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Islamic World News ( 9 March 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan: 63,000 Cases of Gender-Based Violence Reported In Past 3 Years

New Age Islam News Bureau

09 March 2023


Representative Image (Source: Pakistan NHRC's Twitter handle)


• Taliban-run Afghanistan Is World's Most Repressive Country for Women, Says UN

• J-K: Jama Masjid Management Committee Says 'Extremely Unfortunate' That Cops Denying Closing Mosque

• Islam Is Positive Force for Economic, Social and Political Well-Being of Women, Says Saudi Envoy to the UN

• US Transfers Guantanamo Bay Detainee, Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi, to Saudi Arabia



• Ex-ISI Chief, Lt-Gen Faiz Hamid, Being Investigated For Corruption: Pak Interior Minister

• Pakistan: At Least 15 Hindu Students Left Injured After Being Attacked For Celebrating Holi

• Pakistan police and ex-PM Imran Khan's supporters clash, injuring several

• Handful of misguided elements cannot shake the resolve of the people of Balochistan: COAS Munir

• LHC reserves verdict on Imran’s plea against Pemra ban on broadcasting his speeches

• Police officials involved in baton-charging Islamabad Aurat March have been suspended: Sanaullah


South Asia

• Global Figures Urge End to 'Harassment' Of Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus

• Afghanistan’s Neighbouring Countries Call on Western States to Unfreeze DAB Assets

• Taliban governor of Afghanistan’s Balkh province killed in blast at his office



• Fatwa against couple's marriage under special act

• ISI espionage ring busted in Assam, 5 arrested

• India slams Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto for raking up Kashmir at UNSC debate


Arab World

• Saudi Arabia Says Talks Underway On Syria's Return to Arab League

• Several conditions set to offer Iftar services in Prophet's Mosque

• Austin and Sisi reaffirm US-Egypt military ties: Egyptian presidency

• Egypt offers new ways foreign investors can buy citizenship to attract vital dollars

• France asks Lebanon to question two suspects in 1983 Beirut bombing


North America

• US Arms Firms Sued For 'Aiding and Abetting' War Crimes in Yemen

• US House votes against resolution to pull American troops out of Syria

• House committee slams Biden for failure of leadership during Afghan withdrawal

• Obama-era hawkish envoy wants end to US occupation of Syria within 180 days

• NYC considers renaming Harlem Street after Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad

• Arif Naqvi loses final appeal against extradition to US



• Israelis Stage 'Day of Resistance' Against Netanyahu Plan to Overhaul the Judiciary

• On Women’s Day: US Issues Human-Rights Abuse Sanctions on Iran Army Chief, Officials

• Israeli protests impact Pentagon chief meeting locations, arrival in Tel Aviv

• EBRD to invest 1.5 bln euros in Turkey’s earthquake-hit regions

• UN agency urges probe of schoolgirl poisonings in Iran

• 11 women, 3 children among 16 Yemenis drowned in 2 Red Sea boat accidents

• Three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in West Bank

• Yemen Will Launch ‘Decisive Battle’ If Talks with Saudis Fail, Warns Ansarullah Official


Southeast Asia

• Religious Speakers without State Islamic Council's Accreditation May Face Legal Action, Says Johor Rep

• Kedah KPDN targets 200 premises to offer Menu Rahmah before Ramadan

• Mufti: 603 Mosques under MAIK never used as political arena

• Hajiji wants Sabahans to fully understand, grasp Malaysia Madani concept



• Allah Guide, Grant You Wisdom as President – Sultan of Sokoto Tells Tinubu

• Split Libya pushes back against UN plan for elections

• Jordanian Senate’s Palestine Committee calls on inter-Palestinian unity to face Israeli aggression

• Opposition bloc calls for release of political prisoners in Tunisia



• UN Special Envoy for Syria to Meet With Cease-Fire Task Force to Discuss Need for Calm on Ground

• 2 Men Paid For Paludan's Police Applications for Burning Copy of Quran, Swedish Daily Says

• Belgium raises over $1.9M in single day for quake victims in Türkiye, Syria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Pakistan: 63,000 Cases of Gender-Based Violence Reported In Past 3 Years


Representative Image (Source: Pakistan NHRC's Twitter handle)


8 March, 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 8 (ANI): Around 63,000 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) were reported in Pakistan over the past three years, with some 4,000 being reported in the first half of 2020 when lockdowns were imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, Dawn News reported.

This was revealed in a new report released by the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR) of Pakistan on Tuesday.

The commission, while quoting numbers from the human rights ministry said 80 per cent of these cases were related to domestic violence, while some 47 pc of domestic rape where married women experienced sexual abuse, the Dawn reported.

The report cautioned that since the data was based on reported cases, the actual number could be much higher.

The NCHR’s report termed “key contribution in leading the discourse” regarding intimate partner violence was shared with participants in a gathering at a hotel.

Senator Rehman and MNA Marri termed these cases the tip of the iceberg.

Senator Rehman, who is also the Minister for Climate Change, said violence against women was a display of “power” and called such cases a “hidden pandemic” and “statistics of shame”, the Dawn reported.

“The statistics are staggering, 90 pc of women face some form of domestic violence in their lifetime, yet 50 pc do not report it, and only 0.4 pc of them go to courts,” she said.

“Our society is layered with patriarchy, and it subjugates women through a series of institutional, social, and cultural norms that allow and normalise violence against women.”

She said that in addition to legislation, the implementation of laws and changes at the societal level are equally important to address the root causes of domestic violence.

A bill to end domestic violence was first introduced in 2004 but the legislation still has to see the light of day, Senator Rehman added.

The Islamabad police chief said there was a need to enhance the capacity of police to deal with cases of gender-based violence. In addition to establishing a special investigation unit that would probe offences against women and children, there was a need to hire and recruit able prosecutors as well as judges who are sensitised to this issue, as per the report published by Dawn.

FSC CJ (Federal Sharia Court Chief Justice) Muhammad Anwar said Islam abhors violence against women and referred to Chapter 58 of the Holy Quran. “Domestic violence has nothing to do with Islam,” he reiterated.

In her address, NCHR Chairperson Rabiya Javeri Agha said the commission through this document aimed to lay the groundwork for an inclusive society, where women are equally empowered.

The report said domestic violence is grounded in multiple social, cultural and religious factors, such as patriarchy, gender inequality, lack of awareness, economic dependence, religious beliefs, and social stigma. These factors are compounded by institutional hurdles that “women face in accessing justice and redress”.

