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Muslims Celebrated Sri Ram Navami: Iftar Follows Ram Navami Celebrations In The Day As Andhra Pradesh Temple Opens Doors For Both

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 April 2022


People from both communities at the outreach by RSS outfit RSS outfit MRM/ Times of India


• Ramzan Walk: What Non-Muslim Boys, Girls Say About , Iftar, Taraweeh, And Sehri During Ramzan

• In First Speech, New Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif Offers Olive Branch To India

• Bangladesh Church Backs Move To Help Male Rape Victims By Bringing  Gender Equality In Rape Cases

• With Abu Sayyaf Declining, Is Daesh Still A Threat In The Philippines?

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

For Details And More News From All Regions, Please Click, ‘Read More'


• Bihar: Saffron Flag Planted on Muzaffarpur Mosque on Ram Navami

• Uttar Pradesh: Muslims feel let down in Samajwadi Party

• Silverline, Thiruvananthapuram And Kasaragod, Rail Project Threatens To Cut Through 8th Century Mosque Courtyard

• Onus on Muslims to not hurt Hindu sentiments: Yatnal

• Two terrorists killed in Kulgam gunfight, two cops wounded

• 4 Sri Ram Sene men held in Karnataka for smashing Muslim vendor's stall

• NIA court to frame charges against Yasin Malik for colluding with Pak-based outfits



• Indictment of Shehbaz, Hamza in money laundering case delayed

• Petition seeking trial of Imran Khan dismissed

• Alleged Attack On Mosque And Seminary: JUIF Demands Arrest Of PTI Workers

• Imran's gambit for a new goal: early elections

• Shehbaz Sharif sworn-in as new Prime Minister of Pakistan

• Dissolve NAB and hold its employees accountable, Abbasi tells new govt

• PPP divided over Bilawal serving as foreign minister

• Nawaz has no plans to return soon despite Shehbaz’s election as PM

• PTI workers rally against Imran’s ouster under ‘conspiracy’


South Asia

• Kabul Establishes Diplomatic Ties with Russia, Bidding Formal Recognition

• Akke Rahman first British Bangladeshi and Muslim to climb Mount Everest while fasting

• RSF to UN:  act quickly to protect Afghan Journalists

• Iran Asks for Security of its Diplomatic Agencies in Afghanistan

• Former Provincial Governor of Jowzjan Arrested in Iran over Recruiting Militants


Southeast Asia

• With Abu Sayyaf Declining, Is Daesh Still A Threat In The Philippines?

• 2 denied leave to compel AG to prosecute converts over alleged insults

• Indonesia passes landmark bill on sexual violence

• Mindef urged to form task force on lack of non-Malays in military


Arab World

• Saudi Boy Scouts Resume Duties At Haram After Two-Year Hiatus

• Syrian President receives delegation of Islamic clergymen in Damascus on Ramadan

• At least one killed, seven injured in explosion near Lebanon’s Sidon: Officials

• UN envoy makes first trip to Yemen capital after truce

• Makkah is a city embracing cultural, linguistic diversity



• Hamas Stops Islamic Jihad From Military Escalation With Israel In Gaza

• Iranian Parliament: Legal Guarantees Needed to Prevent Repetition of US Withdrawal from N. Deal

• Politics, not substance, seen guiding US and Iran on terror listing

• Israel army launches new operations around flashpoint W. Bank city of Jenin

• Palestinian leaders condemn compensation ruling as ‘Israeli judicial extremism’

• Al-Abbas shrine affiliated centre launched program of Ramadan month in 13 African countries

• Human Rights Official Protests at Denmark’s Misbehaviour towards Iranian National

• Palestinian killed after alleged stabbing attempt: Israeli police



• Terrorists Kill 80, Abduct 70 And Burn Down Over 100 Houses In Nigeria

• Mass Iftar brings Cape Town community together, feeds over 1,200

• Sudanese protesters mark third anniversary of Bashir's ouster with fresh protests

• At least 4 people dead after boat capsizes off Libya: UN


North America

• India Witnessing Rise In Human Rights Abuse: US Secretary Of State

• US says it values ties with Pakistan

• Muslim students want Georgia school district to mark Eid al-Fitr as holiday

• India, US call on Pakistan to ensure its territory is not used for terror attacks

• US voices support for Pakistan's 'constitutional democratic principles'



• UK Sanctions 2 Bosnian Serb Leaders Accused Of Undermining Peace

• Jury holds British MP of Pakistani descent guilty of sexually assaulting minor boy

• Turkiye important security point for Europe: Albanian premier

• Serbia wants to buy Bayraktar drones from Turkiye: President

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Muslims Celebrated Sri Ram Navami: Iftar Follows Ram Navami Celebrations In The Day As Andhra Pradesh Temple Opens Doors For Both


People from both communities at the outreach by RSS outfit RSS outfit MRM/ Times of India


Apr 11, 2022

HYDERABAD: In a rare event, a temple committee in Peddapalli village of Kadiri mandal in Andhra Pradesh hosted an Iftar while local Muslims celebrated Sri Ram Navami on a grand scale on Sunday. This was aimed at fostering communal amity between Hindus and Muslims, as part of the outreach by Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

About 2,000 Hindus and Muslims turned up at the 200-year-old Sri Ram Mandir at Peddapalli, a village on the AP-Karnataka border, to celebrate the birthday of Lord Sri Ram and break the fast on the eighth day of Ramzan. The dusty village wore a festive look as people from 24 neighbouring villages took part in the celebrations. This is first time that the MRM is hosting Iftars on all 30 days of Ramzan across AP and Telangana in response to a call by senior RSS leader and MRM patron Dr Indresh Kumar. Dr Indresh had also suggested that Hindus and Muslims participate in each other's festivals to celebrate the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb of Telugu states.

"It is an honour to host Iftar at the temple premises. Our temple was built about two centuries ago during the British rule. It's a small temple but has a very long history. After the day-long celebrations marking Sri Ram Navami, we participated in the Iftar once the sun set," said T Ulesh, temple president.

MRM activists went around 24 villages distributing clothes and food packets at the doorsteps cutting across caste and creed. Later, they participated in the special prayers at the temple. In the evening they partook in the Iftar meal.

National co-convener of MRM, said it was just the beginning and MRM would organise many such inter-faith events across Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh

Source: Times Of India

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Ramzan Walk: What Non-Muslim Boys, Girls Say About , Iftar, Taraweeh, And Sehri During Ramzan


People visit a crowded market at the Charminar monument in Hyderabad (PTI Photo)


Mohammed Hussain Ahmed

12th April 2022

Hyderabad: During the holy month of Ramzan a new trend has been started in the city as the non-Muslim young girls and boys from the new city areas are undertaking the “Ramzan walk” in areas like Charminar, Shalibanda, Syed Ali chabutra, Falaknuma, Hussaini Alam, Madina building, Pathar Gatti and other historical areas of the old city to gain insight about the Muslim prayers and cultural activities during the holy month.

These groups who started their walk from the first of Ramzan have gained insights about the special prayers, Iftar, Taraweeh, and Sehri during the holy month.

Rinky, a young girl, who is undertaking the Ramzan walk along with her brother Piyush has visited the historical Charminar, Makkah Masjid, Darul Shifa, and other areas of the old city to collect information about “Taraweeh” prayers in big mosques of the city.  She also collected information about the delicacies of Iftar and Sehri.

“The devout converge at mosques for “Namaz-e-Taraweeh” around 8.30 p.m. and the night activities ends at 3.30 a.m. to take Sehri meal to begin the day-long fast. They offer prayers and seek forgiveness from the Almighty,” she said.

Ashutosh who is from Delhi said that he is surprised to see how Muslims and non-Muslims together participate in nightly cultural outings during the holy month to enjoy Haleem, Biryani, and other delicacies.

“It seems to be the time for the families to shop for new clothes, footwear, bangles, mehndi, ‘attar’ (natural perfumes), crockery, household items, vermicelli, and dry fruits. They are seen buying everything. Shops in the centuries-old markets in the old city are packed with men, women, and children”, he said.

People also arrange food for Sehri to the sick people and their relatives in hospitals which is quite unique.  “This is the first time I am observing the activities closely during the month of Ramzan. It is apparent that the holy month is not only an occasion for celebration but it is an occasion for taking care of the poor people’s needs during this month,” Ashutosh said.

Source: Siasat Daily

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In First Speech, New Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif Offers Olive Branch To India


Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, (AFP File Photo)


Apr 11, 2022

By Rezaul H Laskar

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif offered an olive branch to India on Monday, saying the resolution of the Kashmir issue will allow the two sides to focus on shared problems such as poverty, though Prime Minister Narendra Modi linked any engagement to the elimination of terror.

Sharif, elected the country’s 23rd premier during a parliamentary vote boycotted by more than 100 MPs from former prime minister Imran Khan’s party, also trotted out the standard Pakistani position of raising the Kashmir issue at international forums and offering diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris.

PM Modi responded on Twitter, congratulating Sharif on his election and linking any engagement with Pakistan to an environment free of terrorism. “India desires peace and stability in a region free of terror, so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people,” Modi said.

Speaking after his election, Sharif devoted more time to India in the foreign policy segment of his speech than any other country, including Pakistan’s traditional ally China and the US. He was critical of the foreign policy of Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote on Sunday.

“We desire good relations with India but there cannot be lasting peace till the equitable resolution of the Kashmir issue,” the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and younger brother of three-time premier Nawaz Sharif said, speaking in Urdu.

“I would give Prime Minister Modi this advice that you should understand about the poverty, unemployment [and] sickness on both sides. People don’t have medicines, education, trade or jobs. Why do we want to cause harm to ourselves and the coming generations?” he said.

“Come, let us decide the Kashmir issue according to UN resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people and end poverty on both sides and create jobs, and bring progress and prosperity.”

Sharif added: “Neighbours are not a matter of choice, it is something you have to live with.”

Sharif was backed by 174 lawmakers from parties such as PML-N, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl in the vote. Khan stayed away from the National Assembly and lawmakers from his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party walked out of the House, saying they were resigning en masse.

India and Pakistan have not had any formal or structured dialogue since the 2008 Mumbai attacks by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan snapped virtually all ties and downgraded diplomatic relations after India scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.

After his election in 2018, Khan too had offered to improve relations with India but there was no forward movement after the Pulwama suicide attack blamed on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). Nawaz Sharif was among regional leaders invited to Modi’s swearing-in in 2014, and the Indian leader made a surprise visit to Lahore in December 2015 to meet Nawaz but a string of terror attacks thereafter by the JeM took ties to an all-time low.

Sharif raised the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019 and accused Khan’s government of doing little to respond to this issue. He alleged there were human rights violations in Kashmir and said Nawaz Sharif, who extended a hand of friendship to India, was the same person who made a strong speech in the UN General Assembly on independence and self-determination of Kashmiris.

“We will raise our voice for Kashmiri brothers and sisters at every forum and undertake diplomatic efforts. We will offer diplomatic and moral support, this is our right, they are our brothers,” he said.

Sharif, 70, said no one should doubt China’s role as a steadfast ally of Pakistan in good and bad times. These ties were unaffected by a change of government and China has consistently backed Pakistan at international forums, but Khan’s government had weakened these relations, he said. Sharif thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping and pledged Pakistan will speedily take forward the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative.

He criticised former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s remarks about negotiating the Kashmir issue without any role for Saudi Arabia and recalled that the kingdom had stepped in to provide oil after sanctions were imposed on Pakistan for its 1998 nuclear tests.

Sharif noted the historic Pakistan-US relations have witnessed “ups and downs” and that the US is the destination for Pakistani exports worth billions of dollars. “We need to have ties on the basis of equality,” he said.

Turkey, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Iran, the European Union, the UK and Afghanistan were the other countries that found a mention in Sharif’s speech.

Sharif received the votes of all 174 lawmakers present in the National Assembly – two more than the required simple majority – while Qureshi, who was the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate, bagged none.

He also focused on Pakistan’s economic problems in his speech, saying the current account, budget and trade deficits were all at a record high. He promised to make Pakistan a “paradise for investments” and announced various sops in health and education.

Responding to Khan’s allegations about the opposition colluding with the US to oust the PTI government, Sharif said the parliamentary committee on security will be provided an in-camera briefing on the diplomatic cable that Khan used to drum up the “foreign conspiracy” angle. This briefing will be attended by the military leadership, the ISI chief, the foreign secretary and the former envoy to the US who sent the cable. Sharif said he would immediately resign if any evidence of a foreign conspiracy was found.

Sharif’s election followed a week of political turmoil that culminated in the ouster of Khan. Though widely considered a capable administrator during his several stints as the chief minister of Punjab province, Sharif will have his hands full in tackling issues such as high inflation and a soaring energy crisis.

Khan’s party organised massive protest rallies on Sunday and his promise to take to the streets against a so-called “foreign conspiracy” to topple his government will add to the pressure on Sharif.

On the plus side, Shehbaz Sharif, unlike his elder brother who is currently in self-exile in London, enjoys better relations with the powerful military that keeps a tight grip on foreign and defence policy. The Supreme Court barred Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in 2017 and he went abroad for medical treatment after serving a few months of a 10-year jail term for corruption.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Bangladesh Church Backs Move To Help Male Rape Victims By Bringing  Gender Equality In Rape Cases


Bangladeshi students and activists protest in Dhaka demanding justice for a recent gang assault on a woman. Photograph: Zabed Hasnain Chowdhury/Rex/Shutterstock


By Stephan Uttom

April 12, 2022

Church officials in Bangladesh have welcomed the Muslim-majority nation’s top court seeking to amend a law that blocks justice for male rape victims as it considers only women as rape victims.

The High Court on April 10 issued a ruling asking why gender equality should not be declared in rape cases.

Justice Md. Mojibur Rahman Miah and Justice Khizir Hayat wanted to know why Section 375 of the penal code regarding rape could not be amended.

