next fiscal year starts in April.

“The major issue is the circular debt management plan in the energy sector and tariff revision,” said the source.

“These actions are pending on our side.” The World Bank and the finance ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pakistan is still reeling from devastating floods that have led to losses of more than $30 billion.

Source: Dawn

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


Pakistan backs ‘two-state formula’ to end Palestinian-Israel conflict

Anwar Iqbal

January 19, 2023

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan told the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday that the ‘two-state formula’ offers the only viable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the rising extremism in Israeli leadership “must not be allowed to foreclose the two-state solution”.

Ambassador Munir Akram rejected all Israeli measures and attempts to alter the historical and legal status quo of Al Aqsa mosque and demanded full respect for the status quo at Al Aqsa and all other holy sites in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Pakistan urged the Security Council to “act swiftly and resolutely to bring a halt to all such Israeli violations, ensure its full compliance with international law, and implement its own resolutions”.

Ambassador Akram said Pakistan was looking forward to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal implications of Israeli occupation.

Ambassador Akram says Islamabad looks forward to advisory opinion of ICJ on legal implications of Israeli occupation

“We expect that the court’s opinion will lead to Israeli accountability for its crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory. It is a measure of Israel’s sense of impunity that it has taken punitive measures against the Palestinian authorities and people for merely seeking the court’s opinion,” he said.

Israel is incensed over a UN General Assembly resolution in late December requesting that the ICJ offer an opinion on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and has imposed fresh sanctions on Palestinian authorities.

UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, told a special UNSC session on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories that he was “very concerned about the impact” on the finances of the Palestinian Authority from a series of retaliatory Israeli sanctions.

The council heard a worrying assessment of the situation from a senior UN official, who informed the world body about spiralling insecurity in the occupied West Bank.

According to UN radio, Mr Wennesland described how armed exchanges between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians were creating new tensions in the region. He said that between Dec 8 and Jan 13, at least 14 Palestinians were killed — including five children — “during demonstrations, clashes, search-and-arrest operations, attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis”.

Israeli settlers or other civilians also perpetrated more than 60 attacks against Palestinians, resulting in injuries to 28, including six children, Mr Wennesland said.

The UN official pointed out that the areas under PNA’s control saw “a high proportion” of all casualties.

Mr Wennesland reiterated that “all perpetrators of all acts of violence must be held accountable and swiftly brought to justice”.

According to a UN statement, participants at Wednesday’s debate underscored the importance of the two-state solution and the need to avoid all measures and actions that would undermine its realisation.

Mr Wennesland told the Security Council that it was “imperative” for both Israel and Palestinians to refrain “from provocations and unilateral steps that undermine... the ability to achieve a negotiated peace”.

Ahead of its Dec 29 swearing-in, the new Israeli government declared that the Jewish people had an exclusive right to all parts of the occupied land and issued fresh eviction notices.

Source: Dawn

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



South Asia


Qatar opposes Taliban’s decision of banning women, says it will worsen the situation

By Fidel Rahmati

January 18, 2023

On Tuesday, 17 January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Qatar tweeted a short video of External Minister of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani while talking at the World Economic Forum, directly warning about what happened recently by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Qatar has had a lengthy relationship with the Taliban. Since the beginning of the 2010s, senior Taliban figures have been based in Doha, Qatar. Opening an office to promote political reconciliation between the Taliban, the former Afghan government, the US, and other countries.

As early as 2013, Qatar allowed the Taliban to open an office in Doha. According to DW, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the Taliban’s founding members, has served as the Taliban envoy since 2018 in the Qatar office.

The current policies of the IEA, particularly about the ban on Afghan women’s education, and women staff working with international communities and organizations, have created a considerable reaction in Muslim countries and international communities.

The Al Thani remarks also came after the recent decision by the interim administration in Afghanistan.

He commented, “What happened recently and the recent measures by the Taliban government in Afghanistan has been very disappointing for us”.

Moreover, he added, “we have been warning them (the Taliban government) from taking such decisions that will make the situation much worse for the Afghan people and the International community to deal with them.”

Source: Khaama Press

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


UN Officials Hold Talks With Taliban (IEA) Authorities on Protecting Women’s Rights

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

January 19, 2023

The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous visited Kabul and met with the Taliban authorities to discuss Afghan women’s rights and other issues.

The senior UN delegation held meetings with UN staff, national and international NGOs, and Afghan women to get a good understanding of the situation and discuss ways to protect women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan, according to Farhan Haq, the UN Deputy Spokesperson.  

In a meeting with Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Wednesday, Amina Mohammed stressed the need to uphold human rights, especially for women and girls, and were encouraged by exemptions being introduced that have allowed the resumption of some humanitarian activities that had been hampered following the ban.

Minister Muutaqi expressed his gratitude and hoped that the UN delegation would portray Afghanistan’s true image to the international community.

“Women are engaged in educational and health sectors in significant numbers whereas those who used to work in government offices are paid salaries at home. The number of female inmates has reduced considerably and broad facilities have been provided in the business sector,” Muttaqi said.

Muttaqi also reiterated that not recognizing the Afghan government, travel bans on the Islamic Emirate authorities and restrictions on the banking system have led to numerous problems. To overcome these challenges, the international community needs to take positive in this regard.

Since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, followed by the disruption of international financial assistance, the war-torn country has been left once more in dire economic, humanitarian, and human rights crises.

Source: Khaama Press

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


Afghan-Uzbek Joint Market Enhances Visa-Free Trading Opportunities for Afghans

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

January 18, 2023

The construction of the initial phase of the Afghan-Uzbek joint market on the border area between the two counties has been completed, according to Uzbek officials.

Qut Jore Youf, the deputy of the Afghan-Uzbek joint market stated that this project was created to expand business relations and create job opportunities for Afghans and the people of Uzbekistan. Afghan traders along with Uzbek entrepreneurs can sell their products in this market.

According to Uzbek officials, more than four thousand shops, health centers, restaurants, and guest houses will be built in this market, and the distribution of shops for traders has already begun.

The announcement adds that Afghan citizens can shop in this market for ten days without receiving a visa.

“At least $75 million has been invested in this big project, creating big trade facilities for traders of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan,” Bakhtiar Roziof, head of the trade center said.

The creation of this market can provide a great opportunity to showcase the country’s domestic products and the economic activities of traders, according to the officials of the Balkh Chamber of Commerce, Investment and Traders.

The market will also pave the way for the expansion of economic activities and bilateral trade relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. This comes as the country is plagued with a dire humanitarian and economic situation, with almost zero foreign investment. The de facto authorities of Afghanistan look for every single opportunity to ease the economic pressure and convince national and international investors to invest in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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


Last two Sikh’s Holy Scriptures arrive in New Delhi from Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

January 18, 2023

The last two holy religious scriptures of Sikhism (Saroops) of the Guru Granth Sahib arrived from Afghanistan’s Kabul in Delhi on Wednesday. The two Scriptures were carried out by three Afghan Sikhs from Kabul to New Delhi by a non-Scheduled Kam Air flight.

Six Holy Scriptures were successfully flown into New Delhi on August 24, 2021, and December 10, 2021, in two groups. These were transported on a particular evacuation flight of Afghan Sikhs from Kabul.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, bringing back the symbols of faith and heritage associated with Sikhism has been going on continuously. As a result, the last two versions of Guru Granth Sahib were brought to Delhi, ANI reported.

On September 11, 2022, the four copies of the holy scriptures of Sikhs and 60 delegations were supposed to deliver to New Delhi but were refused permission by the Taliban-led Afghan government.