It claimed the cases of domestic violence are dismissed by police as a ‘private matter despite abuse and relevant legislation. Unlike other provinces, domestic violence is not criminalised in Pakistan’s Punjab.

The report also addressed the use of religion to oppose laws pertaining to such violence. It quoted an FSC judgement wherein the court said the “domestic violence legislation of Punjab is in line with Islamic injunctions and constitutional fundamental rights”.

The policy document called for advocated training for law enforcers and health professionals, the inclusion of male allies in campaigns against domestic violence, and legal aid systems available to women at all levels. (ANI)

Source: The Print

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Taliban-run Afghanistan Is World's Most Repressive Country for Women, Says UN


An Afghan woman weaves a carpet at a traditional carpet factory in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 6, 2023. After the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, women have been deprived of many of their basic rights. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)


08 MAR 2023

The United Nations on Wednesday said Afghanistan has become the most repressive country in the world for girls and women since the takeover by Taliban.

The militant group Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021 after overthrowing the West-backed Kabul government. Since then, the Taliban regime has eroded girls and women's rights, stopping them from education, workplaces, sports, and most public places — essentially confining them to homes.

In a statement on the International Women's Day, the UN mission said that Afghanistan's new rulers have shown an almost "singular focus on imposing rules that leave most women and girls effectively trapped in their homes".

Despite initial promises of a more moderate stance, the Taliban has banned girls' education beyond sixth grade and women from public spaces such as parks and gyms. Women are also barred from working at national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and ordered to cover themselves from head to toe.

"Afghanistan under the Taliban remains the most repressive country in the world regarding women's rights...It has been distressing to witness their methodical, deliberate, and systematic efforts to push Afghan women and girls out of the public sphere," said Roza Otunbayeva, special representative of the UN secretary-general and head of the mission to Afghanistan.

The restrictions, especially the bans on education and NGO work, have drawn fierce international condemnation. But the Taliban have shown no signs of backing down, claiming the bans are temporary suspensions in place allegedly because women were not wearing the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, correctly and because gender segregation rules were not being followed.

As for the ban on university education, the Taliban government has said that some of the subjects being taught were not in line with Afghan and Islamic values.

Otunbayeva further said, "Confining half of the country's population to their homes in one of the world's largest humanitarian and economic crises is a colossal act of national self-harm...It will condemn not only women and girls, but all Afghans, to poverty and aid-dependency for generations to come. It will further isolate Afghanistan from its own citizens and from the rest of the world."

The UN mission to Afghanistan also said it has recorded an almost constant stream of discriminatory edicts and measures against women since the Taliban takeover — women's right to travel or work outside the confines of their home and access to spaces is largely restricted, and they have also been excluded from all levels of public decision-making.

"The implications of the harm the Taliban are inflicting on their own citizens goes beyond women and girls," said Alison Davidian, the special representative for UN Women in Afghanistan.

No officials from the Taliban-led government was immediately available for comment.

The UN Security Council was to meet later on Wednesday with Otunbayeva and women representatives from Afghan civil society groups.

According to the statement, 11.6 million Afghan women and girls are in need of humanitarian assistance. However, the Taliban are further undermining the international aid effort through their ban on women working for NGOs.

Source: Outlook India

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J-K: Jama Masjid Management Committee Says 'Extremely Unfortunate' That Cops Denying Closing of Mosque


Jama Masjid Srinagar


08 MAR 2023

The management committee of the Jama Masjid in the Nowhatta area of the city on Wednesday alleged it was "extremely unfortunate" that the authorities closed down the mosque on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat and later denied doing so.

The Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid -- the managing body of the grand mosque – claimed on Tuesday that the mosque was locked by the police and no Shab-e-Barat congregational prayers were allowed.

Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter to criticise the police action.

"Locking up Jama Masjid on the auspicious occasion of Shab e Barat is a brazen violation of fundamental rights & religious freedom guaranteed by the Indian Constitution...," she tweeted Tuesday last night.

Referring to the former chief minister's tweet, the Srinagar Police said it has nothing to do with the prayers not taking place.

"It is clarified that Administration & Police has nothing to do with night prayers on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat...not taking place in Jamia Masjid today. Neither any orders for disallowing were given nor it was executed by Administration/Police. Kindly don't spread rumours,” the police said in a tweet.

The mosque management committee on Wednesday said it was “extremely unfortunate” that after closing down the mosque and not even allowing "Maghrib" (evening) prayers, the authorities were denying any such action.

“If it was not personnel from the local police station who visited the premise and locked the gates, then who were they, it needs to be asked. These police personnel expressed personal regret at doing so, but said that they are carrying out orders of the district administration,” the managing body of the mosque said in a statement.

Source: Outlook India

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Islam Is Positive Force for Economic, Social and Political Well-Being of Women, Says Saudi Envoy to the UN


Mohammed Abdulaziz Alateek, Saudi deputy permanent representative to the UN. (SPA)


Ephrem Kossaify

March 09, 2023

NEW YORK CITY: The Saudi deputy permanent representative to the UN on Wednesday said that his country has enacted a number of reforms that ban all forms of discrimination against women, legislatively, professionally and in the family domain.

Mohammed Abdulaziz Alateek said that Islam is a great positive force for the economic, social and political well-being of women, and it is essential that countries develop their national legislation on the basis of that understanding.

The envoy was speaking during an event at the UN headquarters in New York titled “Women in Islam,” hosted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to mark International Women’s Day.

In Saudi Arabia “a number of commitments and objectives have been proclaimed to empower women, and a number of special laws have been enacted, or older laws amended, to guarantee the equality of women and men,” Alateek said.

He called for enhanced international and regional cooperation in efforts to empower women, and pledged Riyadh’s commitment to achieving this.

A large number of officials from the Arab world and international organizations spoke at the event and many called for negative stereotypes of Islam, and Muslim women in particular, to be debunked, with some warning that extremism and Islamophobia are two sides of the same coin.

Alateek said the sacred texts of Islam show great respect for women and guarantee them equal rights.

“Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, we will most certainly make their life happy and give them the reward for the best of what they've done,” he said, quoting the Holy Qur’an directly.

Islam has for 1400 years been a pioneer in its calls for the rights of women to be respected and upheld, Alateek told the gathering. He added that in the definition of Sadhak (or dowry) in the Qur’an “there’s a reference to wishing a happy and fulfilled life to all women and giving them the right to manage financial affairs and benefit from all that is good in this world.”