 On Jan. 14, 2021, a writ petition was filed in the High Court seeking to amend Section 375 to include male rape as a crime. Barrister Tapas Kanti Baul filed the petition on behalf of human rights activist Soumen Bhowmik, university lecturer Tasmia Nuhaiya Ahmed and social worker Masum Billah.

Section 375 deals only with the punishment of rape of women by men. Yet women are being sexually harassed by other women, men by women, men by other men and transgender people by other transgender people. But these situations are not covered by the law and its provisions.

Cases of sexual abuse and rape of children of both sexes have increased significantly in Bangladesh but such cases cannot be dealt with as rape under existing laws and provisions, the petition observed.

According to Dhaka-based rights group Ain O Salish Kendra (Law and Arbitration Center), there were 20 recorded cases of boys being raped in 2017, seven in 2018, 37 in 2019, 52 in 2020 and 78 in 2021. However, the rights group noted, the actual number of such incidents is many times higher than the number published in newspapers.

A 19-year-old university student who did not want to be named told UCA News that he had been sexually abused by an established and respected member of society when he was younger.

“I was about 10 years old then. When I went out to play with friends, the person called me in and I now realize what he did to me was sexual abuse,” the Catholic youth said.

“I welcome this High Court writ because there is no point in seeking justice if there is no direct law to ensure justice is done.”

Church authorities likewise welcomed the High Court order but said the amendment would not make it difficult for women to access justice.

“In the current context, the amendment of this law is very important because cases of male sexual harassment are increasing in the country. There are many men I know who are victims of sexual harassment but they can't seek justice because there is no relevant law,” said Rita Roseline Costa, head of the women’s desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh.

“We applaud gender equality by amending this law but at the same time we have to ensure that justice for women does not face obstacles. “

Source: UCA News

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With Abu Sayyaf Declining, Is Daesh Still A Threat In The Philippines?


Damaged buildings are seen after government troops cleared Marawi City from pro-Daesh militants in this Oct. 23, 2017 file photo. (Reuters)


April 12, 2022

JOLO, Sulu: When Philippine security forces won a major fight with militants affiliated with Daesh in 2017, a new surge in attacks led to concerns that the group, which originated in the Middle East, was expanding its operations in the Southeast Asian country. Five years later, the military says its operations have decreased the threat, but it is not entirely gone.

The main Daesh affiliate in the Philippines has been the Abu Sayyaf Group, a militant outfit that operates in the country’s south.

Formed in 1991, it emerged as a splinter group of the Moro National Liberation Front, a movement seeking autonomy for Filipino Muslims in the southern Philippines. It was initially influenced by Al-Qaeda, but since the early 2000s, it has gained notoriety for extortion, assassinations and kidnappings — often beheading hostages if a ransom was not paid. In 2014, some of its factions pledged allegiance to Daesh.

The ASG was not the only militant outfit in the Philippines that did so, but it was the most notorious, with one of its leaders, Isnilon Hapilon, touted as the Daesh “emir” in the country.

In 2017, militants mainly from the ASG and another Daesh affiliate, Dawlah Islamiya, also known as the Maute group, took control of the city of Marawi in the southern Philippines. After five months of fighting and widespread destruction, the Philippine army was able to reclaim the city. Hapilon, the Maute group’s main leadership and some foreign fighters were killed.

But after the Marawi battle, attacks increased in the country, including suicide bombings that indicated the presence of foreign fighters; local militants generally did not use such a method of fighting. Daesh became a major cause of concern. In 2018, the US Department of State designated Daesh-Philippines as a separate group on its list of foreign terrorist organizations.

It was also in 2018 that the Philippine military stepped up a crackdown on Daesh affiliates. The Maute group was soon decimated and significantly weakened. But the ASG remains, although the military says its threat has now declined due to limited inflows of money and an apparent leadership crisis.

Data from the 11th Infantry Division, a Philippine army unit designated to fight militancy in the southwestern island of Sulu, shows that the number of militants active in the area has decreased from about 300 in 2019 to an estimated 100.

“Here in Sulu, militants aligned with the Daesh have lost their international support. We are no longer monitoring fund transfers from outside,” Maj. Gen. Patrimonio, commander of the 11th Infantry Division, told Arab News.

After Hapilon’s death, Sulu-based Hadjan Sawadjaan reportedly emerged as the Daesh-Philippines leader. He was named as the mastermind behind a 2019 attack by two Indonesian suicide bombers on a cathedral in Jolo, the capital of Sulu, and another deadly twin blast in the city in 2020. Sawadjaan also oversaw the kidnapping of Arab News Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani, who at that time was working for Al-Arabiya. Atyani was held captive by the ASG for 18 months, until December 2013.

In November 2020, the Philippines announced Sawadjaan’s death, following an encounter with security forces.

After Sawadjaan, there was no one capable of taking over as Daesh leader in Sulu, Patrimonio said, “so the designation as emir went to Salahuddin Hassan, a Dawlah Islamiya (Maute group) leader operating in south-central Mindanao. But only last year, he was also neutralized.”

Maj. Lawrence Aranas, a member of the 11th Infantry Division’s civil relations team, said the military had identified Hatib Majid Saeed, alias Amah Pattit, as the new Daesh leader in Sulu. Pattit is the uncle of notorious ASG sub-leader and bombmaker Mudzrimar “Mundi” Sawadjaan, the suspected handler of the executors of the 2019 and 2020 Jolo attacks.

“Based on revelations of the former fighters, Saeed himself is hesitant to lead Daesh in the Philippines,” Aranas told Arab News, adding that since 2021 there have been no attempts by the group to carry out kidnappings for ransom and that with no money inflows, the militants had resorted to selling their own firearms for sustenance.

“By 2020, their financial support was almost gone. They have been limited to local support and the help of relatives not only financially but logistics-wise as well, such as food.”

According to Aranas, only two foreign militants remain in Sulu, an Egyptian and an Indonesian, the son of the couple that carried out the 2019 Jolo cathedral bombing.

While the Daesh-affiliated faction, which used to be led by Hapilon, is experiencing a leadership crisis and its members have been surrendering to the army, they are not the only remaining ASG militants.

There is also Radullan Sahiron, currently the chief leader of the ASG, who never pledged allegiance to Daesh. He remains at large with a $1 million bounty on his head, but Aranas said he is unlikely to support Daesh or foreign fighters.

“Based on the account of the surrenderers, he’s not letting them join his group.”

The apparent dwindling influence of Daesh does not, however, mean that the threat is gone. Any future entry of militants into the Philippines is also not ruled out.

“We still have very loose security and monitoring in our borders. If not in Sulu, they can also use Tawi-Tawi and Basilan as entry points,” Aranas said.

Patrimonio also acknowledged that militants “still pose a threat for as long they are here.”

“Mundi (Sawadjaan) and the two foreign fighters are still around, and there are still reports of planned bombings. So, they are still a threat to Sulu.”

The Philippine military’s success in containing the danger of militancy has been observed, but with caution.

“It’s difficult to eradicate such a threat completely,” Rikard Jalkebro, associate professor at Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi, who has researched militant groups in the Philippines, told Arab News.

“We know that it’s very easy for Daesh to strap on a suicide vest and blow themselves up at a church or outside a marketplace,” he said.

“You can kind of import the ideology and the package deal to conduct terrorism.”

But in an organized way, he added, “it looks like they are definitely diminished.”

“I’m quite impressed with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This clearly is something.”

Source: Arab News

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 Bihar: Saffron Flag Planted on Muzaffarpur Mosque on Ram Navami

Apr 12, 2022

New Delhi: On Ram Navami (April 10), a man in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur reportedly climbed on top of a mosque and placed a saffron flag on the structure, while others part of the same Hindu procession as him cheered and egged him on. A video of the incident has gone viral on social media.

A group of Hindus took out a procession in front of the Dak Bangla Masjid in Mohammadpur village on Ram Navami, NDTV reported.

Across several states, processions using loudspeakers went through Muslim-dominated areas on Ram Navami, leading to communal violence in at least four states. In Gujarat’s Anand, police found an unidentified body after the violence.

Source: The Wire

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Uttar Pradesh: Muslims feel let down in Samajwadi Party

Apr 12, 2022

LUCKNOW: What was initially being seen as the Samajwadi Party’s conscious and strategic decision to shed its image of being a ‘pro-Muslim’ party to blunt the BJP’s strategy to communally polarize 2022 UP assembly polls is now turning into a trouble spot for the party leadership itself.

Veteran Muslim leaders in the SP have started pointing fingers at the party and the leadership for ‘ignoring’ Muslims and ‘not doing enough for the community’.

There is a growing feeling among the Muslims that they are being taken for granted by the SP. There is no prominent Muslim politician who is projected as member of Akhilesh Yadav’s team even just for the name. These things are now being noted by the community which stood by the SP in the assembly polls despite the leadership making no noticeable attempts to appeal to the minorities.

“During the elections Akhilesh avoided siding openly with the Muslims and the community did not mind it knowing pretty well that it was the best way to blunt the BJP’s attempt of polarizing the elections on communal lines. But now when the elections are over, things have to be handled differently,” said a political analyst and Muslim intellectual. He further said: “If the SP is under the impression that the Muslims have no choice but to back the SP, I am not sure if the party is treading the right path.”

It all started with a video clip of party’s sitting MP from Sambhal Shafiqur Rehman Barq that went viral on the social media where the MP can be heard saying that the entire Samajwadi Party was not doing enough for the Muslims. Known for making headlines with his controversial statements in the past too, Barq’s latest utterances found an echo in the Muslim community as well.

The latest in the series is the statement that has originated from jailed SP veteran Azam Khan’s camp. Addressing a gathering of supporters at party office in Rampur on Sunday, Azam Khan’s media incharge Fasahat Khan ‘Shanu’ wondered if chief minister Yogi Adityanath was right when he said Akhilesh Yadav doesn’t want Azam Khan to be out of jail.

Source: Times Of India

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Silverline, Thiruvananthapuram And Kasaragod, Rail Project Threatens To Cut Through 8th Century Mosque Courtyard

12th April 2022

By George Poikayil

KASARAGOD: An eighth century mosque, believed to be the second oldest in India, will suffer damage if K-Rail decides not to change the alignment of SilverLine, the proposed semi high-speed rail line connecting Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod. As per the project’s provisional alignment, the 529.45-km rail line will cut through the courtyard and graveyard of Malik Deenar Juma Masjid at Thalangara.

The mosque comes 1.5km after the proposed SilverLine station in Kasaragod. It is believed to have been built around AD 720-740 by Malik Dinar of Basra, one of the first Muslim scholars who came to India to propagate Islam.

His grave (Mazar) at the Thalangara mosque will not be affected. But a revered Mazar of an unknown commander of the Marakkars will have to be razed if the alignment is not revised, said Malik Deenar Masjid Committee secretary A Abdul Rahman, who is also the district general secretary of Indian Union Muslim League.

In the 16th century, when the Portuguese were running over the coastal belt from Kozhikode to Ullal in Dakshina Kannada, the soldiers of Kunjali Marakkar, the naval chieftain of Samoothiri (Zamorin), had pitched their tent at the mosque, said Islamic scholar and qazi of Mangaluru and Keezhur Twaqa Ahmed Azhari Kasiyarakam.

In a battle in Kasaragod, many guerillas of the Marakkars died. “This mazar on the southeast corner of the mosque belongs to one of their commanders. We don’t know his name but for centuries, seafarers and fishermen have offered dua here before hitting the sea,” said Twaqa Ahmed, who has authored several books on the mosque’s history.

Councillor of Thalangara, Deenar Nagar Zakariya M said around 70 houses in his ward (No 30) alone would have to be razed for the project. “But instead of sharing the details of the proposal with the people, they send police to thrust the project on us. The government will have to change its tact,” he said.

Many houses will be razed in Nellikkunnu, where the service area for SilverLine is proposed. “But if the SilverLine goes through the coastal area, 50m from the grand mosque, many houses and the mosque can be saved,” said Kasaragod municipal chairman V M Muneer. The mosque committee has written a letter to the chief minister asking him to save the grand mosque.

4,000 graves, including the Mazar of a Marakkar commander, an orphanage, a smaller masjid and a school of the mosque may have to be razed if alignment is not changed

Work put on hold

Source: New Indian Express

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Onus on Muslims to not hurt Hindu sentiments: Yatnal

Apr 11, 2022

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Basanagouda Patil Yatnal on Sunday said the onus is on the Muslim community to ensure Hindu sentiments are not hurt, amid the ongoing controversy over halal meat and loudspeakers in mosques, among others.

“For every action, there is a reaction. They (Muslims) have to live with Hindus in this country. They have to ensure that they do not hurt the sentiments of Hindus. Their (Muslim) leaders speaking has made people angry and there is a reaction for these actions,” said the Bijapur legislator.

His statements come a day after an elderly Muslim watermelon seller’s shop was vandalised by members of the Sri Rama Sene in Karnataka’s Dharwad district, about 400 kms from Bengaluru.

The incident, videos of which went viral on social media, added to the growing communal tensions under the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP-ruled government.

Several pushcarts owned by Muslims were also vandalised by members of the right-wing group near Sri Nuggikeri Hanumantha temple.

Since the hijab row, right-wing groups have targeted the Muslim community on issues like halal meat, azaan, restricting members of minority groups to take part in Hindu religious fairs, asking people not to buy mangoes or use cabs owned and operated by non-Hindus.

On Sunday, former chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) leader, HD Kumaraswamy, paid the watermelon cart seller ₹10,000 to restart his business, adding to the calls on social media to seek financial help for the victims.

In a series of tweets, the former chief minister hit out at Bommai for not initiating action against the outfits attacking Muslim shopkeepers around the temples.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Two terrorists killed in Kulgam gunfight, two cops wounded

Apr 12, 2022

SRINAGAR: Two terrorists were killed and as many cops wounded in a firefight at Khurbatpora area in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Monday night. IGP (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar said it was the same group of terrorists that had managed to escape following a brief fire exchange in Chaki Samad area last week, adding that three Pakistani terrorists have been slain in the past two days.

