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National Security Advisor Mr. Ajit Doval Leads Interfaith Meet With Sufi Clerics To Maintain Inter-Faith Harmony in India

New Age Islam News Bureau

30 July 2022


National Security Advisor Ajit Doval acted as a bridge for an inter-faith dialogue between eminent Hindu and Muslim religious leaders a day after SC’s judgement on the decades-long Ayodhya issue.(PTI Photo)


• Institutions Shouldn’t Be Used For ‘Political Gains’: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl Calls Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf A Group Of Anarchists

• Indonesia Revokes Textbook Containing ‘Heretical’ Christian Teachings

• Muslim Brotherhood Rejects 'Struggle For Power', Exiled Leader Says, Amid Exclusion From Egypt's 'National Dialogue'

• Taliban Welcomes Back India-Trained Afghan Defence Personnel


• Restrictions Stay, Mangaluru Tense After Muslim Man’s Murder

• Muslim Association Chairman, 3 Others Booked For Threatening Kanpur Trader

• Muslim PU Colleges Demand To Increase Intake



• Pakistanis Among Top 10 Buyers As Dubai Property Sales Skyrocket

• Fazl demands immediate decision in PTI’s prohibited foreign funding case

• Six ‘militants’ killed, soldier martyred in Kech operation

• How a charity cricket league in UK helped funnel millions to Imran Khan's party

• Audio released to settle facts of ‘contested’ JCP meeting

• Indian and Pakistani FMs avoid ‘bilateral tiffs’ at SCO

• PTI funding, economic crisis dominate discussion in Senate

• Pakistan to enhance mutually beneficial multi-domain relations with US: Gen Bajwa tells US counterpart


Southeast Asia

• Ask housewives for fair valuation of their worth, Putrajaya told

• PM calls for 'tasamuh' among Malaysians to ensure harmony, unity

• In conjunction with Ma’al Hijrah, King calls on Malaysians not to insult, ridicule religions in the name of freedom of expression


Arab World

• Saudi Arabia, France issue joint statement following Crown Prince’s visit to Paris

• Saudi Crown Prince, Macron to work to ‘ease effects’ of Ukraine war: Statement

• Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz meets Russian deputy PM to discuss cooperation

• Syrian ship carrying 'stolen' Ukrainian grain docks in Lebanon

• Pro-Sadr protesters flock to Baghdad’s Tahrir Square despite calls to withdraw

• Iraq’s PMF says Daesh attack thwarted in north of Baghdad


South Asia

• ISIS causing unrest in Afghanistan, says Taliban's acting foreign minister

• Videos on social media showing Taliban destroying Pakistan-built minaret: report

• Four wounded in bomb blast at Afghan cricket match

• Jaishankar likely to hold 1st in-person meet with Taliban foreign minister Muttaqi in Tashkent



• New Tunisian Constitution Brings Hope To Many People In Struggling Nation

• Muslim-Muslim Ticket: New CAN President, Okoh states position

• Bomb blast kills regional judicial official in Somalia

• Al-Shabaab terrorists launch fresh attack on Somali town bordering Ethiopia

• Islamic New Year: JGSG Declares Monday Work Free Day


North America

• US Congress Calls On EU To Designate Hezbollah In Its Entirety As A Terrorist Group

• Islamic State group: Canadian narrator of propaganda videos jailed

• US, Pakistan pressing Taliban to let girls go to school: Blinken



• Labour Bans 'Muslim Plot' Councillor Over Islamophobia Finding

• Daesh ‘groomer’ with ties to Manchester Arena bomber could be released from jail

• Plans for Muslim burial sites in Madrid given approval

• UN wants Syria talks to be insulated from Ukraine war



• Iran State Media Share Video Of US Children Singing Tehran-Sponsored Religious Anthem

• Iran Appoints New Representative to IAEA, UN Offices in Vienna

• Iranian FM Calls for Settlement of Hirmand River Dispute with Afghanistan

• Iran's Spokesman: Israel's Nuclear Program Serious Threat to International Security

• Iran executes three women in single day for murdering their husbands: NGO

• Palestinian teen of 16 years shot dead by Israeli army: Ministry

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



National Security Advisor Mr. Ajit Doval Leads Interfaith Meet With Sufi Clerics To Maintain Inter-Faith Harmony in India


National Security Advisor Ajit Doval acted as a bridge for an inter-faith dialogue between eminent Hindu and Muslim religious leaders a day after SC’s judgement on the decades-long Ayodhya issue.(PTI Photo)


Jul 30, 2022

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Saturday will hold an inter-faith meeting as part of the Narendra Modi government's outreach to maintain inter-faith harmony.

The inter-faith conference will be attended by religious heads from different faiths. Sufi saints will also attend this conference during which a resolution for peace, unity and harmony will be passed.

Hazrath Syed Naseeruddin Chishty, the chairperson of the All India Sufi SajjadaNasheen Council will be the key attendee at the conference.

The inter-faith conference is an outreach by the BJP-ruled government to defuse religious tensions in wake of the controversy over suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks and the extreme reaction from a section of Barelvi Muslims.

The country witnessed killings as a fallout of the Nupur Sharma controversy with a tailor Kanhaiya Lal being beheaded by two Muslim youths in Udaipur, who even filmed the act and threatened Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The National Investigation Agency is investigating the ISIS-styled killing.

A similar hate killing took place in Maharashtra's Amravati where a pharmacist named Umesh Kolhe was hacked to death. The central agency is also probing the killing.

It is not the first time when Doval is holding an inter-faith meet with religious leaders. Back in 2019, he had met religious leaders after the Ayodhya verdict.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Institutions Shouldn’t Be Used For ‘Political Gains’: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl Calls Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf A Group Of Anarchists


Maulana Fazlur Rehman greets former PTI leader Iftikhar Mohmand on joining the JUI-F in Peshawar. — White Star


July 30, 2022

PESHAWAR: Calling the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) a group of anarchists, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday said the ruling coalition in the centre would contest the upcoming by-elections from a joint platform to defeat former prime minister Imran Khan’s party.

Addressing a news conference at the party’s provincial secretariat here on Friday, Mr Fazl, who also heads the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), said judges, generals and senior bureaucrats should join mainstream politics instead of using their respective national institutions for ‘political gains’.

“If you [judges, generals and bureaucrats] are interested in politics, then do not malign your institutions and instead formally join politics,” he said.

On the occasion, PTI leader and former provincial minister Iftikhar Khan Mohmand along with his supporters announced the joining of the JUI-F.

PDM chief says ruling coalition to contest by-polls from joint platform, terms PTI a group of anarchists

The JUI-F chief said allied parties of the PDM and other coalition partners would contest the upcoming by elections from a joint platform, which would allow them to wipe out the ‘fascist’ group by ballot paper.

He said the speaker of the National Assembly had begun accepting letters of resignation submitted by the PTI MNAs and that the PDM and its allies would field joint candidates in those by-elections.

Mr Fazl urged party workers to fully support whichever candidates the PDM chose to contest by- elections.

He said all schools of thought, irrespective of their political ideologies, including nationalist, secular, liberal and religious groups, had a consensus about the elimination of the fascist group, PTI.

“Although we have political and ideological differences, we will fight against this menace,” he said.

The JUI-F leader said he had a lot of respect for state institutions but the judges should refrain from meddling in political affairs.

“For God’s sake, do not put your names in the list of CJPs Justice Munir and Justice Saqib Nisar,” he said.

Expressing serious reservations about the verdict of a three-member Supreme Court bench in the Chaudhry Pervaiz Ellahi case, he said a larger or full bench of the apex court should have heard the ‘historic’ case.

In a veiled reference to the chief justice of Pakistan, Mr Fazl said, “I think they did not trust other respectable judges and therefore, a full bench was not constituted and every case is referred to the same bench, which comprises three judges.

He said the Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s meeting was called on the ‘very strange’ pretext that the judges were on leave.

The JUI-F leader said 25 MPAs of the Punjab Assembly were de-seated on the basis of a letter by the PTI chief but the bench chose to ignore a similar letter by PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

“How do they [courts] expect us [PDM] to trust them when they gave relief to one party and punished another on a similar legal matter,” he said.

Mr Fazl urged the Election Commission of Pakistan not to further delay the decision in foreign funding case against the PTI.

He said a Financial Times report had disclosed that the Abraj Group had donated $2 million to the PTI in the name of donations for charity work.

The JUI-F leader said the PTI had handed over Punjab to someone whom its chief and former prime minister Imran Khan had once called the province’s biggest thief.

He claimed that the coalition government in the centre would complete its term and general elections would be held on time.

Source: Dawn

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Indonesia Revokes Textbook Containing ‘Heretical’ Christian Teachings


Indonesian government has revoked a secondary school textbook after Christians protested over 'heretical contents' on Catholicism and Protestantism. (Photo: Unsplash)


Jul 29, 2022

JAKARTA: The Indonesian government has revoked a textbook for secondary school children following protests from Catholics and Protestants against its “deviant” content, including one on the doctrine of the Trinity.

In a statement, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology said it would soon revise the book by involving the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference and the Communion of Churches in Indonesia.

“We are pulling the book which is currently circulating in electronic format and we will soon replace it with a revised edition. For the printed version, we have stopped the process of printing, and the next printing will use the revised edition,” it said.

“We will also immediately distribute the revised supplement for those who have received the book,” the ministry added.

The ministry stated that it “appreciates inputs, suggestions, and corrections for continuous improvement of educational books” because the books they publish “is a living document that is constantly being improved and updated”.

The book on Pancasila and Citizenship Education for junior high school students for Grade VII was written by two Muslim writers and published last year. It sparked widespread controversy on July 26 after a page containing an explanation of Catholicism and Protestantism went viral on social media.

The section on Protestantism mentioned: “The Lord of Protestantism is God, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus Christ as three singular or Trinity. Its holy book is the Gospel. Protestant Christians are obliged to worship every weekend in their respective churches.”

While the section on Catholicism stated that “Its Lord is the same as Protestants, namely the Trinity of God, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus Christ. Its holy book is also the Gospel. With worship that is different from Protestantism, Catholics are obliged to worship every weekend in the Catholic church.”

Catholics, including priests, have taken to social media to criticise the ministry for printing the book with unacceptable content.

An influential inter-church group, the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, issued a letter asking the education minister to revise the book and requested to involve religious institutions in the process.

Franciscan Fr Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, chairman of the National Council for Catholic Education, said they originally planned to send a letter to the ministry, but it was cancelled after the ministry’s office contacted the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference to discuss the matter.