Women also play an active and important role in conflict zones, the envoy said, and he talked about 80 areas around the world where women who are particularly vulnerable, economically and socially, benefit from humanitarian assistance provided by Saudi Arabia in the fields of education, careers, and their general well-being.

The participants in the event were united in their condemnation of the Taliban’s violations of the rights women, in particular the recent ban that excludes girls from secondary education. Afghanistan the only country in the world with such a restriction.

“The international order, particularly in Islamic countries, unfortunately, runs into reality at some points in some countries that are far from the ideals proclaimed by Islam,” Alateek said.

Saudi Arabia is committed to strengthening the role of women in all societies by providing “various kinds of aid, specifically humanitarian aid, working with the international community to exchange good practices (that) strengthen the rights of women and empower them,” he added.

Alateek called on UN member states “to work with us to guarantee equality and to adopt policies and programs that truly guarantee the implementation of these principles in an effective manner, (while) taking into account the religious, cultural, and social traits of each specific country.”

He added: “We particularly work closely with those countries that share our vision and our views, but also, with others, we are prepared to engage in a debate and a discussion over the religious, cultural or social nature, as to what works best to promote the role of women in society.”

The envoy also called on religious scholars, particularly those in Islam, “to work with us to correctly interpret the message contained in the holy texts.”

International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8 each year, was recognized by the UN General Assembly in 1977 and proclaimed to be the international day in celebration of women’s rights and peace.

Source: Arab News

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US Transfers Guantanamo Bay Detainee, Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi, to Saudi Arabia


Representative Image


Rabia İclal Turan 


The US on Wednesday announced the release of a Saudi engineer from Guantanamo Bay who was suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

"The Department of Defence announced today the repatriation of Ghassan Al Sharbi from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the Pentagon said in a statement.

"On February 4, 2022, the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process determined that continued law of war detention of Ghassan Al Sharbi was no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the national security of the United States," it added.

The statement noted that Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin notified Congress on Sept. 21, 2022 of his intent to repatriate Sharbi to Saudi Arabia.

Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi, 48, was suspected of training in bomb-making for Al Qaeda and was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002 but was never brought to trial.

In all, 31 prisoners remain at Guantanamo Bay, including 17 who are eligible for transfer, according to the Defense Department.

An additional three are eligible for a hearing before a governmental board, while nine are in military court proceedings. The remaining two had previously been convicted in a military court.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Ex-ISI Chief, Lt-Gen Faiz Hamid, Being Investigated For Corruption: Pak Interior Minister

Iftikhar A. Khan | Zulqernain Tahir

March 9, 2023

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Former spy chief retired Lt-Gen Faiz Hamid is being investigated for alleged corruption, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah revealed, while his party leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif called for the retired general’s court martial over his alleged role in bringing down her father’s government and implicating both her and Nawaz Sharif in NAB cases.

Meanwhile, Gen Hamid also seemed to break his silence over the fresh wave of allegations being levelled against him — by the PML-N in general and Ms Sharif in particular — when he told a journalist that it is the army chief who calls the shots in the military.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the interior minister said that a probe was underway against the ex-Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) boss and his brother over alleged corruption and accumulating assets beyond means. However, he said it would be premature to say anything further at this stage.

When it was pointed out that any probe into assets beyond means would fall in the domain of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the law minister said an investigation was already under way.

“When something surfaces, you will be informed,” he told the questioner.

Separately, in an interview with a newly-launched digital news outlet, Ms Sharif demanded strong action against the former ISI DG for his role in getting her and her father convicted in NAB corruption references in 2017.

Unlike her arch-rival Imran Khan, who is demanding the court martial of the previous army chief, Ms Sharif stopped short of seeking any major punitive action against retired Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, saying that as of now, she wanted to make an example of Gen Hamid.

“I had spoken against Gen Hamid in court when he was the sitting ISI chief for his alleged involvement in getting me and Nawaz Sharif punished. I had evidence against him,” she said, referring to former Islamabad High Court judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s claims that the spy agency tried to prevail on him to issue a verdict of their liking.

When asked to comment on the PML-N leader’s demand for Gen Hamid’s court martial for his alleged unconstitutional acts, Rana Sanaullah said that this was a matter for GHQ to decide.

“Politicians make demands and express their viewpoint,” he said, explaining that a court martial of a former military officer does not fall within the jurisdiction of civil authorities.

Later, senior journalist Kamran Khan claimed in a tweet that the former ISI chief had reached out to him and provided a response to the allegations being levelled by Ms Sharif.

According to the journalist, Gen Hamid argued that in 2017-18, he was simply a major general in the army and asked whether, under military discipline, a lone officer could topple the government.

He was also quoted by Mr Khan as saying that it is the chief of army staff who has the final say, and that all the major decisions — seemingly a reference to Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification and subsequent imprisonment — were taken by the courts.

Unhappy with uncle Shehbaz?

During the interview, Ms Nawaz also opened up about the episode of her arrest from Lahore airport in 2018, saying that she still had regrets over the fact that a rally led by her uncle, incumbent PM Shehbaz Sharif, could not reach the airport in time, before she and her father were arrested.

When asked who would be her party’s pick for the slots of prime minister and finance minister if they win the next general elections, Ms Sharif smiled but refrained from answering.

This is not the first time Ms Sharif has been critical of her uncle and his government.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan: At Least 15 Hindu Students Left Injured After Being Attacked For Celebrating Holi

08 Mar 2023

At least fifteen students from Pakistan's minority Hindu community were injured when they were attacked by members of a radical Islamic student organisation Islami Jamiat Tulba (IJT). The said incident occurred when the Hindu students were celebrating Holi at the University of Karachi. It is being alleged that this was the second such incident in two days. A number of videos have surfaced on the social networking platform showing the IJT attacking Hindu communities even after the students obtained permission from the administration to celebrate Holi.

The police had received an application to open a case against the attacker. According to Siasat, other videos show security guards wielding batons and beating students as they flee the scene.

Following the incident, a University of Karachi official confirmed that there was a mishap in the Sindhi department where Hindus and other students were celebrating Holi and throwing colored powder at each other, when some students attacked and injured them. The official went on to say that they are investigating the incident because it is completely against their policies.

An unnamed Hindu girl student, dressed in a mask with other students, later posted a video on Twitter detailing the entire incident. As per Siasat, she stated that IJT activists attacked students celebrating Holi in the hall and beat some of them.  She further provided that the attackers also harassed female students, forcing them to leave the place. She said that the Hindu students had assembled to celebrate the Holi festival, and she wants the government and varsity to take action against those responsible.

