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Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh Initiated Interfaith Dialogue Inviting Hindu and Christian Scholars to His Court, Says AMU VC

New Age Islam News Bureau

27 July 2022


Prof. Tariq Mansoor addressing. (L-R) Mr. Mahdi Shahrokhi, Prof. Syed Ainul Hasan, Mr. Mumtaz Ali, Haji Syed Salman Chishti, Prof. Aziz Bano also seen.


• Pakistani Ulema Fail to Soften outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in Kabul Meetings

• With ‘Third Generation of Afghan Children Born in Exile’; Afghanistan Becomes the Third-Largest Displaced Population

• Khilafat ul Muslimin Group Extremists Spark Concern in Indonesian Christian Province

• Blinken Meets With Family of Slain Palestinian-American Al Jazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh


• Encouraging New Generation to Learn Urdu Need of the Hour: Chairman Telangana Haj Committee

• APJ Abdul Kalam: Remembering Missile Man of India on his 7th death anniversary

• 2,399 Bangladeshis found using fraudulently obtained Indian documents from 2017 to 2022: MHA to Lok Sabha



• Boost for Imran's Party as Pakistan SC Unseats PM's Son as Punjab CM

• Pakistan may get new army chief before Bajwa's tenure ends

• Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Urges Ulema, Zakireen To Discourage Objectionable Speeches, Promote Harmony

• FO rejects ‘preposterous’ remarks by India on CPEC

• Justice Faez Isa urges CJP not to ‘bulldoze’ judges’ appointment process

• Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker takes centre to court over halt to ex-Fata healthcare funding


South Asia

• Afghanistan: The quiet Afghan valley standing up to the Taliban

• Muttaqi Calls on U.S. to Release Central Bank Asset: Tashkent Conference

• Bangladesh seeks $4bn IMF loan as deficit widens: Report

• Taliban Foreign Minister in Tashkent Conference Says the New Regime Established Security


Southeast Asia

• Kasthuri slams deputy speaker for ejecting her, says it sets ‘grave precedent’

• Tribunal on sexual harassment likely in a year, says minister

• Malaysia expects China to spur tourism growth as Matta eyes more direct flights between both countries

• When will Indonesian workers return, Guan Eng asks Saravanan


North America

• US says it has not seen any signs of Russia buying drones from Iran

• US and Egyptian officials discuss water security, Ethiopian dam

• US thanks Turkish president, UN chief for Ukraine grain deal



• EU Submits Draft Iran Nuclear Deal Text: Borrell

• YPG/PKK Terror Group Supporters Stage Demonstration In Brussels

• Greek plan to shut down minority Turkish schools decried by locals

• Turkey to drill for gas in Mediterranean early next month: Ministry

• Turkey says Sweden has not yet extradited suspects despite NATO accord


Arab World

• Syrian Government Forces Prepared To Confront Any Possible Turkish Aggression: Army

• Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince heads to Greece, France on official visits

• Saudi Arabia’s King, Crown Prince Congratulate India’s New President

• PKK terrorists last year killed, injured scores of civilians in northern Iraq

• YPG/PKK terrorists’ infiltration attempt foiled in Syria

• Rocket attack targets Turkish Consulate in Iraq's Mosul: Reports

• At UN, Iraq and Turkey escalate dispute over attack

• Ten killed in south Syria clashes: Monitor

• Iraq to free Briton convicted in antiquities case: Lawyer

• Saudi Crown Prince, Greek PM sign military, economic, security agreements



• Israel Army Razes Suspects’ Homes in Settlement Guard Killing

• IRGC Commander: Iran Manufacturing Stealth Speedboats

• Six Drug Traffickers Killed, Large Amount of Narcotics Seized in Southeastern Iran

• Slain Reporter's Family Meet Blinken to ‘Demand Justice for Shireen’

• Israel demolishes homes of two suspected Palestinian attackers



• Al-Sunni Accuses ‘Certain International Powers’ Of Hampering Libyan Elections

• Tunisia’s Electoral Commission Says New Constitution Passed

• Tinubu-Shettima: Yoruba Muslim scholars criticize Christian leaders’ opposition

• Tunisian officials say new constitution passed in vote with low turnout

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh Initiated Interfaith Dialogue Inviting Hindu and Christian Scholars to His Court, Says AMU VC


Prof. Tariq Mansoor addressing. (L-R) Mr. Mahdi Shahrokhi, Prof. Syed Ainul Hasan, Mr. Mumtaz Ali, Haji Syed Salman Chishti, Prof. Aziz Bano also seen.


26th July 2022

Hyderabad: Dara Shikoh, the Mughal Prince and Son of Emperor Shahjahan, is credited to have introduced interfaith dialogue in India. He invited Hindu Scholars from Banaras, Mirzapur to his court and himself went to Banaras to learn Sanskrit. He also invited Muslim and Christian scholars to initiate interfaith dialogue. Prof. Tariq Mansoor, Vice-Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University, said on Tuesday at the inaugural of two-day International Conference on Majma-ul-Bahrain of Dara Shikoh—A Harbinger of Pluralistic Approach towards Religion and Spirituality organized by Department of Persian & Central Asian Studies  (DP&CAS), Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) to mark Silver Jubilee year of the university. The conference is supported by National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL). Majma-ul-Bahrain (Confluence of two cceans) is a path breaking book written by Dara Shikoh).

Mumtaz Ali, Chancellor, MANUU, delivered keynote address and Prof. Syed Ainul Hasan, Vice-Chancellor presided over the function.

Prof. Mansoor said that the translation of Upanishad from Sanskrit to Persian by Dara Shikoh had a great impact not only in India but also in Europe. The religious thoughts of India were exposed to Europe for the first time. Dara Shikoh was also a philosopher, who manifested his thought in the book Majma-ul-Bahrain which is being discussed today, he added. Dara Shikoh who was made crown prince by Emperor Shah Jahan, never occupied the throne but he has left his footprints on various aspects of Indian Civilization such as thought, philosophy, tolerance etc. Dara Shikoh has a multi-faceted personality and his thoughts are immensely relevant today.

Mumtaz Ali reminded that Dara Shikoh called himself a ‘Fakir’ (mendicant) in his biography. He lived without paraphernalia of royalty. His mind was always that of a mendicant. There are various other books written by Dara Shikoh but with his translation of Upanishad the Western world by and large came to realise about a hitherto unheard culture of India. Dara Shikoh either saw or met people who are said to have the truth it is from them that he became aware that ‘the truth’ infinite. This great understanding comes only when one has spiritual depth.  Coming together of Two Oceans is worth looking into. “We have to live together in this country where it was declared 1000 years ago that truth is one and we called it by different names. Let us practice what we say and what we preach,” Ali who is popularly known as Shri M.

Prof. Ainul Hasan said, “Dara Shikoh taught us so many things like language appreciation. His ancestral language was Turkish, his language of expression was Persian, the religious zeal of Arabic cannot be over looked, Sanskrit, on the other hand is the language of his ideas.”

The Vice-Chancellor described Dara Shikoh as a universal man who loves all and hates none. Often it is believed that had Dara Shikoh been the successor of Shahjahan, the socio-cultural, socio-religious chemistry of India would have been different. Had he been alive for another 20 to 30 years he might have become a Mahatma (super soul) for the benefit of humanity.

Mahdi Shahrokhi, Consul General of the Iran, Hyderabad, Haji Syed Salman Chishti, Gaddi Nasheen, Dargah Ajmer, Sirajuddin Qureshi, President, India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi also spoke.

Dr. Mir Asghar Hussain, Former Director, ED/EPS, UNESCO, Paris, Prof. SK. Ishtiaque Ahmed, Registrar, Prof. Azarmi Dukht Safavi, Advisor, Persian Research Institute, AMU and others were also present occasion.

Book, comprising letters of and addressed to Dara Shikoh, translated for the first time into Urdu by the Department of Persian, MANUU and a documentary were also released on the occasion.

Prof. Aziz Bano, Dean, SLL&I welcomed the guests.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Pakistani Ulema Fail To Soften outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan In Kabul Meetings


The Ulema delegation will hold meetings with TTP representatives and with the Afghan Taliban govt officials in order to take the peace process forward. Photo: Express


Shahabullah Yousafzai

July 27, 2022


A delegation of Pakistani Ulema has failed to convince the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to soften their stance in peace talks with Pakistani negotiators. The delegation, led by Sheikh-ul-Islam Mufti Taqi Usmani, flew into Kabul in a C-130 plane on Monday to meet the TTP leadership.

The 13-member delegation includes religious scholars belonging to all sects of the Deobandi school of thought from across the country, including Karachi, Lahore, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. They met with TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali and other Taliban leaders from the erstwhile Fata.

They urged the TTP leadership to withdraw their demand for the reversal of FATA merger, but they refused to budge.

The delegation was briefed on the state of Pakistan’s demands during a meeting with the corps commander Peshawar at the Corps Headquarters in Peshawar before it flew to Kabul.

The Pakistani government calls upon the TTP leadership to give up violence against the state institutions, disband their organisation, and return to their areas with a promise of amnesty for their past crimes.

In their meetings with the TTP leadership, the Pakistani Ulema cited several religious edicts of Wifaqul Madaris against waging war against the Islamic state of Pakistan.

In return, the TTP leadership told the Ulema delegation of the demands they have put forward in their various meetings with Pakistani negotiators and Jirga of tribal elders from Pakistan.

Sources in the TTP told The Express Tribune that the Taliban leadership could not trust the Ulema in the absence of concrete assurances from the military establishment which wields the real power in Pakistan.

The sources also said that the TTP leadership put forward an “eight-point rationale” for their refusal to shun violence against the state of Pakistan while politely refusing to entertain the request of Mufti Taqi Usmani.

The delegation would stay in Kabul until Wednesday (today) for making a last-ditch effort to convince the TTP leadership to soften their stance, but chances of them showing flexibility are slim.

A source in the Ulema delegation told The Express Tribune that the TTP leadership listened to them patiently but refused to budge on their demands.

Source: Tribune Pakistan

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With ‘Third Generation of Afghan Children Born in Exile’; Afghanistan Becomes the Third-Largest Displaced Population


Photo: Khaama Press


By Saqalain Eqbal

26 Jul 2022

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report, Afghanistan has the third-largest refugee population and the region’s largest displaced population after the Taliban took control, with 2.7 million refugees scattered across 98 countries.

Following Syrian and Venezuelan refugees, Afghanistan has the largest displaced population, displaced internally or forced across the border, per UNHCR’s report.

Pakistan and Iran continue to shelter more than 1.3 million and 780,000 registered Afghan refugees, respectively and are host to the majority of Afghan refugees.

The UNHCR report quoted UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi saying, “Afghanistan’s displacement crisis is one of the largest and most protracted in UNHCR’s seven-decade history. We’re now seeing a third generation of Afghan children born in exile.”

This report indicates that in the year 2021 alone, 108,000 Afghans fled to Pakistan, 59,000 to Europe, 27,000 to Iran, and 6,000 fled to Asia and the Pacific.

A minimum of 24 million Afghans require humanitarian relief as a result of hunger, the country’s economic meltdown, natural disasters including floods, earthquakes, droughts and famine, a lack of development aid, and the brutally cold winters.

Afghans’ and their host communities’ capacity for resilience is being tested to the breaking point as the humanitarian crisis persists.