“We participated in preparing the proposal for the revision by involving theologians,” he said.

The revision, he said, in addition to properly explaining the matter of the Trinity, also explained other issues, such as the source of the teachings of the Catholic faith. --
Source: Herald Malaysia

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Muslim Brotherhood Rejects 'Struggle For Power', Exiled Leader Says, Amid Exclusion From Egypt's 'National Dialogue'


Exiled leader Ibrahim Munir said that the Muslim Brotherhood 'rejects' the struggle for power even if between political parties through elections 'organised by the state' [Getty]


29 July, 2022

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood will not launch a new struggle for power with authorities which toppled it from government nine years ago, even though the movement still claims wide support, its acting leader said.

The once formidable Islamist movement won Egypt's first free presidential election in 2012, but was overthrown by the military a year later after mass protests against its rule and has endured a fierce crackdown by authorities since then.

Many of its leaders and thousands of its supporters languish in jail on trumped-up charges, where they are imprisoned for long periods of time or even sentenced to death a move which has drawn strong condemnation by human rights groups, as well as the United Nations.

The group has been excluded from a political dialogue to be launched soon by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as the army chief deposed the Brotherhood in 2013.

Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters were massacred by the military in Cairo’s Rabaa Square in August of the same year.

Cairo has designated the Brotherhood a "terrorist organisation", but acting leader Ibrahim Munir reiterated the group's long-standing rejection of violence.

He also appeared to rule out challenging for power through the ballot box - something the group is unable to do directly while it remains banned in Egypt, although it did field independent candidates in parliamentary elections in the past.

"We completely reject (violence) and we consider it outside the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood - not only the use of violence and arms, but to have a struggle for power in Egypt in any form," Munir told Reuters in an interview.

"We reject the struggle for power even if between political parties through elections organised by the state. This is totally rejected by us".

Munir, 85, who was twice jailed in Egypt in the 1950s and 1960s and has lived in exile for most of the last 40 years, said the Brotherhood had survived difficult times before but was now experiencing the toughest period since it was founded more than 90 years ago.

He said it was not clear how many Brotherhood supporters were in jail in Egypt, though he cited some estimates that put the numbers around 5,000 and 6,000. Many, he said, had also had their money confiscated.

Egypt's state press centre did not respond to a request for comment. Officials deny holding political prisoners and say that security measures taken against the Brotherhood were "necessary" to stabilise the country.

"Definitely this time is tougher than previous times and previous ordeals," Munir said.

Munir himself took the mantle of acting leader two years ago because the Brotherhood's general guide, or leader, has been in jail since the group lost power in 2013 and his initial successor was then detained in 2020.

Munir acknowledged that the Brotherhood had experienced internal division over how to respond to the crisis, and that a new leader would be chosen "when the situation stabilises".

Regional shifts

Compounding the Brotherhood's challenges, shifting Middle East diplomacy has seen two countries which offered refuge to Brotherhood supporters in the last decade - Turkey and Qatar - mending relations with an axis of states committed to crushing the group - , Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Turkey last year asked Egyptian opposition television channels operating on its territory to moderate criticism of the Cairo government as it tries to rebuild relations with Egypt.

Munir said the Brotherhood had not yet come under pressure in Turkey. "So far we do not see or feel it but it is the right of the Turkish state to do anything that ensures its peace and the security of its people," he said.

Within Egypt the movement, which over decades developed a network of charitable organisations, still enjoys the sympathy of many of the country's 102 million people, Munir said.

He said the political dialogue expected to start within weeks between Sisi's government and selected opposition groups is not a serious initiative and cannot achieve results if it excludes the Muslim Brotherhood or other figures.

"Dialogue is really needed but it has to include everyone," said Munir.

The chair of the dialogue has said that the Brotherhood could not take part because they had "blood on their hands".

Source: The News Arab

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Taliban Welcomes Back India-Trained Afghan Defence Personnel


Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)


30th July 2022

Kabul: In a sign of the Taliban’s warming up to India, the Kabul regime on Friday rolled out the red carpet for a batch of Afghan Military cadets who returned to Kabul after completing their training in India.

Around two dozen of Afghan Military cadets, who returned to Kabul, had passed the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun on June 11.

“The MoD, Afghanistan, encouraged by our humanitarian aid and placement of our technical team in Indian Embassy, Kabul, had requested EoI Kabul through an official letter on 25.06.22 requesting direct communication with the Afghan cadets trained in IMA/ NDA, India. Govt agencies including MEA facilitated talks between MoD Afghanistan and Afghan cadets and they finally returned after assurances of safety and employment from the Afghan Minister of Defence on 28.07.22,” Taliban led Defence Ministry said in a statement on the return of Afghan cadets.

It is pertinent to mention that all 25 cadets of the Afghan military academy were sent to India before the Taliban came to power, against whom they were taught to fight.

The warm welcome of India-trained Afghan cadets by the Taliban government reflects Kabul’s growing closeness to New Delhi.

Sources reveal that the Taliban-led Afghan government is keen to use the skills of these cadets to maintain security in the country.

Ever since the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan last year, the Afghan National Army has ceased to exist, erasing hopes of any such training possibilities for Afghan cadets in future.

However, with the kind of welcome the cadets received while reaching Kabul, the hopes are raised high for new Afghan cadets coming to India for training.

After the regime change in the country, no new cadets came to IMA for training.

Earlier in February, amid reports of detention and execution of Afghan security personnel by the Taliban, the Indian defence ministry had facilitated a prolonged stay for close to 80 Afghan cadets from various Indian military training institutions.

India also provided them with a 12-month English course under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme.

That also came after the Afghan cadets refused to return to their country. Some sought asylum in India, the US and other western nations.

Source: Siasat Daily

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 Restrictions stay, Mangaluru tense after Muslim man’s murder

Jul 30, 2022

A day after 23-year-old Faizal was killed in Surathkal municipality of Dakshina Kannada district, the CCTV footage of the gruesome crime was released by the police. The murder has added to the tension in the region that has been on the edge since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth wing leader Praveen Nettaru was killed three days ago in Bellare village.

In the CCTV footage that was reviewed by HT, a man in a white shirt running out of a clothing shop. Seconds after that the victim Faizal is seen running out as well. He is then chased by a group of men, who corner him inside the shop. They then draw machetes out and hack Faizal to death even as mannequins outside the shop fall around them.

Police said that the suspects waited outside the shop for nearly 30 minutes before attacking Faizal.

On Friday, hundreds attended Faizal’s funeral procession in Surathkal, which was held after the police handed over his body to the family members. Tension prevailed in Muslim-dominated areas of Surathkal.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Muslim Association chairman, 3 others booked for threatening Kanpur trader

Simer Chawla


July 29, 2022

Muslim Association chairman Abdul Haseeb and three others have been booked for threatening to kill a leather trader in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur.

Abdul Haseeb allegedly believed that the businessman had sent an anonymous complaint to the Police Commissioner over Haseeb’s role in the violence that broke out in Kanpur on June 3. The anonymous complaint alleged that Abdul Haseeb had business relations with Haji Wasi and both of them built illegal buildings on the land of the Muslim Association. The complaint also mentioned funding by Haseeb in the June 3 violence.

Haseeb suspected the leather trader had sent an anonymous complaint to the police commissioner.

In retaliation, Abdul Haseeb allegedly sent a video of a goat being killed to the Kanpur businessman and threatened to murder him. Abdul Haseeb's brother and henchmen reportedly threatened the businessman at his house.

Police Commissioner Vijay Singh Meena said that accused Haseeb suspected that the leather trader had written a letter to police regarding his role in Kanpur violence. Haseeb then sent him some threatening messages, Vijay Singh Meena confirmed.

Source: India Today

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Muslim PU colleges demand to increase intake

Jul 30, 2022

Mangaluru: A few PU colleges run by Muslims in Dakshina Kannada, have requested the department of pre-university education to allow them an extra intake of 20 students for select subject combinations. As a result of the hijab row, all these institutions have seen a rush in admissions this academic year.

According to officials aware of the development, these institutions never had such requests all these years, but due to a sudden increase in admissions due to the hijab row, they have demanded to allow 20 more students to be admitted this academic year. There are about 30 unaided PU colleges run by Muslims in the district. Unaided PU colleges can admit 80 students per section, in each combination. It can be increased to 100, with an extra 20 seats.

A source added that the I PU admissions are still in progress, and so far, they have received requests from 14 unaided PU colleges, to allow more intake. Among the 14, four colleges belong to Muslims. The numbers are likely to go up in the coming days, since the admission process is still on. “In the past, these PU colleges, which have demanded extra seats, used to find it difficult to fill their normal allocated seats. However, as the hijab rule is in force in government and other aided colleges, many Muslim girls are comfortable taking admission in colleges run by their community,” the source added.

Another source said that a lot of Muslim girls who completed their I PU education in private colleges that have the uniform rule in force, have transferred to Muslim minority PU colleges.

C D Jayanna, DDPU, Dakshina Kannada, said that the department is considering the request of colleges, whenever they send proposals demanding an additional number of seats

PU college granted permission to start courses

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistanis among top 10 buyers as Dubai property sales skyrocket

July 30, 2022

DUBAI: Dubai’s red-hot property market surged in the first half of the year as investors piled in, with Russians among the top five buyers as the emirate benefits from an influx of wealth in the wake of Western sanctions.

The first half saw residential real estate transaction volumes up 60 per cent with an 85pc rise in the value of properties sold, property consultancy Betterhomes said in a report.

The top buyers were from India, the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia and France, in that order, followed by Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Egypt tied in eighth place, Lebanon and China.

The number of Russian buyers surged 164ppc in the first half of this year from the first half of 2021, Betterhomes said in response to a query. The numbers for France and Britain rose 42pc and 18pc, respectively, while those from India fell 8pc and Italy dropped 17pc.

Market surges 60pc as investors flock in; India, UK, Italy, Russia, France top five buyers

Demand was boosted by geopolitical instability in Europe and mortgage buyers looking to get in ahead of well-telegraphed interest rate hikes, Betterhomes said.

It was reported earlier this year that Russians were pouring money into Dubai properties, seeking a financial haven in the wake of Western sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

“The market has faced growing headwinds in the form of rising interest rates and a strengthening dollar but has so far proven to be robust with little sign of slowing,” Betterhomes said.

In the first half of the year, a record 37,762 units were sold, it said, citing Dubai Land Department data, with residential property market transactions totalling nearly 89 billion dirhams ($24.23bn).