According to Telangana Today, the Sindh Council General Secretary Kashif Brohi stated in response to the incident that members of the Hindu community and the council had organised a Holi celebration after obtaining permission from the university administration. He claimed that IJT activists began hurling threats after students posted Holi invitations on their Facebook page. He claimed that on Monday morning, members of the Sindh Council and the Hindu community were celebrating Holi outside PU Law College when IJT activists wielding guns and batons attacked them.

Source: Sabrang India

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Pakistan police and ex-PM Imran Khan's supporters clash, injuring several

Mar 8, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistani police lobbed tear gas shells and baton-charged supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan in clashes which injured several on both sides on Wednesday, a government minister and his party said.

The clashes erupted in the eastern city of Lahore ahead of a Khan's planned rally to kick-start his election campaign, but which the government then banned.

The former premier has been demanding snap polls since he was ousted in a parliament vote of confidence last year. His successor has rejected the demand and stated elections would be held as scheduled later this year.

Khan was shot and wounded at one of his own political rallies last year.

Wednesday's rally was banned owing to a threat to the law and order situation as there were International Women's Day gatherings in the area, provincial information minister Amir Mir said, adding supporters attacked the police when they were ordered to disperse.

"In retaliation, police used water cannons, tear gas and batons to disperse them," Mir told Reuters. He said at least seven police officials were injured. Twelve workers of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party were arrested, he added.

Khan's aide Shafqat Mahmood said several of the workers were injured in the clashes, which, he termed, "fascist tactics."

Live TV footage showed the police using extensive teargas shelling on several spots around Khan's Lahore home, with a couple of the workers seen bleeding.

Source: Times Of India

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Handful of misguided elements cannot shake the resolve of the people of Balochistan: COAS Munir

Iftikhar Shirazi

March 9, 2023

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir said on Thursday that a “handful of misguided elements” cannot shake the resolve of the people of Balochistan and the armed forces were committed to ensuring peace and prosperity in the province.

According to a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief made the remarks during a visit to Gwadar.

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Quetta Corps Commander Lt Gen Asif Ghafoor were present during the army chief’s visit.

The ISPR statement said Gen Munir was briefed on the prevailing security situation in the province, the formation’s operational preparedness for the security of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and efforts for ensuring a peaceful and secure environment.

During the meeting, the army chief appreciated the efforts of all ranks and urged them to continue working with professional commitment for the good of the people of Balochistan, the military’s media wing said.

“While interacting with troops, the COAS emphasised that a handful of misguided elements cannot shake the resolve of the people of Balochistan and the Armed Forces [are] committed towards ensuring peace and prosperity,” the ISPR quoted Gen Munir as saying.

He also laid particular emphasis on the socio-economic development of the area and announced welfare projects related to education, installation of solar systems, fisheries, water, health, sports and livelihood in the province.

Over the past few months, the law and order situation in the country has worsened, with terrorist groups executing attacks with near impunity across the country.

Insurgents in Balochistan have also stepped up their violent activities and formalised a nexus with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Source: Dawn

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LHC reserves verdict on Imran’s plea against Pemra ban on broadcasting his speeches

Rana Bilal

March 9, 2023

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday reserved its verdict on PTI chairman Imran Khan’s plea against the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) decision to bar all satellite TV channels from broadcasting his speeches and press talks.

The judgment will be announced by Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza shortly.

On Sunday, the media regulator had slapped a ban on Imran’s speeches and press talks with “immediate effect” after he had lashed out at former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa for what he called “protecting incumbent rulers in their alleged corruption cases”.

Subsequently, the PTI chief approached the court. He argued that Pemra’s order was “purely driven out of vengeance”.

As the LHC took up the petition today, Justice Mirza asked how such a ban could be imposed on the head of a political party. “This is against freedom of speech,” he remarked.

However, Pemra’s counsel argued that the matter should be heard by a full bench.

“I request the court that this is not its jurisdiction,” the government lawyer also said.

On the other hand, Imran’s counsel contended that Pemra’s ban on the former prime minister’s speeches and live talks was a violation of fundamental rights enshrined under the Constitution. He also requested that the court should set aside the authority’s order.

Subsequently, the court reserved its verdict on Imran’s plea.

The petition

In the petition, a copy of which is available with, Imran named Pemra and the authority’s director (operations, broadcast media) as respondents.

The plea pointed out that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had set aside a similar prohibition order in the past.

The petition said that Pemra had issued the order “in excess of the jurisdiction vested in it and without having regard to the constitutional rights guaranteed under Articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution”. It further contended that the authority was not empowered to issue a blanket prohibition order, which appears to be “in violation of the principle of proportionality”.

The plea argued that according to Section 8 of the Pemra Ordinance, one-third of the total number of members were required to constitute quorum for meetings. But the meeting which passed the order against Imran comprised only the chairman and three members which made the order “coram-non-judice”.

It said that Pemra’s order was “illegal, unlawful, more than its jurisdiction, and contrary to the fundamental rights as enshrined under the Constitution” and liable to be set aside.

“The Impugned Order in effect has prohibited all news channels from airing live speeches of Imran based on spreading hate speech and making provocative statements against state institutions and officers. It is submitted that no hate speech or any such statements were made against the state institutions during his speech which entails such penal consequences as notified in the impugned order,” the petition said, arguing that the ban was in violation of Article 19 of the Constitution and the Pemra Ordinance, 2002.

The petition said that Imran’s speech in question had been “incorrectly labelled as hate speech” and his words were in no way “prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order”. It contended that Pemra was taking the statement “out of the context and political backdrop in which it was made in order to create censorship and inhibit the ‘freedom of speech’.”

It further said that the move to ban Imran’s speeches was an “arbitrary and malafide use” of Pemra’s powers to “stifle discussion regarding the torture and brutality being carried out against Shahbaz Gill and keep the public at large unaware of the developments in the case and essentially, thwart justice”.

It said that the order was “purely driven out of vengeance” and the respondents invoked criminal proceedings “just to illegally harass the appellants and stop them from pursuing their political activities”.

Pemra bans Imran’s speeches, again

In the prohibition order issued on Sunday, Pemra referred to previous directives wherein all licencees were directed to “refrain from telecasting any content against state institutions”.

The authority noted that Imran, in his speeches and statements, was “leveling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility.”