Source: Khaama Press

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Khilafat ul Muslimin Group Extremists Spark Concern in Indonesian Christian Province


Members of hardline Islamic organization Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia hold a demonstration calling for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate during a rally in Malang on Java island in this file photo. (Photo: AFP)


July 27, 2022

Indonesian Christians have called on the government to be on the alert over the presence of an extremist Muslim group in a Christian-majority province, following reports that more than a hundred members of the group in the region have sparked concern.

Yohanis Fransiskus Lema, a Catholic lawmaker from East Nusa Tenggara province, said law enforcement agencies should not underestimate the existence of the Khilafatul Muslimin group that is trying to replace the state philosophy of Pancasila and the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia with a caliphate ideology.

"Ignorance is very dangerous because the cells of this movement will increasingly spread throughout the province," he said in a statement on July 26.

Khilafatul Muslimin is said to be an offshoot of Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia, an extremist organization banned in 2017 by the government after calling for an Islamic caliphate.

"The police must immediately be aware of and investigate teaching activities and religious education as a medium for the indoctrination and recruitment of new members,” he said.

He also asked the police, the National Counter-Terrorism Agency, the anti-terror squad Densus 88 and the Prosecutor's Office to "immediately coordinate to take firm action" against the group.

The province’s Political and National Unity Agency recently disclosed that there were 140 members of the group in West Manggarai district in Flores.

Agency head, Jhon Oktavianus, said they are currently conducting re-education for members who have promised to leave the group.

A Catholic priest in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai district said so far they feel safe and continue to maintain good communication with members of Densus 88 regarding the security situation and the existence of the Islamist groups.

"As far as I've heard, there have been several arrests carried out secretly by the special forces," he told UCA News. "Clearly, we remain vigilant."

The Indonesian government has taken a firm stance against group members.

Last month, East Java police arrested 74-year-old Abdul Qadir Hasan Baraja, Khilafatul Muslimin's education chief, for promoting caliphate ideology. He was accused of being behind a series of recent rallies, including ones in West Java and in suburban areas of Jakarta, calling for the establishment of an Islamic state.

Petrus Selestinus, a lawyer and spokesman for the activist group Fraternity for East Nusa Tenggara, said the government should be aware of the systematic agenda of extremist groups to penetrate the province.

"We know that members of this group were previously arrested for spreading this ideology openly," he said, referring to a couple who were arrested in 2020 for distributing caliphate leaflets on the streets in Kupang, the provincial capital.

He said the arrest of a terrorist in West Manggarai district in 2015 should also serve as a warning that "these extremist groups carry great danger."

Stanislaus Riyanta, an intelligence analyst from the University of Indonesia, told UCA News the group is trying to spread across the country, including in Christian-majority areas.

"East Nusa Tenggara, an area that economically lags behind other regions, is being targeted because there are populist issues to exploit,” he said.

He said the economic approach is one of the methods they use, which depends on potential populist issues in each region.

"[To stem this] the government must first deal with community problems, lest these problems become issues seized on by these anti-government groups," he said.

Of the 5.48 million people in East Nusa Tenggara, the majority (53.61 percent) are Catholic and 36.68 percent are Protestant, while 9.44 percent are Muslim. Catholics dominate Flores, accounting for more than 90 percent.

The threat from Islamic extremism remains high in Indonesia, although the authorities continue to foil attacks, including arresting suspected terrorists.

Churches have been among the main targets of attacks. On Palm Sunday last year, a group affiliated with the Islamic State group bombed Makassar Cathedral in South Sulawesi, the first church bombing since the May 13, 2018 bombing of three churches in Surabaya, East Java.
Source: UCA News

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Blinken Meets With Family of Slain Palestinian-American Al Jazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh


A picture of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during an Israeli raid in Jenin, is displayed at the Al-Jazeera headquarters building in Doha, Qatar, May 11, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Imad Creidi.


Vakkas Dogantekin  


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Tuesday with the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran journalist who was shot dead in May while covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the Al Jazeera news outlet.

"Today I met with the family of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, whose fearless journalism earned her the respect of audiences around the world. I expressed my deepest condolences and commitment to pursue accountability for her tragic killing," Blinken said on Twitter.

He also shared pictures of the meeting.

Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian-American, was shot dead on May 11 while covering an Israeli military raid near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

While Palestinian officials and Al Jazeera accused Israel of killing the reporter, Tel Aviv denied any responsibility.

Earlier in July, the family had harshly criticized the results of an investigation where the US avoided remarks that held Israel responsible for her killing.

"We, the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, write to express our grief, outrage and sense of betrayal concerning your administration’s abject response to the extrajudicial killing of our sister and aunt by Israeli forces on May 11, 2022, while on assignment in the occupied Palestinian city of Jenin in the West Bank," family members said in a long letter to US President Joe Biden.

It underlined that the journalist, who was also a US citizen, was killed by an Israeli-fired bullet to the head, despite wearing a protective helmet and a blue bulletproof vest that was marked "press.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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 Encouraging New Generation to Learn Urdu Need of the Hour: Chairman Telangana Haj Committee

Mohammed Hussain Ahmed

26th July 2022

Hyderabad: The chairman of the Telangana Haj committee Mohammed Saleem said that it is the need of the hour to encourage the young generation to learn the Urdu language. “By learning the Urdu language one can get the knowledge of Quran and Sunnat, he said. 

Addressing a program  Monday organized by the Telangana Urdu working journalist Federation on the completion of 200 years of Urdu journalism he said that the study of Urdu is necessary to understand the holy Quran.

He said that it is the need of the hour to encourage the new generation to learn Urdu so that they get awareness of the Islamic teachings. Saleem said that Hyderabad traditionally has been a place of Ganga Jamuni culture.

He mentioned the role played by the late Abid Ali Khan, Late Salahuddin Owaisi, Late Waqaruddin, and the editor of Siasat Daily Zahid Ali Khan in promoting the Urdu language among the new generation.

Mohammed Saleem said that he had studied at Osmania school where Urdu was an optional subject.  “I am an Urdu Pandit, if an Urdu language competition is held I will get the first prize,” Mohammed Saleem said.

Mohammed Saleem further said that he completed the Holy Quran when he was 10 years old.

He said that he has full command of English.  “Some of my opponents say that I am illiterate but I have the capacity to dictate to the Supreme Court lawyers and chartered accountants in English,” he said.
Source: Siasat Daily

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APJ Abdul Kalam: Remembering Missile Man of India on his 7th death anniversary

Jul 27, 2022

NEW DELHI: Millions of Indians found great inspiration in Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, widely known as the Missile Man of India. He was an aerospace scientist and a phenomenal teacher who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, and was widely referred to as 'People's President'. Besides, he was the first Muslim President to serve an entire term.

Today, on July 27, India is marking Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's death anniversary. He passed away in the year 2015 from a heart attack while giving a lecture at IIM Shillong. Thousands including Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the funeral held in his hometown of Rameshwaram. Dr Kalam's demise left the nation in shock and pain.

Kalam's contributions to the nation's scientific advancements are still acknowledged seven years after his passing.

Here are some more interesting facts about Dr APJ Abdul Kalam-

* Born in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, on October 15, 1931, Kalam earned his bachelor's degree in science from St. Joseph's College there in 1954 and his master's degree in aeronautical engineering from Madras Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1957.

* He was known as the "Missile Man of India" because he was responsible for the development and operationalisation of the Agni and Prithvi missiles.

* Kalam oversaw the creation of SLV III, India's first satellite launch vehicle, which was utilised to put the Rohini satellite into orbit around the Earth. India joined the space club as a result of this accomplishment.

* Kalam took on the duty of creating domestic guided missiles at the Defense Research and Development Organization after spending two decades working for ISRO (DRDO).

* Kalam planned the Pokhran-II nuclear tests, which catapulted India into the elite club of nuclear powers, which at the time consisted of of the United States, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia. Kalam served as the model for the 2018 film "Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran," starring John Abraham.

* He was awarded honorary doctorates by 48 Indian and international universities and organisations.

* Kalam received the prestigious Padma Bhushan (1981), Padma Vibhushan (1990), and Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour (1997).

* In addition to physics and defence, Kalam contributed to initiatives aimed at enhancing access to healthcare in rural India. He created a low-cost stent with the help of cardiologist Soma Raju, giving it the name Kalam-Raju stent.

* Kalam was the Prime Minister's Chief Scientific Advisor and the DRDO Secretary for seven years, from 1992 to 1999.

* He beat Lakshmi Sahgal in 2002 to become India's 11th president. He will always be known as the "People's President" in the annals of the nation.

Words to live by

Here are some of his most inspiring quotes-

Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action.

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.

To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.

If you fail, never give up because FAIL means - First Attempt In Learning.

Determination is the power that sees us through all our frustration and obstacles. It helps in building our willpower which is the very basis of success.

Youth should not accept any compromise or lower their sights. A society that makes its youth crawl in conformity and enforces dogmas on their aspirations can never flourish.

Source: Times Of India

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2,399 Bangladeshis found using fraudulently obtained Indian documents from 2017 to 2022: MHA to Lok Sabha

Jul 26, 2022

NEW DELHI: The ministry of home affairs informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that 2,399 Bangladeshi nationals were detained and discovered using falsely obtained Indian papers at ICPs (Integrated Check-Posts) under the authority of the Bureau of Immigration between 2017 and 2022.

Nityanand Rai, a minister of state for the home, provided the information in response to a question posed by Ranjan Ben Dhananjay Bhatt, a member of the BJP.

When asked if the government is aware that work is being done quickly to create fake documents for Bangladeshis, the Minister responded that the Central government has issued instructions to state governments and Union Territories for taking appropriate prompt actions for identifying illegal migrants, restricting them to certain areas in accordance with the law, capturing their biographic and biometric details, cancellation of fake Indian documents, and legal proceedings including initiation of deportation proceedings as per provisions of law.

"They have also been advised to share the particulars of those illegal migrants who have wrongfully obtained Aadhaar Cards with UIDAI for appropriate legal action. State Governments have further been advised to cancel any Identification documents obtained fraudulently by illegal migrants such as voter cards, driving licenses and ration cards," said Rai.

Source: Times Of India

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Boost for Imran's party as Pakistan SC unseats PM's son as Punjab CM

Jul 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif and his PML-N party suffered a major blow as the Supreme Court sent on Tuesday his son Hamza Sharif packing as CM of Punjab and declared opposition's Pervez Elahi as chief executive of the nation's largest province and its political heart.

Pakistan President Arif Alvi in the wee hours of Wednesday at the Aiwan-e-Sadar administered the oath to Elahi.

Elahi from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid was backed by Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). He was defeated by Hamza on July 22 after 10 votes of his party were rejected by deputy speaker of the Punjab assembly Dost Muhammad Mazari. Hamza got 179 votes against Elahi's 176 after 10 votes of PML-Q were not counted in his favour.

Rejecting the votes, Mazari had cited a letter from PML-Q's chief Shujaat Hussain renouncing support to Elahi. The ruling had tilted the balance in Hamza's favour-an advantage the SC reversed in its verdict on Elahi's petition.

In a short order, a three-member bench declared all the appointments made by Hamza "illegal" and told the members of his cabinet to vacate offices. All the advisers and assistants appointed by Hamza were also ordered to be relieved of their duties.

"We find that the understanding and implementation of the said short judgment as well as the provisions of Article 63A(1)(b) of the Constitution by the Deputy Speaker, Provincial Assembly of Punjab, Lahore (Respondent No.1) was patently incorrect and erroneous and cannot be sustained," the order read.