Dubai’s property market began recovering from 2020’s severe downturn early last year with buyers snapping up luxury units after the emirate eased pandemic restrictions faster than most cities around the world.

However, S&P Global Ratings said in October that Dubai’s real estate recovery was fragile and uneven, and an oversupply of residential properties would pressure prices in the long run.

Luxury property transactions were up 87pc compared with the first half of last year, with apartments making up 62pc of all transactions, Betterhomes said.

Source: Dawn

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Fazl demands immediate decision in PTI’s prohibited foreign funding case

July 29, 2022

By Aziz Buneri

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday demanded an immediate decision by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in prohibited foreign funding case of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI).

Addressing a press conference, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also the central leader of Jamiat Ulema Islam-F, said that PTI’s foreign funding was pending for several years and urged ECP to decide it immediate.

He said that people of Pakistan knew that which party had received foreign funding from rival countries and this party might be banned immediately if it would found guilty.

He said PTI lawmakers of Punjab Assembly were de-seated on the letter of PTI Chairman while almost a similar letter of PMLQ President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was ignored in a same case.

He said decision in the case of Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly’s ruling might be different if a full court bench of Supreme Court had been formed. He said double standard in the dispensation of justice could weak democracy and confidence of people, he added.

He said that we highly respect state institutions including judiciary and demanded that all decisions should be taken on merit. Fazl said that institutions should not be used for political gains or promoting an individual.

He said Pakistan was created for its people and not for “Ladla”, adding if any one in a state institutions was fond of politics should come in political field rather than pushing “Ladla.”

He said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was charged in Panama case and was later disqualified on Aqama. He said religious and political parties despite ideological differences gathered under PDM’s umbrella were fighting for the country’s survival rather for the government.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Six ‘militants’ killed, soldier martyred in Kech operation

Saleem Shahid

July 30, 2022

QUETTA: At least six “armed militants” were killed in a heavy exchange of fire with security forces in the Hoshab area of Kech district during an operation on Friday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

A soldier, Hawaldar Hidayatullah, embraced martyrdom while another got injured during the exchange of fire.

Security forces conducted the operation based on information that a “terrorist group” was on the move on motorcycles from Kech to Panjgur.

The forces immediately cordoned off the area and combed it to apprehend the militants. However, once surrounded, the militants opened indiscriminate fire on the raiding party. A heavy exchange of fire ensued, in which six terrorists were killed and a large cache of arms and ammunition was recovered.

Source: Dawn

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How a charity cricket league in UK helped funnel millions to Imran Khan's party

Jul 29, 2022

NEW DELHI: Did Pakistani tycoon Arif Naqvi help funnel millions of dollars to Imran Khan's PTI? A new report may have blown the lid off a long-kept secret related to the finances of the former Pakistani PM's political party, which have been under the scanner of Election Commission for many years.

A report in the Financial Times claims that Naqvi, a prominent Pakistani businessman and founder of the Dubai-based Abraaj Group, hosted a cricket tournament at his country estate in the Oxfordshire village of Wootton from 2010 to 2012 and used the proceeds from the charity fundraisers to bankroll Imran's party.

The report says that Naqvi transferred as many as three instalments directly to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2013 adding up to a total of $2.12 million.

According to the UK-based publication, the guests participating in the "Wootton T20 Cup" were asked to pay between £2,000 and £2,500 each to attend. The money apparently went to unspecified “philanthropic causes”.

The report said that the fees was paid to Wootton Cricket Ltd, a Cayman Islands-incorporated company owned by Naqvi, and the money was being used to bankroll Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Notably, Imran himself was invited to participate in the league, along with many PTI members, and was even "persuaded to take the field” at Wootton.

"Funds poured into Wootton Cricket from companies and individuals, including at least £2 million from a United Arab Emirates government minister who is also a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family," the FT report said.

The report claims Naqvi exchanged emails with a colleague about transferring $1.2 million more to the PTI.

"Six days after the $2 million arrived in the Wootton Cricket bank account, Naqvi transferred $1.2 million from it to Pakistan in two instalments. Rafique Lakhani, the senior Abraaj executive responsible for managing cash flow, wrote in an email to Naqvi that the transfers were intended for the PTI," the report said.

The explosive claims made in the report come at a time when ousted Imran Khan is facing trouble at home in the alleged prohibited funding case.

Political parties in Pakistan are not allowed to receive funding from foreign nationals and companies.

According to Pakistan-based Geo TV, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had been probing the party's funding since 2014, when founder Akbar S Babar alleged major irregularities in the party's finances, including in funding from outside Pakistan.

While the case has been concluded, the date of verdict is yet to be announced by the poll panel.

It was previously reported that Naqvi had funded Imran Khan's political party. However, the actual source of the money was never revealed.

Meanwhile, to questions by FT, Imran Khan wrote back saying he had gone to "a fundraising event which was attended by many PTI supporters".

The FT report described the time as "critical" for Khan to collect funds ahead of the 2013 general elections due in May.

Source: Times Of India

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Audio released to settle facts of ‘contested’ JCP meeting

Nasir Iqbal

July 30, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The controversy surrounding developments during Thursday’s closed-door meeting of the Judicial Commi­ssion of Pakistan (JCP) deepened further on Friday when Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial relaxed the commission’s rules and ordered the release of over-two-hour-long audio recording of the session to public.

Prompting the release of the recording were the letters issued by two JCP members — senior puisne Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood — both of whom claimed the meeting had disapproved the nominations of judges, proposed by the CJP, for elevation to the top court.

But the press release issued by the apex court’s public relations officer on Thursday stated the meeting had been deferred to enable the CJP to place additional information and data about the nominations and add more names to the list for consideration, if he considered appropriate.

On Friday, a fresh press release was issued — seemingly meant to put an end to the controversy — announcing the release of the JCP meeting audio recording. “This infighting among the judges will only bring a bad omen to the institution that delivers justice,” lamented a senior counsel on condition of anonymity, saying that in 1997, a CJP was isolated, vilified, physically assaulted and ousted. “The resemblance with today is uncanny.”

The JCP had met to consider elevation of Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Qaiser Rasheed Khan, Justice Shahid Waheed of the Lahore High Court, and Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiq and Justice Naimatullah Phul­poto from the Sindh High Court to the Supreme Court.

CJP takes ‘unprecedented’ decision in bid to end controversy created by Justice Isa, Justice Masood’s letters

The audio recording was released after Justice Masood, who was part of the nine-member JCP, in a letter to other commission members, including the CJP, highlighted the need for putting out factual and correct minutes of the meeting, in which details of observations and discussions of each member should be mentioned. The audio recording discussed the credentials of each nominee and the judgements rendered by them.

“The correct minutes of the meeting, if made publically, will stop needless rumours,” Justice Masood wrote in his two-page letter.

In a similar letter written to other JCP members, Justice Qazi Faez Isa had also highlighted that the acting secretary, who had attended the meeting in the absence of the JCP secretary, should immediately release this decision to the media, which would also stem unnecessary speculation and misreporting, as the meeting was held behind closed doors. It was expected that the detailed minutes would accurately reflect all that transpired.

Editorial: Supreme discontent

Soon after Justice Masood’s letter became public, a press release was issued on the instruction of the CJP, who is also JCP chairman, in defence of the version contained in Thursday’s statement, which has now been disputed by the two judges.

“A resulting controversy has therefore arisen in the print and electronic media. In these exceptional circumstances the JCP chairman has been pleased to relax the restriction under Rule 5(4) of the JCP Rules, 2010 and has directed for the audio recording of the JCP proceedings of July 28, 2022 to be made available on the official website of the apex court. The audio recording from time slot 1:29:45 to 1:38:08 contains the statement by Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf that the matters under discussion should be deferred to frame appropriate rules. He did not assess or reject the merits of any of the high court judges proposed for appointment to the apex court. As a result, five members of the JCP supported the deferment of the meeting as reported in the press note of Thursday,” the fresh statement said.

The recording indicates the AGP did request for a deferment of the issues for the time being, but at the same time also suggested that JCP rules be framed urgently by developing a system of checking or ticking the boxes of the data provided, which will help discourage debates on issues in future so informed decisions could be made properly. In the audio tape, the AGP can be heard saying “when we talk of seniority, ability, integrity and temperament, we should also consider whether the appellate courts have appreciated their judgements or overturned them”.

The AGP had also opposed the idea of discussing nominations on vacancies that would occur next month, saying that one should cross the bridge when one reached there. He also highlighted the need to consider the input of bar about judges instead of deciding the matter of elevation in haste.

“While nominating judges we should also consider how much time they will have in the Supreme Court to decide matters,” he said, pointing out that if they had only three years, then it would not be enough.

Justice Isa, who spoke in the end after the CJP, expressed surprise that while the two senior-most CJs of the high courts could sit in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), they were not fit to be elevated in the Supreme Court. “What an irony?” he remarked.

“What does a CJ of the high court bring to this court? [He] brings experience as a CJ. What I have learnt as CJ, I would never have learned as a judge. It is altogether a different ball game,” he emphasised.

Justice Isa also said the CJP had no unilateral power to nominate anybody. “We all are equal and can nominate and all of us carry one vote to decide. This is not about winning or losing but a question of future. You are bypassing chief justices,” Justice Isa regretted.

However after Justice Isa spoke, the CJP said: “let’s rise” and left the room, leaving Justice Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq wondering whether the meeting had ended abruptly and what would happen to the minutes of the meeting.

Read: Why transparency in judicial appointments is critical

During the meeting, the CJP also coined an idea regarding increasing the number of judges in the Supreme Court and saying that if everybody cooperated, he could approach the government for amending the necessary laws to have a couple of judges more in the apex court, especially in view of a backlog of cases. “We will be short of five judges next month and we have 50,000 cases,” the CJP pointed out.

Justice Tariq Masood’s letter

Justice Tariq Masood who gave a detailed overview on the competency, integrity and capacity of each nominees, however, disputed the facts mentioned by PRO in Thursday’s press release.

Justice Masood said he came to know through the newspapers that a press release was issued by Supreme Court’s PRO giving a totally different version of events from what actually had occurred during the meeting.

Narrating the events, the letter recalled when the meeting started on Thursday, the CJP described the credentials of his nominees and then requested Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Osmany – a member of the commission, for his views regarding the nominations who endorsed four nominees but disapproved the nomination of Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto.

Thereafter, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Ijazul Ahsan fully endorsed all the judges nominated by the CJP for their appointment as judges of the Supreme Court.