Pemra said that licencees telecasted the content without the effective utilisation of the time delay mechanism, in violation of the authority’s laws and judgements by the apex court.

“… therefore, the competent authority i.e. chairman Pemra in view of the above mentioned background and reasons, in exercise of delegated powers of the authority vested in Section 27(a) of the Pemra Ordinance 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007, hereby prohibits broadcast/rebroadcast of speech(s)/press talks (recorded or live) of Imran Khan on all satellite TV channels with immediate effect,” the order said.

The authority also directed all satellite TV channels to ensure that an “impartial editorial board” is constituted to ensure that their platforms is not used by anyone for “uttering remarks in any manner which are contemptuous and against any state institution and hateful, prejudicial to law and order situation in the country”.

Source: Dawn

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Police officials involved in baton-charging Islamabad Aurat March have been suspended: Sanaullah

March 8, 2023

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Wednesday that police personnel involved in baton-charging the participants of Aurat March — a public demonstration held annually in various cities to mark International Women’s Day — in Islamabad had been suspended.

In a tweet, the minister said “other persons responsible for misbehaviour” were also being identified and proper action would also be taken against them.

In an earlier tweet, the interior minister had vowed that “strict legal action” would be pursued against those responsible for the “mistreatment” of citizens participating in the march

Sanaullah said he had taken strict notice of the behaviour meted out to the participants of the march, adding that the Islamabad police chief had been summoned regarding the matter.

One of the march’s organisers, Punjrush, explained what had happened during the rally, saying that transgender persons were performing when police charged at the protesters, causing some of them to get “crushed”.

“Then they started pushing us so we started to push back […] and then they started fighting and we started fighting and it just got confusing,” she said.

Separately, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman also condemned the Islamabad police’s action against citizens participating in the march.

“The Islamabad police had no business baton-charging a small peaceful procession,” she tweeted after a video of a police official pushing a female participant back emerged online.

“It is the women holding laathis that need to be pushed back, not progressive women. Sad to see this happening. I will seek an inquiry,” she said.

In another tweet, she strongly condemned the violence, adding that she had sought an inquiry on the incident. “There is no excuse for this. That too on International Women’s Day. This is not what we fought for and will not tolerate it,” she said.

The minister added that the incident had been brought to the attention of the interior minister.

“One day, just one day of the year our women, our courageous, talented but oppressed women, want to march and we find ways to disrupt it. What’s wrong with us?” asked PML-N’s Miftah Ismail.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also condemned the use of force by the Islamabad police. It said it was also concerned about reports that religious organisations were trying to hinder women from taking part in the march.

“Women have as much right to peaceful assembly as any citizen. The police are supposed to provide security to the marchers, not to resort to violence against peaceful demonstrators,” the commission said.

Meanwhile, Islamabad police said Inspector General Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir Khan had taken notice of the incident and sought a report from the DIG operations.

“Islamabad police apologises for this incident,” the force’s official Twitter handle said, adding that the Islamabad IG had asked the IDG Operations to identify those responsible and take action against them.

“The Islamabad police stands with the participants of the march for the struggle and protection of women’s rights,” the statement said.

Source: Pakistan Today

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South Asia


Global figures urge end to 'harassment' of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus

Mar 9, 2023

DHAKA: Forty global figures including Ban Ki-moon, Hillary Clinton and Bono published Wednesday a joint letter calling on Bangladesh to stop "unfair" attacks and harassment of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.

Yunus is credited with lifting millions out of poverty with his pioneering micro-credit bank, but he has fallen out with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who has said he is "sucking blood" from the poor.

The anti-graft watchdog last year ordered a wide-ranging probe into firms Yunus chairs and Hasina has attacked him personally, blaming him for the World Bank pulling out from a bridge project that was mired in corruption allegations.

The letter signed by former UN chief Ban, former US secretary of state Clinton, U2 singer Bono, former US vice president Al Gore and others said that they had "deep concerns" about Yunus's "well-being" and ability to focus on his work.

"It is ... painful to see Prof Yunus, a man of impeccable integrity, and his life's work unfairly attacked and repeatedly harassed and investigated by your government," they said in the letter, which was also published in the Washington Post newspaper.

Source: Times Of India

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Afghanistan’s Neighbouring Countries Call on Western States to Unfreeze DAB Assets

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 8, 2023

Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries including Iran, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Russia attended a conference in Tashkent on Tuesday and called on the US to unfreeze Afghan central bank assets.

During the inaugural meeting on Tuesday, the foreign ministers of the seven countries discussed ways to achieve long-term peace in war-ravaged Afghanistan, and continue the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan during these difficult times. 

The conference was held in the absence of the Taliban representatives in Tashkent. Besides, several neighbouring countries including Russia, China, Iran, and Pakistan have officially handed over the Afghan Embassies to the Taliban diplomats, the group is still not invited to such meetings on regional levels.

Other than Tajikistan, all other six countries including Iran, Pakistan, China, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have close ties with the Taliban regime. Additionally, these countries have their embassies operational in Kabul. The so-called ‘regional club’ convened the situation in Afghanistan and discussed ways to find solutions to the existing problems.

Despite their absence, Taliban officials welcomed the inauguration of such conferences which benefits Afghanistan in one way or the other – be it humanitarian issues, governance, or economic development projects.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries have repeatedly called on the Islamic Emirate authorities to respect human rights, lift the restrictions on women and girls attending education, and form an all-inclusive government so that everyone can see them represented in the regime. However, the Taliban officials have their own priorities and policies, and no progress is seen as of now.

“The foreign ministers reiterated the return of the Afghan central bank asset should be used primarily to pay the salaries of school teachers, and doctors, and contribute towards the living conditions of the general population,” Uzbek special representative Ismatilla Ergashev said.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban governor of Afghanistan’s Balkh province killed in blast at his office

09 March ,2023

The Taliban governor of Afghanistan’s Balkh province was killed in a blast at his office on Thursday, police said.

“Two people, including Mohammad Dawood Muzammil, the governor of Balkh, have been killed in an explosion this morning,” Balkh police spokesman Asif Waziri told AFP, adding the nature of the blast was unclear.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Fatwa against couple's marriage under special act

Mar 9, 2023

KOZHIKODE: The Council for Fatwa and Research, a body of religious scholars under Darul Huda Islamic University at Chemmad in Malappuram, issued a fatwa against the registration of marriage by advocate C Shukkur and former MGU PVC Dr Sheena Shukkur, under the Special Marriage Act years after their Nikkah to overcome 'discriminatory' provisions of the Muslim Law of Inheritance.