The top court ordered for the issuance of Elahi's notification as Punjab's new CM immediately and instructed the governor to administer his oath by 11.30pm Tuesday. In case the governor does not administer an oath to Elahi, President Dr Arif Alvi can do so instead, the court ruled.

Following the governor's refusal, Elahi left for Islamabad late Tuesday night to take oath from Alvi as per the Supreme Court's order.

According to Geo News, President Alvi had sent a special aircraft to bring Elahi to Islamabad for the oath-taking ceremony.

The political crisis in Punjab started in February when the vote of no-confidence was taking shape against then PM Imran. To prevent PML-N from taking charge of the province, the PTI had offered CM's position to the PML-Q, having 10 legislators in a 371-member house, fearing that it would join the opposition's camp.

Eventually, Usman Buzdar, the PTI's CM at the time, had resigned from his seat to make way for Elahi as the joint PTI-PML-Q candidate. In the election, 25 PTI dissidents voted for Hamza, who had got 197, 11 more votes than required for a simple majority.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan may get new army chief before Bajwa's tenure ends

Jul 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Dr Arif Alvi agreed on Tuesday to a suggestion that the next Army chief could be appointed before the end of General Qamar Javed Bajwa's tenure this November 29. Bajwa is on a three-year extension given by the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government of Imran Khan in 2019. The president was responding to question from journalists if he thinks a new army chief should be appointed because of the political crisis in the country. "It is not such a bad idea," Alvi replied.

"I would have no objection to the appointment of the next army chief before its scheduled time if the process was initiated through laid-down procedure under relevant laws and contained the formal approval of relevant institutions and offices," he said. "The neutrals (top generals) need to remain neutral always."

Source: Times Of India

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Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Urges Ulema, Zakireen To Discourage Objectionable Speeches, Promote Harmony

July 26, 2022

Convener Ittehad-e-Bain-ul-Muslimeen Committee Punjab and Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Pakistan, Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad Tuesday urged Ulema and Zakireen to discourage objectionable speeches and strengthen adherence of people to the spirit of Ittehad-e-Bain-ul-Muslimeen and Paigham-e-Pakistan for lasting peace.

Maulana Azad, who is the Khateeb of Badshahi Masjid Lahore and dubbed as ambassador of peace, chaired a divisional peace committee meeting with a view to strengthen the bond of love and unity among Ulema from different schools of thought and its propagation among the people for overall peace particularly during the upcoming holy month of Muharram ul Haram.

Maulana Azad reached Multan leading a delegation of Ulema including Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari, Maulana Abdul Wahab Ropari, Allama Rasheed Turrabi, Maulana Abdul Sattar Niazi, Maulana Nadeem Qamar, Maulana Masood Qasim Qasmi, Maulana Abdur Rahman, Mufti Imran Anwar, Syed Naubahar Shah, Hussain Mehdi, Allama Sajjad Hussain Jawwad Naqvi, Mufti Syed Ashiq Hussain Shah, Maulana Bilal Naqshbandi, Maulana Qazi Abdul Ghaffar, Mulazim Hussain Dogar, Khalil Ur Rahman, Maulana Abu Sufiyan hanfi, Maulana Aslam Siddiqui, Maulana Ubauidullah, Mufti Muhammad Idrees, Maulana Ashfaq Ahmad, Malik Khawar Husnain Bhutta, Syed Ali Raza Gardezi, Mian Ajmal Abbas, Pir Khizar Hayat, Sahabzada Syed Abdul Basir Azad and others.

Commissioner Multan Amir Khatak, RPO Multan Riffat Mukhtar Raja, zonal administrator Auqaf Gohar Mustafa, deputy commissioners, DPOs from Multan division, AC Multan Khawaja Umair besides Ulema, Mashaikh, and members of peace committees attended the meeting.

Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad said that Paigham-e-Pakistan was a complete code of ethics and advocacy under this thinking was proving helpful in defeating the nefarious designs of enemies of the country.

It was high time this thinking be advocated further by Ulema from all schools of thought, he added. He said that hate speech must be discouraged and avoided.

He said, Islam was the religion of peace and urged people from all schools of thought to be courteous and tolerant to one another.

Source: Pakistan Today

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FO rejects ‘preposterous’ remarks by India on CPEC

July 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday categorically rejected as baseless and misguided the remarks made by the official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), calling it an effort to politicise the project.

In a statement, the Foreign Office spokesperson said CPEC was a transformational project and a harbinger of stability, mutual cooperation and shared development for the region.

As a flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative and hallmark of the Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, CPEC provides a vehicle for the people of the region to break from zero-sum approaches, he remarked.

Read more: US colluding with India to sabotage CPEC, says PM’s aide Khalid Mansoor

He said China’s investment in CPEC had helped Pakistan overcome the energy and infrastructural bottlenecks that once constrained growth and development.

Attempts to cast aspersions over CPEC show India’s insecurity as well as the pursuit of a hegemonic agenda that has held back socioeconomic development in South Asia for decades, he commented.

While rejecting India’s fallacious assertion that CPEC impinges on its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the spokesperson pointed out that it was in fact India that was illegally occupying the state of Jammu and Kashmir for over seven decades.

Source: Dawn

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Justice Faez Isa urges CJP not to ‘bulldoze’ judges’ appointment process

Malik Asad

July 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Senior puisne judge of the Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa advised Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial not to bulldoze the “due” process for appointment of more than one-third of the total number of judges in the apex court.

In a letter written to the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, headed by CJP Bandial, Justice Isa deplored the manner of summoning the JCP’s meeting to consider the elevation of high court judges to the Supreme Court.

Justice Isa said it was surprising that the JCP’s meeting had been convened to consider appointment of five SC judges during summer vacations.

Justice Isa stated in the letter that “while on my annual leave I received a Whatsapp message from the Additional Registrar of the Supreme Court informing me that the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan has convened a meeting of the JCP on 28 July 2022 to consider appointing five judges to the SC.

“When availing of annual leave no meeting of the JCP was scheduled but as soon as I left Pakistan the CJP decided to hold two meetings of the JCP to consider appointments to the Sindh and Lahore High Courts, and now a third unscheduled meeting of the JCP is to be held during the summer vacations of the SC.

“The summer vacations of the SC were notified by the CJP himself, and then these were gazetted in the Official Gazette. If the CJP renders his own notification utterly meaningless then let him first withdraw it, instead of violating it.”

He pointed out that in the JCP meeting held on June 28, everyone, except the CJP and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, voted to postpone the meeting as there was no justification to call it during the gazetted summer vacations and as the most senior judge was on sanctioned annual leave.

“I most respectfully submit that the CJP cannot reject decisions of the JCP. In calling another meeting during notified-gazetted vacations, when some members are on annual leave, and at a time when the Attorney-General is recovering from the second surgery he has recently undergone, is unjustified.

The democratically taken decision by the JCP not to meet in such circumstances must be abided by. Democracy is the bedrock of the Constitution and the basis on which Pakistan came into existence.”

Justice Isa suggested that the meeting might be deferred till August 13 when he will resume the office, adding that the JCP did not convene its meeting for months when he was present in Pakistan and then scheduled three such meetings when the senior puisne judge was on sanctioned annual leave.

The letter stated: “It suggests that the CJP does not want me to be physically present, which is illegal and unconstitutional.”

It went on to state that “the CJP did not schedule meetings when the vacancies in the SC occurred, but all of a sudden wants to make wholescale appointments to the SC hurriedly. To appoint five judges means more than a third of the SC, which the CJP wants to pack during notified-gazetted vacations, and by avoiding the participation of all members.”

The CJP wants to fill-in an ‘anticipated’ vacancy too. Article 175(8) of the Constitution does not permit this. Nor does the Constitution permit that the CJP alone propose names, which is the sole prerogative of the JCP, the letter said. It added that the anticipated vacancy will occur on the retirement of Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. He is being called upon to choose his own successor. “This is unconstitutional. Pakistan is not a kingdom of yore in which kings decided their successors. If this is permitted then the CJP may next call a meeting of the JCP to fill-in ‘anticipated vacancies’ that will occur in respect of all the judges of the SC, including those retiring after him.”

Justice Isa said that the matter of appointing judges to the superior courts requires utmost care and due deliberation as it is a delicate matter.

Addressing the CJP, the judge said: “Please do not ridicule the JCP and your nominees by contravening the Constitution. Restricting the JCP to consider only the CJ’s pre-selected nominees is inappropriate. The JCP deserves to be treated with respect and consideration by its chairman.”

The letter said that the CJP admits to having acted unfairly as he says that he decided to consider only a certain number of judges, and this he did arbitrarily. He informs that he considered three judges from Peshawar, six from Lahore till and 12 from Sindh. This does not stand to reason because the Lahore High Court is a much larger than the High Court of Sindh; neither the same number were considered nor of the same proportional ratio.

Justice Isa deplored that “CJP further discriminates by excluding for his kind consideration Chief Justice and Judges from the Balochistan High Court and the Chief Justice and Judges from the Islamabad High Court. The prevailing sense of deprivation of the peoples of these areas is being further aggravated. With utmost respect, it appears that CJP has resorted to reverse engineering by first deciding who all to nominate and then find some pretext to justify his nominations.”

Source: Dawn

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Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker takes centre to court over halt to ex-Fata healthcare funding

July 27, 2022

PESHAWAR: A member of the provincial assembly (MPA) of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has challenged the federal government’s act of stopping funding for free medical treatment of the residents of tribal districts under the Sehat Card Plus (SCP) programme and non-provision of three per cent share in the National Finance Commission’s divisible pool for the region previously called Fata.

In the petition, Mohammad Shafiq Afridi requested the Peshawar High Court to declare that the people of tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are entitled to their due share under the NFC Award, which is three per cent of the NFC divisible pool.

He prayed the court to declare that the act of the federal government to stop funding for the SCP in respect of the people of tribal districts is illegal and rooted in malice.

The petitioner, who belongs to Khyber tribal district, requested the court to order the federal government for the release of funding for the SCP for the people of tribal districts.

He also challenges non-provision of share in NFC Award to tribal districts

He requested the court to direct the federal government to immediately release the share in the NFC of tribal districts for their development.

The respondents in the petition filed through Ali Gohar Durrani advocate included the federal government through the secretary of the Cabinet Division, Finance Division through its secretary, national health services ministry through its secretary, planning and development ministry through its secretary,Council of Common Interest and National economic Council through their respective secretaries, KP chief secretary, and provincial health and finance secretaries.

The petitioner said the provincial government had initiated its flagship ‘Sehat Card Universal Health Care Card’ programme for its citizens.

He said under the programme, more than 7.2 million families of KP were getting free in-patient health services.

The petitioner said initially, the facility was launched in some parts of the province but later, it was extended to the entire province, where people were able to get healthcare free of charge at private and public sector hospitals.

He said the previous government at the centre had initiated a scheme like the Sehat Card for the people of tribal districts, but the two programs were run without harmony.

The petitioner said to harmonise the two health schemes which were at variance, the KP finance minister had written a letter to the federal finance minister on Oct 10, 2021, seeking the transfer of funding to the province for the population of tribal districts in respect of the Sehat Card programme.

He said as a consequence, the national health services ministry moved a summary to the then prime minister for harmonising the Sehat Card packages.

The petitioner said the proposal was approved by the then prime minister on Feb 21, 2022, and the same was communicated to the chief executive officer of the Social Health Protection Initiative of the health department through a letter on Feb 23, 2022.