On his turn, Justice Sardar Masood said, after discussing the seniority principle referred to a comparative analysis of the nominated judges with superseded senior judges.

“I also recommended that Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who was second in seniority amongst the chief justices of all the high courts, be considered and stated that no one has raised a finger against his integrity, competency etc,” the letter said, adding he did not approve three nominated judges of the Sindh High Court and one judge of the Lahore High Court and requested that the nomination of the chief justice of Peshawar High Court be deferred.

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf – who joined the meeting through a video link from the US – and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative Akhtar Hussain also agreed with his recommendations.

Source: Dawn

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Indian and Pakistani FMs avoid ‘bilateral tiffs’ at SCO

Baqir Sajjad Syed

July 30, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and Ind­ian foreign ministers on Friday toge­ther attended the Shanghai Coopera­tion Org­anisation’s (SCO) Council of For­eign Ministers’ meeting and events on its margins, but avoided handshakes.

The SCO meeting was the first multilateral event where Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and S. Jaishankar came together since the former became the foreign minister after the change of government in Pakistan in April.

Even in informal settings, for instance when the foreign ministers of SCO member countries waited for a joint call on Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the two foreign ministers sat away from each other.

Relations between the two neighbouring nuclear-armed rivals have been bitter for long. Islamabad had lowered diplomatic ties with New Delhi after the BJP government revo­ked the autonomous status of Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.

Despite being in same room, Bilawal, Jaishankar steer clear of handshakes

Subsequent events in Kashmir and Hindu supremacists’ actions against Muslims in India have so far prevented re-engagement. Islamabad’s position has been that it wants normalisation, but it is for India to provide a conducive environment for that to happen.

Foreign Minister Bhutto-Zardari, while speaking at a government-run think tank in Islamabad last month, emphasised the need to engage India. He had argued at the time that despite a “long history of war and conflict” and Indian government’s actions in Occupied Kashmir and its anti-Muslim agenda, it was not in Pakistan’s interest to remain disengaged.

But soon afterwards, the Foreign Office clarified that there was no change in Pakistan’s policy on India, on which there is national consensus.

However, Mr Bhutto-Zardari and Mr Jaishankar, in line with SCO rules and charter, neither mentioned bilateral disputes, nor accused each other.

There is a clause in SCO charter barring member states from bringing their bilateral acrimony to the organisation’s meetings.

The Pakistani FM, in his speech at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, highlighted Pakistan’s perspective on important regional and international issues of concern to SCO member states. He emphasised that “shared prosperity” was essential for peace, stability and development in the SCO region and globally.

The foreign minister also shared Pakistan’s vision for the future direction and growth of SCO which could be achieved through joint efforts to enhance greater connectivity; road/rail links within the SCO region; building network of businessmen and entrepreneurs of SCO; harnessing the potential of technology and digitalization; and removing barriers to intra-SCO trade.

About strengthening connectivity in the SCO region, Mr Bhutto-Zardari proposed the construction of railways and roads, and the opening of trade routes. He said Pakistan backs the proposed “strategy for the development of interconnectedness and the creation of efficient transport corridors.”

Pakistan is working with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan on a planned railway project. This project, if it is realised, could provide an important access for Central Asian countries to the seaports of Pakistan, and will become an important component of the transport system of the SCO region.

The foreign minister also spoke about the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and reminded the member states about their responsibility to help the war ravaged country.

Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar, meanwhile, touched upon the challenges facing the region and expansion of the organization.

According to the FO, the SCO Foreign Ministers deliberated upon important topical issues facing the organization after 20 years of its establishment, including expansion in its membership; improvement in the mechanisms of the SCO Secretariat; and SCO’s stance on global economic and political developments and the challenges for SCO countries.

The foreign ministers signed sixteen decisions endorsing proposals on diverse areas of socio-economic cooperation and adopted a Joint Statement on Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention.

FM Bhutto-Zardari, on the sidelines of the conferences, also met with his counterparts from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Source: Dawn

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PTI funding, economic crisis dominate discussion in Senate

Iftikhar A. Khan

July 30, 2022

ISLAMABAD: As the ruling coalition and the opposition traded charges in the Senate holding each other responsible for the economic meltdown, the controversy over prohibited funding echoed in the house.

The issue was raised in the house by Mini­s­ter for Climate Change Sherry Rehman.

Chiding Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Dr Shahzad Wasim for holding the present government responsible for the economic mess, the PPP senator pointed out that the PTI, which had promised to break the begging bowl, almost doubled the external debts in just less than four years in power.

Earlier, Shahzad Wasim accused the government of violating Article 73 of the Constitution by failing to lay the real budget document before the house.

JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, speaking on the situation of floods, regretted the indifferent behaviour of the federal and provincial governments as well the institutions concerned to cope with the devastating heavy rains in different parts of the country. “Where is the state, where is the government?”

He said floods had destroyed peoples’ homes, agriculture, livestock and businesses, but the state was invisible at the time of this difficulty. “Where is prime minister? Has the premier visited the flood-affected areas, including Karachi?”

He said the performance of the NDMA and provincial disaster management authorities were abysmal in this time of emergency. “These institutions have become white elephants.” He demanded that the federal and provincial governments compensate the flood-affected people.

BAP Senator Mazoor Ahmed Kakar said the floods had ruined Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, but politicians were busy blaming each other. He alleged that the ruling coalition was only busy protecting its government and was least concerned about the bad situation of people due to rains.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan to enhance mutually beneficial multi-domain relations with US: Gen Bajwa tells US counterpart

July 29, 2022

RAWALPINDI: General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and General Michael Erik Kurilla, Commander United States (US) CENTCOM had a telephonic conversation on Friday.

During the call, matters of mutual interests, regional stability as well as defence and security cooperation were discussed in detail. COAS said that Pakistan values its relations with US and we earnestly look forward to enhance mutually beneficial multi-domain relations based on common interests. Both reiterated the desire to further enhance bilateral relations in all fields.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Southeast Asia


Ask housewives for fair valuation of their worth, Putrajaya told

Esther Yap

July 30, 202

PETALING JAYA: Several women’s rights groups have criticised the government’s RM600 “presumed work value” of a housewife, saying it did not reflect the amount of work she does.

Jernell Tan of the All Women’s Action Society told the human resources ministry to explain how it arrived at such a meagre estimate.

She was commenting on a clause in the Housewives’ Social Security Bill 2022 (SKSSR) that mentions RM600 as the “presumed work value” of a housewife.

Under the bill, housewives who contribute to the scheme are entitled to medical benefits, permanent disability benefits, regular attendance allowance, survivor’s pension and funeral benefits.

The valuation came under fire from former deputy women, family and community development minister Hannah Yeoh, who described it as “insulting”.

Tan told FMT: “Being a housewife is a 24/7 vocation. This estimate is not just inappropriate. It is an abomination.”

She said the government should carry out a study to get a better picture of the contribution of housework to the national gross domestic product (GDP).

She said this was something that had been done in Vietnam.

In a policy brief, anti-poverty group ActionAid said that unpaid care work, which includes housework, contributed to more than 20% of the country’s GDP in 2015.

Engender Consultancy founder Omna Sreeni-Ong voiced a similar sentiment, saying the statistics department should carry out a comprehensive time-use survey to understand the realities faced by housewives.

“Beyond domestic chores and caregiving, a stay-at-home parent is tasked with driving, grocery shopping, cooking, paying bills, attending children’s school activities and caring for elders at home,” she said.

“All these tasks, if calculated, would be many times more than what is valued in the bill, which is RM20 per day.”

According to the United Nations Statistics Division, time-use statistics measure individuals’ time allocation to various activities over a specified period.

Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das, noting that domestic work is usually seen in terms of social value, said a survey was crucial if the government intended to put “a number on it”.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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PM calls for 'tasamuh' among Malaysians to ensure harmony, unity

By Hana Naz Harun

July 29, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has called on Malaysians to practice tolerance in ensuring harmony and unity in the community.

He said the concept of 'tasamuh' or tolerance as demanded in Islam was a trait that is universal, and not only allowed the people to take the country to greater heights, but could also avoid unnecessary and harmful disputes.

"The spirit of tasamuh, introduced by Prophet Muhammad SAW when developing the holy city of Madinah where the Ansar (local Madinah inhabitants) and the Muhajirin (early followers of Islam who migrated from Makkah to Madinah) adopted the spirit of tolerance that created a caring society."

He said this in his special address in conjunction with the Maal Hijrah 1444H/2022M celebration, themed "Keluarga Malaysia: Catalyst for Prosperity" aired on local television channels tonight.

In his speech, Ismail Sabri said the spirit of tasamuh was also adopted by members of Parliament when they unanimously agreed to the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 3), banning party-hopping among MPs on Thursday.

The MPs, he said, had put aside political differences for the sake of Keluarga Malaysia.

He said Maal Hijrah was not just about appreciating the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah to spread the message of Islam, but also had a greater meaning.

"The challenges faced today require tenacity and resilience of every citizen, such as the spirit of sacrifice of the Muhajirin who were willing to leave their property and homes.

Hijrah in today's context is making an effort to change into a better individual that is useful to others.

"Within our own scope of duties, we are responsible for ensuring that relations between communities are in line with the principles of inclusivity, togetherness and gratitude as emphasised in the concept of Keluarga Malaysia," said Ismail Sabri, adding that such values were important to deal with unprecedented challenges.

It is with the spirit of togetherness, he said, that Malaysia had also successfully entered the transition to the endemic phase after over two years battling health and economic issues as a result of the Covid–19 pandemic.

Source: NST

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In conjunction with Ma’al Hijrah, King calls on Malaysians not to insult, ridicule religions in the name of freedom of expression

29 Jul 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah decreed that people should never belittle, insult or ridicule religions in the name of freedom of expression.

His Majesty also urged that the sanctity of all religions be preserved and respected at all times.

“Religion is not something to be joked about and used as a joke.

“I am afraid that such an act will fuel the flames of racism and destroy the bond of unity between all races that has been built for a long time,” said His Majesty in conjunction with the national-level Ma’al Hijrah1444H celebration and the recitation of Yassin, in conjunction with Warriors’ Day at the Federal Territory Mosque here tonight.

Also present was Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.

Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Senator Datuk Idris Ahmad and the Cabinet ministers were also in attendance.

Al-Sultan Abdullah also called on the people to safeguard the blessings of this independent and sovereign country.

“May Allah SWT illuminate our hearts and souls with the spirit of peace, avoid the traits that can invite division and protect this beloved country from any calamity and danger,” he said.