The fatwa says that believers will not get deceived by the drama of those who use religion for their selfish interests and they will strongly resist moves to insult religious laws and destroy their morale.

The fatwa dated March 7 says it is contradictory that a person who follows Islamic laws is getting married a second time under the Special Marriage Act to ensure that his three daughters get his property.

As per the inheritance law in Islam, if a deceased father has only daughters, they will get only two thirds of the property and the rest will be divided among his sisters and brothers. To bypass this law and a selfish thought that his brothers shouldn't get even a portion of his property the lawyer remarried, said the fatwa, adding that this thought came from the failure to understand the economic system put forward by Islam.

Meanwhile, Shukkur and Sheena registered their marriage, which was solemnized in 1994 under Islamic rites, under Special Marriage Act at Hosdurg sub-registrar office in Kasaragod on Wednesday morning in the presence of their three daughters.

Shukkur later wrote on Facebook that he hadn't insulted religious laws and had no intent to destroy the morale of believers and so there was no need for 'strong resistance' against him. If anyone misunderstands the word 'resistance' and tries to physically attack me, then all the persons who issued the statement will be fully responsible, he wrote on FB, adding that he expects law enforcers to take note of it.

Source: Times Of India

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ISI espionage ring busted in Assam, 5 arrested

Mar 9, 2023

GUWAHATI: Five people were arrested from Nagaon and Morigaon districts of Assam for allegedly supplying SIM cards to Pakistani agents, a police spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Several mobile phones, SIM cards and other incriminating materials, including a handset used to share defence information with a foreign embassy, were seized, he said.

Assam police spokesperson Prasanta Bhuyan said the arrests were made during an operation carried out on Tuesday night, based on inputs from a central agency and other sources.

"There were inputs that around 10 people from the two districts were involved in fraudulently procuring SIM cards from different service providers and supplying those to some Pakistani agents, thus working against the integrity and sovereignty of the nation," he said.

Source: Times Of India

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India slams Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto for raking up Kashmir at UNSC debate

Mar 8, 2023

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday responded strongly to Pakistan's foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari comments on Jammu and Kashmir at a UN Security Council debate on women, peace and security.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, dismissed Zardari's statement as "baseless and politically motivated." “Before I conclude, let me dismiss the frivolous, baseless and politically motivated remarks made by the delegate of Pakistan regarding the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said. Kamboj said that her delegation considered it "unworthy" to respond to "such malicious and false propaganda."

She emphasized the importance of the women, peace and security agenda and reaffirmed India's commitment to positive and forward-looking efforts.

Kamboj's sharp retort came after Pakistan Foreign Minister Zardari referred to Jammu and Kashmir in his remarks to the Council debate held under Mozambique's Presidency for this month, on the eve of International Women's Day.

Source: Times Of India

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Arab World


Saudi Arabia says talks underway on Syria's return to Arab League

Ibrahim al-Khazen 


Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said talks are underway on Syria’s return to the Arab League.

“There is a consensus in the Arab world that the situation in Syria is not acceptable,” bin Farhan said in an interview with Saudi-run Al Arabiya television.

“There is a dialogue on the return of Syria to the Arab League, but I think it’s too early to discuss,” he added.

The Saudi minister's comments came weeks after last month’s devastating earthquakes that killed thousands in both Syria and Türkiye

According to UN figures, around 6,000 were killed and 12,000 others injured in the quakes in Syria.

Syria's membership in the Cairo-based Arab League was suspended in 2011 following a deadly crackdown by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on pro-democracy protests.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Several conditions set to offer Iftar services in Prophet's Mosque

March 08, 2023

MADINAH — The Agency of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Prophet's Mosque has set several conditions to offer Iftar services for fasting people in the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah, in preparation for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan 1444 AH.

The Agency required that the permits and commercial register of the catering contractors in the Hajj and Umrah must be valid to be able to receive requests.

The space and area of the facility in the affiliated facilities should not be less than 600 square meters.

Every facility must have a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), in addition to licensing 3 refrigerated food transport vehicles as a minimum, and equipped with 4 stainless steel trolleys for each vehicle.

The conditions also included the importance of providing experience in the field without any related notes affecting the quality of the product and service.

The agency said that designated and equipped sites for packaging should also be provided, with an area of no less than 65 square meters, in addition to the importance of having a meal preparation headquarters in Madinah.

The agency also confirmed that Iftar service providers in the Prophet’s Mosque are allowed to distribute meals themselves or through catering companies.

While it has noted that the distribution of Iftar meals, which is through catering companies, will only be for those who will be licensed by them in accordance with the requirements specified in the permit and conforming to the general specifications approved by the Food and Drug General Authority.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Austin and Sisi reaffirm US-Egypt military ties: Egyptian presidency

08 March ,2023

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reaffirmed their countries' close military ties Wednesday, Sisi's office said, during the Cairo leg of Austin's regional tour.

Sisi highlighted “Egypt's eagerness to strengthen its strategic partnership with the United States”, particularly in military and security cooperation, presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy said.

The Pentagon chief's stop in Cairo comes on the heels of his surprise visit to Baghdad ahead of the 20th anniversary of the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, as well as after talks in Amman with staunch US ally King Abdullah II.

In both the Iraqi and Jordanian capitals, Austin spoke of the US' commitment to security and stability in the region.

In a Twitter post ahead of his meeting with Sisi, Austin called the US' defense partnership with Egypt “an essential pillar” of the US's “commitment to this region”.

According to the presidential spokesman, Austin hailed Cairo's role as “a responsible stabilizing force” in the Middle East, highlighting “defense cooperation as the main pillar of relations between the two countries”.

Cairo is a key ally of the US in the region, playing a mediator role between the Palestinians and the Israelis, as well as holding sway in other regional hotspots.

The US sends over $1 billion a year in direct military aid to Egypt, which has been one of the largest recipients of US assistance since it became the first Arab nation to normalize relations with Israel in 1979.

Though voices within the US Congress had called for broader aid cuts to Egypt over its notorious human rights record, President Joe Biden withheld only $130 million in 2021.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Egypt offers new ways foreign investors can buy citizenship to attract vital dollars

08 March ,2023

Egypt announced Wednesday it is offering citizenship to foreign investors willing to spend at least $250,000 in the country, as it struggles to fill its depleted coffers.