Referring to several written communications among the KP government, NHS ministry and finance division, he said no action was taken by the federal government to ensure continuity of services to residents of tribal districts.

As an interim arrangement, he said the provincial government had agreed to ensure continuity of the Sehat Card facility to the people of tribal districts.

He added that the director of the Social Health Protection Initiative wrote a letter on July 5 to the State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan whereby decision of the Provincial Cabinet in respect of shifting the Sehat Card beneficiaries of tribal districts to the SCP was communicated but it was made clear that it was an interim arrangement.

The petitioner said the share of tribal districts as per the NFC Award, which came to three per cent and had to be contributed by the three provinces (other than Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the federation had not yet materialised.

Source: Dawn

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South Asia


Afghanistan: The quiet Afghan valley standing up to the Taliban

26 Jul 2022

Travelling through the scenic Andarab valley north of Kabul there is no visible sign of conflict.

But whilst the Taliban are more powerful and better armed than ever before, here and in neighbouring province of Panjshir they are facing a nascent armed resistance to their rule in Afghanistan.

Small groups of guerrillas, hidden away on mountain tops, led by soldiers from the former Afghan army, have been launching ambushes and engaging in clashes with the Taliban.

Driving past fertile, green fields, we are accompanied by the Taliban at all times, and under their watchful eye locals praise improved security under their rule and are dismissive of the rebels. Some of the praise does appear genuine, but in the side street of one bazaar, a man tells us darkly: "I can't tell you the truth - if I did, I could be killed."

It is difficult to get a sense of the true scale of the fighting - the resistance forces often exaggerate their strength, whilst the Taliban outright deny their presence. In Panjshir, however, anti-Taliban fighters managed to shoot down a military helicopter and capture those on board.

Elsewhere in Baghlan Province, resistance fighters have recently filmed themselves pulling down a Taliban flag from a military post.

When the BBC travelled to the Andarab valley in June, however, the Taliban appeared in firm control of the territory.

We visit the village of Qais Tarrach and are assured by the local military commander that "there are no problems".

"You can see for yourself, we only have a very small military presence here," Qari Jumadin Badri, who leads a battalion from the army's Omari Corps, tells me from a hilltop overlooking the valley.

But we have been reliably told of an ambush by resistance forces on a Taliban vehicle close to here in May, in which two Taliban members were killed.

"That was a long time ago," Mr Badri says. "We launched some operations in the mountains and now there is nothing."

In Panjshir videos have emerged of long convoys of Taliban reinforcements, but there too Taliban officials have denied consistent reports of clashes.

Andarab, the other bastion of anti-Taliban sentiment, appears less heavily militarised, but speaking secretly to local residents we have been told of repeated and serious allegations of human rights abuses carried out by the Taliban in trying to stamp out the resistance movement.

A relative of a villager named Abdul Hashim tells us he and three other men were detained and killed by the Taliban immediately after the ambush near Qais Tarrach, after wrongly being accused of involvement in the attack.

"He had his hands tied and was shot in the head and chest," the relative said.

He shared photographs of Abdul Hashim's body and said his brother-in-law, Noorullah, had also been killed in the incident.

"They didn't let men attend Abdul Hashim's funeral," he told the BBC. "Only women were allowed to bury him."

One resident, who was also detained alongside the men by the Taliban during the search operation following the ambush, told the BBC around 20 men had been taken away from their village by the Taliban towards the location of the ambush, where they were beaten on their legs with metal cables and sticks.

"They put me in the back of one pick-up truck, someone pushed our heads down… Noorullah and Abdul Hashim were in another truck - they took them down and behind a Humvee and shot them by a small stream," he said.

Two other men from the same village were also killed that day.

There are other worrying allegations. A group of four men, travelling towards Tagharak village, a hotspot of resistance activity, were stopped and questioned by the Taliban in June, then allegedly killed.

Last year, shortly after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August, resistance fighters in Andarab said they had briefly "liberated" a number of districts.

After they were recaptured by the Taliban, a doctor named Zainuddin was murdered at his home along with five of his relatives including young children. A relative alleged he had been killed for having provided treatment to resistance fighters.

"As a doctor, it was his duty to treat everyone," said the relative angrily.

In February this year another doctor, Dr Khorami, from Deh Salah district, was also killed. A relative alleged he had previously received threats from the Taliban warning him to stop treating those linked to the resistance.

Locals said a third doctor remained in custody, whilst a number of families accused of having links to the resistance said they had been told to leave their villages.

The Taliban's head of information in Baghlan province, where Andarab is situated, Asadullah Hashimi, rejected the allegations.

A doctor had been killed in the area, he admitted, but he ascribed the incident to "personal enmity".

As for the allegations of extra-judicial killings, Mr Hashimi was categorical in denying any detainee had been killed, though he added, if anyone "violently resists government forces" during an operation they could be killed or arrested.

"That happens everywhere in the world."

Mr Hashimi refused to recognise the presence of resistance forces in the region, instead referring to a small number of "terrorists", but the area has a long history of opposition to the Taliban.

Both Andarab and Panjshir are dominated by the Persian-speaking Tajik community, whereas the Taliban are predominantly Pashtun.

The Taliban have managed to successfully recruit some locals into their ranks, unlike their previous regime in the 1990s. A number of local Taliban intelligence and police chiefs are Tajik or Persian-speaking, as are some of the soldiers stationed in Andarab.

Most others, however, are Pashtun. Many in Andarab worked in the security forces of the previous Afghan government and now strongly oppose the Taliban, regarding them as outsiders.

Some of the relatives of the victims of extra-judicial killings, however, also criticised the resistance forces, saying their guerrilla tactics left the civilian population vulnerable to Taliban reprisals.

The BBC managed to establish contact with one senior resistance fighter in Andarab, Commander Shuja.

In a pre-recorded message, responding to questions sent to him, he told the BBC: "Our fight is for justice, for brotherhood, equality and for the real Islam, not the Islam of the Taliban - which defames the religion…

"Our fight is for the rights of our sisters. The Prophet Muhammad said education is compulsory for both men and women."

The violence in Andarab and Panjshir is localised and does not yet represent a serious threat to the Taliban's overall control of the country, but they look to be at risk of repeating some of the same mistakes as their old opponents.

Over the past two decades, intrusive raids and allegations of the killing of innocent civilians by Afghan and international forces helped fuel the Taliban's popularity in parts of the country where they already had a presence and a degree of support.

Now, they are accused of using those same counter-insurgency tactics, whilst there appears to be little sense of accountability.

Source: BBC

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Muttaqi Calls on U.S. to Release Central Bank Asset: Tashkent Conference

By Arif Ahmadi

27 Jul 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi said that the US-imposed sanctions on Afghanistan have hindered the overall progress of the country, calling on the United States government to release Afghanistan’s Central Bank assets.

Speaking at the Tashkent conference on Afghanistan Tuesday, Muttaqi exclaimed the decades-long war and ongoing US sanctions are the main reasons for poverty in the country, adding the Islamic Emirate government is now ready to engage with the world based on mutual interest.

“The 20-year war affected our country, our economic system is under US economic sanctions,” he said, as TOLOnews quoted. “This action has not only prevented the transaction of money but also diminished the activities of our government which benefits only the people.”

According to the Acting Minister, lifting economic sanctions against Afghanistan is the best way to normalize relationship between the two countries, saying such a move will as well leave a positive impact on the mind of Afghan people.

“We call on the US to release Afghanistan’s Central Bank assets without any conditions and lift economic sanctions on Afghanistan,” he said. “This is the main step for normalization of relations. This will have a positive impact on the minds of the Afghans toward the US.”

Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate who is also part of the delegation, said the international community sees the need for engagement with Afghanistan, exclaiming a number of regional countries have defended the country.

“The world sees engagement with Afghanistan as a necessity,” he said. “The regional countries, including China, Russia and some other countries, have raised their voices to defend Afghanistan and have called for the release of Afghan assets.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy National Security Adviser of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov stressed the need for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, saying a joint-venture is needed to eradicate terrorism in Afghanistan.

“The formation of an inclusive government means inclusion of all tribes in Afghanistan particularly women,” he said. “This can help in the betterment of the current situation. We should cooperate with each other in countering the terrorism in Afghanistan.”

European Union’s envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson said it a thread that he is grateful to Uzbekistan for hosting more than 20 Special Representatives and Envoys for Afghanistan in Tashkent, allowing us to “demonstrate international unity in what we expect from the Taliban.”

“I underlined the lack of a recognised Afghan government and the need for inclusive governance where all Afghan women and men have a say and where different political factions and ethnic and sectarian groups are represented,” he wrote.

“I underlined the serious human rights situation as reported by UNAMA, including the rights of women and girls, ethnic and sectarian groups – notably Hazaras and Shias – and media freedom,” he continued.

“Addressing Afghanistan’s economic challenges requires the Taliban to demonstrate budget transparency, ensure legal clarity and Rule of Law and take credible action to guarantee the independence and technical capacity of the Central Bank,” he elaborated.

The Tashkent conference on Afghanistan came at a time Taliban government continued to pushing for formal recognition. But so far no country has granted such a wish, though diplomats of Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia – including a number of other international countries – are operating in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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Bangladesh seeks $4bn IMF loan as deficit widens: Report

Jul 27, 2022

Dhaka: Bangladesh has sought a $4.5 billion loan from the IMF, Daily Star newspaper reported on Tuesday, joining neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka in seeking help to cope with mounting pressure on their economies. Known for its big garment-exporting industry, Bangladesh has sought funds for its balance of payment and budgetary needs, the newspaper reported, citing documents it had seen.

The country's $416 billion economy has been one of the fastest-growing in the world for years, but rising energy and food prices because of the Russia-Ukraine war has inflated its import bill. Daily Star said finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal wrote to IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva on Sunday. A senior finance ministry official, who did not want to be named, said the matter was indeed "being discussed" but declined to give details. Kamal and IMF's office in Bangladesh, a country of over 165 million people, did not respond to requests for comment. Bangladesh's July to May current account deficit was $17.2 billion, compared with a deficit of $2.78 billion in the year-earlier period, according to central bank data. reuters

Source: Times Of India

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Taliban Foreign Minister in Tashkent Conference Says the New Regime Established Security

By Saqalain Eqbal

26 Jul 2022

Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban caretaker government’s acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated at the Tashkent international conference on Afghanistan, that the new government has established security, and has managed to provide education, health, economic and other services “within its capacity.”

According to Foreign Minister Muttaqi, the two-decade conflict that has ravaged Afghanistan and the economic model that has been wrecked by US sanctions are what are mostly to blame for the country’s extreme poverty.

These, as per Muttaqi, have not only impeded international business and financial operations but have also affected public-benefiting government activities.

He claimed that during times of political upheaval in Afghanistan, their leader established a culture of tolerance and acceptance by granting general amnesty to all members of the military and political opposition and ending the destructive four-decade practice of retaliation.

He said that Afghanistan had generated net domestic revenue for the first time and that this allowed the nation to fund its budget.

The minister also reiterated on their firm commitment to the international community, under the Doha agreement, of not allowing its members or any other individual or group to threaten the security of others.

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Kasthuri slams deputy speaker for ejecting her, says it sets ‘grave precedent’

July 26, 2022

PETALING JAYA: DAP’s Kasthuri Patto has hit out at the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker  for not having “the guts” to reprimand an Umno MP who allegedly uttered profanities in the lower house, warning that it sets a dangerous precedent.