Al-Sultan Abdullah said in line with this year’s Ma’al Hijrah theme, “Keluarga Malaysia Pemangkin Kemakmuran”, the hijrah (migration) of Prophet Muhammad should be used as a guide to building a stable and glorious future for the country.

His Majesty said following the great event, an Islamic country was born which became the starting point for the development and spread of Islam throughout the world.

Al-Sultan Abdullah added that the construction of Madinah is the true reality of the unity of the plural society of an Islamic country, which is the most successful in the political history of the world.

“The unity was successfully achieved through the agreement of all races and religions, based on the Charter of Madinah,” His Majesty said.

Therefore, Al-Sultan Abdullah urged that efforts should be made so that all people, regardless of race or religion, can live in unity, peace and prosperity under the Sovereign Ruler, and uphold the Federal Constitution.

By appreciating the Sirah (history) Rasulullah, His Majesty said the unity of a pluralistic society can be achieved by respecting and understanding the existing diversity.

The King also said that today’s hijrah demands not only in terms of migration but it involves the transformation of the mind to form a culture based on morality and ethics.

“Being malicious, jealous and always finding fault with others are reprehensible traits that Allah SWT dislikes.

Source: Malay Mail

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Arab World


Saudi Arabia, France issue joint statement following Crown Prince’s visit to Paris

29 July ,2022

Saudi Arabia and France agreed to boost cooperation on renewable energy including solar, wind and clean hydrogen following the guidelines of the Paris Climate Accords, the Saudi Press agency reported on Friday.

Citing a joint statement released following Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Paris, SPA also said the leaders also discussed the importance of stabilizing the global energy market and maintaining a steady food supply of wheat and grains globally.

The meeting also stressed on the need for a continuous evaluation of common threats that face both Saudi Arabia and France, and maintaining security and stability in the Middle East.

The Saudi Crown Prince and Macron reportedly agreed on the importance of strengthening cooperation in defense while simultaneously combating terrorism, crime and its financing by sharing experiences and conducting training exercises.

Security and stability in Lebanon were another area of discussion. Both Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Macron agreed upon the importance of implementing comprehensive political and economic reforms to maintain Lebanon sovereignty, and “expressed satisfaction” with the work being undertaken by the Saudi-French fund for humanitarian and relief work in the Middle East nation, according to the joint statement.

The safety of the Syrian people and the preservation of the territory was a part of the talks, according to the SPA report. It added that the two leaders also explored the international efforts in place to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and urged its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

France’s Macron also reportedly commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts and support for the truce in Yemen. The Kingdom, meanwhile, appreciated France’s support behind UN efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis.

The leaders also reviewed the historical and strategic relations between the two countries and discussed ways to further develop them. They also exchanged views on regional and international issues, SPA reported.

In a separate statement issued by the French presidency, Macron and the Crown Prince underlined the need to bring an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and “intensify their cooperation to ease the effects in Europe, the Middle East and the wider world.”

The statement made no explicit reference to oil or gas, but said Macron had “underlined the importance of continuing the ongoing coordination with Saudi Arabia with regards to the diversification of energy supplies for European countries.”

With Russian oil and gas supplies either unavailable to EU nations due to sanctions or being withheld by Moscow, European countries are desperately seeking alternative sources of fossil fuels, AFP reported.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Crown Prince, Macron to work to ‘ease effects’ of Ukraine war: Statement

29 July ,2022

French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman agreed to work “to ease the effects” of the war in Ukraine during talks in Paris, the French presidency said on Friday.

“The President and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia underlined the need to bring an end to this conflict and intensify their cooperation to ease the effects in Europe, the Middle East and the wider world,” a statement said.

The statement made no explicit reference to oil or gas, but said Macron had “underlined the importance of continuing the ongoing coordination with Saudi Arabia with regards to the diversification of energy supplies for European countries.”

With Russian oil and gas supplies either unavailable to EU nations due to sanctions or being withheld by Moscow, European countries are desperately seeking alternative sources of fossil fuels.

Saudi Arabia is one of few countries worldwide with the capacity to increase its output.

The French statement said that Macron and the Saudi Crown Prince had also discussed food security amid fears of famines caused by the loss of Ukrainian grain.

Talks over dinner by the two leaders covered regional crises including the war in Yemen and Iran’s nuclear program.

“With regards to the war in Yemen, the president commended the efforts by Saudi Arabia to find a political, global and inclusive solution under the aegis of the United Nations and expressed his hope that the truce continues,” the statement said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz meets Russian deputy PM to discuss cooperation

29 July ,2022

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman met on Friday with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak to discuss the latest developments in the work of the Saudi-Russian joint committee, according to a tweet by the Saudi Energy Ministry.

The two discussed the latest developments in the work of the joint Saudi-Russian committee and discussed opportunities for cooperation between their countries, the ministry added.

Their meeting came ahead of an OPEC+ meeting set for August 3. Both Saudi Arabia and Russia are part of OPEC+.

A senior administration official recently said the US is optimistic that there could be some positive announcement when OPEC+ meets next week, adding that additional oil supplies would help further stabilize the market.

The official said this was based on conversations during President Joe Biden’s bilateral and multilateral meetings on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, but that “these are decisions that OPEC members have to make and we respect that process.”

“We are optimistic based on the conversations we had about this next OPEC+ meeting,” the official, who declined to be named told reporters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syrian ship carrying 'stolen' Ukrainian grain docks in Lebanon

İdiris Okuduci 



A Syrian ship carrying stolen grain from Ukraine anchored in Lebanon's Tripoli Port, a Lebanese minister said.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and the General Customs Office are following the developments regarding the Syrian ship, which carried stolen flour and barley of Ukraine and anchored in Tripoli Port,” Lebanese Trade Minister Amin Salam told Lebanese daily Annahar on Thursday.

The minister said the ship was sanctioned by the United States.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Beirut warned in a statement that "importing wheat and barley belonging to Ukraine and stolen by Russia will harm Lebanese-Ukrainian relations."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Pro-Sadr protesters flock to Baghdad’s Tahrir Square despite calls to withdraw

July 30, 2022

BAGHDAD: Several pro-Sadr demonstrators were injured when Iraqi security forces used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters trying to break into the Green Zone in Baghdad, according to local news reports.

Supporters of powerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr flocked to Tahrir Square in Baghdad on Saturday to protest against the nomination of Mohammed Al-Sudani as the new prime minister of Iraq, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

The highly-secured Green Zone in the capital is home to several government buildings and diplomatic missions.

Protests in the capital have been going on since Wednesday despite calls from current Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi urging demonstrators to “immediately withdraw,” according to INA.

Source: Arab News

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Iraq’s PMF says Daesh attack thwarted in north of Baghdad

July 30, 2022

The Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said it thwarted an attempted attack by Daesh in the Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad, the Iraq News Agency (INA) reported on Friday.

“A force from the 12th Brigade of the Popular Mobilization repelled an attack by [Daesh] that targeted the Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad, and the force was able to thwart a [Daesh] attempt to infiltrate the district and carry out terrorist operations,” the PMF said in a statement carried by INA.

The militants launched a counterattack in the district to secure the area and conducted security sweeps in search of fleeing Daesh fighters, the statement added.

Iraq’s PMF – a state-sanctioned umbrella organization of mostly Shiite militias backed by Iran – was created when influential Shiite cleric Ali Al-Sistani urged the public to take up arms against Daesh.

Source: Arab News

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South Asia


ISIS causing unrest in Afghanistan, says Taliban's acting foreign minister

July 29, 2022

The Taliban's acting Foreign Minister admitted that 1,800 ISIS terrorists were released last year and claimed that ISIS fighters have been subdued while on the contrary, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the recent deadly attacks on mosques, schools, and cars across Afghanistan.

Muttaqi even contradicted his statement, saying "the ISIS prisoners had been causing unrest in the country during the previous 11 months."

Addressing the Tashkent international conference, acting Foreign Minister of the Taliban Amir Khan Muttaqi informed that when the Taliban took control of Kabul, the Afghan capital, 1,800 ISIS terrorists were released from Bagram and Pul-e-Charkhi prisons, the Khaama Press reported.

During his address, Foreign Minister Muttaqi confirmed the release of the ISIS prisoners and said that the Taliban had grown strong enough to subdue ISIS fighters during the previous 11 months of their administration.

The previous Afghan administration flew the ISIS members to Kabul after they were besieged by the Taliban in Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan, Khaama quoted the acting minister as saying.

Uzbekistan hosted an international conference on Afghanistan on July 25-26 which was attended by the representatives of 20 world countries.

Earlier, US officials expressed concern over the release of the ISIS prisoners and said that their release by the Taliban from the prisons of Pul-e-Charkhi and Bagram had strengthened the group.

In February, the nominee to head the US Central Command, Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla raised concern over the Taliban freeing Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) prisoners and warned that the foreign terrorist groups are "reconstituting" in Afghanistan.

All prisoners in detention centres and prisons in Afghanistan were pardoned after the Taliban took control of the country last August.

Despite the Taliban's claims that ISIS does not physically exist in Afghanistan and does not pose a threat, the group had claimed responsibility for deadly attacks on mosques, schools, and cars, the publication said.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last August, the country has been mired in violence.

The string of terrorist attacks took place in Afghanistan on April 21, 2022, including the attack against the Seh Dokan Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif and a separate attack in Kunduz, both claimed by Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), an entity affiliated with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh). The attacks have resulted in dozens killed and many more injured and follow other recent attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including in religious minority communities, across Afghanistan.

Source: Business Standard

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Videos on social media showing Taliban destroying Pakistan-built minaret: report

29 July, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], July 29 (ANI): Exposing the rift between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a new video surfaced on social media showing the members of the Taliban destroying a minaret built by the Pakistani Army in Afghanistan by Badakhshis in Wakhan Badakhshan, a local media reported.

The videos claimed that the Taliban destroyed a pillar with the Pakistan emblem made by the Pakistan government at the zero point of the alleged border with Afghanistan in Badakhshan’s Wakhan district.

Earlier, a similar incident was reported where the members of the Taliban destroyed the border signs along the Durand Line in Wakhan and Badakhshan, a media report said amid the rising tension over the border dispute.

In another video, one person can be heard saying Pakistan is apparently trying to capture the only source of water in the region, TOLOnews reported without confirming the exact recording time and location of these videos.