According to state newspaper Al-Ahram, a decision by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli published in the official gazette, says the premier can now “grant Egyptian nationality” to applicants that meet one of four conditions.

Foreigners can either buy at least $300,000 of real estate in Egypt, invest $350,000 in the country, deposit $500,000 in an Egyptian bank account or “make a non-refundable $250,000 deposit in direct revenues in foreign currency into the state's public treasury”.

It is the latest in a series of measures by the government to woo foreign investment into Egypt, which is sapped dry of dollars and battling crippling inflation.

In 2018, parliament had passed a law allowing foreigners to apply for the Egyptian nationality with a bank deposit of 7 million Egyptian pounds -- at the time around $400,000 -- or its foreign currency equivalent.

Now, however, transfers must be made in dollars, as Egypt scrambles to fill its depleted coffers.

Cairo's foreign reserves currently stand at $34.35 billion, down from $41 billion in February 2022, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine unsettled global investors who pulled billions out of the country.

Some $28 billion of those reserves are deposits from wealthy Gulf allies, who have also stepped up to acquire Egyptian state assets but stalled many deals ahead of a fresh currency devaluation, according to experts.

In under a year, the Egyptian pound has lost half of its value, propelling annual inflation in the import-dependent country to 26.5 percent in January, according to figures published in February.

Late last year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $3 billion loan program for Egypt spread over 46 months, conditioned on “a permanent shift to a flexible exchange rate regime”.

Source: Al Arabiya

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France asks Lebanon to question two suspects in 1983 Beirut bombing

08 March ,2023

French authorities have asked Lebanese prosecutors to detain two people suspected of involvement in a 1983 bombing in Beirut that killed dozens of French troops, Lebanese judicial officials said Wednesday.

It is highly unlikely that Lebanese authorities will detain the suspects nearly 40 years after the attacks. Neither has ever been taken into custody.

The request identified the two suspects as Yousef al-Khalil and Sanaa al-Khalil and called on Lebanon’s prosecutor’s office to detain and question them, then inform French authorities of the outcome. It was not immediately clear if the two are related.

On Oct. 23, 1983, suicide car bombers simultaneously blew up a US Marine base and French paratroopers headquarters in Beirut, killing 241 American servicemembers and 58 French troops.

The American and French troops were deployed in Lebanon a year earlier as part of a multinational force following Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

A pro-Iranian Shia group, Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the 1983 attacks, which marked the beginning of the end of Western attempts to stop Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war. Several months later, the peacekeeping force of US, French, British and Italian troops left Lebanon.

Islamic Jihad was believed to be linked to Hezbollah, although Hezbollah officials have denied that.

The judicial officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, did not say whether the two are members of the Iran-backed Hezbollah. The request did not say whether the two are still alive, the officials said without giving further details.

Source: Al Arabiya

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North America


US arms firms sued for 'aiding and abetting' war crimes in Yemen

08 March 2023

American arms manufacturers face lawsuit for “aiding and abetting” war crimes in Yemen which is suffering a full-blown humanitarian crisis as a result of the 8 year Saudi led war of aggression.

US defense contractors Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and, General Dynamics, have been sued by a group of seven Yemeni nationals for aiding and abetting war crimes and extrajudicial killings by selling weapons to be used in waging war on Yemen.

The lawsuit, filed in the District Court of Washington DC, also names the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, and the United Arab Emirates’ leader, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Pentagon Chief, Lloyd Austin, as defendants.

The lawsuit states: "Year after year, the bombs fell on wedding tents, funeral halls, fishing boats and a school bus, killing thousands of civilians and helping turn Yemen into the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Weapons supplied by US companies through sales unlawfully approved by US officials allowed Saudi Arabia and the UAE through the named defendant officials to pursue an indiscriminate and brutal bombing campaign".

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the victims of two separate bombings in Yemen by the Saudi led coalition, one for a wedding in 2015 and another for a funeral in 2016.

According to Human rights groups, in October 2015 a group of Yemeni people were preparing to celebrate the wedding of a relive when a coalition jet bombed the area killing 43 innocent people, including 13 women and 16 children.

A year later, Saudi led coalition jets dropped a US manufactured laser guided bomb on a crowded funeral killing over 100 civilians.

The Yemeni plaintiffs are filing the lawsuit under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, a US law that allows victims of torture to sue for compensation from their tormentors if the accused are in the US.

The lawsuit names the Saudi and Emirati leaders under the Alien Tort Statute, a law that grants federal courts jurisdiction over violations of international law.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Yemeni nationals, alleges that Western manufactured bombs have killed over 25,000 civilians since the beginning of the Western backed war nearly eight years ago.

In December, the UN declared that at least 11,000 children had been killed or maimed during the war, adding that the true toll of this conflict is likely to be far higher.

The lawsuit comes more than a month after the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in January said it could be taking legal action against the UK government over its arms sales to Saudi Arabia during the ongoing war in Yemen.

The Saudi led war in Yemen has turned the lives of Yemeni people into a nightmare. Earlier this week more than 70 rights groups came together to protest Washington's support for the war in several states across America.

The United States remains involved in enabling the military actions of the Saudi led coalition in Yemen with US military contractors providing direct support in the form of spare parts and maintenance for approximately two thirds of the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Without this assistance, these aircraft would quickly become non operational.

The Saudi led coalition launched a wide ranging aerial bombing campaign carrying out thousands of airstrikes.

Coalition forces also imposed an economic blockade on Yemen, including a sea and air blockade, worsening economic conditions for millions of Yemenis.

Meanwhile, the United States has no sufficiently compelling interest in Yemen that would justify its involvement in the worst humanitarian crisis in the World. US military aid has failed to upset the balance of the conflict. The Saudi led air war has proven largely futile.

The original objective of the Saudi led coalition was to defeat the popular Ansarullah movement and restore the ousted Western backed president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, to power. However, this appears increasingly unlikely as Ansarullah has consolidated its control in Yemen.

Ansarullah has been battling terrorist groups on the one hand and defending the country's territorial integrity on the other.

Senior Yemeni politicians have regularly declared that the US has sent weapons shipments for the Saudis amounting to tens of billions of dollars along with other means of support such as intelligence and training.

Source: Press TV

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US House votes against resolution to pull American troops out of Syria

Rabia İclal Turan 


By Rabia İclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US House of Representatives voted Wednesday against a resolution directing the Biden administration to withdraw all US troops from Syria.