“One Pakistani terrorist (codename Chacha) and one hybrid terrorist killed. Two police personnel also injured. They are being evacuated to hospital. Encounter going on: IGP Kashmir,” tweeted Kashmir Zone Police.
Source: Times Of India

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4 Sri Ram Sene men held in Karnataka for smashing Muslim vendor's stall

Apr 12, 2022

DHARWAD: Karnataka Police on Monday arrested four persons attached to the Sri Ram Sene in connection with vandalising a fruit shop owned by a Muslim vendor in Dharwad district.

The arrested persons were identified as Chidananda Kalal, Kumar Kattimani, Mylarappa Guddappanavar and Mahalinga Aigali.

The police took into custody after Nabisaab, the vendor, lodged a police complaint.

The Dharwad Rural police have lodged an FIR against eight persons.

Since 15 years, Nabisaab's shop has been operation from the premises of the Nuggikeri Hanuman temple.

Source: Times Of India

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NIA court to frame charges against Yasin Malik for colluding with Pak-based outfits

Apr 12, 2022

SRINAGAR: A special NIA court in Jammu will frame charges on April 18 against Kashmiri separatist Yasin Malik in a terror-funding and cross-border criminal conspiracy case, in which his co-accused include Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.

The former head of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, the outfit held responsible for putting the Valley on the long and winding road to decades of armed insurrection, is already facing trial for a terror attack 32 years ago, in which four unarmed IAF personnel were shot and killed.

Special NIA Judge Praveen Singh on Monday postponed the hearing against Yasin and a few others by a week as the police couldn't produce two of the jailed accused in court.

Besides Yasin, those awaiting trial for allegedly waging war against the state include former MLA Rashid Engineer, businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali and Bitta Karate, the once-dreaded terrorist known for spearheading a series of terror attacks targeting Kashmiri Pandits.

While framing charges against terror kingpins Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin under the IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on March 16, the special judge said a long line of Kashmiri secessionists like Yasin allegedly mobilised funds from all possible sources and colluded with Pakistan-based outfits to fuel unrest in J&K.

"The above analysis reflects that the statements of witnesses and documentary evidence have connected almost all the accused with each other, and to a common object of secession, to the commonality of means they were to use, and their close association to terrorist/terrorist organisations under the guiding hand and funding of Pakistani establishment," he said.

Source: Times Of India

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Indictment of Shehbaz, Hamza in money laundering case delayed

April 12, 2022

LAHORE: The indictment of newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz in a Rs16 billion money laundering case was delayed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) due to absence of Mr Sharif and the prosecution team.

Hamza Shehbaz along with his legal team appeared before a special court (Central-I). However, an application for one-time exemption from personal appearance was filed on behalf of Mr Sharif on account of his election as prime minister in the National Assembly.

A prosecutor told the court that the special prosecution team did not appear as it had no fresh instructions from the FIA.

Presiding Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan asked the defence counsel to ensure the appearance of the suspects so that the charges could be framed to formally start the trial proceedings.

Advocate Amjad Pervez, the defence counsel, argued that the court needed to examine first whether the evidence submitted by the prosecution was enough for the indictment of Shehbaz. He requested the court for a long adjournment in the case, saying he was set to leave for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.

Source: Dawn

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Petition seeking trial of Imran Khan dismissed

Malik Asad

April 12, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday dismissed a petition seeking trial of former prime minister Imran Khan and others over the disclosure of a ‘threatening’ diplomatic cable.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah also imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on the petitioner, Molvi Iqbal Haider, for filing the frivolous petition.

Mr Haider is known as a habitual litigant and in the past had been barred from filing petitions in the Supreme Court.

Through the petition in the IHC, he had sought directions to the federal government for probing the contents of the cable sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America (USA).

IHC says assertions made in memorandum of petition not supported by credible material; imposes Rs100,000 fine on petitioner

The petitioner had also sought a direction for initiating proceedings under the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 against Imran Khan, former minister Fawad Chaudhry and the ambassador.

In addition, he prayed that their names be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).

The petitioner claimed that the treason case against retired Gen Pervez Musharraf had been initiated pursuant to acceptance of his petition in the apex court.

The court noted that as per the settled law, matters relating to foreign affairs of the country were extremely sensitive and, therefore, not justiciable while exercising extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution.

Justice Minallah observed that assertions made in the memorandum of the petition were vague and not supported by any credible material so as to justify making of a diplomatic cable as the subject of the litigation in hand.

The court wondered that the petitioner appeared to be unaware of the importance, sanctity and sensitive nature of a diplomatic cable sent by any Pakistani diplomat from abroad.

Explaining the significance of diplomatic cables, Justice Minallah noted that these were of immense importance and had limited access. They are classified because they enable the diplomats to write assessments and analysis without any hindrances. The diplomats have the assurance that their reporting and assessments would be fully protected and shall not be sensationalised nor politicised.

The court stated that it was a fundamental duty of every diplomat across the globe to share their assessments, analysis and conclusions with their respective countries that they represent. Such assessments and analysis are invariably based on informal conversations with officials of the host governments, adding every diplomat of Pakistan was expected to faithfully and honestly convey what they may hear or see.

Keeping in view the nature of the diplomatic cables and the need to keep them confidential, it is definitely not in public interest nor in the interest of the integrity of the state to make them a subject of political controversies or litigation.

This is likely to have profound consequences for the functioning of the foreign office because it would discourage diplomats from candid, faithful and honest reporting besides undermining the integrity of the communication systems available to them as tools for performing their onerous functions, the court observed.

Justice Minallah warned that by making diplomatic cables the subject of political debate or litigation definitely impacts the credibility, reliability and effectiveness of the working of the foreign office. Bringing sensitive and informal diplomatic conversations into public domain is likely to harm the image of Pakistan and its foreign policy.

He termed making such diplomatic cables controversial against national interest.

Referring to the ‘threatening’ cable, the court order said it was sent by a diplomat who was known for his outstanding professionalism and competence. It was placed before the National Security Committee. It appears that the committee was satisfied that no probe was required.

Such sensitive and complex matters ought to be dealt with by the foreign office rather making them controversial through litigation, added the chief justice.

He said it was an irony that an advocate was alleging treason against a former elected prime minister and seeking a direction for initiation of proceedings against him. The rhetoric of treason is deprecated. No citizen can claim to be more patriotic than the other.

Likewise, no citizen has the right to declare others as having committed treason. Every citizen is presumed to be patriotic and loyal to the state unless otherwise declared by a competent court of law.

“The allegations and assertions made against a former elected prime minister in the memorandum of the petition are deprecated. Moreover, making the cable sent by a diplomat of Pakistan controversial and subject of litigation is against public interest and the interests of the state,” the court observed.

It warned that dragging diplomats and their classified reporting and assessments into political controversies could undermine Pakistan’s national interests, its diplomacy and external relations.

Source: Dawn

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Alleged attack on mosque and seminary: JUIF demands arrest of PTI workers

By Shahid Hussain Yousafzai

April 12, 2022

TIMERGARA: The workers of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl here on Monday staged a protest outside the office of the district police officer demanding the arrest of those workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who had allegedly vandalized a mosque and madrassa run by the religiopolitical party in Timergara.

The protesters chanted slogans against local police for not registering the first information report (FIR) against those who were allegedly involved in the attack on the madrassa and torturing its students.

Chanting slogans against the government, they marched on the road from Timergara to Balambat. The charged PTI supporters on Sunday night had allegedly attacked the mosque and the madrassa in Timergara to express anger over the ouster of Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote.

The PTI workers allegedly tortured the students at the seminary. Four students were injured in the incident. Speaking on the occasion, JUIF district amir Maulana Sirajuddin and others asked the district police officer to lodge the FIR against those involved in the attack.

However, the local PTI leaders and MPs denied involvement in the incident and termed the allegations baseless. Some PTI workers in Lower Dir turned to social media and condemned the attack demanding action against those involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, the JUIF has taken exception to the alleged attacks on mosques and religious leaders by the frenzied workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and asked the government to take action against the perpetrators.

In a joint statement issued here by JUIF provincial President Maulana Attaur Rahman and General Secretary Ataul Haq condemned the recent attack on the mosque in Timergara and bullying of religious clerics in Swat and Mardan.

They said that former prime minister Imran Khan, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and PTI were responsible for pushing the country towards civil war by inciting the workers to violence. They said the government should take action against perpetrators or else their workers would be forced to take the law into their hands in the same manner and give a quid pro quo response to the PTI.

They said that Imran Khan had been tasked with creating chaos in Pakistan under an international agenda after paralyzing the country economically. The JUIF leaders said the nation had thwarted the international conspiracy. They said that Imran Khan and his followers had gone mad after being ousted from power.

Source: The News

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Imran's gambit for a new goal: early elections

Apr 12, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Ousted Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Monday appeared to find his second wind in early signs of the public buying into his narrative of a "foreign conspiracy" behind the no-trust vote that he lost, ostensibly because he always had an "independent approach" to governance.

Criticised often by his opponents for an alleged lack of interest in attending parliamentary proceedings, Imran was among the first Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers to reach the National Assembly ahead of voting to pick the country's next PM.

He arrived to cheers and slogans from the PTI lawmakers already assembled there and proceeded to chair a meeting that set the stage for what was to follow. Barring Imran, the group next went inside the assembly hall, where former foreign minister and PTI's nominee for the PM's chair, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, made a lengthy speech on how the opposition brought down an elected government at the bidding of a foreign power. The PTI lawmakers then walked out.

Imran, who had focused on mobilising public opinion in the weeks leading to the no-trust motion being moved in the National Assembly, has appeared increasingly confident that his strategy is working.

For a PM whose popularity had been in free fall because of perceived poor governance amid an economic crisis, Imran now appears politically more sinned against than sinning. He has also been tactfully taking credit for things like the approval of a resolution by the UN General Assembly to observe March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

In an almost daily live telecast featuring him in the run-up to last Saturday's post-midnight unravelling of the opposition's campaign to oust him, Imran sought to convince the people of Pakistan that his entire struggle was "for freedom" in the face of foreign meddling.

"It's for the nation to choose whether to go on the path of freedom or slavery of the opposition," he would say.

Like some of his predecessors did, Imran's final days in office were spent playing the religious card, usually a failsafe strategy in Pakistan, to sway public opinion in his favour even as the opposition and his estranged allies ganged up against him. In one speech, he warned people that they would be answerable to God if they failed to differentiate between good and evil. He frequently quoted Quranic verses in most of his recent rallies.

As hordes of PTI supporters responded to Imran's call and took to the streets across Pakistan on Sunday to protest his removal from office, the construct of his fightback seemed to be coming together.

"Izzat dene wala Allah hai (It is God who gives someone respect)," Imran declared, referring to the protests.

Source: Times Of India

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Shehbaz Sharif sworn-in as new Prime Minister of Pakistan

Apr 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif was sworn-in as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan on Monday, hours after ousted premier Imran Khan's lawmakers resigned en masse, signalling continued political instability in the coup-prone country.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani administered the oath of office to 70-year-old Shehbaz in President Dr Arif Alvi's absence, who went on 'sick' leave ahead of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader's inauguration.

Alvi, who belongs to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf of Imran Khan, had dissolved the National Assembly on advise of then prime minister Khan. He was advised to continue discharging his constitutional duties by his party.

Earlier, the National Assembly elected Shehbaz as the new prime minister after his rival candidate from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party Shah Mahmood Qureshi boycotted the voting to elect the premier.

"Sharif has secured 174 votes... and has been declared as prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan," said Speaker Ayaz Sadiq who presided over the session after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri said his conscience did not allow him to conduct the session.

In the House of 342, the winning candidate should get support of at least 172 lawmakers.

Shehbaz will now form a new government that can remain in place until elections are due in August 2023. However, most of his allies are keen for early elections.

The process of electing the new leader of the house began on Sunday after Khan was removed from office through a no-confidence vote, becoming the first premier in the country's history to be sent home after losing the trust of the House.

Pakistan has struggled with political instability since its formation in 1947 with multiple regime changes and military coups. No prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term.

The new prime minister would have to face not only the unruly PTI taking to the streets but a brittle economy that needs a very careful handling. There are a lot of expectations of the masses from the new leadership to control inflation, which is a tough task.

Shehbaz's PML-N has only 86 seats and the rest of numerical support has come from the coalition partners who apparently has nothing in common except their rivalry for Khan, and it will be a big challenge for him to keep them calm and satisfied.

Soon after his election, Shehbaz in his inaugural speech in Parliament raised the issue of abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and alleged that the people in the Valley were bleeding and Pakistan will provide them with "diplomatic and moral support" besides raising the matter at every international fora.

Shehbaz, the younger brother of former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said he wanted good relations with India, but it cannot be achieved without the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

He attacked Khan for not making "serious and diplomatic efforts" when India abrogated the Article 370 in August 2019.

"When the forceful encroachment was done in August 2019 and Article 370 was abrogated, what serious efforts did we make...what serious diplomacy did we try...Kashmiris' blood is flowing on roads of Kashmir and the Kashmir Valley is red with their blood," he said.

Shehbaz also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come forward to address the Kashmir issue so that the two countries could concentrate on tackling poverty, unemployment, shortage of medicines and other issues.

Modi was among the first world leaders to congratulate Shehbaz.

"Congratulations to H. E. Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on his election as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. India desires peace and stability in a region free of terror, so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people," Modi tweeted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also congratulated Shehbaz.

The younger Sharif is known as an able administrator who served thrice as chief minister of Punjab, the largest province of the country and greatly transformed the road infrastructure of the province.

Unlike his brother Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz enjoys cordial relations with the powerful army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75 years of existence and has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy, according to experts.

The successful completion of the process to carry through the no-confidence motion and elect the new leader of the house has for the time being ended the political instability. But the resignation by PTI and its decision to launch protest rallies has seeds of a fresh round of chaos.

Members of Khan's party took out rallies in several cities of Pakistan on Sunday to protest his ouster through the no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition.