The ties between Taliban-led Afghanistan and Pakistan have been frosty of late and matters have been exacerbated by recent border tensions. These videos have emerged amid an ongoing standoff on the border between the Balochistan and Nimroz Provinces of the two countries.

“Both sides refused to move from their respective positions and the Taliban commander of Zakir Camp Qari Hamidullah informed the Pakistan Army that he was under instructions not to negotiate and demanded the removal of poles intended for fencing on the Durand Line,” said Toronto-based think tank International Forum For Rights And Security (IFFRAS).

“This event is the latest in a series of incidents on the border. In response, Pakistan refused to remove the poles and also threatened to destroy Zakir Camp if Afghanistan maintained an aggressive posture,” it added.

Earlier this month, Taliban-appointed Afghan Defence Minister said that the country will not allow any other country to act aggressively against Afghanistan.

The refusal to accept the status of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan by the Taliban regime has clearly shown the cracks in the relationship between the two countries.

During his visit to the Durand Line in Paktia province, Mawalwi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid said the Taliban wants good ties with all neighbouring countries and expects the same from them.

Regional analysts believe that Pakistan has committed a strategic blunder in thinking that the Taliban, which the country helped in fighting a US-backed Afghanistan for over two decades, will fulfil Islamabad’s wishes.

After Pakistan backed the Taliban for over two decades to gain Afghanistan’s control back, it seemed like a legitimate expectation of Islamabad that the Taliban will show some gratitude and accede to Pakistan’s wish list on a range of issues.

However, the Taliban have so far not shown any signs of acceding to these wishes. Rather, on several occasions, rejected Pakistan’s demands including the one to recognize the Durand Line.

According to the Canadian think tank, ‘borders’ that have remained porous for centuries have suddenly been shut down, dividing clans and families.

Source: The Print

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Four wounded in bomb blast at Afghan cricket match

Jul 29, 2022

KABUL: A grenade blast during a match at Afghanistan's main cricket stadium wounded four spectators and briefly halted the game on Friday, officials and police said.

The explosion happened at a match between Pamir Zalmi and Band-e-Amir Dragons in the country's domestic T20 league, held at the Kabul International Cricket Stadium.

Hundreds of people were at the match on Friday, the weekly holiday in Afghanistan.

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said the blast was caused by a grenade, adding that the game was halted for a few minutes.

It injured four spectators, said the Afghanistan Cricket Board's chief executive Naseeb Khan.

"The players, staff members and foreigners are all safe," he said on Twitter, without offering details.

This year's edition of the Shpageeza Cricket League -- its eighth season -- is the first such tournament since the Taliban seized power in August last year.

Its eight teams have many players from the country's national team.

Cricket is a popular game in Afghanistan, with many of its players gaining international recognition.

Source: Times Of India

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Jaishankar likely to hold 1st in-person meet with Taliban foreign minister Muttaqi in Tashkent


29 July, 2022

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is likely to hold a bilateral meeting with Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting being held under the Uzbek presidency, ThePrint has learnt.

While there is no official confirmation on the meeting from either side, Afghanistan’s Taliban regime has been requesting a meeting with Jaishankar ever since India decided to reopen its embassy in Kabul in June this year, diplomatic sources told ThePrint.

If such a meeting does take place, it will be the first ever face-to-face interaction between Jaishankar and Muttaqi.

The proposed meeting, top-level sources said, will purely focus on issues concerning humanitarian aid and assistance meant for the Afghan people.

Jaishankar left Thursday on a two-day visit to Uzbekistan for the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting, where he is expected to have a slew of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the main event, including a meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.

While Jaishankar and Muttaqi are likely to take stock of the humanitarian aid flowing from India to Afghanistan at the proposed meeting, the Afghan side is likely to make a proposal for New Delhi to resume work on some of the mega Indian infrastructure projects that were stalled by the overthrow of the former Ashraf Ghani government in Kabul, sources told ThePrint.

Jaishankar, on the other hand, is likely to “insist strongly” on the fact that New Delhi will not tolerate a rise in terrorism on Afghan soil, thereby reiterating the stand India took under UNSC Resolution 2593 passed in August last year during its presidency of the UN Security Council, sources added.

India has been engaging with the Taliban ever since the latter took power in Kabul in August last year. But it was in June this year that New Delhi made the decision to reopen its embassy in Afghanistan by sending a “technical team” there.

Earlier that month, India had sent an official delegation to Kabul led by J.P. Singh, joint secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran division) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), who also held a meeting with Muttaqi. Singh is also part of the Indian delegation in Tashkent for the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting.

International conference on Afghanistan

Muttaqi, meanwhile, has been in Tashkent since the beginning of this week as he had to also attend a special meeting on Afghanistan hosted by the Uzbek government. The meeting was attended by more than 30 countries, including India.

The Uzbek foreign ministry said in a statement: “The main goal of the event is to develop a set of measures and proposals for the approaches of the world community to promote stability, security, post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan and its integration into regional cooperation processes in the interests of the multinational Afghan people and the whole world.”

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Thursday at a media briefing that India “did participate in that event (at an official level)”.

“It was in continuation of our efforts to engage with the international community on issues related to Afghanistan. During this conference, India reiterated its commitment to assist the Afghan people in this difficult time and provide humanitarian assistance. We also reiterated UNSC 2593 (at the meeting),” Bagchi added.

At the international conference on Afghanistan, chaired by Uzbek foreign minister Vladimir Norov, the Taliban foreign minister assured all international participants that the government in Kabul is working every day to make Afghanistan secure, focussing on the country’s reconstruction. Afghanistan is hence open for business, he said.

“Before we came to power, everyone used to call for an end to violence in Afghanistan. Look, we are discussing the reconstruction of our country and developing its economy…We want investment,” Muttaqi added.

Source: The Print

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New Tunisian constitution brings hope to many people in struggling nation

July 29, 2022

TUNIS: Tunisian voters have approved a referendum on a new constitution that gives more powers to the country’s president. It’s a step that brings hope to many in the struggling North African nation.

Some people interviewed by The Associated Press this week celebrated the result of Monday’s referendum and expressed support for President Kais Saied, who spearheaded the project and proposed the text himself.

Others said they worry about what the changes could mean for the future of democracy in the country.

The overhauled constitution gives sweeping executive powers to the president and weakens the influence of the legislative and judicial branches of the government.

Adel, a 51-year-old plumber who refused to give his last name due to fear of political reprisals, said that while he supported Saied, he did not participate in Monday’s referendum because he thought the proposed changes gave the executive branch too much power.

“This constitution he made was not for the long-term. Those who will come after Saied will do whatever they want without being held accountable,” he said.

Saied won the presidency in 2019 with over 70 percent of the vote. He continues to enjoy widespread popular support; recent polls put his approval rating at well over 50 percent.

The referendum took place a year to the day after Saied froze Tunisia’s parliament and dismissed his government. Opponents derided the moves as “a coup,” but many Tunisians supported the president’s actions due to exasperation with political elites and years of economic stagnation.

In the same way, many citizens think the new constitution will end years of political deadlock and reduce the influence of the country’s largest political party, Ennahdha.

Others saw a “yes” vote as a vote for Saied and a chance to change their fortunes.

Saida Masoudi, 49, a fast-food seller in a Tunis suburb who voted for the revised constitution, said she hoped the changes would pave the way to economic reforms and lower living costs.

“We just want the country to improve and reform. That’s why I participated in this referendum, so that the country will return to how it was before” she said, adding that she thinks Tunisians lived better under former President Ben Ali than they do today.

However, Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s regional director, called the constitution’s adoption “deeply worrying.”

She said in a statement that the revisions were drafted behind closed doors in a process controlled by Saied.

“The new constitution dismantles many of the guarantees to the independence of the judiciary, removes protection for civilians from military trials and grants the authorities the power to restrict human rights or renege on international human rights commitments in the name of religion” Morayef said.

Official preliminary results showed about one-third of registered voters cast ballots, with 94.6 percent giving their approval.

Opposition leaders had called for a boycott of the referendum, saying the process was flawed, and they argue the turnout reflected discomfort with the changes to Tunisia’s system of government.

“The referendum was rigged from the start, with no participation threshold provided for,” International Commission of Jurists regional director Said Benarbia said.

“The low turnout and the opaque, illegal process by which the adoption of the constitution was made possible do not give the president any mandate or legitimacy to change Tunisia’s constitutional order.”

Several people the Associated Press spoke with said they did not vote in the referendum.

Some said they were uninterested in politics, while others said a new constitution would do little to change their quality of life. Several did not understand the changes it would introduce.

“I didn’t vote because none of this interests me,” Khalil Riahi, a 26-year-old DJ, said.

“Whether it’s Kais Saied doing this or someone else, it’s all the same to me. Nothing will change.”

Monica Marks, professor of Middle East politics at NYU Abu Dhabi, says that many Tunisians have grown tired, disillusioned and cynical in recent years but that they “never called for a complete up-ending of their political system”.

“What they’ve been calling for, for years, is for effective leadership from government that makes a real tangible difference in their everyday lives and solves the economic challenges that they’re desperately grappling with” says Marks, explaining that many are attached to the idea that “one man alone can take the system, break it and maybe fix it.”

Source: Arab News

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Muslim-Muslim Ticket: New CAN President, Okoh states position

July 29, 2022

By Don Silas

Archbishop Daniel Okoh, the new president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), on Thursday, said several Christians have the genuine fear that there is a deliberate plan to remove the Christian faith from the scheme of things and make them second-class citizens in Nigeria.

Okoh said the fear was borne out of the recent happenings in the polity.

According to him, “that is, the same-faith ticket in one of the major political parties in Nigeria despite the caution raised by CAN since two years ago.”

In his acceptance speech in Abuja after the General Assembly of CAN validated his election, Okoh said: “We are coming in at the time that all of us in the Christian faith, believe that some section of political leaders are not sensitive to the diverse nature of our population when certain decisions are being made.

“Whatever happens, no matter how many times our sensibilities are insulted, we must resolve to make a positive impact on the political, economic and social systems of our dear nation.”

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Bomb blast kills regional judicial official in Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane 



Multiple casualties were reported on Friday after a bomb blast targeted senior regional government officials in the southwestern Somali city of Baidoa, officials said.

A security official in Baidoa told Anadolu Agency over the phone that initial reports said Hassan Ibrahim Lugbur, justice minister in the South West State, is among the dead.

The bomb exploded shortly after Lugbur left a mosque after Friday prayers, he added.

The official said at least seven people were also wounded in the attack and were taken to local hospitals.