The Batu Kawan MP said Rashid Hasnon made a “mockery of our Parliament” by ejecting her but allowing Tajuddin Abdul Rahman to remain.

“This is a grave precedent set by the deputy speaker where the Pasir Salak MP used foul language in the house, walked scot-free with no apology nor remorse because the deputy speaker didn’t have the guts to make him apologise and retract it,” she said in a series of tweets.

Earlier today, Kasthuri was ejected from the Dewan Rakyat after refusing to accept Rashid’s ruling on Tajuddin’s behaviour.

Rashid had ruled that Tajuddin’s alleged use of expletives was not recorded in the Hansard, prompting a reaction from Kasthuri.

asthuri got into an argument with Rashid before he asked her to leave the house.

She said Tajuddin was heard making lewd remarks “at least thrice” by nine MPs during a heated exchange, despite the microphones being turned off.

Tajuddin’s denial was an outright lie, she said.

“(The deputy) speaker totally misled the house and made a mockery of our Parliament.”

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Tribunal on sexual harassment likely in a year, says minister

July 25, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The setting up of a tribunal to look into complaints of sexual harassment is likely to take up to a year, the minister for women, family and community development, Rina Harun, said today.

She said the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill, which has been approved by the Dewan Rakyat, will be tabled in the Dewan Negara (the Senate) next month.

Should it be approved by the senate, the bill would require royal assent before it becomes law.

“We are in the first process, to pass the bill, then to set up a tribunal with appointments to be requested from the Public Services Department and we are having discussions on these,” she said at a briefing for the media in Kuala Lumpur today.

“However, matters related to the bill can be enforced based on certain provisions….not everything has to be completed before enforcement. We will see which are the provisions we need to enforce first such as advocacy and awareness programmes on sexual harassment for the public,” she said, Bernama reported.

“Formation of the tribunal will perhaps take over a year,” she said.

Rina said complaints on sexual harassment would be heard behind closed doors to protect the privacy and sensitivities of the complainant, and to encourage more victims to lodge complaints against offenders.

She said Malaysia currently lacked a specific law against sexual harassment, aside from laws on criminal intimidation, insult and annoyance.

“But today, many women when asked or interviewed in the studies conducted admitted having been sexually harassed but did not come forward to lodge a report due to being scared, ashamed or having no clear evidence.

“When the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act is approved, we want to see public awareness and education that sexual harassment is not normal nor an accepted culture, and not to be taken lightly or viewed as a small matter.

She said the new law would help to provide a safe environment for the public, not just at the workplace but in public areas as well.

She said an opinion poll showed that 87.5% of respondents stated that they would report sexual harassment to the tribunal.

Hence, Rina said her ministry would be holding a nationwide tour with non-governmental organisations and other related parties to create awareness and explain on sexual harassment.

The ministry’s deputy secretary-general, Chua Choon Hwa, said the tribunal would be empowered to require an apology to be made to the complainant and for the apology to be broadcast if the sexual harassment was committed in public.

The tribunal could also order offenders to pay compensation of up to RM250,000 to be paid to the complainant.

Chua said the tribunal would be an alternative platform for victims of sexual harassment to seek redress.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Malaysia expects China to spur tourism growth as Matta eyes more direct flights between both countries

By Adrian David

July 26, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is eagerly awaiting the return of Chinese tourists to boost the country's foreign revenue.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said he believed visitors from China would return in large numbers once Beijing relaxes travel restrictions for its citizens.

"We believe that China has a significant impact on driving tourism not only in Malaysia but the Asean region as a whole.

"We are hoping for an increased number of direct flights between China and Malaysia in line with the aspirations of the people of both countries, visa updates and investments in tourism," he said.

Tan said, for the past 13 years, China had been Malaysia's leading commercial partner, and even during the height of the global Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral trade had increased.

He added that China-Malaysia trade climbed 5.7 per cent to US$131.16 billion (RM579.72 billion) last year despite the pandemic.

Malaysia and China's bilateral trade volume, he said, increased by 34.5 per cent last year to US$176.8 billion (RM781.45 billion).

"For the first four months of this year, the rise was 19.7 per cent, equivalent to US$61.57 billion in revenue (RM272.14 billion).

"This signals a positive expansion momentum, keeping in mind that both countries offer compelling and distinctive attractions," Tan said after meeting Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing.

He added that prior to the pandemic, on Jan 19, 2020, Matta had planned a number of mini-shows to mark the "Malaysia-China Year of Culture and Tourism", with China's culture and tourism vice-minister officiating the event.

"Matta also wants China as a preferred travel destination for Malaysians because Muslim travel to China is an emerging market.

"Places like Xinjiang, Nanning, Ningxia, Gansu, Xian/Shaanxi, Qinghai and Guilin are the preferred choice for Muslim tourists," he said.

He added that in light of the expanding business investments, business and trade operations between Sabah and China, Matta had invited Ouyang to experience climbing the renowned Mount Kinabalu.

"We have suggested to Ouyang the possibility of a China-based commercial bank branch being established in Kota Kinabalu," said Tan.

Meanwhile, Ouyang said in 2019, 3.1 million Chinese tourists had visited Malaysia, as compared with 1.38 million Malaysians who had been to China.

"We believe that the number of visitors to both countries will continue to expand significantly, keeping in mind that both places offer compelling and distinctive attractions.

Source: NST

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When will Indonesian workers return, Guan Eng asks Saravanan

July 26, 2022

PETALING JAYA: DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng has asked human resources minister M Saravanan when Indonesian workers will be allowed to return to Malaysia.

In a statement addressing the current labour shortage, he said that while Saravanan had given assurances that matters were resolved with Indonesia, Jakarta’s ambassador Hermono did not offer any such confirmation.

Earlier this month, Hermono said Indonesia was halting its workers from entering Malaysia as the country had reneged on its promises in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on domestic workers.

“With such a severe trust deficit between both countries, can Saravanan tell Malaysians when Indonesian workers will be returning to Malaysia?” Lim asked.

He also demanded that the government take immediate action on the acute labour shortage that was crippling production and stagnating economic growth.

Due to the labour shortage, Lim said Malaysia had lost an estimated RM10.5 billion worth of unpicked oil palm fruits so far this year and RM2 billion in auto parts exports a year.

He then highlighted the ringgit’s depreciation to an all-time low against the Singapore dollar at RM3.22 and five-year low against the US dollar at RM4.46.

“A weak ringgit against two of our three biggest trading partners is an ominous sign of investors’ lack of confidence in our country’s economic prospects.”

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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North America


US says it has not seen any signs of Russia buying drones from Iran

27 July ,2022

The US said Tuesday that it has not seen Russia buy any drones from Iran despite earlier assessments that the Kremlin was planning to do so as it becomes isolated by international sanctions.

“We’ve seen no indications of any sort of actual delivery and/or purchase of Iranian drones by the Russian Ministry of Defense,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told Al Arabiya English during a call with reporters.

Earlier this month, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan revealed that the US had intelligence suggesting that Iran was preparing to provide Russia with “several hundred” drones to use in its war on Ukraine, with training sessions set to begin as early as this month.

But on Tuesday, Kirby said the White House had not seen anything “that has been actually affected.”

Russia was reportedly looking to China for weapons shortly after most of the international community showed unity against its invasion. US officials warned Beijing against such moves, which appear not to have materialized.

He pointed out that Vladimir Putin looking to Tehran for drones proved that the Kremlin was being “pinched” by sanctions and export controls.

“We know that the sanctions are having an effect on his defense industrial base. This seems to be yet another indication of the kind of effect that they’re having,” Kirby said.

The US and Europe have imposed severe sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine in February. After failing to overthrow the government in Ukraine and capture Kyiv, Putin’s forces turned their attention to the eastern Donbas region and southern port cities.

With the war entering its sixth month, Putin shows no signs of letting up. Ukrainian forces have also put up a brave fight with the help of Western weapons.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US and Egyptian officials discuss water security, Ethiopian dam

July 27, 2022

LONDON: The US envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, on Monday had met with Egyptian government officials to discuss the north African country’s water security and a number of regional issues, the US embassy in Cairo said on Tuesday.

Hammer held talks with Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Egyptian House of Representatives Karim Darwish to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, regional challenges across the Middle East and Africa, and the robust, strategic partnership between the US and Egypt.

Cairo has been seeking a deal for years over the GERD, which Egypt says could put at risk its scarce water supplies. The dam is under construction on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile and Ethiopia started filling the reservoir behind the dam two years ago.

“Hammer’s visit helped advance our continued dialogue and ongoing partnership with Egypt,” the embassy said.

Source: Arab News

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US thanks Turkish president, UN chief for Ukraine grain deal

Michael Hernandez  



The US thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday for their efforts in setting up a center to facilitate Ukraine grain exports to global markets.

"We welcome and we appreciate the leadership of the UN secretary-general, as well as President Erdogan, in getting this Joint Coordination Center stood up," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. "We know that was no easy feat, and they worked hard at it. Now, obviously, the proof is going to be in the pudding."

The Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center (JCC) is set to officially open on Wednesday.

Under a deal inked last Friday between Ukraine, Russia, the UN, and Türkiye, the joint coordination center is being set up in Istanbul to carry out inspections, and to ensure the safety of trade routes as ships prepare to depart three Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea covered by the agreement.

"It's noteworthy that in this JCC you'll have representatives not just from the UN, but also from Ukraine, Russia, and of course, Turkey to help coordinate the movement of this grain," said Kirby. "There is an awful lot of work ahead of the individuals who are now placed there at the JCC."

Roughly 80 ships stocked with Ukrainian grain are either ready to depart, or will soon be ready to sail for global ports, according to the White House.

Kirby said the US "looks forward" to the JCC getting to work and "getting that grain moving by sea."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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EU submits draft Iran nuclear deal text: Borrell

26 July ,2022

The EU's foreign policy chief said Tuesday he has submitted a draft text of a deal on Iran's nuclear program, urging parties to accept it or “risk a dangerous nuclear crisis”.

It comes after Iran warned on Monday it would not be rushed into a “quick” deal reviving its faltering 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, as negotiations in Vienna remain deadlocked.

Writing in the Financial Times, the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said: “This text represents the best possible deal that I, as facilitator of the negotiations, see as feasible.

“It is not a perfect agreement, but it addresses all essential elements and includes hard-won compromises by all sides”.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “The Coordinator has shared his ideas to conclude the negotiations. We, too, have our own ideas, both in substance and form, to conclude the negotiations which would be shared.”

The 2015 deal gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its atomic program to guarantee that it could not develop a nuclear weapon -- something it has always denied seeking.

But the US' unilateral withdrawal from the accord in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump, and Washington's reimposition of biting economic sanctions, prompted Iran to begin rolling back on its own commitments.

Talks in Vienna that started in April 2021 to restore the deal -- known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA -- have stalled since March amid differences between Tehran and Washington.

The two sides negotiated indirectly through the European Union coordinator.

Borrell said the draft text “addresses, in precise detail, the sanctions lifting as well as the nuclear steps needed to restore the JCPOA.”

He accepted it may not address all US concerns about Iran, and acknowledged there are serious reservations in Tehran about implementing a deal “after the negative experience of recent years.”

But he said “decisions need to be taken now”.