Protest rallies were organised in cities like Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Malakand, Multan Khanewal, Khyber, Jhang and Quetta, with demonstrators shouting slogans against the Opposition.

Khan on Sunday tweeted that today marked the beginning of a "freedom struggle" against what he said was a "foreign conspiracy of regime change" in Pakistan.

Foreign policy challenges are also no less daunting for Shehbaz, especially after the allegations of former prime minister Khan against the US in the context of "conspiracy" to remove him.

In his speech in Parliament, Shehbaz said Pakistan enjoyed a historical relationship with the US and would never like to spoil it despite many ups and downs in the relations.

"We want to expand the relations on the basis of equality," he said.

He talked about the special relations with China, calling the country as "the most faithful friend and a partner through thick and thin".

"No matter what happens, no one can deprive the two countries of their friendship...This friendship will last till the day of judgment," he said.

He also announced to speed up work on the projects being under the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He also urged the world to help Afghanistan and expressed his fears that any instability in Afghanistan would impact Pakistan in the form of an influx of refugees.

Shehbaz also highlighted special ties with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, Iran, the UK, the EU and the Gulf countries and said Pakistan would build ties and expand relations.

On the domestic front, he announced that a high-level briefing would be organised for the parliament to ascertain facts about the "conspiracy" for foreign intervention for regime change in Pakistan as alleged by Khan and his party.

To support the low paid workers and pensioners, he announced to increase the minimum wage to Rs 25,000 and a 10 per cent increase in pension of former civil and military employees. He also announced a subsidy on flour for the poor during the month of Ramzan.

Source: Times Of India

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Dissolve NAB and hold its employees accountable, Abbasi tells new govt

April 12, 2022

PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday told the newly-elected government, which is being led by his party's president, Shehbaz Sharif, to dissolve the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and hold its employees accountable.

"NAB's employees looted and tortured people for years. It's time they should be held accountable," he said at a media talk in Islamabad today morning.

Abbasi came down on the chairman of the bureau, accusing him of "being fully under control" of PTI Chairman and former PM Imran Khan. "He used to take instructions [from the previous government]."

He claimed that there was a minister in Imran Khan's office who used to issue orders to the NAB chief regarding lodging fake cases, arresting people and defaming them. "This is your NAB chairman ... who stayed quiet on Imran Khan's corruption," the PML-N leader added.

He also lamented that NAB couldn't prove a single reference or inquiry against PML-N leaders in the last four years. "Why didn't they investigate people who were involved in corruption worth billions [of rupees] and were sitting in the federal cabinet," Abbasi demanded.

Now, he announced, was time to hold NAB accountable. "We are not taking revenge from anyone. We just want to expose the reality of NAB in front of the public. Accountability exists in the country but if you want to indulge in corruption, go to NAB," Abbasi said.

He also revealed that the government would move courts for the installation of cameras inside NAB courts so that the "public knows who is actually involved in corruption".

"We won't arrest anyone. Weak people like the NAB chairman will be the first person to arrested Imran Khan's people. But this is not our way," Abbasi pointed out, adding that the PML-N had always maintained its honour and respect in politics.

Whatever happened in the last four years, he reiterated, would be kept in front of the public.

PTI, PML-N at odds over NAB

Yesterday, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan following Imran Khan's ouster after a successful no-confidence movement.

As he was being ousted from power, Imran Khan claimed the joint opposition, which was behind the no-confidence move against him, wanted to form a government just to de-fang the watchdog to protect their "looted wealth" and get away with the corruption investigations under way against them.

NAB and its powers have been a sticking point between the PML-N and the PTI for the past three years, with several PML-N and PPP leaders facing cases lodged by the corruption watchdog.

When the PTI came to power in 2018, Imran Khan had claimed that the accountability bureau would unveil Shehbaz and Nawaz Sharif's corruption to the public and punish them for looting the public's money.

Meanwhile, then-opposition parties PPP and PML-N repeatedly accused the Imran-led PTI government and the corruption watchdog of a biased, one-sided, and politically motivated witch-hunt. They also said that the government and NAB had developed a nexus to target opposition members.

The rift increased when the government promulgated the National Accounta­bility (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2021 last year. The law stripped the Sup­reme Judicial Council (SJC) of the powers to remove the NAB chairman and authorised the president to do so.

Source: Dawn

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PPP divided over Bilawal serving as foreign minister

Amir Wasim

April 12, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is divided on the issue of Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari joining the federal cabinet as the country’s new foreign minister in the coalition government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Background interviews with several party leaders confirmed the reports in some media circles that the PPP chairman might become the foreign minister, though in-house consultation on the matter was still ongoing.

There are two camps in the PPP. One believes Mr Bhutto-Zardari should go for the foreign ministry slot, as it would provide him with an experience of handling international affairs and ultimately benefit him if he becomes the country’s prime minister in future.

Members of the other camp, however, think the PPP chairman should not become a part of the federal cabinet under Mr Sharif, as it would undermine his status of being the head of the second-largest party in the ruling coalition. This camp also believes PPP workers may not like to see their chairman working under the prime minister of the PML-N — PPP’s main competitor in politics.

One camp believes the role will benefit him as future PM; others say working under Shehbaz may not sit well with party workers

“I have advised my chairman to become the country’s foreign minister,” said a senior PPP parliamentarian close to Mr Bhutto-Zardari.

He elaborated that 64 per cent of the country’s population comprised people below the age of 30 years, and Mr Bhutto-Zardari was a representative of the youth. Moreover, he said, Bilawal had immense goodwill in the world due to his mother, Benazir Bhutto, which would help him in dealing with international issues with world leaders.

This could help him create a good following among those people who had not seen former prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, and it would ultimately benefit the PPP in future, the party leader said.

He said Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s experience as the foreign minister would strengthen his case of becoming a candidate for the premier. However, he said there had been no formal discussion on the matter and a decision would be made in a day or two.

On the other hand, a senior PPP leader from the second camp insisted that Mr Bhutto-Zardari should not get any cabinet portfolio because then he would not be able to pay attention to party affairs and, as a result, the PPP could suffer in the next general elections.

Interestingly, outgoing foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his speech on the floor of the National Assembly also advised the young PPP chairman not to become the foreign minister under Mr Sharif.

Mr Qureshi, who also served as the foreign minister during the previous PPP government under former president Asif Ali Zardari, said it did not suit Mr Bhutto-Zardari, the grandson of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the son of Benazir Bhutto, to accept the foreign ministry under Shehbaz Sharif because the PPP workers would not accept this.

Meanwhile, sources in the new administration told Dawn that so far they had not worked out any formula for distributing portfolios in the federal cabinet and nominations for key constitutional posts of the speaker and the deputy speaker.

A senior PPP leader said they were more interested in getting constitutional offices instead of portfolios in the federal cabinet. He said two constitutional offices had already become vacant after the resignation of the speaker and the deputy speaker. He said the opposition was also planning to remove Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and then definitely the PPP would like to get the office.

According to him, the office of the president could also become vacant either because of the resignation of President Dr Arif Alvi or through his planned impeachment.

The PPP leader then, in a lighter vein, said they feared that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman could also demand the office of the president. In that situation, he said, it would become very difficult for the PPP to accept the Maulana as the president, which might not be beneficial for the country as well.

Source: Dawn

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Nawaz has no plans to return soon despite Shehbaz’s election as PM

Zulqernain Tahir

April 12, 2022

LAHORE: Despite Shehbaz Sharif finally taking over as the chief executive of the country, his elder brother Nawaz Sharif’s immediate return from London has been ruled out by his party, the PML-N.

After the junior Sharif managed to become the premier, some PML-N leaders are excited and wish their party’s supreme leader is among them soon. However, there were a number of factors before Nawaz could book a flight back to Pakistan, they believed.

Talking to Dawn about Nawaz’s possible plans to return, a couple of senior PML-N leaders said the party leaders and workers were very happy to see Sharif junior donning the robe of premiership, and at the same time looked forward to seeing Nawaz Sharif among them in the coming days.

“Nawaz Sharif has no immediate plans to return. The Sharif family thinks that his early return will establish the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) propaganda that he does not have serious health issues,” a senior PML-N leader from Punjab said. “The other factor Nawaz will weigh before deciding to return is how the 11-party coalition government functions in the coming months in the face of the growing PTI pressure for early elections.”

In reply a question about a tentative date for Nawaz’s return, another leader close to the former premier said: “Either just before the next polls or right after. If Nawaz gets some relief in the corruption cases ahead of the next elections, the party will press him to return to spearhead the PML-N’s election campaign. To match Imran Khan’s canvassing, the PML-N needs Nawaz around.”

He claimed that since the new Shehbaz-led government would most likely pursue the cases against Nawaz aggressively to secure relief for him, Imran Khan’s party had rolled up its sleeves to ‘orchestrate propaganda’ over the plausible development.

On the other hand, the PML-N also sticks to its earlier stated position on the return of Nawaz. “Mian sahib will return to Pakistan once his consultants allow him to travel,” PML-N Punjab spokesperson Azma Bokhari told Dawn.

She said that after Mr Shehbaz’s election as the premier, the party workers have become emotional and want Mr Nawaz to return soon, but this decision has to be taken on the advice of his doctors. “He will be here at an appropriate time,” she added.

An ‘ailing’ Nawaz has been living in London since November 2019 for medical treatment after the high court allowed him a four-week reprieve. Nawaz was serving seven-year imprisonment in the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore in the Al-Azizia corruption case before his departure.

Prior to his exit, the now-PM Shehbaz had submitted an undertaking to the Lahore High Court ensuring his elder brother would return “within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan”.

In August last year, Nawaz Sharif filed an appeal with the British Immigration Tribunal after the Home Department refused to extend his stay in the country on “medical grounds” any further.

Source: Dawn

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PTI workers rally against Imran’s ouster under ‘conspiracy’

April 12, 2022

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Inasf activists staged protest demonstrations in different cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday night against the ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan under an alleged foreign conspiracy.

The demonstrations continued till early hours of Monday.

In Peshawar, the PTI workers had started assembling at the press club at around 10pm. Around 2,000 activists were present on the occasion.

Similarly, the protesters also blocked the busy University Road near Tehkal area and Jahangirabad, blocking the artery.

The PTI workers were holding party flags and banners, chanting slogans against the US and the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to dethrone former prime minister Imran Khan.

Minister for higher education department Kamran Bangash was leading the protest demonstration outside the press club.

In Swat, a large number of youth led by elected representatives took out rallies against the ouster of former prime minister through the vote of no-confidence.

The protesters chanted slogans against the JUI-F, PML-N, PPP and other allied parties, and also showed concern over the Supreme Court verdict against former deputy speaker’s ruling.

The call for protest was given by PTI Malakand division president, MPA Fazal Hakim Khan, asking workers to gather at the Nishat Chowk in Mingora after Isha (evening) prayers.

Addressing the rally at Nishat Chowk, the speakers alleged that Imran Khan was dethroned through a foreign conspiracy. They claimed Imran Khan wanted to free the country from the clutches of west, but the ‘anti-Pakistan elements’ did not want it.

On the occasion, Fazal Hakim claimed that the US was responsible for Imran Khan’s ouster.

In Abbottabad, workers and leaders of PTI, including newly-elected local body members, took out a procession on Sunday night to show solidarity with their ousted leader.

They were carrying banners and placards and chanting slogans against overthrow of the PTI government. The speakers, including sitting MPAs and MNA Ali Khan Jadoon, alleged that all corrupt leaders were playing in the hands of Pakistan’s enemies.

They warned that Imran Khan would come back to power with a thumbing majority.

In Mohmand, a protest rally was held in Mian Mandi Bazaar of Haleemzai tehsil in support of Imran Khan.

A large number of PTI workers participated in the protest demonstration. The rally was organised by PTI Mohmand chapter, which was attended by senior leaders, including Sajjad Mohmand, Rahim Shah, Maulana Amirullah Junaidi, Fakhar Alam Mohmand, Tajbar Khan and others.

In Haripur, the PTI workers took out a rally against the ouster of Imran Khan as the prime minister on Sunday evening.

The rally, which was led by former federal minister Omar Ayub Khan and provincial irrigation minister Arshad Ayub Khan, started from the hujra of PTI MPA Akbar Ayub Khan and turned into a public meeting at the Siddique-i-Akbar Chowk.

The participants were carrying PTI flags and banners inscribed with slogans against the removal the prime minister.

Omar Ayub, Arshad Ayub, Akbar Ayub and others addressed the protesters and highlighted the success stories of the PTI’s federal and provincial governments. They termed the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan as an alleged international conspiracy orchestrated by the opposition parties. They claimed that PTI would soon return to power with a two-third majority.

In Shangla, the PTI activists poured onto roads in Bisham, Puran, Chakesar, Martung and Alpuri against Imran Khan’s ouster.

The protesters chanted slogans against the PDM and the US over alleged conspiracy to remove the PTI government.

In Bajaur, PTI workers held a rally against the ouster of former prime minister on Sunday night.

Hundreds of party activists and local leaders participated in the rally held at the main Chowk in Khar Bazaar.

Provincial minister for social welfare Anwarzeb Khan and senior leaders addressed the gathering.

The speakers said the rally was meant to protest the ‘unlawful’ ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan.

Source: Dawn

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South Asia


Kabul Establishes Diplomatic Ties with Russia, Bidding Formal Recognition

11 Apr 2022

Kabul, Afghanistan – The Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan in its bid for formal recognition established diplomatic ties with Russian government, adding up to the list of at least four other neighboring countries who have previously accredited the Taliban-appointed diplomats.

China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan have accredited the Islamic Emirate’s appointed diplomat in recent months, though all had initially refused to recognize the 8-month-old government in Afghanistan.

This came after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last August, which lead the United States and other Western countries to shutting down their diplomatic posts in Kabul. They, however, have maintained contact with the group to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aids into the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday confirmed the Afghan Embassy in Moscow was handed over to the Islamic Emirates appointed diplomat, asserting they have the right to lead Afghan embassies for better services to its fellow citizen. 