Officials from the foreign ministry of Afghanistan stated that unless an official confirmation letter from the Afghan Culture and Information Ministry was not issued, the scriptures could not be allowed to be taken out of Afghanistan, the Tribune reported.

After the intervention of the government of India and talks between the two governments, the two holy books were delivered to New Delhi in a non-scheduled Kam Air flight organized by Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

Source: Khaama Press

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


China slams US ‘blatant and egregious’ plundering of Syria’s natural reserves

18 January 2023

China has denounced the United States over its “blatant and egregious” attempts to further plunder natural resources in Syria, stating that American occupation forces are massively smuggling crude oil and grain from the northeastern part of the war-torn country to their bases in northern Iraq.

“We are struck by the blatancy and egregiousness of the US’s plundering of Syria. According to Syrian government data, in the first half of 2022, over 80% of Syria’s daily oil output was smuggled out of the country by US occupation troops,” Spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Wang Wenbin said at a weekly press briefing in the capital, Beijing on Tuesday.

He added that US forces used 60 tankers and trucks earlier this month to steal oil and wheat from Syria.

“Such banditry is aggravating the energy crisis and humanitarian disaster in Syria. The Syrian nation’s right to life is being ruthlessly trampled on by the US. With little oil and food to go by, Syrians are struggling even harder to get through the bitter winter,” the Chinese diplomat pointed out.

“The level of US greed in stealing resources from Syria is as striking as its generosity in giving out military aid often in the amount of billions or even tens of billions dollars. Whether the US gives or takes, it plunges other countries into turmoil and disaster, and the US gets to reap the benefits for its hegemony and other interests,” Wang said.

The spokesman emphasized that the US must answer to Syrians and the international community for its oil theft.

“We urge the US to stop trampling on international rule of law and breaking international rules,” he stated.

The US military has for long stationed its forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

Source: Press TV

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



Arab World


Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala to focus on Asia with eye on China recovery

18 January ,2023

The head of Mubadala Investment Co. said Asia will be an area of focus for the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund this year as China recovers from the pandemic and India continues to grow.

“Asia is very promising, particularly if you see what’s happening in the post-COVID era,” Chief Executive Officer Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak said on a Bloomberg Television interview at Davos on Wednesday. “We are seeing very exciting opportunities in Indonesia, South East Asia and even Japan and Korea.”

The $284 billion Abu Dhabi wealth fund will continue to invest in semiconductors, technology, energy transition, digital infrastructure and credit in the short-to-medium term, Al Mubarak said, and is also looking potential investments in technology and venture capital globally.

Mubadala is among sovereign wealth funds from the oil-rich Gulf region that continue to be active acquirers even as global deal volumes fall and banks cut bank lending for acquisitions.

Buoyed with cash from last year’s commodity boom and spurred on by equally ambitious neighbors such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates — home to about 6 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves — is investing billions of dollars to diversify its economy away from crude.

Source: Al Arabiya

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


Saudi Arabia mulling ‘creative ways’ to support Pakistan

January 19, 2023

DAVOS: After extending the term of a $3 billion deposit to boost its foreign-currency reserves late last year, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister has said his country is also discussing with the World Bank and other institutions how can it be “more creative to provide that support” to Pakistan.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Mohammed Al-Jadaan also indicated the kingdom is changing the way it provides assistance to allies, shifting from previously giving direct grants and deposits unconditionally.

“We used to give direct grants and deposits without strings attached and we are changing that. We are working with multilateral institutions to actually say we need to see reforms,” the minister said.

“We are taxing our people, we are expecting also others to do the same, to do their efforts. We want to help but we want you also to do your part.”

Earlier this month, Saudi state media reported the kingdom could boost its investments in cash-strapped Pakistan to $10 billion, from the $1 billion announced in August, as well as increase the ceiling on deposits into the Pakistan central bank to $5 billion.

“We are providing even oil and derivatives to support their energy needs,” Al Jadaan said. “So there is a lot of efforts, but we wanted this to be conducted.”

Separately, the minister also indicated that Saudi Arabia is open to discussions about trade in currencies other than the US dollar.

“There are no issues with discussing how we settle our trade arrangements, whether it is in the US dollar, whether it is the euro, whether it is the Saudi riyal,” Al-Jadaan told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.

“I don’t think we are waving away or ruling out any discussion that will help improve the trade around the world,” he said.

The world’s largest oil exporter, which has maintained a currency peg to the dollar for decades, is seeking to strengthen its relations with crucial trade partners including China. The kingdom is a pillar of the petrodollar system established in the 1970s that relies on pricing crude exports in the US currency.

Asked about Saudi ties with major trade partner China, Jadaan said Riyadh was taking a “wider approach” in which relations with both Beijing and Washington were important as well as building ties with other countries.

“We are looking to enhance our relationship with Europe. We are actually advancing our relationship with Latin America, with Asia,” he said.

During President Xi Jinping’s visit to Riyadh last year, the two countries agreed to boost coordination on energy policy and exploration. During that trip Xi said that China would make efforts to buy more oil from the Middle East and also wanted to settle that trade in the yuan.

Source: Dawn

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

IS attacks still claim Iraqi lives five years after defeat

January 19, 2023

BAGHDAD: The attack came after sunset in the quiet Iraqi village of Albu Bali when so-called Islamic State group gunmen drove into town and unleashed fire with automatic rifles.

“I heard the shots, I went out and I saw my nephew lying on the ground,” recalled Ali Menwar about the deadly violence that shattered the local calm on December 19.

The group of extremists “arrived at about 8:15 pm and started firing randomly”, said another local from the mainly Shiite village, Abbas Mazhar Hussein, 34.

As Menwar rushed inside, bullets smashed into the wall around him and two grazed his neck, which now bears angry red scars, before he could slam the gate shut behind him.

Others were less lucky in the village of 5,000 people, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) north of the capital Baghdad.

“My son, my grandson and my cousins fell as martyrs,” said Menwar’s neighbour Jabbar Alwan, his eyes welling up with tears.

“It’s very painful,” said the elderly man, who lost four relatives. “We didn’t expect this.”

When it was all over, eight people lay dead and another six were wounded in Albu Bali.

None of the attackers have been caught.

Fear of reprisals

Iraq has come a long way since major fighting ended over five years ago against IS, putting an end to their self-declared “caliphate” which once stretched across swathes of Iraq and Syria.

After a gruelling urban battle in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, forces backed by a US-led coalition declared victory over IS in the country in late 2017.

But periodic attacks still claim lives among Iraq’s war-weary citizens who have endured decades of conflict which flared especially after a 2003 US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

An IS ambush last December 18 killed nine federal policemen in Kirkuk, 100 kilometres north of Baghdad — but all too often it is civilians who fall victim.

The residents of Albu Bali, like the majority of Iraqis, are predominantly Shiites, a branch of Islam that the Sunni extremists of IS consider apostates and label “rawafid” or “rejectors”.

Claiming the bloody attack on the Telegram messaging service, IS did not refer to civilians but claimed it had targeted “rawafid militiamen”, a term used to describe members of the Shiite-led former paramilitary group Hashed al-Shaabi.

Sheikh Khalis Rashid, the local chief, said Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani had called him after the attack and “begged me to prevent any” violent reprisal.

Such reprisals would likely have taken the form of attacks on nearby Sunni-majority villages sometimes accused of providing a safe haven to the jihadists, the local chief said.

‘Gangster operations’

According to a police colonel who asked not to be named, “the terrorists hide in the countryside and continue to attack sporadically”.

The municipality of Al-Khalis, where Albu Bali is located, is used as a “transit” zone for jihadists, explained mayor Uday al-Khadran.