Source: Al Arabiya

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YPG/PKK terror group supporters stage demonstration in Brussels

Selen Temizer  



Around a hundred of supporters of the YPG/PKK terror group organized a demonstration in Brussels on Tuesday.

The group gathered on the Schuman square located in front of the headquarters of the EU Commission and European Council.

Chanting slogans in support of the YPG/PKK and its convicted terrorist ringleader Abdullah Ocalan, they handed out leaflets defaming Türkiye to passersby.

A recent report prepared by the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol revealed that PKK organizations in the EU are coordinated by the Belgium-based European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E).

PKK members were also involved in “organized crime activities such as money laundering, racketeering, extortion, and drug trafficking,” according to the Europol’s annual report.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Greek plan to shut down minority Turkish schools decried by locals

Derya Gulnaz Ozcan  



The Greek decision to close four more primary schools belonging to the Turkish Muslim minority in Western Thrace for the 2022-2023 school year has been decried by locals, calling the move part of a systematic plan to cut the number of minority schools.

Aydin Ahmet, head of the Western Thrace Turkish Teachers Union, and Ozan Ahmetoglu, head of the Iskece Turkish Union (ITB), spoke to Anadolu Agency about the issue.

Athens makes decisions for the Turkish minority without bothering to consult with them, said Ahmet.

The practice of closing schools if the number of students falls below nine has led to a "steep fall" in the number of minority schools, he said, stressing that the number has fallen to less than 100.

So far Greece has disregarded the objections of the minority community on this issue, Ahmet added. Greece’s Western Thrace region is home to a Muslim Turkish community of around 150,000, especially in Gumulcine and Iskece, which has long faced systematic discrimination.

"Our schools are closed every year, one by one, on the pretext of a lack of children. Our schools, however, are private and autonomous according to the Treaty of Lausanne,” he argued, referring to a 1923 pact obligating Türkiye and Greece to protect minority Turks and Greeks in each other’s countries.

The suggestion that children in villages with a low number of students can be directed to nearby schools has gotten no response, he added.

Ahmet said the schools have been “temporarily” closed for two years, but then are never reopened despite more students wanting to enroll.

“A day-to-day reduction in the number of minority schools as much as possible is planned,” Ahmet said.

Substandard schools, facilities

Highlighting the problems faced by the minority community, he said Turkish teachers in Western Thrace who graduated from education faculties at universities in neighboring Türkiye are not allowed to work in minority schools, and there are no bilingual kindergartens.

Ahmetoglu also told of the difficulties at the Iskece Minority Secondary and High School, which has about 750 students.

"The classrooms are too small and we even had to set up classrooms in the basement," he said. "Even though there’s an annex building, it’s not enough and first graders are taught at the secondary school in the afternoon."

He said the minority has been pressing for a new school building for years, but to no avail.

The Treaty of Lausanne envisages educational autonomy for the Turkish community in Western Thrace, and minority schools are mandated to provide bilingual education in both Turkish and Greek.

But over the last 27 years, the number of minority primary schools in the region has fallen sharply, from 231 to 99.

Only two schools, one in Iskece and the other in Gumulcine, provide secondary and high school education.

Türkiye has called the Greek decision to close the schools "discrimination."

Türkiye has long decried Greek violations of the rights of its Muslim and Turkish minority, from closing down mosques and shutting down schools, to banning associations with the word “Turkish” in the name, to not letting Muslim Turks elect their own religious leaders.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkey to drill for gas in Mediterranean early next month: Ministry

26 July ,2022

Turkey will resume gas exploration off its coast in the Mediterranean on August 9, the energy ministry said Tuesday.

“Turkish drilling ship Adbulhamid Han will start a mission in the Mediterranean on August 9 departing from the Mersin port” in the south of the country, it said in a statement.

It did not say where exactly the drilling would take place, but a top Turkish official last week said it would carry on with exploration near the divided island of Cyprus next month.

The European Union came close to sanctioning Ankara in 2020 for pushing into contested east Mediterranean waters in search of fresh natural gas reserves.

Turkey disputes its maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean with EU members Greece and Cyprus.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish forces occupied the northern part of the island in response to a military coup sponsored by the junta in power in Greece at the time.

The northern third is the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) -- recognized only by Ankara.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey says Sweden has not yet extradited suspects despite NATO accord

July 27, 2022

ANKARA: Sweden has not yet extradited suspects Turkey seeks over terrorism-related charges despite signing an accord to lift Ankara’s veto to its NATO membership last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but were faced with opposition from Turkey which accused the Nordic countries of imposing arms embargoes on Ankara and supporting groups it deems terrorists.

Source: Arab News

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Arab World


Syrian government forces prepared to confront any possible Turkish aggression: Army

27 July 2022

The General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces says the Arab country’s government troops are fully prepared to respond intensely to any possible Turkish offensive, amid President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s renewed threats of a new military operation in northern Syria.

“In the wake of an upsurge in attacks by Turkish military forces on Syrian territories over the past two days and shelling on different neighborhoods and a number of [Syrian] army positions, we reiterate that our valiant army is ready to confront any possible aggression by the Turkish regime and its allied militants,” Syria’s official news agency SANA cited an unnamed Syrian military source as saying in a statement.

Last week, Erdogan said Ankara's plan for a new military offensive in northeast Syria against members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) will remain on the agenda until security concerns are addressed.

Back on July 19, the Turkish president earned a rebuke for his push for the offensive from Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, whose country has been helping Syria in its anti-terror campaign, in a bilateral meeting.

Ayatollah Khamenei told Erdogan that any Turkish offensive on Syria would be “detrimental” to Syria, Turkey itself, and the entire region, calling for the issue to be resolved through dialog between Ankara, Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran.

Moscow has also previously called on Ankara to “refrain” from an attack.

Erdogan on May 23 signaled a new Turkish cross-border operation in northern Syria with the declared aim of creating a 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) wide safe zone along Turkey’s border with Syria.

He did not provide further details but said the operation would be launched as soon as military, intelligence, and security forces have completed their preparations.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push YPG fighters away from border areas.

Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Source: Press TV

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince heads to Greece, France on official visits

26 July ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has departed the Kingdom heading to Greece and France on an official visit, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

“Based on the directives of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman… and in response to the invitations extended to the Crown Prince, [the latter] has departed the Kingdom to visit Greece and France where he will meet with the country’s leaders,” SPA reported.

The Crown Prince will discuss bilateral ties and issues of mutual interest during his meetings.

The Crown Prince last visited France in April 2018 where he met with French officials including President Emmanuel Macron.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia’s King, Crown Prince congratulate India’s new president

26 July ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s leaders congratulated India’s new President Droupadi Murmu on being elected to the position, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wished success, progress and prosperity in their cable messages.

Droupadi Murmu was sworn in as India’s president on Monday, making her the first person from one of the country’s marginalized tribal communities to serve as head of state.

The former schoolteacher and state governor was elected to the largely ceremonial position last week with 64 percent of the vote by members of India’s parliament and state assemblies.

Murmu, who is from the Santhal tribe and was born in eastern Odisha state, paid her respects before her inauguration at a memorial dedicated to India’s independence hero Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi, AFP reported.

“I started my life journey from a small tribal village,” Murmu, 64, said after taking the oath of office in parliament.

“From the background I come from, it was like a dream for me to even get elementary education,” she was quoted as saying by AFP.

“But despite many obstacles, my resolve remained strong and I became the first daughter from my village to go to college.”

Murmu’s win was considered a certainty because of the strength of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies in the parliament and state assemblies.

Saudi – India ties

The countries enjoy strong bilateral trade and friendly foreign relations that date as far back as 1947, according to an online report by the Indian Embassy in Riyadh.

The current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Riyadh in April 2016 during which King Salman conferred the highest civilian honor – the King Abdulaziz Sash in recognition of the strong relations between the two nations.

During a February 2019 visit to India by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom announced an investment of nearly $100 billion in addition to agreements in the tourism and housing sectors.

Prime Minister Modi visited Riyadh again in October 2019, during which 12 MoUs were signed across energy, security, defense production, civil aviation, medical products, strategic petroleum reserves, small and medium scale industries, and training of diplomats.

Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner, according to the report by the Indian Embassy. More than 18 percent of India’s crude oil imports are reportedly sourced from Saudi Arabia with bilateral trade in FY22 (April to December) valued at $29.28 billion.

Source: Al Arabiya

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PKK terrorists last year killed, injured scores of civilians in northern Iraq

Faruk Zorlu



Last year alone, scores of civilians and security forces lost their lives or were injured in terrorist attacks carried out by the terrorist group PKK in Iraq.

While hundreds of villages have been evacuated due to the PKK's presence in Iraq, thousands of Ezidis from northern Iraq's Sinjar region unable to go back to their homes have been struggling to survive in camps in the hope of returning.

The PKK targeted many security forces with attacks and mines it laid on the road and also targeted civilians, including children and tourists, in terrorist attacks last year.

PKK terrorist acts last year

On June 5, 2021, five Peshmerga soldiers were killed in a PKK ambush in the Duhok province.

The Security Council of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq announced on April 17 that it had seized a ton of explosives in Dohuk.

The PKK attacked the Iraqi Army in the Sinjar district of the Mosul province on April 19, injuring five soldiers.

Also, 200 kilograms (441 pounds) of explosive material placed by the PKK in the Amadiya district was defused on May 4.

The leg of 45-year-old Hursid Musa, the father of eight children, was amputated due to a mine placed by the PKK in Shehan in the Duhok province on May 7.

On May 16, the KRG Security Council also announced that a group of PKK terrorists was caught while preparing to attack and that a large supply of ammunition was confiscated.

The PKK terrorists were reportedly preparing to organize bombings in the KRG.

In May, the PKK also carried out a bomb attack on the satellite center of a TV channel in Dohuk, while two children were killed and one other was injured in the Amadiya district in a PKK bomb attack. In another attack on Peshmerga forces in the Amadiya district, one Peshmerga soldier was injured.

In June, a roadside bomb placed by the PKK killed a Danish cyclist in the Amadiya district and another person was injured. Additionally, the PKK kidnapped a Peshmerga soldier in the Sinjar region. The terrorist group also launched an attack on Peshmerga forces. The terrorist group’s militants opened fire on people demonstrating against them, and there were injuries in the Sinjar district of the Mosul province

Ezidi community under PKK presence in Sinjar region

After Daesh/ISIS attacks in 2014, most Ezidis had to leave their homes and flee to various parts of the country, including the KRG area. Some of the Ezidis also took refuge in Turkiye.

The PKK abducted and forcibly recruited Ezidi children in Sinjar. The Ezidis held many protests for the release of their children kidnapped by the terror group.

Due to the PKK's presence in the Sinjar region, the Ezidis had to flee their homes once again after clashes between the PKK and the Iraqi army.

In May, Viyan Dehil, an Ezidi lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament, said more than 4,000 civilians have been displaced in Sinjar in just two days, while at least 701 families reportedly left their homes due to the conflicts in Sinjar.

Villages evacuated

Also, 380 villages in the Duhok province were abandoned due to the PKK, according to regional authorities.

In a Feb. 27, 2021 statement, KRG Prime Minister Masoud Barzani stressed that authorities could not rebuild 800 villages due to the PKK terrorist group, adding that they would not tolerate its presence in the region.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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YPG/PKK terrorists’ infiltration attempt foiled in Syria

Omer Koparan  


AZAZ, Syria

The Syrian National Army thwarted Tuesday an overnight attempt by the YPG/PKK terror group to infiltrate its front lines in northern Syria.