Baidoa, the largest city in the South West State, is located 245 kilometers (152 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Al-Shabaab terrorists launch fresh attack on Somali town bordering Ethiopia

Mohammed Dhaysane 



Al-Shabaab terrorists on Friday launched a fresh attack on a Somali town located near the border with Ethiopia, officials said.

The attacks took place in the town of Aato in Bokol region near Ethiopia's Somali region, where Liyu police, a counterinsurgency force, operates.

Officials in Bakol region, who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity, confirmed the attack, without giving any further details.

Al-Shabaab terrorists later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they targeted a security camp in the town killing 103 Ethiopian Liyu police officers.

Witnesses said they heard heavy fighting between al-Shabaab and the security forces.

The attack comes a week after the group crossed Somali border with Ethiopia, sparking heavy gun battles.

US Africa Command commander Gen Stephen J. Townsend late Thursday said the group reached 150km inside Ethiopia before being been stopped.

Mustafe Omar, president of Somali region, said a functioning state can never be intimidated by ragtag outfits such as al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda.

“Our gallant special forces are once again proving that the peace in the region is not at the mercy of terrorists," he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Islamic New Year: JGSG declares Monday work free day

July 29, 2022

By Khaleel Muhammad

The Jigawa State Government has declared Monday, 1st August 2022 a work-free day to mark the Islamic New Year.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Head of the Civil Service, Hussaini Ali Kila on behalf of Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar.

The Governor urged civil servants and residents in the state to use the day to pray for the state and the country at large for God’s intervention to salvage the nation from the lingering security challenges.

“The period of the Islamic New Year should remind all people of the countless favours bestowed on them by the Almighty God,” he said.

He called on the citizens to intensify prayers for those affected by floods in some parts of the state, those that lost their lives and many others who lost their homes and properties.

“People should also use the period to reflect and live their lives based on the teachings of Islam and practice of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

“During the occasion, it is expected that all public servants and the entire people of the State will also pray to Almighty Allah for continued protection and guidance of our leaders,” it said.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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North America


US Congress Calls On EU To Designate Hezbollah In Its Entirety As A Terrorist Group

30 July ,2022

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) passed a measure calling on the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terror group in its entirety.

Lawmakers on the committee also passed a separate resolution calling for the US government to dismantle narcotics networks of the Assad regime, specifically Captagon, an amphetamine-type stimulant.

The resolution, which now will be voted on by the House, applauds and expresses support for the continued, increased cooperation between the US and EU in thwarting Hezbollah’s criminal and terrorist activities.

It also calls on the EU to sanction Hezbollah-affiliated terrorists in tandem with the US. The resolution “urges the European Union to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on the group.”

Pressure on the group would include better cross-border cooperation between European Union members in combatting Hezbollah, issuing arrest warrants against members and active supporters of the group, freezing Hezbollah’s assets in Europe and banning fundraising activities in support of it.

Washington has worked to isolate and pressure Iran-backed Hezbollah for years, but Europe, specifically France, has held up unified opposition.

The Elysee continues to differentiate between Hezbollah’s so-called military and political wings.

And in recent years, several countries in the Gulf, South and Central America, and Europe have designated Hezbollah in its entirety.

The group, formed in 1982 by Iran to fight Israelis in Lebanon, continues to expand its power across the region and its arsenal of ballistic missiles and weapons.

The US designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group in 1997. Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) is responsible for one of the deadliest attacks on US troops on foreign soil and carried out multiple bombings against US marines, the US Embassy and the US Embassy in Lebanon.

Captagon and Bashar al-Assad

Narcotics trafficking, particularly with links to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, was also targeted in a separate measure this week.

Most of Captagon is produced in Syria and Lebanon and smuggled to its primary consumer market in the Gulf.

The HFAC voted on a measure to require a strategy by the US government “to disrupt and dismantle the Captagon trade and narcotics networks of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.”

The ‘‘Countering Assad’s Proliferation Trafficking And Garnering Of Narcotics Act’’ or the ‘‘CAPTAGON Act’’ would require the US secretaries of Defense, State, Treasury, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Director of National Intelligence to develop a way to dismantle the production and trafficking of the narcotic.

Congressman French Hill praised the passing of the Captagon Act. “These drugs not only cripple local populations, they also serve to fuel hostilities and finance the Assad regime and Iran-backed groups in the region,” Hill said in a statement. “The US government must do all it can to disrupt the industrial-level drug production currently taking place in Syria.”

The top Republican on the HFAC said the Captagon trade directly undermines US and international sanctions on the Assad regime. “The Administration needs to develop and implement a plan to stop production and trafficking of these drugs,” McCaul said.

Methods could include diplomatic and intelligence support by assisting and training law enforcement services in countries other than Syria, where Captagon is being transited.

If passed, the US government would be required to develop a manner where it could leverage cooperation with international partners to disrupt the narcotics infrastructure of the Assad regime.

The resolution also calls for a strategy to mobilize a “public communications campaign to increase awareness of the extent of the connection of the Assad regime to illicit narcotics trade.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Islamic State group: Canadian narrator of propaganda videos jailed

July 30, 2022

A US court has sentenced a Canadian citizen who produced and narrated propaganda videos for the Islamic State group (IS) to life in prison.

Saudi-born Mohammed Khalifa was found guilty of conspiring to provide material support to the group.

The US Department of Justice said Khalifa, 39, had been a "formidable figure" within IS and personally killed two captive Syrian soldiers. 

IS was defeated by Iraqi forces and a US-led coalition in 2017.

But the group still maintains a presence in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, as well as the Horn of Africa and West Africa.

US prosecutors say Khalifa provided English-speaking narration for 15 propaganda videos that glorified horrific murders designed to incite attacks and recruit others to the group.

Khalifa, who grew up in Toronto, travelled to Syria in spring of 2013, and joined IS that November. He worked within the IS media operation until late 2018.

In 2014 alone, the unit released videos of the beheading of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and of British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines.

In January 2019, Khalifa was captured in Syria by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed, Kurdish-led militia.

Armed with three grenades and an AK-47, he had carried out a solo attack on an SDF position in Abu Badran, Syria, said the US justice department.

He threw one grenade at SDF forces on the roof of the compound, before running inside where he engaged in a gunfight with a soldier on the stairs.

Source: BBC

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US, Pakistan pressing Taliban to let girls go to school: Blinken

Anwar Iqbal

July 30, 2022

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has identified Pakistan as one of the partners the United States has been working with to persuade the Taliban to let girls go back to school.

On Thursday, Secretary Blinken launched the US-Af­ghan Consultative Mecha­nism (USACM), which would enable Afghan citizens to communicate directly with American policymakers.

Addressing the launching ceremony, the top US diplomat said that besides Pakistan, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar and Turkey, and others were also backing US efforts to convince the Taliban to reverse their decision to keep Afghan girls out of school.

The new platform — USACM — that was launched in Washington on Thursday brings together Afghan women, journalists, and at-risk ethnic and religious communities with the representatives of the US State Department. It will facilitate regular engagement with the US government on issues ranging from human rights documentation to women in Islam.

Kabul, Washington discuss possible release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets

With USACM’s launch, “we are taking these relationships to the next level. That’s why I’m so pleased about today,” Secretary Blinken said.  He identified the group’s priorities as supporting income-generating activities for Afghan women, strategising ways to help Afghan human rights monitors safely document abuses, and devising new methods to promote religious freedom.

Afghan assets

The United States has discussed with Taliban officials the possible release of Afghan central bank’s assets frozen after the fall of Kabul in August last year, the US State Department confirmed on Friday.

“The two sides discussed ongoing efforts to enable the $3.5 billion in licensed Afghan central bank reserves to be used for the benefit of the Afghan people,” said an official statement released in Washington.

“The United States expressed the need to address the urgent humanitarian situation in Afghanistan” and also “underscored the need to accelerate the work on these efforts,” the statement added.

The meeting, involving Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson, took place on Wednesday in Tashkent. The meetings took place after the conclusion of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan that Uzbekistan hosted on July 26.

Media reports on the meeting claimed that the talks had made “some progress” and the US and Taliban officials had exchanged proposals for unfreezing the assets. But some differences remained unresolved.

Source: Dawn

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Labour bans 'Muslim plot' councillor over Islamophobia finding

July 30, 2022

A former Labour deputy leader of Newcastle City Council has been found guilty of Islamophobia and suspended from the party for a year.

Joyce McCarty faced a probe into claims she made in a text message of a "Muslim plot", which ousted her ally and former leader Nick Forbes.

Ms McCarty, who was re-elected in May, will sit as an independent.

Newcastle Labour Party says it condemns "any act of hate crime" and will "call out any such behaviour when seen".

It said: "Joyce McCarty has been found guilty through investigation of Islamophobia and is suspended from the Labour Party with immediate effect."

Ms McCarty declined to comment when contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Labour indicated that the 12-month suspension includes the four already served since her initial suspension in March.

"The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken," a spokesman added.

In a text message seen by LDRS and first reported by JOE, Ms McCarty said she was aware of a "specific Muslim plot" organised by councillors in Newcastle's West End to remove the leader and get more black, Asian, and minority ethnic candidates selected.

Despite being suspended in March, she remained on local election ballot papers for Labour in May and was re-elected in her Wingrove ward with an overwhelming majority.

She was first elected to the city council in 1994 and was deputy leader from 2011 to 2021.

The veteran councillor also sat on the local authority's cabinet with responsibilities for issues including support for refugees and asylum seekers.

In February, Mr Forbes was defeated in the contest for his Arthur's Hill ward when Labour members voted by 13 to four in favour of Abdul Samad.

Source: BBC

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Daesh ‘groomer’ with ties to Manchester Arena bomber could be released from jail

July 29, 2022

LONDON: A British man convicted of helping people travel to join Daesh and accused of “grooming” the Manchester Arena bomber could soon be released from jail.

Abdalraouf Abdallah, 29, could be up for parole in November. He was jailed for nine-and-a-half years in 2016 for facilitating travel for people to fight in the civil war in Syria, and of raising money to support their efforts.

He was paralyzed from the waist down while fighting in the Libyan revolution of 2011, and was arrested in 2014 in the UK for suspected terrorist activities — charges he continues to deny.

At his trial in London it was revealed that correspondence was found on his mobile phone with the Manchester Arena bomber, Salman Abedi, in which the two discussed, among other things, martyrdom and the death of a member of Al-Qaeda.

Abdallah was released on license in November 2020, but was recalled to prison soon after for breaching his behavior-related conditions.