“The government’s envoy received credential form Moscow. We thank Russia for this move and hope to provide consular services for our compatriots in the country,” said Inammullah Samangani, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirates, as TOLOnews quoted.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova regards such accomplishment a resumption of full-fledged diplomatic relation, saying it was too early to “talk about official recognition of the Taliban.”

“We regard this as a step towards the resumption of full-fledged diplomatic contract,” said Zakharova, as Voice of America quoted, adding it was early to discuss full recognition of the Islamic Emirate and any further details could cause confusion among the group.

“Now is not the time to take any steps to lend credibility to the Taliban or normalize relations,” the spokesperson said in response to a query from VOA. “This move sends the wrong signal to the Taliban.”

The recent diplomatic ties have triggered numerous perspectives on the objective of such a move, with Russia clarifying its intention of the tie being solely for the diplomatic purposes. The Islamic Emirate, however, sees it as a milestone towards world recognition.

The Islamic Emirate has constantly persuaded in its bid to gain formal recognition from the United Nations and the world but has repeatedly faced rejection, paralyzing a number of government sectors across the country.

Source: Khaama Press

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Akke Rahman first British Bangladeshi and Muslim to climb Mount Everest while fasting

Ansar Ahmed Ullah

Apr 10, 2022

Akke Rahman (39) from Oldham in the UK, will climb Mount Everest tomorrow April (11, 2022), while fasting during Ramadan.

He will attempt to make history to be the first British Bangladeshi  Muslim to climb Mount Everest. Akke Rahman has already set a UK record time after climbing Mount Elbrus, Europe's highest peak, which stands 5,642 metres above sea level in Russia, within 24 hours, and only five days after recovering from coronavirus.

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"When I was visiting a local shop asking for support for my campaign of climbing Mount Everest, people said I was crazy for even thinking of doing this challenge. If helping people who are in dire need makes me a crazy individual, then we should all become crazy," said Akke Rahman, who was describing his experience of finding support from his community as he described "people think it's not an Asian or Bengali 'thing' to climb Mount Everest. It was important for me to break this concept and keep a legacy for my children."

Akke also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Blanc, the highest mountains of Africa and the Alps, respectively. He later completed Mount Amadablam, one of the highest mountains in the Himalayas at 6,856m.

Akke's passion for climbing and a desire to support those in need meant that he completed all the above expeditions within a year.

"We are living in a challenging time, we thought Covid-19 was difficult, now look at the terrible situation in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Burma. When I see mothers struggling to feed their children and kids rolling around hungry, it really impacts me to my core. They are crying out for help. I need to do something to help them," he explained.

The father of three young children, Akke, lives with his wife Hena Rahman in Oldham.

Hena accepts the risks but candidly asserted, "I always tell him how these expeditions are dangerous and ask him not to go, but he is a stubborn husband."

Despite the risks and challenges of looking after three young children, Hena expressed her pride in her husband's determination, "I'm extremely proud of what Akke will be doing in order to support vulnerable refugees, women and children. All I want is his safe return. That is the most important matter."

Supporters have started donating in thousands and the figure is expected to rise by the end of Ramadan.

Source: The Daily Star

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RSF to UN:  act quickly to protect Afghan Journalists

12 Apr 2022

Reporters Without Border (RSF) expressed concern over the freedom of media and the situation of Afghan journalists and urged the United Nations to protect the lives of journalists as arbitrary arrests are on the rise.

RSF wrote this to the UN’s new special rapporteur on the Human rights situation in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett.

In the letter, RSF drew the attention of Bennett to the claim made by the chief spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Zabiullah Mujahid about the March 2015 media law is still in effect but the press freedom situation has worsened in the country and journalists are being arrested arbitrarily.

The letter further added that restrictions include a ban on transmissions of BBC, VOA, and DW by Afghan channels in the country.

“The harassment of journalists has intensified as a result of the new restrictions, especially since the start of 2022, causing widespread alarm within the media. Threats and arbitrary arrests have increased and officials with the various security services, especially the intelligence services (Istikhbarat) can now ban broadcasts and programs and can go directly to media outlets to arrest journalists or other employees” reads the letter.

Source: Khaama Press

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Iran Asks for Security of its Diplomatic Agencies in Afghanistan

12 Apr 2022

Following the protests of Afghan people in Kabul, Khost, and the burning of the door of Iran’s consulate in western Herat province, the Foreign Ministry of Iran has asked the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to ensure the security of their embassy in Kabul and consulates.

Video clips that went viral on social media show that protestors have burned the door of Iran’s consulate in Herat province and are throwing stones at the agency.

The Afghan protesters are taking to the streets to protest against the ongoing ill-treatment of Afghan refugees in Iran by the country’s people and police forces.

Protestors asked Iran’s government to stop the ongoing torture of Afghan refugees.

In reaction to the protests, the spokesperson of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Saeed khatibzada said, this was the responsibility of the Afghan government to ensure the security of Iran’s diplomatic agencies in the country.

Earlier, Iran’s embassy in Kabul in a press release said that the ongoing ill-treatment is a foreign conspiracy that is aimed at disturbing bilateral relations between the two countries.

Source: Khaama Press

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Former Provincial Governor of Jowzjan Arrested in Iran over Recruiting Militants

12 Apr 2022

Iranian media have reported that the former governor of Jowzjan province and member of the Junbesh Meli-party- Hashim Raees has been arrested in the country over enlisting militants charges.

Mashriq News has reported that Hashim is a close aide of Marshal Abdur Rashid Dostum and was recruiting gunmen for the Ukraine war.

Hashim Raees reportedly planned to create a military battalion of Afghan refugees in Iran and send them to Ukraine in return for money and fake citizenship.

Iranian forces have seized over $300,000 from his home.

Iran’s government and Marshal Dostum’s Junbesh Meli have not commented on the issue yet.

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


2 denied leave to compel AG to prosecute converts over alleged insults

V Anbalagan

April 12, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has dismissed a leave application for judicial review to challenge the attorney-general’s discretion in not prosecuting two Muslim converts for allegedly insulting non-Islamic faiths.

Judge Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh said the applicants – S Sivakumar and M Rajasegaran – had not rebutted the legality of the attorney-general’s decision not to file charges.

“The judge said that based on last year’s Federal Court ruling, the court could review the attorney-general’s decision, but the applicants in this case did not show bad faith (by the attorney-general),” said lawyer T Gunaseelan of the ruling delivered online today.

However, he said, Wan Ahmad Farid held that Sivakumar and Rajasegaran had the locus standi to file the judicial review application.

Gunaseelan said he has instructions from his clients to file an appeal

Federal Counsel Noor Atiqah Zainal Abidin appeared for the attorney-general.

Sivakumar and Rajasegaran, who filed the application last year, want a declaration that the attorney-general’s decision not to charge Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu and Firdaus Wong as recorded in the Shah Alam magistrates’ court on April 26, 2021, is invalid and must be quashed.

They also want an order from the court for the attorney-general to file charges against the duo, said to be linked to controversial preacher Zakir Naik.

The attorney-general, who was named as the respondent, opposed the leave application.

The action was filed after deputy public prosecutor Ainul Amirah told the magistrate that the attorney-general had no plans to prosecute Zamri and Firdaus.

Ainul said the attorney-general was unwilling to prosecute Perlis-based preacher Zamri and Multiracial Reverted Muslims founder and president Firdaus as police had classified their cases as “no further action” (NFA).

Former air steward S Shashi Kumar is attempting to conduct a private prosecution against the duo.

Sivakumar, who affirmed an affidavit in support of the judicial review application, said the attorney-general was given the discretionary power under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution to institute, conduct and discontinue criminal proceedings.

He said he was aware that Shashi Kumar had started proceedings at the magistrates’ court and that the NFA classification was unreasonable and disproportionate.

He said he lodged a police report against Zamri on April 24, 2019 after finding that the preacher had posted statements on his Facebook page that allegedly insulted the Hindu religion and its rituals.

“This is intended to incite hatred and insult those practising the religion,” he said, adding that there were many others who filed police reports against Zamri.

Sivakumar said he was advised by his lawyers that Zamri had violated several penal laws and should be prosecuted.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Indonesia passes landmark bill on sexual violence

April 12, 2022

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s parliament passed today a long-awaited bill to tackle sexual violence, aimed at providing a legal framework for victims to secure justice in a country where sexual abuse has often been regarded as a private matter.

A majority of lawmakers backed the bill at the plenary session in parliament, overcoming opposition from some conservative groups in the world’s biggest Muslim majority country after six years of deliberation.

“We hope that the implementation of this law will resolve sexual violence cases,” speaker of the house Puan Maharani said.

The bill has been broadly welcomed by activists, though some have objected to its limited scope, with only some sex crimes included and the omission of a specific clause on rape which the government has said will be included in other legislation.

“This is surely a step forward,” said Asfinawati, a law expert at Jentera school of law, who has assisted sexual violence victims, while noting definitions of rape currently covered under the criminal code should still be made clearer.

Sexual violence complaints have been rising in Indonesia, where prosecuting sex crimes has been complicated by the absence of a dedicated legal framework, while victims’ concerns of being shamed during questioning have deterred many from speaking up, according to activists.

The final draft of the law includes prison terms of up to 12 years for crimes of physical sexual abuse, both in marriage and outside, 15 years for sexual exploitation, nine years for forced marriage, which include child marriage, and four years for circulating non-consensual sexual content.

It stipulated that a court must compel convicted abusers to pay restitution and authorities to provide counselling to victims.

Under earlier proposals, the legislation would have also covered abortion and provided a clearer definition of what constituted rape.

The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and civil society groups first proposed the idea of legislation a decade ago and a bill was submitted to the house four years later.

In January, president Joko Widodo told his government to expedite new legislation, which seeks to make it easier to build cases and secure convictions.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Mindef urged to form task force on lack of non-Malays in military

Ahimsya Karu

April 12, 2022

PETALING JAYA: A task force should be set up by the defence ministry (Mindef) to get more non-Malay citizens to join the armed forces, says a defence analyst.

Lam Choong Wah, a former fellow at the Research for Social Advancement centre, said the reasons behind the meagre number of non-Malays in the military was already known, but a solution was wanting.

The lack of chances for promotion was the main issue and was an institutional problem, he said.

In the long run, Lam said, a panel led by the Mindef secretary-general should be formed to rectify systemic issues and formulate a blueprint to implement the actions.

According to a 2009 parliamentary reply, Chinese and Indians accounted for 0.3% and 0.9% respectively of active personnel in the armed forces.

The reasons for this “have already been identified by the top brasses”, he said.

More than 13 years on, little has changed, said Lam, who has written a book, “Are We Protected? Malaysian Defence Uncovered” which touches on the issue and the perceived bias in promotions for non-Malay servicemen.

He said there was a need for action “rather than sweeping the ‘well-known problems’ under the carpet”.

Allegations of discrimination in the armed forces were also raised by former diplomat Dennis Ignatius in his recent book “Paradise Lost: Mahathir & The End of Hope”.

He said there had been discrimination in promotions and assignments since the late 1970s.

However, former 1st Infantry Division commander Major-General (rtd) Toh Choon Siang  has dismissed claims of systematic discrimination. He said it was a “pure myth that non-Malays are not keen to join the armed forces because promotion prospects are limited for them”.

Patriot president Brigadier-General (rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji said he was not sure why fewer non-Malays joined the armed forces. “When I joined in 1965, more than 30% (of recruits) were non-Malays, but now we don’t see that.”

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Arab World


Saudi boy scouts resume duties at Haram after two-year hiatus


April 11, 2022

JEDDAH: Saudi scout boys resumed their duties this year in Ramadan after a hiatus of two years following the coronavirus pandemic.

The participating scout boys this year are students aged 17 and above from the Makkah Education Department who began their volunteer work to serve worshippers in the Holy Mosque, in cooperation with the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and Makkah Special Security Forces.

Ziad Qadeer, the head of the scouting activity department of Makkah Education Department, told Arab News that “it aims to upgrade the abilities of the boys to become good individuals who will contribute to building the society in the future.”

Every year, the number of scout boys increases, as new scout units are formed at the three school stages — elementary, intermediate, and high.

More than 160 new scout leaders, who joined the Makkah Education Department, have been trained and are qualified to lead their scouting units this season.

Qadeer said that after the qualified scout boysweare selected “we introduce them to the importance of principles in dealing and communication with worshippers because it is the basis of the service they provide.”

The scout boys are divided into two groups. The first group is assigned to multiple locations on different floors of the Grand Mosque including the mataf (circumambulation), and other praying areas, in addition to distributing iftar meals with approved charities. 

The second group works after the Maghrib prayer until the Taraweeh prayer ends at the Grand Mosque, where the scout boys are tasked with the responsibility of directing worshippers to designated prayer areas, not corridors, to prevent overcrowding and facilitate the smooth movement of worshippers. 

In 2021, scout leaders were only allowed to participate in organizing and assisting worshippers during Ramadan and Hajj season. However this year, all scout boys were allowed to participate in various tasks as life returned to normal.

Source: Arab News

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Syrian President receives delegation of Islamic clergymen in Damascus on Ramadan

April 12, 2022

Bashar al-Assad received on Monday a delegation of Islamic clergymen in Damascus on the occasion of the holy month of Ramdan in the presence of Endowments’ Minister, Mohammad Abdel-Sattar al-Sayyed.

Syrian President al-Assad’s speech concentrated on the role of the religious institution, concepts and terms that would be proposed sometimes with contents that contradict the ideology, and the importance of the clergymen to adopt idioms in a proper way that suits the essence of religion and its purposes.

In this regard, President al-Assad referred to the true concept of the religious reform and renovation terms, affirming that scholars of the religious institution in Syria have crossed important stages in the development of this institution and the reform of wrong concepts that penetrated among the clergymen since long time, and this has directly contributed to reforming the society.

The President considered that the deep notion of the renovation term depends on “our ability to absorb from religion what we can of knowledge in light of the principle that Quran is for all ages and all circumstances.”