The surrounding Diyala province and neighbouring Salaheddin are crossroads for jihadists to the northern autonomous Kurdistan region, which according to Khadran “is not secure”.

A United Nations report last July estimated that “between 6,000 and 10,000” IS fighters remained across Iraq and Syria, “concentrated mostly in rural areas”.

According to Khadran, the group “no longer conducts military operations or seizes territory”.

Instead, he labelled IS attacks as “gangster operations”, noting that while there were security forces in the village at the time of the attack, there were not enough military forces.

Since the bloody attack on Albu Bali, nearly 200 army, police and Hashed forces have been stationed there, and surveillance cameras have been installed, said the police colonel.

Source: Pakistan Today

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


Saudi FM ‘positive’ about Middle East, but calls for return of Yemen truce, solution to Palestine crisis

January 18, 2023

DAVOS: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told the World Economic Forum on Wednesday that progress is being made on Yemen, but much work still needs to be done.

Prince Faisal called for a truce brought in last year in the country to be reinstated and said work must begin toward making the ceasefire permanent.

The conflict will end only “through a political settlement” and “negotiated solutions,” he said.

Speaking on the same panel, Hans Grundberg, the UN envoy for Yemen, said that ending the war will “not be easy” and that mistrust remains.

However, he said that serious steps have been taken recently, and thanked Saudi Arabia and other regional parties for their role in brokering last year’s truce.

Speaking on the panel that discussed the changing face of the Middle East from “battleground to meeting place,” the Saudi foreign minister also said that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform program is allowing the economies of the region as a whole to build and grow.

Prince Faisal highlighted the fact that the Kingdom’s economy will be the fastest growing this year, and that it wants to focus on dialogue and investment to boost neighboring regional economies.

“We seek solid and strong economies in the region, and we cooperate with all neighboring countries,” he said.

The Kingdom is excited about building sustainable economic growth not only for itself but also for the entire region, with “fewer slogans, more projects,” the minister said.

Prince Faisal said that he is optimistic about situation in the region, adding: “The Middle East has proven to be very much the meeting space of the world, in the intersection between the East and West.”

He added: “There’s a true spirit of cooperation building in the region, and it can be infectious, and also help to resolve the still existing conflicts in the region and beyond.”

However, referring to the Palestinian crisis, which he called the “biggest drag” on the region, Prince Faisal said he hoped the new government in Israel sees that it is in their interest to engage seriously with the Palestinians in order to resolve the issue.

He said that Israel’s government is sending “some signals that maybe are not conducive to that,” but expressed hope it will work toward resolving the conflict in the interests of the Palestinian people and the wider region.

Source: Arab News

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


Saudi Arabia a ‘bright spot’ for global economy


January 18, 2023

DAVOS: Saudi Arabia is a “bright spot” for a global economy facing slowdown this year, a panel of finance experts and Saudi ministers said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said the Kingdom had predicted the trend of global inflation before other countries, meaning it was able to take measures to insulate itself.

“Because of the stimulus packages that the world has put in the global economy, by July 2021 we saw the signs, and we realized we needed to take steps to protect the Saudi economy, and we have done that successfully,” he said.

He added that freezing local energy prices was among the mitigation measures.

While global inflation is above 8 percent, Saudi Arabia’s average is 2.6 percent. Forecasts show that inflation in the Kingdom “will not be as high” in 2023, the minister said, adding: “There is a lot of work being done to insulate the Saudi economy but also help the global economy.”

He said that the Kingdom is changing the way it provides assistance to allies. “We used to give direct grants and deposits without strings attached, and we are changing that.”

Panelists pointed to the long-term approach of Vision 2030 as a contributing factor in the resilience of the Kingdom’s economy.

The vision, they said, helped Saudi Arabia adapt when dealing with global challenges including COVID-19, the Ukraine-Russia war, rising inflation and food and energy insecurity.

Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said that Vision 2030 had made Saudi Arabia a “bright spot for the world economy and in its own region in a particularly difficult time for the world.”

The Kingdom, she said, would provide the economic growth that the world needed as a global slowdown was expected to persist in 2023 due to the Russia-Ukraine war and China’s latest COVID-19 emergency.

She said Saudi Arabia had an effective fiscal policy, had tackled energy and food insecurity and was striving for a more diversified economy.

“I don’t know how many countries during this difficult time had the courage to increase their debt-to-income ratio from 6 to 15 percent. Saudi Arabia did,” she added.

“Saudi Arabia takes its good fortunes to heart to play an important role in energy and food security and in addressing the incredible challenge of debt.”

US-Saudi relations

Finance Minister Al-Jadaan said the Kingdom aimed to “bridge the divide” and encourage communication with the US and Europe for the “benefit of the world” and find collective solutions for food and energy insecurity and the transition to green energy.

China was “very important” for the Kingdom and its largest trade partner, “but also the US is a very important and strategic partner.”

“Our aim is really to bridge the divide, our aim is to be a force of communication and we are encouraging communication, whether it is China, the US or others. We are playing our part globally and you can count on Saudi Arabia to continue.”

Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, the Saudi ambassador to the US, said maintaining the long-standing strategic partnership between Riyadh and Washington was “beyond critically necessary” for global stability.

“Yes, there was a moment of conflict and disagreement, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we are both strategic allies and we are friends, and this relationship is critical for the world,” said Al-Saud.

Gender reforms

IMF’s Georgieva said increased female participation in work was a key driver of the economy, and Saudi Arabia had already exceeded by seven percentage points its own 2030 target of making 30 percent of the country’s workforce female.

Abdullah Al-Swaha, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and IT, said Saudi Arabia jumped from 7 percent female participation in technology to 32 percent, which is higher than the EU, G20 and Silicon Valley averages. “It is the most audacious and bold reform story in the 21st century,” he said.

Ambassador Al-Saud said female empowerment was at the baseline of the design of the Saudi Vision 2030.

“Today, women have equal pay in the Kingdom. Today, they have equal opportunities,” said Al-Saud.

Society had changed, she said: Women occupied senior roles in Saudi Arabia, female participation in sports had risen and five female diplomats were representing the Kingdom across the world.

Source: Arab News

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


UAE rolls over $2B loan as Pakistan's foreign reserves fall to record low of $4.3B

Amir Latif  


KARACHI, Pakistan

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has rolled over a $2 billion loan to a cash-strapped Pakistan that was payable over the next two months, in an attempt to shore up the country's depleting foreign reserves.

"Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has rolled over their deposit of $2 billion with State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), as discussed by (Premier Shehbaz Sharif) with His Highness the President of UAE during last week’s official visit," Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said in a late-night tweet on Wednesday.

“Long live Pak-UAE friendship!” he stated.

The oil-rich Gulf state agreed to roll over the deposit it made in 2019 for an unspecified period of time, and pledged to provide another $1 billion loan to Islamabad during Sharif's recent visit to Abu Dhabi.

The loan was scheduled to be paid off in February and March of this year, which would have depleted the country's already dwindling foreign reserves even further.

Currently, Islamabad's foreign reserves stand at $4.3 billion, a record low since 2014, forcing the government to slap strict control on imports, affecting the country's manufacturing sector.

The latest rollover, according to economists, would provide Islamabad an opportunity to rebuild its foreign exchange reserves, and revive a $6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, following a delay in the release of a $1.8 billion tranche.

The IMF has refused to release the tranche until Islamabad agrees to a slew of demands, including the imposition of additional taxes and the withdrawal of subsidies, primarily on petroleum products.

Saudi assistance

Pakistan has been facing a serious cash crunch in recent months, making it difficult for the South Asian nuclear nation to pay off its foreign debts on time.