The YPG/PKK terrorists tried to infiltrate the opposition-controlled Marea district in the northern countryside of Aleppo province.

The Syrian National Army soldiers then clashed with the terrorists who attempted an assault from the area east of Tal Rifat, which have been occupied by the YPG/PKK for six years, and repelled the attack.

The YPG/PKK terrorists suffered losses in the clashes and retreated, according to local security sources.

The terrorists tried to infiltrate the zone on Monday as well but the Syrian National Army managed to push them back.

The YPG/PKK terrorists continue to hide in Tal Rifat, which is only 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the Turkish border and on the frontline of the Operation Euphrates Shield zone, where Turkish security forces have been providing security since 2016.

The terrorist group frequently attacks Jarabulus, Afrin, and Azaz from the Manbij and Tal Rifat areas in Syria.

The YPG/PKK terrorists often target Turkish security forces providing security in the areas of Operation Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch, and Peace Spring, and try to infiltrate the positions of Syrian opposition fighters from regions where the terror group was supposed to withdraw under the agreements with the US and Russia.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched three successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents. They are Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Rocket attack targets Turkish Consulate in Iraq's Mosul: Reports

27 July 2022

A rocket attack has reportedly targeted Turkey's Consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, as tensions simmer between Baghdad and Ankara over an alleged Turkish strike on a tourist resort in the Arab country's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.

The Iranian Fars news agency cited unidentified sources as saying that the missile attack on the Turkish Consulate in Mosul had taken place early on Wednesday.

Separately, the Canadian-based GardaWorld Crisis24, citing unknown Iraqi sources, reported that two missiles had landed in the vicinity of the Turkish Consulate. According to the sources, no casualties were caused by the attack, but a number of vehicles belonging to Turkish contractors and translators were damaged.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the reported attack. And Turkey is yet to confirm the incident.

Increased security and localized transport disruptions were expected in the area as authorities investigated and responded to the incident, according to the sources cited by Crisis24.

Meanwhile, a source from Mosul Police, speaking on the condition of anonymity, has told Xinhua news agency that several houses were damaged when six mortar rounds landed near the Turkish Consulate.

The reported strike, if confirmed, would be the second of its kind in the past few days. On Sunday evening, a rocket attack targeted a military base housing Turkish troops in the district of Bashiqa near Mosul City.

A group dubbed Saraya Awliya al-Dam (Guardians of Blood Brigade) claimed responsibility for that attack in a video posted online. The group reportedly said it had used 122mm Grad rockets in the attack, which it said had come in response to the Turkish attack. It also warned that it would take the battle to Turkish territory.

On July 20, an attack attributed to Turkey targeted the Iraqi village of Parakh in Dohuk Province, killing at least nine tourists, including children and women, and wounding more than 20 others. Iraqi authorities blamed Turkey, which did not specifically deny having conducted an attack but said no civilians had been targeted. The Turkish Foreign Ministry blamed the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist group for spreading anti-Turkish propaganda in the incident.

Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

In response, the Turkish military has occupied areas in northern Iraq, where it regularly conducts attacks against purported PKK positions without the Arab country's consent. Baghdad has repeatedly condemned Ankara's ongoing military operations in northern Iraq.

Baghdad has filed an official complaint at the United Nations Security Council against Ankara, urging the UNSC to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the strikes.

Iraq demands withdrawal of all Turkish troops

Meanwhile, Iraq's Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein has called on the UNSC to urgently adopt a resolution demanding that Turkey withdraw all its troops from Iraqi territory and halt incursions into the Arab country's airspace.

Hussein made the request during a speech at an emergency meeting of the UNSC on Wednesday.

"We are trying to persuade the members of the Security Council to expel Turkish forces from Iraqi territory," Hussein was quoted by Iraqi state media as saying.

In a sign that the Iraqi government was also taking Turkish concerns into account, the minister said he would also request that the Council "pass a resolution to help Iraq expel the PKK."

He said Baghdad was ready to work alongside the United Nations and concerned countries "to ensure that elements of the PKK leave Iraq because this destabilizes Iraq" and undermines security in the country.

The Iraqi foreign minister further called on the Security Council to set up "an international independent team of inquiry" to look into what he called the Turkish army's "flagrant aggression."

Hussein also emphasized that "there is a state of public anger that has engulfed Iraq from the south to the north due to Turkish aggression," warning that Ankara's continued aggressive behavior may lead to "unimaginable consequences."

In a statement on Monday, the UNSC strongly denounced the attack on the tourist resort in Iraq's Kurdistan region. The statement added that the members of the Security Council "also expressed their support for the Iraqi authorities in their investigations, calling on all member states to cooperate with Baghdad in this regard."

Source: Press TV

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At UN, Iraq and Turkey escalate dispute over attack

27 July ,2022

A dispute between Iraq and Turkey over a recent deadly attack in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region escalated at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

Iraq’s foreign minister demanded the withdrawal of all Turkish troops from his country, while Turkey’s deputy ambassador said his government will keep pursing fighters it considers terrorists who take refuge in Iraq.

The Iraqi government sought the meeting after the July 20 artillery attack that killed nine Iraqi tourists and injured 33 other people. Its foreign minister, Fuad Hussein, said the government has “proofs” that Turkish armed forces were responsible.

Turkey has denied it was behind the attack and blamed fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara and the West . It has for decades waged an insurgency against the government in Ankara and maintains hideouts in Iraq’s mountainous north.

At the start of the Security Council meeting, the UN special envoy for Iraq had said Turkey and Iraq were ready for a joint investigation into the artillery shelling at the Parkha resort in the Zakho district of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, emphasized in a conversation Monday “the importance of a transparent and thorough investigation: independent or jointly.” She quoted him as saying it is vital “to put a stop to speculations, denials, misunderstandings, and rising tensions.”

The UN envoy said she understood “that Turkey is also ready to address the issue jointly, with Iraq, in order to determine exactly what happened.”

Iraq’s Hussein called on the Security Council to set up “an international independent team of inquiry” to look into what he called the Turkish army’s “flagrant aggression.”

The foreign minister told journalists later that Iraq is also ready to have a joint investigation with Turkey, but he said “they didn’t approach us” and “never sent us an official letter about having an investigation.”

Turkey’s deputy UN ambassador, Öncü Keçeli, countered that “we made it clear that Turkey is ready to take all the steps to unveil the truth,” stressing to the council that “our officials at many different levels have given the same message.”

He said some Iraqi authorities were on the same page as Turkey and “wanted to find out the truth.” But other Iraqi officials, he said, “chose escalation instead of diplomacy and cooperation,” and started a media “smear campaign” aimed at driving a wedge between the Turkish and Iraqi people.

Hussein said the Iraqi government is “sure” the Turkish military was responsible for the attack. He pointed to the findings of its investigation that Turkey’s army has bases in the area near the resort, PKK fighters have not been in the area for the last month and the Turkish army uses 155 mm artillery projectiles whose fragments were found at the scene.

Hussein added that many people in the area “gave us enough information about the activity of Turkish soldiers there.”

He called on the Security Council to urgently adopt a resolution demanding that Turkey withdraw what he said were about 4,000 combat soldiers from Iraq, and halt incursions into Iraqi airspace.

Turkey’s Keçeli countered that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq are breached by terrorist organizations, not by Turkey,” which he said has always supported Iraq’s sovereignty.

“As we speak, the flags of the PKK terrorist organization are raised in certain parts of northern Iraq, not the flags of the federal government” or the Kurdish regional government, he said,

Turkey estimates the PKK controls an area of “at least 10,000 square kilometers in Iraq,” he said. “Nearly 800 villages have been forcefully evacuated by the PKK and all these spots have become a safe haven for the terrorists.” In the first six months of this year the PKK carried out 339 attacks against Turkey, he said.

“Iraq has so far proven to be either unable or unwilling to fight the terrorists,” and therefore it cannot blame Turkey for exercising its right to self-defense, Keçeli said.

Hussein said Iraq’s government is ready to work alongside the United Nations and concerned countries “to ensure that elements of the PKK leave Iraq because this destabilizes Iraq” and undermines security in the country.

The Security Council issued a statement Monday condemning the attack on the resort “in the strongest terms,” expressing support for Iraqi authorities “in their investigations” and urging all countries to cooperate with the Iraqi government “and all other relevant authorities in support of these investigations.” The council did not mention Turkey.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Ten killed in south Syria clashes: Monitor

27 July ,2022

Gunmen supporting Syria's government and others opposed to Damascus clashed in the southern Syrian province of Sweida Tuesday, killing at least 10 people, a war monitor said.

Six loyalists and four people against the regime lost their lives after the fighting erupted in two villages in the Druze-majority province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Tensions had been rising since Monday, after the abduction of two people critical of the Damascus government.

The Druze, who made up less than three percent of Syria's pre-war population, have largely kept out of the country's civil war since it started in 2011.

Sweida has been spared most of the fighting, though local forces had to repel limited rebel attacks in 2013 and 2015, and an extremist rampage in 2018 killed more than 250 people.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iraq to free Briton convicted in antiquities case: Lawyer

26 July ,2022

An Iraqi court has overturned the conviction and 15-year sentence handed to a British pensioner last month for antiquities smuggling, the retiree’s lawyer told AFP Tuesday.

The conviction of James Fitton has been “overturned today by the Court of Cassation and my client will soon be free,” lawyer Thaer Saoud told AFP.

“We are very pleased by the decision, but we are still waiting for his release,” his son-in-law, Sam Tasker, told AFP in a phone call.

Fitton had been charged under a 2002 law against “intentionally taking or trying to take out of Iraq an antiquity.”

He stood trial alongside German national Volker Waldmann, who was acquitted. Both men had pleaded not guilty.

According to statements from customs officers and witnesses, Fitton’s baggage contained about a dozen stone fragments, pieces of pottery or ceramics.

When the judge in the original trial asked Fitton why he tried to take the artefacts out of Iraq, the retired geologist cited his “hobby” and said he did not mean to do anything illegal. But the judge concluded there was criminal intent.

The maximum penalty for the offence is death by hanging, but Fitton was sentenced to 15 years because of his “advanced age,” the judge in the original trial said.

Fitton’s lawyer launched the appeal just over a month ago.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Crown Prince, Greek PM sign military, economic, security agreements

26 July ,2022

Saudi Arabia and Greece signed on Tuesday memoranda of understanding in military, economic and security cooperation, during the official visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The MoUs also covered cooperation in the scientific and technological field.

The Saudi Crown Prince held a bilateral meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Maximus Palace in Athens.

He stressed after his arrival that the Kingdom has historical and close ties with Greece.

He also said: “We will help Greece establish the electrical interconnection network, and we will discuss ways of cooperation in the field of green hydrogen projects.”

The Greek Prime Minister said that he will discuss enhancing cooperation and partnership opportunities with Saudi Arabia.

He also described the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to Athens as an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations.

Earlier today, the Crown Prince headed in an official procession to Maximus Palace, the headquarters of the Prime Minister in the Greek capital.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel army razes suspects’ homes in settlement guard killing

July 26, 2022

QARAWAT BANI HASAN: Israeli forces today demolished the homes of two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank accused of shooting dead a Jewish settler in April, an army statement said.

The army said it had destroyed the homes in Qarawat Bani Hasan, in the northern West Bank, belonging to Yusef Aasi and Yehya Miri, accused of perpetrating “a deadly shooting attack at the entrance to the city of Ariel, murdering the Israeli security guard Vyacheslav Golev”.