President al-Assad also talked about the principle of “Shura,” which means in English ( consultation ), considering that it is very important to propose wider ideas which come in the interest of the whole nation and society, affirming the importance of returning to the main source of legislation, which are the Quran and Hadith.

The President considered that religious institutions in the Islamic world face big and accelerated challenges in terms of ideology or doctrine, particularly the intellectual war, so, these institutions are in need to use equal tools, like education and ethics, traditions and postulates in order to strike the poisonous thinking in society.

Source: ABNA24

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At least one killed, seven injured in explosion near Lebanon’s Sidon: Officials

12 April ,2022

At least one person was killed and seven were injured in an explosion at a scout center affiliated with the Shia Amal Movement near Sidon in southern Lebanon, officials told Reuters early on Tuesday.

The blast demolished the building and army personnel were searching through the rubble for any further casualties, sources added. The explosion also damaged the town hall nearby.

One security source told Reuters the explosion was not an act of sabotage, without disclosing further details.

On December 10, a large blast rocked a Palestinian camp in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre, injuring about a dozen people, according to rescue workers on scene and a Palestinian source inside the camp.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN envoy makes first trip to Yemen capital after truce

11 April ,2022

UN special envoy Hans Grundberg started his first visit to Yemen’s Houthi-held capital Monday, following an April 2 ceasefire.

The Swedish diplomat is scheduled to meet Iran-backed Houthi militia officials during his first Sanaa visit since taking office in September.

“He is looking forward to engaging with Ansar Allah [Houthi] leadership on implementing and strengthening the truce and discussing the way forward,” Grundberg’s office said in a tweet announcing his arrival.

The Houthis took control of Sanaa in 2014, prompting an Arab Coalition military intervention the following year and triggering what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The two-month ceasefire declared at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has largely held.

“Since the start of the truce, we have seen a significant reduction of violence,” Grundberg told a virtual press conference last week.

A Yemeni military source told AFP on Friday that loyalist forces had “repelled a Houthi attack” in southern Marib, the government’s last stronghold in the north of the country.

Grundberg has urged all parties to exercise “restraint”, tweeting that he was “following very closely the latest developments in Marib”.

On Thursday, Yemen’s Riyadh-based President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi announced he was handing over his powers to a new leadership council tasked with reaching a “final political solution” with the Houthis.

The current, renewable truce called for a halt to all ground, air, and sea military operations. Two commercial flights a week can resume in and out of Sanaa, and 18 fuel ships are allowed into the Houthi-held lifeline port of Hodeida.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Makkah is a city embracing cultural, linguistic diversity


April 11, 2022

MAKKAH: It’s no surprise that the people of Makkah are skilled in speaking many languages due to their close and constant interaction with people from all over the world, who come to perform Hajj and Umrah. 

Dr. Hassan Bukhari, the dean of the Institute of Arabic Language for non-Native Speakers, said: “Makkah has unique characteristics that make it a unique model of coexistence and for the convergence of civilizations from all over the world.”

Bukhari told Arab News that Makkah had become a cultural incubator as pilgrims from all over the world come to worship at the Grand Mosque all year long, bringing and sharing their cultural, social, and economic knowledge with the city’s people.

The dean believes that pilgrims are emotionally attached to the Kingdom and show great enthusiasm to learn Arabic — not only to converse but also to understand the language. The people of Makkah, in return, make great efforts to learn the language of their guests.

Often foreigners live in Makkah for economic purposes, where they sometimes intermarry and contribute to developing and enriching the cultural and social fabric of the Arab society. 

Dr. Othman bin Bakr Qazzaz, head of the research and media affairs department at the Institute of Research on Hajj and Umrah, said that the people of Makkah are used to the presence of pilgrims and visitors during the Umrah season, which lasts throughout the year.

He said that the intensive presence of the guests of Allah — who come in millions to Makkah and Madinah — leads to extensive interaction, communication and cultural interaction with the people of Makkah, especially the service providers.

He added: “The society of Makkah achieved this cultural diversity by opening their minds and hearts to receive and accept these new cultures, which has pushed the society toward prosperity.”

Qazzaz said that the gateway for this influence is through the language with which the people of Makkah communicate and interact with the pilgrims and visitors. They mostly pick up the languages through economic means, such as through the abundance of shops around the Grand Mosque, conveyance, or by providing services to pilgrims at the Grand Mosque. Hence, a person from Makkah usually knows many languages, or even various Arabic dialects.

Since people from all over the world come to Makkah and Madinah for Hajj and Umrah, Saudi Arabia has not only trained its people in many languages to facilitate the pilgrims but also put up signs in various languages in the two Holy Cities. The translators usually interpret fatwas, provide guidance, answer queries, speeches from the day of Arafah during Hajj, snippets from biography of Prophet Muhammad and Holy Qur’an.

He added: “This cultural exchange between the people of Makkah and the guests of Allah contributed in keeping the positive impact and image of the people of Makkah in the minds of the guests of Allah, as the people of Makkah accepted them and received them well as they are merciful, hospitable and compassionate toward the guests of Allah. In addition, they offered commodities and services to them in an atmosphere of serenity and noble spiritual sentiments.”

The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims to receive 30 million visitors by 2030. Hence, Qazzaz believes that the guests of Allah should be given the best experience through digital transformation. He said that the current generation should enroll themselves in specialized institutes to learn more languages.

Source: Arab News

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Hamas stops Islamic Jihad from military escalation with Israel in Gaza

Rasha Abou Jalal

April 11, 2022

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hamas has made concerted efforts to contain the anger of the Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza Strip, and to prevent it from engaging in a new round of fighting with Israel, in response to the latter’s assassination of three Islamic Jihad members.

Israeli special forces opened fire at the three Islamic Jihad operatives in Jenin in the northern West Bank on April 2, shooting dozens of bullets at their vehicle at the Araba roundabout. Four Israeli soldiers were wounded during the clashes. The Israeli army consequently went on alert and sent new reinforcements along the border with the Gaza Strip.

A senior Hamas source who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity said that his movement does not wish to see any resistance faction carry out military activities against Israel from the Gaza Strip without consensus from the joint operations room. Those 12 factions include Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

Hamas wants to unite and coordinate any political and military position in the face of the Israeli army in clashes and wars, the source continued.

The source added that the operations room is working to maintain the truce between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which took place under Egyptian auspices in May 2021. However, he added, the operations room is escalating attacks in the West Bank and inside Israeli territories.

There has been a recent uptick in Palestinian attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank and inside Israel, with shootings targeting Israeli forces taking place almost daily. Most recently on April 5, four separate shootings targeting Israeli forces and settlements were carried out in West Bank cities. Meanwhile 11 Israelis were killed in attacks at the hands of Palestinians inside Israel between March 15 and 29.

Firing rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Israel would mean "a new, currently undesirable military confrontation with Israel,” the Hamas source said.

“Hamas seeks calm in Gaza, to give the reconstruction efforts a chance and increase the number of Gaza workers inside Israel,” he added. “But if Israel commits a folly in the Gaza Strip, we’ll have to bid the truce goodbye.”

On April 3, Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ politburo, had a phone call with Ziad al-Nakhala, Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad, during which he offered his condolences for the slain operatives in Jenin, stressing the need to strengthen coordination at the political level and on the ground between the two movements.

On the same day, resistance factions in Gaza, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, issued a joint statement that “The Israeli occupation policy will not succeed in isolating any part of our people from the other.”

Leader of the Islamic Jihad movement Ahmed al-Mudallal told Al-Monitor that “the continuation of Israel's crimes against our people and the assassination of the resistance fighters in the West Bank will lead to battles against occupation forces in all arenas, whether in Gaza, the West Bank or the occupied interior [Israel].”

The joint operations room is maintaining the calm in Gaza, “but if we feel that this calm will lead to Israel's singling out the West Bank or the Arab Palestinians inside Israel, the truce will come to an end,” Mudallal said. “If the occupation [forces] continue to storm Jenin and assassinate the resistance fighters there, then let them prepare for the worst from our resistance.”

Following the assassinations in Jenin, Al-Quds Brigades in the central governorate of the Gaza Strip organized a military parade on April 3 to display its combat capabilities. The brigades’ fighters brandished pictures of the three slain operatives.

“Organizing this parade demonstrates that the Islamic Jihad movement will not respond at present to the assassination of its operatives in Jenin," Talal Okal, a writer and political analyst in the local Al-Ayyam newspaper, told Al-Monitor. "It instead contented itself with passing warning messages to Israel.”

Okal added, "It is clear that the resistance factions, especially the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements, are currently focusing on escalating their military activities against Israel in the West Bank, as we are witnessing almost daily shootings and clashes with the Israeli army.”

Ahmed Rafiq Awad, a professor of media and political sciences at Al-Quds Univeristy, told Al-Monitor, “It is true that the Islamic Jihad wishes to respond strongly to the assassination of its members, but it is unlikely that the retaliation would be carried out from the Gaza Strip. Operations will be rather concentrated in the West Bank.”

Source: Al Monitor

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Iranian Parliament: Legal Guarantees Needed to Prevent Repetition of US Withdrawal from N. Deal


The legislators said in a statement on Sunday that the experience gained through past rounds of talks in Vienna shows that unwillingness of the United States and other negotiating parties to provide the necessary guarantees has not only failed to meet Iran’s national interests, but has harmed those interests and caused the deal to fail.

“Therefore, in the new talks, the US needs to provide [Iran with] a necessary legal guarantee that it will not quit the JCPOA again, and this issue must be held up by that country’s decision-making institutions, including Congress, in a totally legal form, so that there would be no obstacle to the implementation [of that guarantee] in the future,” they said.

The statement signed by over 250 members of the Iranian parliament focused on the situation of the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital on the revival of the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In another part of their statement, the lawmakers emphasized that the lack of any threat against Iran after a new deal is reached, is one of the main conditions for the successful conclusion of the Vienna talks.

However, they added, continued existence of a “snapback” mechanism, under which the UN Security Council’s sanctions on the Islamic Republic can be immediately reinstated in case of an alleged violation of the deal by Iran, would mean that such a threat is kept in place to be used against the country and would cause the Vienna talks to fail.

“Therefore, it is necessary to obtain necessary guarantees that in the event of a US return to the JCPOA, the snapback mechanism would not be triggered under various pretexts,” they said.

Pointing to Washington’s imposition of new sanctions on Iranian individuals and institutions in the course of the Vienna talks, the lawmakers stressed that it is necessary that the imposition of new sanctions against Iran be banned under the new agreement.

The agreement must also guarantee that the lifted sanctions would not be re-imposed, they said.

The Iranian MPs also noted that Tehran must have the right to export its oil to any country and at any amount agreed upon by the OPEC members, stressing that the Islamic Republic must be able to receive the oil revenue through the international banking system.

It said Iran is entitled to transfer of all financial resources and interests, including revenues from the oil sales and blocked assets from all countries, adding that the negotiating countries must remove obstacles in this path.

“Therefore and without a doubt, oral promises, including the remarks made by the US president, cannot be considered as a guarantee” for the success of the deal, the Iranian lawmakers added.

Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital since April last year to restore the JCPOA, which was ditched by former US President Donald Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump introduced what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Joe Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Politics, not substance, seen guiding US and Iran on terror listing

11 April ,2022

One of the last obstacles to reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal - Tehran’s demand to remove its Revolutionary Guards from a US terrorism list - is more an issue of politics than substance, analysts said.

While the two sides had appeared close to reviving the pact a month ago, talks have since stalled over last-minute Russian demands, the Nowruz holiday, and the unresolved issue of whether Washington might remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.

The United States and Iran have been engaged it fitful, indirect talks for more than a year on reviving the 2015 deal under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

The United States has weighed dropping the designation in return for some kind of action or commitment from Iran to rein in IRGC activities, one source has said.

However, the White House is well aware of “the political sensitivity and price associated with” removing the elite force from the list, said Dennis Ross, a long-time US Middle East negotiator, noting that some Democrats oppose dropping it.

“There is hesitancy on the part of the political side of the White House,” he added.

A senior administration official said US President Joe Biden did not intend to drop the terrorism designation, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported on Friday.

Asked about that report, a senior Biden administration official said, “We are not going to negotiate in public. There are still gaps.”

“The onus here is really on Iran at this stage, particularly on this issue,” the official added on condition of anonymity.

Little economic impact

When the Trump administration designated the IRGC as an FTO in 2019, it was the first time Washington had so blacklisted part of another country’s military and was seen by some as a poison pill to make it harder to revive the nuclear deal, which then-President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

Critics of dropping the IRGC from the list, as well as those open to the idea, say doing so will have little economic effect because other US sanctions force foreign actors to shun the group.

“It’s the administration-wide assessment that it would not have a significant – if any – impact,” said a senior US official on condition of anonymity.

This is in part because the IRGC would remain sanctioned as a “specially designated global terrorist” (SDGT) on a separate US blacklist list created after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The IRGC, a powerful political faction in Iran, controls a business empire as well as elite armed and intelligence forces that Washington accuses of a global terrorist campaign.

Iranian sources cited multiple reasons why they want the designation removed, including domestic politics and the desire of new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s team to show it can secure a better deal than his predecessor Hassan Rouhani.

“Mostly it is a matter of dignity for the establishment and Iran’s negotiators,” said a senior Iranian diplomat on condition of anonymity.

“The new team from the beginning insisted on the FTO issue and sees it as a major achievement if those sanctions are lifted. That is mainly for domestic use because they criticized Rouhani’s 2015 deal and cannot just revive it,” added a former senior Iranian official briefed on the talks.

Another Iranian diplomat said Iran had rejected the idea of removing the designation from the IRGC as a whole but keeping it on the group’s elite Quds Force.

Soft on terrorism?

While US officials are loathe to admit it, the main issue in Washington is also political. Republicans argue dropping the FTO label would show the Biden administration is soft on terrorism, a charge US officials deny.

Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, last week called the IRGC “a killing machine” that threatens Americans and he stressed the political cost to the White House.

“That’s going to split the Democratic party in half on this, if not more,” he said.