The country's current account deficit has contracted to $3.33 billion in the first half of the ongoing financial year, amid the melting down of the economy.

The recent super floods and torrential rains that inundated a third of the country last year caused a colossal loss of $30 billion to the country's already sputtering economy, which has been trying to recover from the shocks of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Aside from the UAE, a longtime ally, Saudi Arabia is also mulling over depositing another $3 billion with the SBP.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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





Judiciary Spokesman: Hysterical Reactions to Execution of MI6 Spy Show British Enmity towards Iran


Addressing reporters on Tuesday, Setayeshi the hasty and hysteric reactions to the execution of one of the well-known spies of the UK is another example of the wicked measures of the British Government against the Iranian nation in the last two centuries.

"The British Government was expected to officially apologize the Iranian nation due to the scandal of spying on Iran, but the reactions showed the institutionalized hatred of the UK government and their wicked acts among the Iranian people has its roots in deep and correct awareness about Britain," he added.

The initial investigation, interrogation and proceeding of the charges of Ali-Reza Akbari were carried out at the Iranian judicial system very inclusively and precisely, so the sentence indicates the judiciary’s sensitivity in dealing with the malice of the UK’s government, the official noted.

Dual British-Iranian citizen and former Iranian defense official Alireza Akbari was executed on Saturday after being sentenced to death over spying for the UK Secret Intelligence Service to undermine Iran’s internal and external security by passing on sensitive information.

The convict had been sentenced to death on charges of “corruption on earth” and “extensive activities against the country's internal and external security” through espionage for the British government’s spy agency.

Akbari had received 1,805,000 euros, 265,000 pounds, and $50,000 for espionage activities for the United Kingdom.

Among other crimes, Akbari is said to have played a role in the assassination by Israel of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in 2020.

The UK has a long history of spying activities in Iran which can be traced back to the 1953 coup against the democratically-elected government of Mohammad Mosaddeq.

Tehran has in recent months identified and captured several members of spy networks affiliated to foreign secret services.

Back in July, the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) detained several foreigners, including Britain's second most senior envoy in Tehran, for acts of spying such as taking earth samples in restricted areas.

Source: Fars News Agency

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


Iran: Killing of Black teacher an example of US hypocrisy concerning human rights

18 January 2023

Iran says the US police's recent brutal murder of an African-American teacher reflects Washington's hypocritical approach towards the issue of human rights.

Speaking to Press TV on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan'ani said such instances of violent behavior "against citizens, especially the people of color" were happening "frequently" across the United States, describing the unwelcome development as "totally inhumane and hideous."

"That's a clear sign of a contradiction between actions and words," he added, referring to how the US would host such incidents on a recurrent basis, at the same time as it seizes on every opportunity to preach the rest of the international community on the subject of human rights.

"The US cashes in on minor incidents around the world, especially in the countries that are under Washington's political pressure," the spokesman noted, stating, "Washington uses the human rights issue as a tool to pursue its political interests and goals and to exert pressure on independent nations."

According to reports, the American schoolteacher was repeatedly tasered by Los Angeles police officers and heavy-handedly restrained following a traffic accident earlier in January.

In a 13-minute body-cam footage released by the Los Angeles Police Department, Anderson was seen begging for help as multiple officers were holding him to the ground and one officer was pressing his elbow along with his body weight onto his neck.

"They’re trying to George Floyd me. They’re trying to George Floyd me," Anderson could be heard saying in the footage, in reference to the US police's killing of Floyd in May 2020 in  Minneapolis in an incident that triggered racial justice protests around the world.

Kan'ani had also reacted to the recent grisly murder in a tweet earlier, reminding that the incident had coincided with the day that marks the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., the legendary American civil rights leader, who dedicated his life to the realization of equal treatment for the United States' African-American community.

Source: Press TV

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


Iran Rejects West's Allegations on Secret Nuclear Program


Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday in Tehran, Iran’s nuclear chief once again dismisses claims about the existence of “undeclared” nuclear sites or activities in Iran.

"All this claims are part of a propaganda campaign against Tehran," he added.

Eslami noted the accusations leveled against the Iranian nuclear program are rooted in the claims by “counter-revolutionary elements” abroad.

In spite of that, the official added, Iran has been cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in addressing the claims.

Eslami said such allegations are nothing new and have been fabricated for 20 years, stating that the 2015 nuclear deal was in fact supposed to close the case of those claims.

The Western side abandoned the nuclear deal and now that it is seeking a return to the agreement, those allegations are renewed, the top nuclear official stressed.

“We declare that there have been no undeclared activities and undeclared sites in the Islamic Republic of Iran. These are the remarks of the Agency itself,” he continued.

Iran has always had full cooperation with the IAEA and allowed it to visit the country’s nuclear sites, but calls the nuclear agency's approach unconstructive and destructive. But Tehran has asked the IAEA to avoid politicizing the issue and focus on technical aspects in line with the organization’s mandate.

Iranian officials have repeatedly called on Director general of the IAEA Rafael Grossi to stop Israeli-influenced approach, and emphasized that Tehran would never surrender to the political behavior of the UN nuclear watchdog that is affected by the Zionist pressures.

They rejected remarks by the IAEA chief over "unexplained traces of uranium" amid efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, and advised the IAEA director general not to raise accusations against Iran based on claims made by the Tel Aviv regime and anti-Tehran groups.

Back in September, AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi stated that Tehran has fully cooperated with the IAEA about three sites in question inside the country, adding that detection of nuclear traces at Iranian sites does not mean Tehran has undeclared nuclear material.

"Iran has been fully cooperative regarding the three alleged sites brought up by the nuclear watchdog and has sent information and answers to the nuclear agency's questions and has also held meetings to resolve the ambiguity," the AEOI spokeperson asserted.

Source: Fars News Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:'s-Allegains-n-Secre-Nclear-Prgram


Houthis Put Two Yemeni YouTube Activists On Trial for Critical Videos


January 19, 2023

AL-MUKALLA: Two Yemenis arrested by the Houthis after posting critical YouTube videos are to be put on trial, prompting rights groups to accuse the militia of using the courts to harass dissidents.

Mustafa Al-Mumari and Ahmed Hajar were arrested last month after they accused the Houthis of being “thieves and robbers”, named officials they said were corrupt and criticized taxation levels. The Houthis accuse them of spreading false information, defaming leaders and inciting violence.

Abdul Majeed Sabra, a defense lawyer in Sanaa, told Arab News that two others arrested at the same time, Ahmed Elaw and Hamoud Al-Mesbahi, had been freed on bail.

Elaw was detained for a video in which he urged the Houthis to tackle corruption and expressed compassion for prisoners. Al-Mesbahi was with Al-Mumari at the time of his arrest.

All four, who had previously expressed support for the movement on social media, appeared at the Houthi-run Specialized Criminal Court of First Instance in Sanaa.

Houthi official media said that all had expressed sorrow and vowed not to repeat their actions.

However, the militia’s crackdown on YouTubers and social media users has prompted rights organizations to accuse them of harassing free speech advocates and using the courts to settle scores with opponents.

The Geneva-based SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties said that human rights violations and abductions have escalated since the Houthis’ takeover in late 2014. The militia established political courts to justify the execution of their opponents and the confiscation of their properties.

“The Ansar Allah (Houthi) organization in Yemen has committed extreme breaches against people it considers to be its opponents, and as a result, it has opened jails and formed political tribunals,” SAM said on Twitter.

The international rights group Euro-Med Monitor accused the Houthis last week of using “tenuous pretexts” to suppress, kidnap, and punish opponents and vocal internet influencers.