His prospective re-release comes after a change in the law in February 2020, mandating that criminals with convictions for terrorism offenses must serve two-thirds of their sentence in jail before review by the Parole Board.

In the UK, convicted criminals typically only serve half of a given custodial sentence dependent on circumstances before parole considerations.

A Parole Board spokesperson said: “We can confirm the parole review of Abdalraouf Abdallah has been referred to the Parole Board by the secretary of state for justice and is following standard processes.

“Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community,” the spokesperson said.

“A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behavior change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

“Evidence from witnesses such as probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements may be given at the hearing.

“It is standard for the prisoner and witnesses to be questioned at length during the hearing, which often lasts a full day or more. Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”

Abdallah’s trial heard that he arranged for the movement of people and money to Syria, all while confined to his wheelchair.

Prosecutor Max Hill, QC, accused Abdallah of being “at the center of a jihadist network facilitating foreign fighters . . . intent upon sending fighters to join groups in Syria who were committing terrorist acts in that country.”

After his conviction, Abdallah was visited in prison by Abedi, and continued to contact him via an illegal mobile phone in 2017 before the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22, which killed 23 people.

The inquiry into the bombing was told by one expert Abedi was “groomed” by Abdallah, who is from Moss Side in Manchester, claiming he converted Abedi to his “violent, Islamist, extremist world view.”

Abdallah denies involvement in the bombing. He was transferred from Wakefield Prison to give evidence at the inquiry in November 2021, where he said he was “haunted” by the attack, describing his correspondence with Abedi as “normal chitchat.”

Source: Arab News

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Plans for Muslim burial sites in Madrid given approval

July 29, 2022

MADRID: The Madrid City Council last week approved the use of land in the Spanish capital for Muslim burial spaces.

Maysoun Douas, the first and only Muslim councillor on the City Council for Mas Madrid, made a speech to highlight the problems and lack of rights faced by the Muslim community in the region.

Religious freedom includes the right to receive a dignified burial without discrimination on religious grounds, she said.

However, there is currently only one Muslim cemetery in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, in Grinon, 40 km from the center of Madrid.

In 2016, it was already full and did not even allow burials according to the Islamic rite, because municipal ordinances require the use of coffins.

The space was historically designated for Franco’s “Guardia Mora” during the Francoist dictatorship.

The Autonomous Community of Madrid has about 250 public cemeteries, 14 of which are municipal in the city of Madrid.

Of all of them, only the one in Grinon is Muslim, for about 300,000 people in the community and 100,000 in the capital who practice Islam.

All this comes under civil rights for Muslim citizens, which have been stigmatized according to Douas.

“The official interlocutors for religious issues, organizations we trusted, convinced us that we were fighting for our rights when they were actually hijacking them,” she said.

“This is a group that needs real institutional support, as organizations have done little or nothing to implement basic rights recognized for other citizens,” she added.

Source: Arab News

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UN wants Syria talks to be insulated from Ukraine war

29 July ,2022

The UN is calling for a “firewall” around the Syria process, after diplomatic talks for the conflict-torn country were postponed over Russian demands reportedly linked to its war in Ukraine.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, had been set to host a ninth round of talks in Geneva towards a new Syrian constitution this week.

But he was forced to postpone after Moscow raised issues over the venue, reportedly insisting that Switzerland, which has imposed sanctions over the Ukraine war, is not neutral.

Spokeswoman Jenifer Fenton told reporters in Geneva that Pedersen had briefed the Security Council behind closed doors Thursday, and had described the postponement as “unfortunate and disheartening, particularly since it results from matters unrelated to the Syria file.”

He had told the council that a Syrian government representative had informed him that it would only be ready to participate in the next round of constitutional talks “when what he described as requests made by the Russian Federation have been met,” she said.

Pedersen, she said, “urged all parties to firewall the Syrian process from the impact of the conflicts elsewhere in the world and put the interest of Syrians first.”

Fenton highlighted that back in 2018 when the constitutional committee was conceived, one of the conditions was that it “would hold its meetings in Geneva without foreign interference.”

Pedersen acknowledged that the challenges facing the long-stuck talks aimed at rewriting Syria’s constitution “run much deeper than issues of venue,” she said.

“One challenge is that of pace and working methods, and another challenge, is that of political will.”

During the last round of talks in early June, the rival parties made very little headway, with Pedersen’s office decrying the slow pace and acknowledging at the time that “differences remained significant.”

On Thursday, Pedersen told the council that the “current deadlock ... calls for a broader reflection,” Fenton said.

He had said the situation for Syrians remains “dire,” and had stressed the need to “put aside our differences and offer Syrians a common and constructive position.”

Syria’s war, which erupted in 2011 after the brutal repression of anti-government protests, has killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions.

The tentative negotiations are aimed at rewriting the war-torn country’s constitution. It is hoped the talks could pave the way towards a broader political process.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran state media share video of US children singing Tehran-sponsored religious anthem

29 July ,2022

A group of Shia Muslim children in Houston, Texas, sang an Iranian-sponsored religious anthem that includes references to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and slain military commander Qassem Soleimani last week, videos shared online showed.

The event was organized by the Islamic Education Center of Houston, according to a post on the organisation’s Facebook page. Video of the children singing the anthem was shared by Iranian state media.

The anthem, “Salam Farmandeh” – meaning “Hello Commander” – is a pledge of allegiance by young children to the 12th Imam and Shia Messiah, al-Mahdi, according to the anthem’s creators in Iran.

The anthem was “written upon the recommendation of” Khamenei, “who called on children and youths to address Imam Mahdi,” according to the Lebanese Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV.

The anthem, which aired for the first time in March on Iranian state TV, makes references to Khamenei and former Revolutionary Guards commander Soleimani. The anthem has been heavily promoted by Iranian state media.

“I promise to be your Haj Qassem,” the children sing, referring to Soleimani.

Rights activists have criticised the anthem, saying it is a propaganda anthem that seeks to recruit child soldiers and brainwash children.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran Appoints New Representative to IAEA, UN Offices in Vienna


Naziri Asl was also appointed as Iran's new ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna.

Naziri Asl succeeded Kazzem Qaribabadi who was the last Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN Office in Vienna.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian FM Calls for Settlement of Hirmand River Dispute with Afghanistan


During the conversation on Thursday, Amir Abdollahian conferred on the long-standing dispute over shared water resources with the Afghan official, making a "serious demand" for settlement of the dispute in line with the agreement between the two sides.

The top Iranian diplomat, meantime, pointed out that a high-ranking delegation from Iran's Ministry of Energy would pay a visit to Afghanistan to investigate and remove the existing obstacles and consult with Afghan authorities about Iran's water share.

Muttaqi welcomed the continuation of consultations on the matter as well as dispatching of an expert team by the Iranian government that would pursue the issue.

The top Iranian diplomat had last month warned that Iran will take legal measures if the Taliban fail to secure its water rights “because the supplement of Iran’s water rights from Hirmand [River] plays a decisive role in our strategic policy towards Afghanistan’s acting Taliban government”.

Days after his statement, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee announced that a delegation will travel to Afghanistan to hold talks with the Taliban officials on the water-sharing dispute and other issues.

The two neighboring countries have been locked in a protracted water dispute, which has prevented them from realizing the vast potential of their bilateral trade ties.

At the heart of the dispute is the Hirmand River, which originates in the Hindu Kush Mountains near Kabul and flows 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) south before flowing into Hamoun wetlands, located in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province.

The two countries signed a water-sharing accord on the Hirmand River in 1973, under which Afghanistan pledged to deliver an average of 820 million cubic meters of water per annum to Iran.

Iran has repeatedly criticized Afghanistan for failing to honor the agreement in letter and spirit.
Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran's Spokesman: Israel's Nuclear Program Serious Threat to International Security


"The advanced nuclear military program of the apartheid regime of Israel and the regime's continued reluctance to put its nuclear facilities under comprehensive safeguards and not to join the non-proliferation treaty is a serious threat to international security and the non-proliferation regime," Kana'ani tweeted on Friday.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman also called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to fulfill its responsibility in this regard as per its statute.

Israel, which pursues a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear weapons, is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

The occupying entity has refused to allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities or sign the NPT.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran executes three women in single day for murdering their husbands: NGO

29 July ,2022

Iran this week executed three women in the space of a single day, all on charges of murdering their husbands, an NGO said on Friday.

There has been growing concern over the increasing number of women being hanged in Iran as the country sees a surge in executions.

Many killed husbands who were abusive or they married as child brides or even relatives, activists say.

Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) said that on July 27 three women were executed in different prisons for murdering their husbands in separate cases, meaning at least 10 women have now been executed by Iran in 2022.

Senobar Jalali, an Afghan national, was executed in a prison outside Tehran, it said.

Meanwhile Soheila Abedi, who had married her husband when aged just 15, was hanged in a prison in the city of Sanandaj in western Iran.

She had committed the murder 10 years after their marriage and was convicted in 2015, IHR said.

Faranak Beheshti, who had been convicted around five years ago for the murder of her husband, was executed in the prison in the northwestern city of Urmia, it said.

Activists argue that Iran’s laws are stacked against women, who do not have the right to unilaterally demand a divorce, even in cases of domestic violence and abuse.

A report by IHR published in October last year said that at least 164 women were executed between 2010 and October 2021.

But activists are alarmed by a surge in executions in Iran this year, coinciding with the rise of former judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi to the presidency in 2021 and protests over an economic crisis.

At least 306 people have been executed so far in Iran in 2022, according to a count by IHR.

Washington-based Abdorrahman Boroumand Centre for Human Rights in Iran and London-based Amnesty International said Wednesday that Iran is carrying out executions at a “horrifying pace” in an “abhorrent assault” on the right to life.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Palestinian teen of 16 years shot dead by Israeli army: Ministry

29 July ,2022

A Palestinian teenager was killed on Friday in clashes with the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Amjad Nashaat Abu Alia, 16, “died of critical wounds sustained by live bullets in the chest,” during clashes near the village of al-Mughayer, close to Ramallah, the ministry said in a statement.

An AFP photographer at the scene reported 300 to 400 Palestinians had gathered for a protest march, to demonstrate against Israeli settlement expansion in the area.

Clashes erupted when Israeli settlers and Palestinians began throwing rocks at each other.

The Israeli army said it was looking into the incident.

It came after two Palestinians were killed during an overnight raid by the Israeli military in Nablus early on Sunday, in what the army described as a shootout with gunmen.

Source: Al Arabiya

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