Some Democrats have voiced misgivings, although there is little chance Congress could block a revived nuclear deal.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel army launches new operations around flashpoint W. Bank city of Jenin

11 April ,2022

Israeli forces launched a third day of operations on Monday around the flashpoint West Bank city of Jenin following heavy gun battles in recent days and 20 arrests overnight, the army said.

Tensions have soared since a spree of attacks in Israel left 14 people dead in the past three weeks, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warning the Jewish state is now “on the offensive.”

Four Palestinians were killed in separate incidents across the occupied territory Sunday, and militant groups in Jenin braced for more battles.

The city as well as Bethlehem declared general strikes.

Thousands of mourners flooded the streets of Jenin on Monday for the funerals of those killed, many carrying Palestinian flags or rifles.

Abu Muadh, military spokesman of the armed factions in Jenin’s refugee camp, late Sunday called for “general mobilization of our fighters to confront any incursion by the Zionist enemy.”

Israeli troops were targeting relatives of Raad Hazem, the 28-year-old Jenin man who last Thursday killed three Israeli civilians and wounded 12 at a Tel Aviv bar before he was shot dead following a massive manhunt.

Israeli soldiers on Sunday engaged in an exchange of gunfire involving his brothers and also demanded the father hand himself in, ahead of the planned demolition of the family home.

A teen on a motorcycle who opened fire on the Israeli officers in that exchange, Mohamed Zakarneh, 17, was the latest fatality, succumbing to gunshot wounds overnight, the Wafa news agency said.

Another Palestinian from the Bethlehem area was shot dead Sunday after hurling a Molotov cocktail at Israeli troops, the army told AFP.

The tensions have surged during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, nearly a year after violence flared in the other Palestinian territory, the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, leading to 11 days of devastating conflict.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Palestinian leaders condemn compensation ruling as ‘Israeli judicial extremism’


April 12, 2022

RAMALLAH: Palestinians on Monday criticized a decision a day earlier by the Israeli Supreme Court as ‘piracy’ of the Palestinian Authority’s finances and a collective punishment against the Palestinian people by Israeli extremists and right-wing groups.

Palestinian leaders called on the international judicial system and legal and human rights institutions to take immediate action to end what they described as “Israeli judicial extremism.”

The 68-page Supreme Court decision, a copy of which was obtained by Arab News, opens the door for families of Israeli victims of terrorist attacks, whether they take place in the West Bank or Hamas-run Gaza, to sue the PA for financial compensation, on the grounds that the PA currently provides money for Palestinian prisoners and the families of martyrs who carried out attacks on Israelis. Such payments “constitute confirmation of their carrying out terrorist operations” and therefore the authority is responsible for compensating victims’ families, the court stated.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayieh said at the start of the PA’s weekly cabinet session on Monday that the Israeli court’s decision “is unacceptable to us and is illegal and illegitimate.”

He added that the Palestinian government was simply carrying out its duty “toward orphans of the sons of martyrs, prisoners and their families.”

The decision followed an appeal by four families whose relatives were killed about 20 years ago by Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada. Their case for compensation had been rejected by a lower court.

The Supreme Court said it was proven that the PA transferred money to the perpetrators or their families, though the authority did not accept any responsibility for the attacks. However, two of the three judges hearing the appeal ruled that the PA policy of payments to prisoners and their families constituted an “incentive” and “reward” for terrorism.

Setting out the ruling, Justice Yitzhak Amit said: “In this conduct, there is a reward, incentive, contribution and recognition of acts of terrorism, on the face of it even in violation of the Law on Combating Terrorism, and it should be seen as a confirmation of the wrongs committed by the prisoners-perpetrators.”

The decision does not mean the PA will be forced to pay compensation to the families of settlers injured or killed in attacks but it allows them to sue the PA and any financial restitution could be obtained by the Israeli government through the compensation law that enables it to deduct money from PA funds.

Qadri Abu Baker, minister of the PA’s Detainees and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Authority, told Arab News that the court ruling is a “miserable attempt to deter the Palestinian people and its leadership” and described it as “piracy and extortion” in an attempt to seize the authority’s funds.

“The Israeli extremist right-wing takes advantage of any opportunity or security circumstance to pass such decisions, all of which are supported by the head of the fascist occupation government,” he said.

Abu Baker called on the international judicial system and legal and human rights institutions to take immediate action to put an end to such Israeli judicial extremism.

“At a time when the American courts have rejected the lawsuits filed by Jewish extremists against the authority to demand compensation, the Israeli judiciary is legislating this demand,” he said.

A high-ranking Palestinian security source told Arab News the implementation of the court’s decision could prove to be a complicated matter that could have devastating effects. Currently, Israel collects taxes and customs tariffs on imported Palestinian goods through a process known as “clearing” and then transfers the funds to Ramallah each month, after making certain deductions.

“Whenever an Israeli is wounded or killed by an attack by Hamas, Israel will deduct the compensation money from the Palestinian tax money that it collects on behalf of the PA,” the source said. “However, nothing will remain of it, which will lead to the weakening of the PA and perhaps later its collapse.”

A senior PA security official told Arab News: “This is piracy of the PA’s money and a collective punishment against the Palestinian people.”

Israeli political analyst Yoni Ben-Menachem said: “Since the Palestinian Authority is the legitimate representative of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it is the party that must pay compensation to the Israeli victims of Palestinian violence.

“When Hamas launches a rocket from Gaza and injures Israelis, they cannot go to Gaza to file a case in its courts and demand compensation from those who launched the rocket. So, where does the Israeli victim complain? Surely he will be able to file a complaint with an Israeli court, which will compensate him with the funds of the Palestinian Authority that are in Israel’s possession.”

en-Menachem told Arab News that the court ruling was long overdue and should have been made a long time ago.

“The Palestinian Authority instead of fighting terrorism pays salaries to the families of prisoners and martyrs, so they must pay compensation to Israeli citizens who are victims of Palestinian violence.”

Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin agreed with this view.

“The Israeli High Court’s decision to allow Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism to sue the Palestinian Authority for responsibility and compensation should encourage the Palestinian Authority to reconsider the compensation being paid to the families of Palestinians who murdered Israelis by killing themselves, or to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, based on a pay scale that pays more if more Israelis were killed,” he told Arab News.

Source: Arab News

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Al-Abbas shrine affiliated centre launched program of Ramadan month in 13 African countries

April 12, 2022

The Center for African Studies, affiliated with the Department of intellectual and Cultural Affairs at the al-Abbas's (p) holy shrine, announced that it has organized a special program during the holy month of Ramadhan entitled: (Sufra Al-Kafeel) in 13 African countries.

The director of the center, Sheikh Saad al-Shammari, stated: "This program is established annually by the center in a number of African countries, but this year it has expanded to include additional countries and regions, as well as increasing the activities of the program, within the activities and events of the center during the holy month of Ramadhan".

"The program is implemented under the auspices of the al-Abbas's (P) holy shrine and with the blessing of its Senior Official; His Eminence Ahmad al-Safi, and includes many activities, the most important of which are:

- The Quranic Khatmah of the holy month of Ramadhan.

- A series of lectures that concern doctrinal issues related to the fasting, and other matters related to the fasting person and his life matters.

- Religious lectures.

- Ziyarat of the infallible imams (peace be upon them) and the specific supplications of the holy month of Ramadhan.

- Reviving the night of the birth anniversary of Imam al-Hassan al-Mujtaba (peace be upon him).

- Reviving the martyrdom anniversary of the Commander of the faithful (peace be upon him).

- Revival of the Blessed nights of Qadr (19, 21, 23).

- A daily Iftar for participants in this program.

In addition to other activities that are organized and provided by students of religious sciences under the auspices of the center".

Source: ABNA24

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Human Rights Official Protests at Denmark’s Misbehaviour towards Iranian National


In a letter to Danish Minister of Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye on Sunday, Qaribabadi protested at the violent and inhumane behavior of Danish police officials toward a female Iranian asylum seeker.

He described the deportation of a female Iranian asylum seeker along with her two children and separation from her one-year-old child who remained in Denmark along with her father as well as exertion of violence and inhumane behavior towards her as a gross violation of commitments of Denmark in the field of human rights.

Qaribabadi emphasized that mistreatment of the Danish police officials with a female Iranian asylum seeker violates Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

He called on the Danish Minister of Immigration and other responsible authorities of the country to refrain from imposing double standards on nationals and to compensate material and moral damages incurred to the Iranian female.

Danish immigration authorities on Tuesday tried to deport Qadamkheir Haqanizadeh, 37, and her two ten-year-old sons, Yousef and Younes back to Iran. Danish authorities rejected the political asylum application of Qadamkheir and her two sons in 2017.

In the early hours of Monday, four Danish deportation agents dragged Qadamkheir, a refugee from Iran's western province of Kermanshah, out of one of Denmark's refugee camps where she had been living for six years.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Palestinian killed after alleged stabbing attempt: Israeli police

12 April ,2022

A Palestinian was killed by police after allegedly stabbing an officer with a kitchen knife in the Israeli port city of Ashkelon on Tuesday, police said.

Police said an officer began checking a person who aroused his suspicion when “the attacker pulled out a knife and attacked the officer.”

The officer “responded quickly, fired and neutralized the suspect, whose death was declared on site,” police said.

The officer was hospitalized with light wounds. The assailant was a man in his 40s from the flashpoint city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, police said.

The attack comes amid a rising tide of violence among Israelis and Palestinians.

Four shooting, stabbing and car-ramming attacks in Israeli cities have left 14 people dead since late March.

Over the same period, Israeli forces killed 15 Palestinians, including assailants, according to an AFP tally.

On Sunday, Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian woman who allegedly stabbed a policeman in the center of Hebron, a powder keg where around 1,000 Jewish settlers live under heavy military protection among 200,000 Palestinians.

The same day, the army shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian woman who they said failed to heed warning shots near the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Terrorists Kill 80, Abduct 70 And Burn Down Over 100 Houses In Nigeria

April 12, 2022

The spate of killings in Plateau State took a frightening dimension on Sunday as terrorists in their large numbers invaded the Kanam Local Government Area of the state, killing more than 80 persons, 70 abducted and over 100 houses burnt down.

Affected communities and villages in the local government area are Kukawa, Gyambawu, Dungur, Kyaram, Yelwa, Dadda, Wanka, Shuwaka, Gwammadaji and Dadin Kowa.

A source close to the local government told Nigerian Tribune that the terrorists in the large number swooped on the affected communities on Sunday and carried out the deadly attack in a most bizarre manner, killing people at random.

The source who is a local government official added that as at Monday morning, the council has so far discovered that 38 persons were killed in Kukawa, Gyambau 24 persons, 8 persons were killed in Kyaram and 10 persons killed in

Wanna adding that the number of dead bodies in the bush is unknown.

He also pointed out that over one hundred houses were burnt while those with various degree of gunshot wound are receiving treatment at Dengi general hospital and Jos University teaching hospital JUTH.

An eyewitness Sariki Bitrus also disclosed that over 70 persons mostly women were abducted by the terrorists adding that most of the affected villages have been deserted while those who escaped the killings are taking refuge in the nearby council areas.

He added that the incident happened at about 3: 45 pm when people were clearing their farms in preparation for raining season, some people were going about their normal or daily businesses when the terrorists opened fire at them.

Bitrus further added that the local government for quite sometime has been having running battle with the terrorists who wanted to dominate a game reserve located in the area.

Meanwhile, Plateau elders forum in a statement signed by its Media Officer Jonathan Ishaku has lamented the killings of innocent persons in Kanam local government council of the state.

The Statement reads, ”Just within a week of our press release condemning terrorist attacks on Miango villages in Bassa Local Government area (LGA) and Rantis in Barkin Ladi LGA, bandits have allegedly killed several persons, wounded many and abducted over 70 in Kanam LGA yesterday.”

“This is again very sad and we strongly condemn it. This seemingly escalation of violence on our communities further justifies the earlier call the Plateau Elders Forum made on the Plateau State Government in conjunction with the security forces to deal drastically with terrorists in the state,” it said.

Source: ABNA24

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Mass iftar brings Cape Town community together, feeds over 1,200

April 12, 2022

As Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan, one Cape Town community has been given the gift of having a mass iftar for the first time.

Ramadan month is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.

When one hears the name of the area Cafda in Retreat, it is usually associated with gang violence, gangsterism and volatility. However, on Sunday residents in the area stood side by side as they feasted at iftar time, thanks to the local mosque and community organisations.

Iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramaadn month.

This is the first time a mass iftar has been held in the area.

Peter Charles Street was cordoned off as over 1200 residents, Muslim and non-Muslim, came together to break bread.

The iftar was hosted by Masjid-Tul-Islamieya, Shireen Ishmail in collaboration with Carers Unite, Upcountry Feeding Hands, Shumeez Scott Foundation and the Girls Feeding Scheme.

The road was laid with treats, food, fruit, and beverages as long as 200 meters for all to enjoy.

Mass iftars are a common occurrence on the Cape Flats during Ramadan month, when streets are cordoned off and people from all walks of life, religion and races are invited to share a meal and conversation with those in their communities.

Upcountry Feeding Hands’s Ishmail said the event was a massive success.

“It was so beautiful. The children in the area are so humble and well behaved. Two little boys, one aged eight and the other nine years old came up to me to say it was the best day of their life. They told me they hope the Lord rewards us for what we have done,” she said.

“Residents could not stop thanking us.

Source: ABNA24

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Sudanese protesters mark third anniversary of Bashir's ouster with fresh protests

11 April ,2022

Crowds of Sudanese protesters gathered in parts of the capital and other Sudanese cities on Monday, the third anniversary of Omar al-Bashir's ouster to protest the prospect of renewed military rule.

Bashir was ousted after three decades in power by a group of his top generals, who later entered into a power-sharing government with the civilian groups that had led months of protests in 2019.

That arrangement ended on Oct. 25 when the same military leaders, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, staged a coup, which has plunged the country into economic and political turmoil.