In Sanaa, the UN Yemen envoy, Hans Grundberg, declared the completion of a two-day visit to Houthi-held Sanaa on Tuesday evening, without mentioning any outcomes of his discussions with Houthi officials.

“The visit is part of the UN envoy's continued efforts to reach an inclusive, negotiated political settlement in #Yemen,” Grundberg’s office said on Twitter.

He arrived in Sanaa on Monday for discussions with Houthi leaders about renewing the UN-brokered truce and other matters, days after Omani mediators returned to Sanaa to know Houthi demands to end the war.

Meanwhile, during the last 24 hours, sporadic fighting has erupted between government troops and the Houthis in disputed regions around the besieged city of Taiz.

Source: Arab News

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


Iran Raps US Inaction on Israeli Murder of Palestinian Journalist


Amir Abdollahian made the remarks at a joint press conference on Tuesday, following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara.

Iran's diplomat said that the Iranian women enjoy a high level of rights.

He stated that the death of Mahsa Amini was regretful while noting that the Western media waged a planned propaganda against Iran.

"Why the United States showed no reaction to the murdering of a Palestinian female reporter Shirin Abu Akleh," the foreign minister asked, adding, “Why there is no reaction to the massacre of women and children as a result of the US intervention?”

Elswhere in his remarks, Amir Abdollahian underlined that Tehran fully supports the efforts toward Turkish-Syrian reconciliation, stressing that any development in relations between the two countries would be in the interest of the entire region.

"We are very pleased by the fact that relations between Damascus and Ankara are undergoing change," he said, adding, "We believe any positive development in relations between Ankara and Damascus will benefit our region and our countries."

The top Iranian diplomat further underscored that Iran will make every effort to achieve this goal, given its close relationship with both Turkey and Syria.

On nuclear talks, the foreign minister said that he and Turkish officials also discussed Tehran’s negotiations with the West over the removal of sanctions.

"If the US side gives up making contradictory statements and raising new conditions, and begins to act realistically, the agreement is within the reach," the senior diplomat stressed.

On the Caucasus developments, Amir Abdollahian stated Iran believes that respecting the territorial integrity of the countries is a basic principle and that no kind of geopolitical change has to take place in the region.

He stressed the need for keeping transit routes open among regional countries.

The minister stated he has made the necessary planning during his trip to Ankara for a visit to Turkey by President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi, confirming that the visit will take place soon.

Cavusoglu, for his part, said Turkey was on the same page with Iran that the territorial integrity of Syria should be preserved.

The Turkish diplomat added he intends to hold his first official meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad "in the upcoming period."

The Turkish official had earlier suggested that he might meet his Syrian counterpart next month for talks aimed at setting up a historic summit between Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Today, we emphasized that Iran's contribution to this process is very important," he continued.

The minister said President Erdogan has commissioned foreign ministry to arrange for President Rayeesi's state visit to Turkey.

Abu Akleh was shot in the head and killed by the Israeli Army in mid-May while she was covering their raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. At the time of her killing, the 51-year-old journalist was wearing easily-recognizable press attire.

Palestinian officials, international rights groups and media outlets carried out independent investigations since the journalist was shot dead, and concluded that Abu Akleh was killed by the Israeli military.

The Israeli sniper who killed Abu Akleh was able to clearly tell that there were journalists in the area, the investigation concluded, after examining the sniper’s precise angle of fire.

According to a probe, the Israeli sniper shot for two minutes and deliberately targeted those who tried to rescue Abu Akleh. The sniper shot three rounds of bullets, including an initial six bullets followed by seven more which killed the Palestinian journalist and then three more to stop efforts to rescue her.

The family of Abu Akleh has submitted an official complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to demand justice for her cold-blooded murder.

Source: Fars News Agency

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


Iran Detains German National on Espionage Charges


The German national has been detained while taking photos of Aghajari oilfield in Khuzestan province.

A source in Berlin has stated that Germany has taken note of the Iranian report and the embassy in Tehran is working to clarify the situation.

The detention of German citizen on spying charges comes days after Iran executed a dual Iranian-British national Alireza Akbari for spying for the British intelligence agency.

The convict, who had been sentenced to death on charges "extensive activities against Iran's internal and external security" through espionage for the British government’s spy agency, was hanged on Saturday.

Akbari, who was arrested in 2019, had received 1,805,000 euros, 265,000 pounds, and $50,000 for espionage activities for the United Kingdom.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry described Akbari, as “one of the most infiltrating agents of the spying service of the UK in the country’s sensitive and strategic centers",  noting that he was identified and arrested after a “long and multi-layered process” involving “counter-intelligence” and “deception operation.”

The “key spy,” according to the ministry, had sent the acquired information from sensitive centers to the enemy’s spy service on several occasions while being “completely aware” of his actions.

Source: Fars News Agency

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


Iran Condemns US Human Rights Violations Following Grisly Murder of Unarmed Black Man


Kan'ani made the remarks in a tweet on Tuesday, commenting on the death of  Keenan Anderson after he was repeatedly tasered by police officers in Los Angeles.

Anderson, a 31-year-old father and English teacher, who is the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, died from cardiac arrest last week after he was tased by US police, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

In a 13-minute body-cam footage released by LAPD, Anderson is seen begging for help as multiple officers hold him to the ground and one officer presses his elbow along with his body weight onto his neck.

“They’re trying to George Floyd me. They’re trying to George Floyd me,” Anderson can be heard saying in the footage, in reference to the US police killing of Floyd in May 2020 in  Minneapolis that sparked racial justice protests around the world.

The Iranian diplomat described his death as "tragic".

The spokesperson reminded that the murder had coincided with the day that marks the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., the legendary American civil rights leader, who dedicated his life to the realization of equal treatment for the United States' African-American community.

The murder, Kana'ani said, indicated that "despite the passage of five decades following Luther King's murder, his dreams of the Black Americans' equal entitlement to civil rights...has not been realized."

"The people of color," the diplomat added, "are still subject to severe violation of basic human rights and racist treatment."

According to Mapping Police Violence, the police across the United States killed an average of more than three people a day, or nearly 100 people every month in 2022.

United States police have killed at least 1,176 people in 2022, making it the deadliest year on record for police violence since experts first started tracking the killings, a new data analysis reveals.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

Iran warns EU against listing Revolutionary Guards as terrorist entity

19 January ,2023

Iran warned on Thursday that the European Union would “shoot itself in the foot” by listing the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, state media said.

“We have repeatedly said the Revolutionary Guards are a formal and sovereign organization whose role is central for guaranteeing Iran’s security. Steps taken by the European Parliament to list the organization as terrorist are in a way a shot in the foot of Europe itself,” Iran’s foreign minister said.

On Wednesday the European Parliament called for the EU to list the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, blaming it for the repression of domestic protesters and the supply of drones to Russia’s military engaged in Ukraine.

Widespread anti-government demonstrations erupted in Iran in September after the death of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who had been detained over flouting the strict dress code imposed on women.

The European Parliament condemned the crackdown on protesters by Iran’s security forces, which include the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, as “brutal”.

“It is necessary to respect mutual security in the world of diplomacy and increase mutual trust instead of following the language of threats and unfriendly actions. In any case of a terrorist listing, Iran will take reciprocal measures,” Amirabdollahian said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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


Israeli military kills two Palestinians in West Bank raid

19 January ,2023

Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians during a military raid in the occupied West Bank early Thursday, Palestinian media reported, as Israeli-Palestinian violence continued to surge.