Aasi and Miri were arrested a day after the April 29 attack and are being held by Israel.

They have not yet faced trial in Israeli military court, which exercises jurisdiction over offences committed by Palestinians in parts of the West Bank, a territory occupied by the Jewish state since 1967.

“The demolition took place after the petition from the terrorists’ families was rejected by the Supreme Court,” the army statement said.

The army added that during the demolitions, “hundreds of Palestinians instigated a number of violent riots. The rioters hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and burning tyres at the soldiers. The forces responded with riot dispersal means.”

Golev was killed during a period of surging tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including regular clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound at the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Human rights activists say Israel’s policy of demolishing the homes of suspected attackers amounts to collective punishment, as it can render non-combatants, including children, homeless.

But Israel says the practice is effective in deterring some Palestinians from carrying out attacks.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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IRGC Commander: Iran Manufacturing Stealth Speedboats


Speaking on the sidelines of Malek Ashtar Festival held in Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan province, on Monday, Rear Admiral Tangsiri said using domestic technical know-how and products by Iranian scientists have equipped newly manufactured speedboats with stealth systems to avoid radars.

He added that the IRGC Navy Force has been equipped with warfare facilities to confront external threats, ranging from tanks, amphibious tanks to drones and has always tried to established consecutive cooperation and interaction with other parts of Armed Forces of the country, military organizations and also ministry of defense.

Turning to taking advantage of domestically-manufactured equipment and strengthening knowledge-based companies, Rear Admiral Tangsiri emphasized that IRGC Navy Force welcomes cooperating with knowledge-based companies in manufacturing warfare equipment as Leader of the Islamic Revolution has instructed on taking advantage of high capacities of knowledge-based companies this year.

"Presence of IRGC Navy Force in the region has forced the enemy to flee from the Persian Gulf region," he said.

“We have always told countries of the region that Iran itself is able to bring about security in the region, so that more security has been established after the exit of American and foreign forces from the region,” the top commander added.

"Americans do not abide by maritime and navigation laws and regulations and their presence has created instability and insecurity in the Persian Gulf region," the military official continued.

Military officials say Iran has been able to achieve the state-of-the-art defense technologies despite sanctions and pressures.

On Sunday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami stated that Iran is seeking to make the most advanced weapons.

Addressing an IRGC conference in Tehran, Major General Salami noted since "weapons play an effective role in wars", the IRGC is pursuing plans to manufacture and obtain the most advanced arms.

Tehran says it will not hesitate to boost its military capabilities, including its missile and drone power, which are entirely meant for defense.

Iranian experts have in recent years succeeded in manufacturing a broad range of military equipment, including destroyers, hi-tech radars, missile systems as well as several types of drones and missiles.

In early July, Iranian Army Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari said his forces have been supplied with different types of precision-striking and smart weapons to defend the country’s peace and stability.

He described the Ground Force’s defense and military achievements as a “thorn in the side of the sworn enemies” of Iran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Six Drug Traffickers Killed, Large Amount of Narcotics Seized in Southeastern Iran


"A sum of 697 kilograms of narcotics were confiscated during the incident which occurred the previous night, Kerman Province Police Commander Brigadier General Abdolreza Nazeri said.

“During the clashes Lieutenant Colonel Ali Barzgarpour was also martyred,” Nazeri added.

He explained that the incident occurred as police officers suspected wo cars at a checkpoint in Kerman and asked them to pull over, but they sped up and tried to escape.

Nazeri added that the police officers immediately chased after the cars and managed to arrest one of them and kill six others.

“During the operation, in addition to narcotics, 3 assault rifles, 17 magazines, and large quantities of ammunition were discovered, and unfortunately, five of our comrades were injured as well,” he further said.

Iran, which has a 900-kilometer common border with Afghanistan, is used as a transit route for trafficking of narcotics from Afghanistan to markets in Europe.

For decades, Iran has been fighting a relentless battle against international drug networks, but the war has cost it the loss of many lives and finances.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Slain reporter's family meet Blinken to ‘demand justice for Shireen’

26 July ,2022

The family of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh demanded justice for the Al Jazeera reporter's killing ahead of a meeting in Washington with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.

Lina Abu Akleh, her niece, posted a video on Twitter from outside the State Department saying that she and other family members “are here to demand justice for Shireen.”

Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American, was killed on May 11 during an Israeli raid in the town of Jenin in the occupied West Bank under circumstances that remain bitterly disputed.

The State Department said this month that Abu Akleh was likely killed by gunfire from Israeli positions but that it was probably unintentional, citing an investigation by the US Security Coordinator.

Abu Akleh's family and Palestinian officials have criticized the report and maintained she was deliberately targeted. Israel denies this.

“We will pursue accountability for her murder wherever it may take us,” said a statement on Twitter from Lina, Shireen's brother Tony and nephew Victor. “Shireen lived to uncover the truth behind every story, and so shall we.”

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel demolishes homes of two suspected Palestinian attackers

26 July ,2022

The Israeli military demolished the homes on Tuesday of two Palestinians suspected of killing an Israeli security guard in a West Bank settlement in April.

Vyacheslav Golev was killed in a shooting at the entrance of a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on April 29. The Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Israeli military later apprehended two Palestinians suspected of carrying out the attack. On Tuesday, the army said it demolished their residences in the northern West Bank village of Qarawat Bani Hassan.

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In a statement, the military said forces faced a violent protest, with firebombs and burning tires thrown at the troops.

Israel routinely demolishes the homes of slain or captured Palestinian assailants who killed Israelis, saying it serves as a deterrent against future attackers. The Palestinians and rights groups say the practice amounts to collective punishment.

Israeli troops have been carrying out near-daily raids across West Bank for months in the aftermath of a string of deadly attacks in which Palestinian attackers killed 19 Israelis.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Al-Sunni accuses ‘certain international powers’ of hampering Libyan elections

July 26, 2022

Libya's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Taher Al-Sunni, said on Monday that ‘certain international powers’ are behind disruption of the elections in the country, without identifying them.

Al-Sunni remarks were made during a session of the UN Security Council, held Monday, at the UN headquarters in New York, on the latest developments of the Libyan crisis.

In his statement, the Libyan ambassador said, "Libya's economy is currently suffering from the repercussions of international intervention and the failure to reach comprehensive political solution, and attempts to develop stopgap and unrealistic solutions to the political crisis”.

He added that the solution lies simply in supporting the will of the Libyans to establish a stable state and a constitution that defines its political and economic system, and the management and distribution of the country's resources in a manner that preserves the state's stature and sovereignty.

"There are certain international powers that fear the idea of holding elections in Libya, due to their unguaranteed results, and may not serve their narrow interests." he added.

Al-Sunni expressed his regrets over the focus of the international community’s interest in Libya only on 3 issues: foremost; flow of oil, preventing migration to Europe, fighting terrorism. Other issues in Libya are of no interest, as he put it.

Source: Libya Observer

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Tunisia’s electoral commission says new constitution passed

Mehmet Akif Turan 


TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisians have approved a new constitution in a referendum, the head of the country’s electoral commission said Tuesday, citing preliminary results.

Farouk Bouasker, president of the Independent High Authority for Elections, said 94.6% of the participants in the referendum voted "yes" and 5.4% voted "no.”

The turnout rate was only 27.54%, according to unofficial results.

Bouasker said 2,830,094 of the country’s 9,278,541 registered voters cast their votes.

However, the Tunisian Association for Integrity and Democracy (ATID) announced that they had recorded many violations during the referendum.

"We have recorded many election violations such as blocking the observers, the presence of age discrimination in the voter lists, and the failure to pay attention to the secrecy of voting at some election centers," said ATID President Muaz al-Hamruni, speaking at a press conference.

The Independent High Authority for Elections in a statement said it would evaluate the alleged violations.

The new constitution, which will replace the 2014 constitution, consists of 142 articles that give broad powers to the president.

The reaffirmation of Islam as Tunisia’s religion, which caused controversy during the drafting process of the constitution, was not included in the new constitution. It was replaced with the statement that "Tunisia is part of the Islamic nation.”

In the new constitution, which does not include any mechanism to control the president, the president will be able to appoint the head and members of the government. Also, a second assembly is to be established called the "Regional and Local National Council" in addition to the Tunisian People's Assembly.

Tunisia has been undergoing a severe political crisis since July 25, 2021, when President Kais Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament.

Tunisian forces consider these measures a "coup against the constitution," but others see them as a "correction of the course of the 2011 revolution," which overthrew then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Tinubu-Shettima: Yoruba Muslim scholars criticize Christian leaders’ opposition

July 26, 2022

By Wale Odunsi

A group, the Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars in Nigeria has said the opposition to the Bola Tinubu-Kashim Shettima was unnecessary.

The group advised Nigerians to consider competence above religion in electing the next President in 2023.

Prof. Abideen Olaiya, the Secretary-General accused the Christian leadership of leading the campaign against the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket.

Speaking in Ibadan on Monday, he stressed that the good of the country should supercede affiliations.

Olaiya said the group was alarmed at the outcry by some section of Christian leaders and followers.

“We are greatly shocked at the height of the prejudice being expressed by the opposition parties masquerading under different names or groups.

“Nigeria desires good governance regardless of religion and/or ethnic affiliation of whoever is capable of delivering it”, NAN quoted him saying.

Olaiya noted that citizens had always lived with their differences, adding such should not be placed above capability.

The scribe said those who were supposed to be moral guide for a united and prosperous nation “have now become agents of the opposition party”.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Tunisian officials say new constitution passed in vote with low turnout

27 July ,2022

A new Tunisian constitution giving far more power to President Kais Saied passed in a referendum with a 30.5 percent turnout, the electoral commission said on Tuesday, tightening his grip in what critics fear is a march to a new era of autocracy.

The commission said 95 percent of voters approved the constitution in Monday’s referendum boycotted by opposition groups, which accuse Saied of staging a coup against the young democracy that emerged from Tunisia’s Arab Spring uprising of 2011.

Opposition groups, which have struggled to counter Saied since he began amassing power a year ago, accused the authorities of inflating the numbers and said they still recognized the 2014 constitution as the legitimate one.

The new constitution includes changes that shift power back to the presidency and away from parliament which - to Saied’s supporters - had become synonymous with political bickering and government paralysis.

Saied has denied accusations that he is a new dictator, and says freedoms won in 2011 are protected.

Fewer people voted in the referendum than in any of the three parliamentary and two presidential elections held since Tunisians rose up against Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Even though the vote was for a permanent change to the constitution, the rules set by Saied did not require a minimum turnout for it to be approved.

The main opposition alliance said the official results were “false and not credible.”

“Saied falsified the popular will by falsifying the results,” said Nejib Chebbi, head of the opposition National Salvation Front, which includes the Islamist Ennahda party, the biggest faction in the dissolved parliament.

There was no immediate reaction from Saied or the election commission to the opposition’s accusation.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington noted widespread concerns that the constitution was not written in an inclusive way and that it weakened checks and balances and could compromise human rights. He said turnout had been low.

Speaking on Monday night as he walked among supporters at a rally in central Tunis, Saied said people were free to boycott the vote “but it would have been better if they had taken part.”

Saied has said his moves were needed to save Tunisia from years of political paralysis and economic stagnation under a 2014 constitution that split power between the parliament and president.

Source: Al Arabiya

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