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“Bashir's downfall did not mean a final victory for the revolution, because Burhan is a continuation of his regime,” said 38-year-old protester Ahmed Ibrahim. “We will bring down the military peacefully and democracy is Sudan's future,” he told Reuters at a Khartoum protest.

Protesters blocked main roads, burning tires, banging drums, and chanting revolutionary poems.

Protests against the coup have taken place despite a security crackdown that has claimed the lives of 94 people and injured thousands, as well as climbing temperatures and Ramadan fasts.

Khartoum protesters broke their day-long fasts in the street, as they did in major protests last week, and numbers swelled after sunset.

Protests were also seen in other major cities, including Bahri, Omdurman, Port Sudan, Madani, and El Obeid.

Source: Al Arabiya

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At least 4 people dead after boat capsizes off Libya: UN

Ebu Bekir Askin  



At least four people died when their boat capsized off the coast of Libya, the UN migration agency said Monday.

“A wooden boat capsized yesterday off Surman, #Libya with 20 migrants onboard, according to @unmigration teams,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Libya said on Twitter.

“2 people rescued, 4 bodies retrieved, (and) 14 people missing,” the agency added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


India witnessing rise in human rights abuse: US Secretary of State

12th April 2022

Washington: Days after US Representative Ilhan Omar questioned the reluctance of President Joe Biden’s administration to criticize Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over its alleged anti-Muslim policies, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken alleged that India is witnessing a rise in human rights abuse.

On Monday, in a joint press briefing with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Blinken said, “we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials”.

While Blinken did not speak more on it, Singh and Jaishankar avoided reacting to the comment.

Ilhan Omar’s question

Recently, Ilhan Omar asked, “How much does the Modi administration have to criminalize the act of being Muslim in India for us to say something? What will it take for us to outwardly criticize the action that the Modi administration is taking against its Muslim minorities?”

In a tweet, she added, “Why has the Biden Administration been so reluctant to criticize Modi’s government on human rights?”

Issues that grabbed global attention

In 2019, the central government led by BJP brought legislation, Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, to give citizenship based on religion.

As per the act, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Sikhs from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, are eligible to get citizenship.

Many experts alleged that it is the first step toward the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Although, the government denied any link between CAA and NRC, massive protests were held across the country.

The recent controversy over the Hijab ban in Karnataka also gained attention globally. The controversy erupted in Udupi spread across the state.

Source: Siasat Daily

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US says it values ties with Pakistan

Anwar Iqbal

April 12, 2022

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Monday that it values its ‘long-standing’ cooperation with Pakistan but will not like to comment on the regime change in Islamabad.

“We are closely following developments in Pakistan,” a spokesperson for the US State Department told Dawn when asked for comment on Shehbaz Sharif’s election as the country’s new prime minister.

“The United States has no position on and does not comment on Pakistan’s internal process,” the US official add­ed when reminded how during the wee­kend the Pakistani parliament voted out Imran Khan and elected an opposition leader as the new prime minister.

“The United States values our long-standing cooperation with Pakistan and has always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to US interests,” said the spokesperson. “And this remains unchanged.”

A prestigious US publication, Fore­ign Policy, however, noted that while former prime minister “Imran Khan is out, it’s not his last innings”. The report noted that the ousted Pakistani leader “vowed to fight on”, as Mr Sharif replaced him on Monday morning.

Atif Mian, an internationally acclaimed Pakistani American economist, however, pointed out that Mr Khan’s government, inheriting a weak economy in 2018, “went for the usual shortcuts” in its economic policy ins­tead of focusing on sustainable growth. “This basic sense was missing.”

The former prime minister had included Mr Mian in his team of economic advisers after his election but excluded him later. Mr Mian heads the Center for Public Policy and Finance at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

In a Twitter thread, Mr Mian highlighted key reasons for the failure of the Khan government.

“There’s been zero increase in average income, and Pakistan never got out of the balance of payment crisis,” he wrote.

“Covid gave temporary respite to this crisis as oil imports and domestic demand contracted due to pandemic, but with pandemic receding, Pakistan is back in serious trouble.”

Source: Dawn

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Muslim students want Georgia school district to mark Eid al-Fitr as holiday

April 12, 2022

Muslim students want Georgia’s largest school district to mark the holiday Eid al-Fitr with a day off on next year’s school calendar.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the request by students at Gwinnett County Public Schools could be the first of its kind in Georgia.

The newspaper reported Friday that Noor Ali, a freshman in the district, has spoken to the school board and started an online petition.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, a Muslim holy month. It falls on May 2 this year.

Source: ABNA24

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India, US call on Pakistan to ensure its territory is not used for terror attacks

Apr 12, 2022

WASHINGTON: India and the US have called on Pakistan to take immediate, sustained, and irreversible actions to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks.

In a joint statement issued on the fourth India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III welcomed the convening of the 18th Meeting of the India-US Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and the 4th Session of the India-US Designations Dialogue in October 2021.

Expressing strong condemnation against the use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism in all its forms, the ministers called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, and Pathankot attack, to be brought to justice.

They called for concerted action against all terrorist groups, including groups proscribed by the United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee, such as al-Qa'ida, Islamic State (Deash), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb ul Mujahideen.

The two sides committed to the continued exchange of information about sanctions and designations against terror groups and individuals, countering violent radicalism, use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and cross-border movement of terrorists.

They also emphasized the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism by all countries, consistent with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.

The ministers also reaffirmed their support for the early adoption of a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.

Both sides also looked forward to the next India-US Counter Narcotics Working Group meeting in 2022 and enhancing cooperation through a bilateral Counter-Narcotics Framework to combat drug trafficking, illicit narcotics production, and precursor chemical supply chains.

Building upon the recent Senior Officials Meeting between the US Department of Homeland Security and India's Ministry of Home Affairs, both sides looked forward to reconvening a Ministerial meeting of the India-US Homeland Security Dialogue in 2022.

The US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was held on Monday in Washington.

Source: Times Of India

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US voices support for Pakistan's 'constitutional democratic principles'


By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US on Monday voiced its support for Pakistan's "peaceful upholding of constitutional democratic principles" after the country's new prime minister took the oath of office.

Shehbaz Sharif was sworn-in on Monday after former Premier Imran Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote he attempted to thwart. Khan had maintained he was the victim of a US plot that sought his removal.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki continued to maintain, however, that Washington does not "support one political party over another."

"We value our long standing cooperation with Pakistan, have always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to US interests," she said. "That remains unchanged regardless of who leadership is."

Sharif, the younger brother of three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and a joint candidate of the combined opposition, secured 174 votes in Pakistan's 342-member lower legislative chamber, the National Assembly.

A minimum of 172 votes were required for a simple majority in the parliament.

Sharif's opponent, former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who was the candidate of the ousted premier's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, boycotted the elections following his party's decision to resign from the parliament.

Sharif has called for improving ties with the US, terming them "critical" for Pakistan, a noticeable departure from Khan’s frosty relations with Washington.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UK sanctions 2 Bosnian Serb leaders accused of undermining peace

Muhammad Mussa  



The British government on Monday announced sanctions against two Bosnian Serb leaders for undermining peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider Balkans region.

Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian Serb member of the country's tripartite Presidency Council, and Zeljka Cvijanovic, the president of the Serb entity Republika Srpska, have both been sanctioned with travel bans and asset freezes for their destabilizing activities in recent months.

"These two politicians are deliberately undermining the hard-won peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Encouraged by (Russian President) Putin, their reckless behavior threatens stability and security across the Western Balkans," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.

"With these tough sanctions, we are showing that the enemies of peace will be held to account," she added.

According to Downing Street, Dodik has threatened to withdraw Republika Srpska from key state institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has increased the use of divisive, dangerous, and ultra-nationalist rhetoric that undermines the peace and stability established after the violent conflict that followed Yugoslavia's breakup 30 years ago.

Cvijanovic has exploited her office and position to table legislation in the Serb entity that would transfer state powers and laws to Republika Srpska, a move that would violate the Constitution and threaten to further divide the country. She has also publicly glorified Serbian war criminals while denying the genocide at Srebrenica.

"Emboldened by Russia's undermining of the international rules-based system, both individuals have used their positions of authority to push for the de facto secession of Republika Srpska -- one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s two entities -- in direct contravention of the country's constitution," said a government statement.

The UK accuses both Dodik and Cvijanovic of undermining domestic and regional harmony and encouraging ethnic hatred and division, as well as genocide denial that threatens to reignite ethnic divisions.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Jury holds British MP of Pakistani descent guilty of sexually assaulting minor boy

Apr 12, 2022

LONDON: A British MP of Pakistani descent has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy following trial by jury.

Imran Ahmad Khan, 48, who is half-Pakistani and half-English, has denied assaulting the teenager after a party at the victim’s family home in Staffordshire in January 2008. It took the jury at Southwark Crown Court on Monday just five hours to convict him. He is thought to be the first sitting British MP convicted of child sex offences.

A spokesperson for the Conservative party told TOI following the verdict: “Imran Khan has been expelled from the Conservative party with immediate effect”. Khan was suspended from the Conservative party when he was charged with the offence and had been sitting as an independent MP ever since. His lawyers said he planned to appeal the verdict.

The court heard that Khan had sexually assaulted the teenager, who is Catholic, following a party at the boy’s family home in Staffordshire in January 2008. Khan, aged 34 at the time, attended the party as a guest. He stayed the night in the family home and shared a bedroom with the victim. The teenager reported that Khan plied him with gin and tonic and sexually assaulted him in his bed. The victim, now 29, reported the crime to police in December 2019 after Khan was elected as MP. The court also heard Khan had performed a sex act on a man in Pakistan in 2010 after a party, where they had been drinking whisky and smoking cannabis.

Khan is due to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court at a later date. A sentence of over 12 months in jail will automatically disqualify him from being an MP whilst any lesser sentence of imprisonment will trigger a recall petition whereby if 10% of eligible registered voters sign a recall petition calling for him to be removed, the seat becomes vacant and a by-election is required. A recalled MP may stand as a candidate. No recall can be initiated until any appeals process is completed.

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: “We would like to commend the victim for reporting the offence committed against him – he has shown real bravery and courage in doing so. This case has had a huge impact on the victim and his family for a number of years.”

Khan is the first British MP from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He tried to have the case heard anonymously on the grounds that as an Ahmadi Muslim, the consumption of alcohol and homosexuality are strictly prohibited, and reporting such matters would expose him to a risk to his safety in the UK and overseas. However, his application was rejected by the court. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is persecuted in Pakistan.

Born in Wakefield, his English mother was a nurse and midwife in the city’s hospital and his late Pakistani father Dr Saeed Khan was the area’s first consultant dermatologist.

Khan attended a local private school and then studied Russian at Pushkin Institute in Moscow and read war studies at King’s College London.

He was voted in as the MP for Wakefield, a working class area in Yorkshire, in December 2019, becoming the first Tory MP in the seat since 1932, making it one of the “red wall” seats the Conservatives gained in that election. After being elected, he denied media reports, which stated he was the first openly gay Muslim British MP.

Source: Times Of India

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Turkiye important security point for Europe: Albanian premier

Erbil Basay  



Turkiye is a very important security point for all of Europe, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said Monday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Rama said Turkiye is not a “third actor” but a strategic partner of Albania.

Asked about the influence of states such as Russia, China, Turkiye, or Arab countries on the Western Balkans in the last two years, Rama said not all actors or third countries have the same impact.

Noting that Russia's influence in the region has become a problem, especially in today's conditions, he said this shows that the European Union should bring all countries in the Western Balkans closer to itself.

Rama also underlined that they have been in friendly relations with the Gulf countries for many years.

Pointing out that Bulgaria will demand the continuation of the Albanian process separately from Germany, France and other countries if North Macedonia blocks accession negotiations in June, he expressed hope that Germany would do its part in agreeing for the Council of Europe to sit at the table to start accession negotiations with Albania.

He also noted that he expects Germany to make efforts towards visa liberalization for Kosovars.

Scholz said the integration of the Western Balkans with the EU is very important and that its realization is one of the EU's greatest tasks.

Underlining that Western Balkan countries have strategic importance for Germany, he said they are important for the stability of the region and the whole of Europe.

He said Germany is in favor of starting EU membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia as soon as possible, which he considers a “common interest.”

Noting that all Western Balkan countries benefit from regional cooperation, he said he will revive the Berlin Process initiated for the Western Balkans.

He added that Albania plays a constructive role at the international level and supports the common security and foreign policy of the EU.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Serbia wants to buy Bayraktar drones from Turkiye: President

Talha Ozturk  



Serbia on Monday reiterated its intention to purchase Turkish combat drones, with President Aleksandar Vucic vowing to further strengthen the country’s defenses.

Vucic said that during their talks last week, he asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to supply Serbia with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Bayraktar TB2s.

"Two days ago, at a meeting with the president of Turkiye, Erdogan, I said that we want to buy Bayraktar from Turkiye, and Erdogan promised me that we can get them,'' said Vucic.

Serbia in late 2020 expressed interest and plans to purchase the drones, developed by Baykar.

Vucic praised Bayraktar TB2s, adding that that Serbia is very interested in the systems and would certainly buy them in the future.

"These are very good drones. I have to give the Turkish manufacturers their due," said Vucic in 2020.

He also vowed to strengthen Serbia’s defenses.

"We will strengthen our aviation. We will also increase the number of drones," said Vucic.

In a phone call, Erdogan last week congratulated Vucic on his successful reelection bid, saying he believed that the two countries’ friendship will be strengthened further with solidarity and sincerity.

Telling how the entire region is being impacted by the Russia-Ukraine war, Erdogan also reiterated that Turkiye will continue to do its best to forge peace.

He also pointed to the need to give constructive messages and provide more stability and security to the region in this difficult period.

For his part, Vucic stressed the importance of Serbia and its economic development of good relations with Turkiye, as well as for peace and stability in the region.

The Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs’ capability in the field has been proven several times both by the Turkish Armed Forces and the armies of countries that have acquired the drone.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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