The official news agency Wafa identified the dead as Jawad Bawatqa, 58, and Adham Jabarin. They were shot in the Jenin refugee camp in northern West Bank.

The Palestinian media said Bawatqa was a teacher, while the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade — an armed militia affiliated with Fatah, the secular political party that controls the Palestinian Authority — claimed Jabarin as a fighter.

The Israeli military said it had no immediate comment.

Palestinian media also reported that the Israeli forces arrested a local official of the militant group Islamic Jihad in Jenin.

Tensions have soared in the West Bank, where the Israeli military has been conducting near-nightly arrest raids since last spring, after a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people. Another 10 Israelis were killed in a second string of attacks later last year.

Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see them as further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation of lands they seek for their future state.

Thursday’s deaths put at 17 the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank since the beginning of 2023.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2022, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, making it the deadliest year since 2004.

Source: Al Arabiya

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


Two killed in Israeli raid in Jenin: Palestinian ministry

January 19, 2023

RAMALLAH: Two Palestinians were killed by gunfire during an Israeli army raid in the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin, the Palestinian health ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry announced the “martyrdom of Jawad Farid Bawaqna, 57, killed by a bullet in the chest, and Adham Mohammed Bassem Jabareen 28, after he was shot in the upper abdomen by the Israeli occupation army during its aggression on Jenin.”

The Israeli army had no immediate comment.

Palestinian social media indicated that Jabareen was a militant.

The Jenin incident raises the toll of Palestinians killed this month in the West Bank to 17, including civilians and militants, according to an AFP tally.

The majority have been killed by Israeli forces, which have occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

A surge in violence in 2022 made it the deadliest year in the West Bank since United Nations records began in 2005.

At least 26 Israelis and 200 Palestinians were killed across Israel and the Palestinian territories last year, according to AFP figures.

Source: Arab News

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


North America


Türkiye 'important partner, not only in region but around world': Pentagon

Servet Günerigök



Türkiye has an important partnership with the US on the global stage, a spokesman for the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder responded to a question on the Pentagon's possible message to Congress on the conclusion of a deal to sell F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye.

Ryder said it is a Congressional decision to make, adding "the United States and Turkey share an alliance and they're an important partner, not only in the region but around the world.”

Asked by Anadolu how important this potential sale is for military relations, which have been strained over the years due to several issues, he stressed that the US views Türkiye as "an important ally."

"Certainly when it comes to the bilateral relationship between the United States and Turkey, we've always said that Turkey is an important partner and important ally.

"And so we'll continue to work closely with Turkey's leaders on how we can bolster that relationship and insure that our mutual defense needs are considered," he added.

The US State Department sent Congress its decision on the potential sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye for a tiered review last week, sources told Anadolu on Friday.

The notification on the sale has been conveyed to the chairs and ranking members of relevant committees in the House of Representatives and Senate, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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


US Muslim Inmate Wins Second Chance In Religious Freedom Lawsuit Against Jail

18 January 2023

A US federal court has partly undone a decision made against a Muslim inmate, ruling that a Virginia jail must defend its practice of broadcasting Christian services on every television screen on Sundays, which the inmate argues is a violation of the Constitution's freedom of religion clause.

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit stated the case should return back to the district court for reconsideration.

The court cited the allegation of the inmate, who said that prisoners have no way of avoiding the broadcasts in every common area other than retreating to their cells, which he said "felt like an ultimatum: Be Christian or be penalized".

"Prisons are required to provide religious accommodations; the question here is when those accommodations go too far and when they do not go far enough," the decision said.

The appeals court's decision comes as a result of a 2017 lawsuit filed by David Nighthorse Firewalker-Fields, a Muslim former inmate at the Middle River Regional Jail who claims the weekly broadcasts unconstitutionally favoured Christianity. Firewalker-Fields spent three months at the jail.

In the lawsuit, Firewalker-Fields argued that while the jail had offered Sunday services, it did not offer a Friday prayer service for Muslim inmates. He said he wanted to be transferred to the Virginia Department of Corrections, where inmate-led group prayer was allowed for Muslims.

The jail argued that the lack of Muslim services was the result of a lack of donations, given that all religious classes and services are based on donations and volunteers.

The jail added that it offers Muslim inmates a number of accommodations, including access to religious texts, "special mealtimes during Ramadan and a pork-free diet all year round".

The district court ruled in favour of the jail, and the inmate filed an appeal.

In the appeals court's ruling, Judge Julius Richardson, writing for the court, said the lawsuit offered "an array of historical sources" to back up the claim that the broadcasts throughout the jail violated the First Amendment's establishment clause, which generally bans the government from prioritising one religion.

However, Richardson said that "many questions remain" and that the question of whether the broadcast services violate the First Amendment should be answered by the lower court.

The court also rejected a separate challenge by the inmate, who argued that the jail should allow inmate-led Friday group prayer for Muslims.

The ability of Muslim inmates to exercise their faith has been a prevailing issue in US jails across the country.

In 2019, following a legal battle originating from a prison in Kentucky, the Federal Bureau of Prisons changed its national guidelines to recommend the accommodation of group prayers.

Between 2017 and 2019, 16 religious freedom cases related to Muslim inmates were filed in federal court. More than 60 of those were about dietary needs, and another 34 were linked specifically to violations during the holy month of Ramadan.

Source: Middle East Eye

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


Israel, US meet to smooth relations under new government

18 January ,2023

Israel and the US sought to smooth relations between their countries Wednesday in the allies' first meeting since Israel's new ultranationalist government, its most right-wing ever, assumed power.

Israel's ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, hosted National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Jerusalem a day ahead of Sullivan's expected meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hovering over all of the discussions were the new government's policy changes that directly conflict with President Joe Biden's efforts to improve the lives of Palestinians and hold back Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu's new government, made up of ultranationalists and ultra-Orthodox parties, poses a big quandary for the Biden administration and has laid bare the deep divisions between the US and its top Mideast ally as both countries grapple with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threat of Israel's archrival Iran.

“You are coming at the right time, as we meet so many challenges together,” Herzog said, addressing Sullivan, who noted that Biden wants to visit Israel again after his first trip as president last summer.

Beneath the niceties lay delicate dynamics, with the agendas of the two nations diverging in important respects.

Netanyahu's coalition government has riled US diplomats from its first days in power with a visit to a Jerusalem holy site by an extremist Cabinet minister and raised concern about expansions of Jewish settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians. Netanyahu's Cabinet also is pursuing sweeping changes to Israel's judicial system, drawing fierce criticism from many Israelis. Tens of thousands protested the proposed overhaul last weekend.

Israeli leaders this week meeting with Sullivan and a US Senate delegation have sought to focus on what Netanyahu called, “the potential for tightening cooperation” on Israeli-Arab accords and Iran policy.

But the new government's early moves have vexed Biden's national security team as it seeks to shift attention away from the Middle East and toward rivals like China and Russia.

Israel's careful effort to avoid antagonizing Moscow shadowed the meetings Wednesday as the military confirmed that American equipment stored in Israel had been transferred a few weeks ago, without saying where it had been sent. The statement followed a New York Times report that the US sent the munitions to Ukraine for use in the war against Russia.

The report was a counterpoint to Israel's balance on the Russian invasion. Netanyahu has built a rapport with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Israel has been keen to stay largely on the sidelines of the war so as not to damage its strategic relationship with the Kremlin. Russia has troops stationed in Syria, a frequent target of Israeli airstrikes.

Israel has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine but it has refused Kyiv’s frequent requests to send air defense systems and other military equipment. It also has refrained from enforcing strict economic sanctions on Russia and the many Russian-Jewish oligarchs who have second homes in Israel.

Source: Al Arabiya

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


Top US military general for Middle East discusses regional threats in Israel

18 January ,2023

The top US military general for the Middle East met with senior Israeli military and defense officials this week to discuss regional threats, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said Wednesday.

Gen. Erik Kurilla met with the new Israeli Defense Forces chief of general staff and the outgoing chief of staff in Tel Aviv to discuss common threats, ways to strengthen ties between the two militaries and an upcoming joint training exercise.

The meetings, which took place on Monday and Tuesday, were also a chance for Kurilla to thank Aviv Kohavi, the outgoing chief of general staff, for his commitment to the CENTCOM-IDF partnership. Under Kohavi, Israel was transferred from the US European Command area of responsibility to CENTCOM, allowing more coordination with its Arab neighbors.

“Kohavi quickly established the foundation for a strong, abiding relationship between the IDF and CENTCOM,” a statement from CENTCOM read.

The CENTCOM commander also met with Israel’s new defense minister, Yoav Gallant, where discussions focused on deepening defense and technological cooperation.

Kurilla also stopped at the Israel Air Force headquarters, receiving briefings, demonstrations of Israeli military capabilities, updates on regional threats, and “an overview of integrated air and missile defense.”

Washington has been pushing for an integrated missile and air defense system among Israel and its Arab neighbors in the face of growing Iranian threats. Bomb-laden drones and unmanned aerial vehicles have been a strength of Tehran’s in recent years, and the Pentagon believes that sharing of intel and coordination can help better counter these threats.

Source: Al Arabiya

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


US sees Türkiye 'as a reliable ally,' says White House

Servet Günerigök



The US sees Türkiye as "a reliable ally," the White House said Wednesday, as the two nations’ top diplomats met in Washington, D.C.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre made the remarks in response to a question about Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids. A reporter asked if President Joe Biden considers Türkiye "a reliable NATO ally," citing "an impasse" over the accession of the Nordic nations to the military alliance.

"We do see Turkey as a reliable ally," Jean-Pierre responded.

The Biden administration also hailed US relations with Türkiye, with State Department spokesman Ned Price saying, “We have a very constructive relationship with Turkey.”

"We are grateful for the role that Turkey has played in helping to address many of the most pressing challenges of our time," said Price.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as part of the Türkiye-US Strategic Mechanism.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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



Southeast Asia


State Islamic religious councils to appear as amicus curiae in govt’s appeal in ‘Allah’ case

19 Jan 2023

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 19 — The Court of Appeal here today allowed three state Islamic religious councils to appear as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the government’s appeal against a High Court’s ruling on a Sarawakian native Christian’s right to use the word “Allah” in her religious education.

The three councils are the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP), the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) and the Kedah state Islamic Religious Council.

An amicus curiae is not a party to a legal suit but is one who is permitted to assist the court by giving information or advice with respect to some matter of law that directly affects the case.

A Court of Appeal three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Yaacob Md Sam, Datuk S.Nantha Balan and Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali allowed the councils’ applications to come in as amicus curiae in the appeal.

Justice Yaacob, who led the bench however said the councils would have to apply to the panel of judges that would hear the appeal on whether they could address the court during the appeal hearing.

Earlier, Justice Yaacob allowed the councils to withdraw their applications to intervene in the appeal and struck out the applications with no liberty to file afresh. He also did not make any orders on costs.

An intervenor is one who intervenes as a third party in a legal proceeding.

In the proceedings conducted online, lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla representing the councils informed the court that following a discussion by parties in the appeal, it was agreed that the councils withdraw their intervener applications and instead they will appear as amicus curiae.

Lawyer Lim Heng Seng representing Sarawakian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill confirmed and asked the court to strike out the applications with no liberty to file afresh. He also asked for costs.

Federal Counsel Noor Atiqah Zainal Abidin representing the Home Ministry and the government also told the court that she has no objection to the withdrawal of the intervener applications and well as for the councils to appear as amicus curiae.

On March 10, last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, in a landmark decision, ruled that Christians nationwide can use the word “Allah” and three other Arabic words in their religious publications for educational purposes.

It had allowed Jill Ireland’s judicial review and granted her declaratory orders including a declaration that she had the constitutional rights under the Federal Constitution to import the publications in the exercise of her rights to practise her religion and right to education.

The High Court also ruled that a 1986 Home Ministry’s directive of banning the use of the words “Allah, Baitullah, Kaabah and solat” by non-Muslims were unlawful and unconstitutional.

Source: Malay Mail

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


Ministry to provide funding assistance to Islamic schools soon

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Religious Affairs Ministry will soon disburse the 2023 School Operational Assistance (BOS) to private Islamic schools (madrasas), with the total allocation pegged at Rp4 trillion.

"Some time ago, I had approved the disbursement (of the assistance)," director general of Islamic education at the ministry, M. Ali Ramdhani, informed here on Wednesday.

According to the procedures, the funds were to be disbursed by the Directorate General of Treasury of the Finance Ministry to the Directorate General of Islamic Education at the Religious Affairs Ministry’s BOS channeling bank account (RPL) on Wednesday, he said.

The ongoing disbursement is the first phase of madrasas’ BOS distribution, he added. The funds will be provided to 49,074 private madrasas.

Director of madrasa curriculum, facilities, institutions, and student affairs (KSKK) at the Religious Affairs Ministry, M. Isom Yusqi, informed that Rp1.7 trillion of the Rp4 trillion assistance will be handed to 24,034 private Islamic elementary schools (MIs).

Meanwhile, Rp1.4 trillion will be disbursed to 16,667 private Islamic junior high schools (MTs) and Rp801 billion to 8,373 private Islamic senior high schools (MA).

Starting from 2023, the Gradual BOS policy for madrasas will be implemented, he added.

The Gradual BOS will provide financial assistance of varying amounts based on the operational expense of each madrasa.

"With the Gradual BOS policy, it is hoped that madrasas can better meet their operational needs and improve the quality of education in the schools. Utilize the budget according to their designation and in an accountable manner," Yusqi noted.

He said that the Religious Affairs Ministry has prepared the EDM ERKAM V.2 application, which can be used in the transfer process of the BOS.

Source: Antara News

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


Illegitimate non-Muslim child entitled to share in father’s estate, says court

V Anbalagan

January 18, 2023

PUTRAJAYA: In a landmark ruling today, the Federal Court unanimously held that an illegitimate non-Muslim child is entitled to a share in the estate of a parent who dies intestate (without a will).

Justice Mary Lim, who delivered the ruling, said the word “issue” as defined in the Distribution Act 1958 must include a child with blood lineage to a deceased parent regardless of the child’s legitimacy.

Lim said this when allowing an appeal by a 21-year-old woman fathered by a wealthy businessman who was not legally married to her mother.

She said the central issue in the appeal was whether the terms “child” and “issue” in the Distribution Act should be read in a non-discriminatory way in light of Article 8 in the Federal Constitution.

Article 8 provides that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abdul Rahman Sebli and Justice Hasnah Hashim were the other members who heard the appeal.

The bench also allowed costs of RM50,000 to the woman, who was represented by Cyrus Das and AG Kalidas.

The dispute began in 2010 when the woman sought to lay claim to her share of her deceased father’s estate.

The claim was refused by the lawful wife of the deceased businessman, leading the woman to file a suit in 2015, seeking her entitlement under the Distribution Act.

The High Court was called upon to determine the child’s legitimacy for inheritance purposes as her late father had died without leaving a will.

The widow of the deceased sought a declaration that the child, who had been fathered by the deceased with another woman, was illegitimate, and did not have a claim to the deceased’s estate.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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


Ulama council can help draw Umno closer to PAS, says spiritual leader

Anne Muhammad

January 19, 2023

PETALING JAYA: PAS welcomes Umno’s move to set up a council of ulama (religious scholars) as this can help bring the two parties closer, said the head of the Islamic party’s version of the council.

PAS spiritual leader Hashim Jasin said this was possible through Islamic programmes that transcend political differences.

“If they hold any programmes, whether for the party or the people, these will be based on religion, such as Maulidur Rasul, so there is no reason not to invite PAS.

“I welcome this move as it is a step towards unity,” he told FMT.

Hashim does not view Umno’s ulama council as a rival to his panel, saying “we are open to the agenda of a united ummah”.

“If the goals are the same, there is no reason for PAS not to support or recommend activities that will benefit both parties,” he said.

Umno veteran Dusuki Ahmad has been named the first chairman of the party’s ulama council, which was mooted at the Umno general assembly 12 years ago but only now realised.

Asked whether PAS would invite Umno’s ulama council members to its programmes, Hashim said such interaction was not out of the ordinary among members of both parties.

“At the grassroots level, Umno members attend PAS events and vice versa,” he said.

Umno ulama council member Khairuddin Aman Razali sees it as a platform to educate party members and strengthen their understanding of Islam.

Its programmes will be in line with the party’s efforts to “put Islam first” and will also involve members’ families and neighbourhoods, he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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





Court dismisses suit seeking Tinubu’s disqualification over Muslim-Muslim ticket

January 18, 2023

By Fadehan Oyeyemi

Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed a suit seeking disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Bola Ahmed Tinubu over their Muslim-Muslim candidacy for the 2023 presidential election.

The suit instituted by an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr Osigwe Ahmed Momoh was thrown out by the Judge on grounds of lack of locus standi by the plaintiff.

Justice Mohammed held that the lawyer not being a member of APC and having not participated in the process that produced Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shetima cannot query them on the nominations.

The legal practitioner had in the suit prayed the Court for an order nullifying the candidature of APC and Tinubu from participating in the presidential election on the ground that the nomination of Muslim-Muslim candidacy is unconstitutional and against the spirit and letters of sections 14, 15 and 224 of the 1999 Constitution.

Specifically, the lawyer who claimed to be an apostle of the rule of law and social justice argued that the Muslim-Muslim candidacy runs counter to the spirit of national cohesion, integration and unity.

He asked the court for an order of perpetual injunction to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from publishing the name of APC and its presidential candidate for the purpose of the 2023 election.

However, in his judgment, Justice Mohammed disagreed with the plaintiff on the legal right to institute the case and subsequently dismissed it in its entirety.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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


2023: Islamic group attacks Dino Melaye over statement on Tinubu

January 18, 2023

By Don Silas

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has slammed the spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Management Committee (PCC), Dino Melaye, for saying Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 election, is not a Muslim.

Melaye had, in a tweet on Monday, challenged Tinubu to recite the Fatiha and three suras to demonstrate that he is a true Muslim.

He tweeted: “Fathia challenge: Dino defeated Tinubu in Quranic citation. Emilokan is not a Muslim but an emergency Muslim trying to learn the basics of Islam for political purposes. Vote him out.”

However, MURIC has now fired back at Melaye, insisting he had no moral right to question Tinubu’s level of faith.

MURIC’s reaction was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

The statement reads in part: “We are astonished by Dino Melaye’s statement. To say the least, it is false, baseless and unfounded. It is a product of oral diarrhoea. It is also an intrusion into Muslim affairs by a non-Muslim who does not enter the mosque with us. It is, therefore, provocative, preposterous and ill-advised.

“Dino Melaye is not qualified to utter such a statement. The last time we checked, Dino was busy climbing trees. There is no record of him ever attending a madrasah (Quranic school) talk of being an Islamic scholar. Can he, therefore, tell us when Tinubu came to him to learn Surat al-Fatihah which he claimed Tinubu does not know? Is he Tinubu’s Alfa?

“Dino comes across as a meddlesome interloper and confusion who, faced by an eminently qualified and indubitably superior opposition candidate, clings at straws in a desperate search for foul means to demonize this primus inter pares presidential material called Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“He knows very well that Tinubu is the numero uno among all the presidential candidates for the 2023 elections. Dino is currently frustrated because he is aware that Tinubu is the doyen of Nigerian Muslims and their choice for the presidency despite the fact that his principal, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is also a Muslim.

“This is where Dino is going. His message was meant to be digested by Nigerian Muslims. That is why it is MURIC’s business to tackle him. He appears to be saying, ‘Drop Tinubu. He is not Muslim enough. Stop following him. My principal is a better Muslim’.

“But Nigerian Muslims are not being parochial. They did not pick Tinubu because he is a Muslim. They picked him because of his pedigree. They picked him because they knew that he is capable of managing the Nigerian economy in this turbulent world, just as he did in Lagos State when the going got rough.

“Melaye has failed, however. We know Tinubu is not a Shaykh or an Islamic scholar. Not every Muslim must be an Islamic scholar anyway. It is enough for us that he is a Muslim. We are also aware that only a tolerant Muslim can unite Nigeria in its present condition and Tinubu happens to be the round peg in the round hole.

“Why should that be a problem for Dino? Why is he taking panadol for our perceived headache? Dino should realize that he cannot weaken the resolve of Nigerian Muslims to support Tinubu.

“A similar smear campaign was engineered when Tinubu sat on a chair during Salat (prayer) inside a mosque. It is only ignoramuses that can criticize a Muslim for using a chair during Salat. It is a common practice even in Makkah and Madinah. It is Shariah-compliant.

“Muslims who have knee problems are allowed to sit on chairs during Salat. Even the director of MURIC sits on a chair during Salat, and he goes about with a foldable chair in his car boot. Dino’s tag of ‘emergency Muslim’ for Tinubu holds no water. It is a misnomer. Tinubu is not a convert. So what necessitated that label?

“Neither is Tinubu homo sapien incognito to the Muslims of Lagos, nay, the whole of Yorubaland. We can also confirm that Tinubu is the most popular and most loved Southern Muslim in the North. We assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that Tinubu is a bona fide Muslim. Dino Melaye should shut up.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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


Algeria frees opposition figure after vow to quit politics

January 18, 2023

ALGIERS: An Algerian businessman and activist imprisoned for urging a boycott of the country’s 2019 presidential election was released Wednesday, a rights group said, after he announced this month he would quit politics.

Rachid Nekkaz was released on “humanitarian grounds,” the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees said on Facebook.

Algerian daily Le Soir d’Algerie reported the 51-year-old had been granted a presidential pardon.

Nekkaz had unsuccessfully tried to stand as a candidate in the 2019 poll.

In a letter from prison published on his Facebook page on January 2, Nekkaz said he had written to President Abdelmadjid Tebboune the previous month to “officially” inform him of his decision to “give up politics in Algeria.”

Nekkaz said in the letter he would dedicate himself “exclusively” to writing, his family and addressing health issues.

He had previously been jailed between December 2019 and February 2021 for “incitement to violence on social media,” where he has a large following.

The French-born Nekkaz was arrested again in May 2021 and last year sentenced to five years in prison.

Despite having renounced his French citizenship, he had been ruled ineligible to run in 2019 because of a law banning candidates who had ever possessed a nationality other than Algerian.

Instead, he put forward his cousin, a mechanic by trade, who has the same name.

Tebboune, a former premier under long-time ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika, won the 2019 elections after mass protests forced his predecessor to resign.

Source: Arab News

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




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