The war powers resolution was submitted by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz and was rejected in a 103-321 vote, with 47 Republicans and 56 Democrats voting "Yes."

The bill cited section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, directing President Joe Biden to remove US armed forces from Syria within 180 days after the adoption of the resolution.

Among the Republicans who backed Gaetz's resolution were Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Anna Paulina Luna of Florida.

In his address to the House, Gaetz questioned how Syria has become "the great platform of great power competition in the world."

Recalling that security forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad opened fire when anti-government protests erupted in the country in 2011, he said there were "a whole lot of weapons and money being sent from the rich Gulf monarchies through Jordan into Syria."

Accusing Iran of "activating Hezbollah" and "invading Syria," he noted that Russia is also "pitching their vision of the world as a regime preservation force."

He added that Israel cut "a deal with Russia to keep Iran out of southern Syria."

"Now, all of a sudden you've got the Kurds who declare war on Syria, and it makes it a little messy that the Kurds are also in conflict with Turkey, which is a NATO ally," he continued.

Adding that the US got involved in “this mess in Syria” in 2015, he said: "And since we have been there, we have seen Americans die, we have seen tens of billions of dollars wasted."

On the fight against Daesh/ISIS, Gaetz said he would encourage his colleagues to "go read the inspector general's report of the last quarter, which indicates that ISIS is not a threat to the homeland,” also noting that Türkiye is conducting operations against Daesh/ISIS in Syria.

"I do not believe what stands between a caliphate and not a caliphate are the 900 Americans who have been sent to this hellscape with no definition of victory, no clear objective, and purely existing as a vestige to the regime-change failed foreign policies of multiple former presidents," he said.

Some 900 US troops are currently deployed in Syria, and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley visited northern Syria this weekend.

According to US media reports, reporters traveling with Milley asked if he believed the deployment of around 900 US troops to Syria was worth the risk.

“If you think that that's important, then the answer is 'Yes,’” he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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House committee slams Biden for failure of leadership during Afghan withdrawal

Servet Günerigök



US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul blamed President Joe Biden’s administration Wednesday for its "stunning failure" of leadership during the American military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"What happened in Afghanistan was a systemic breakdown of the federal government at every level – and a stunning, stunning failure of leadership by the Biden administration," said McCaul during a hearing on the US evacuation of Afghanistan.

The hearing was the first one of the Republican-controlled House committee.

"Because even though President Biden said, and I quote, 'if there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out,' we now know he left more than 1,000 American citizens in Afghanistan," said the Republican lawmaker.

McCaul also slammed the State Department during his remarks, saying the agency ignored the realities on the ground.

"In the midst of the unfolding chaos in Kabul in August 2021, the United States State Department was all but useless," he said.

He noted that the US abandoned almost 200,000 Afghan partners and allies during the withdrawal.

Gregory Meeks, a top Democrat on the committee, however, defended Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, saying it was correct.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Obama-era hawkish envoy wants end to US occupation of Syria within 180 days

08 March 2023

Robert Ford, an Obama-era ambassador to Syria who pushed an aggressive approach to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, is now backing a resolution to force the withdrawal of occupying US troops from the Arab country.

The US House is expected to vote on a War Powers Resolution introduced by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz last week. The bill would force a withdrawal of all US troops from Syria following a recent incident in which four American soldiers were injured during a raid.

“Congress has never authorized the use of military force in Syria,” Gaetz said in the press release that accompanied the announcement of a similar bill late last month. “The United States is currently not in a war with or against Syria, so why are we conducting dangerous military operations there?”

The war powers bill will require President Joe Biden to bring US troops home within 180 days unless Congress votes to authorize a longer deployment.

Ford has supported Gaetz’s bill, saying the US mission has no clear objective. “After more than eight years of military operations in Syria there is no definition of what the ‘enduring’ defeat of ISIS (Daesh) would look like,” Ford writes in the letter.

We owe our soldiers serving there in harm’s way a serious debate about whether their mission is, in fact, achievable.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), a group consisting of over 100 members, has now joined Gaetz in calling for Congressional approval over long-term troop deployments in Syria. The CPC’s leadership urged members to support the bill, according to The Intercept.

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar expressed support for the bill as well, saying, “I wish Gaetz had worked more closely with the coalition of groups that have been working on this and the CPC. Nonetheless, I am a yes on the resolution.”

The CPC told its members the bill was “largely consistent with previous bipartisan efforts led by CPC Members to terminate such unauthorized military presence within one year, for which 130 House Democrats voted yes last year.”

Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman previously introduced similar legislation in 2022 and got 155 votes, including 25 from breakaway Republicans.

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

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country's rich mineral resources and to destabilize the country.

Source: Press TV

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NYC considers renaming Harlem street after Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad

30 January 2023

The New York City Council is set to vote on renaming a Harlem street after Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

The corner of West 127th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, where the eastern regional headquarters of the Nation of Islam is located at Mosque Temple No. 7, would be named “The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad Way". It is one of the 128 street names changes the council will debate Tuesday.

But renaming the intersection could divide community members. Elijah Muhammad was once a mentor to Malcom X, but the two had a falling out, resulting in Malcolm X leaving the Nation of Islam.

Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 while giving a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. Two men associated with the Nation of Islam were convicted of murdering the iconic figure.

Last year, they were exonerated after an investigation ruled that the New York Police Department and the FBI had undermined the case. However, speculation continues to swirl about Elijah Muhammad's role in the killing.

The Nation of Islam preached separatism and economic self-sufficiency for the Black community. Critics say the group promoted conspiracy theories and espoused the superiority of Black people over whites. The Southern Poverty Law Centre refers to the group as a Black supremacist hate group and accuses it of "deeply racist, anti-semitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric".

Advocates say that The Nation of Islam allowed for the self-empowerment of a disenfranchised minority.

The Nation of Islam's central message was economic self-reliance, and it developed a vast network of Black-owned business enterprises from bakeries to nightclubs.

The move to rename the street has sparked debate within the council.

Harlem councilwoman Kristin Richardson Jordan, a Democratic Socialist, put in the request. Robert Holden, a council member from Queens, called Muhammad “a Black supremacist” and said the renaming would be “an insult to Malcolm X Boulevard”.

Source: Middle East Eye

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Arif Naqvi loses final appeal against extradition to US

Atika Rehman

March 9, 2023

LONDON: Arif Naqvi, the founder of collapsed private equity firm Abraaj Group, on Wednesday lost his final challenge to an impending extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of fraud.

US prosecutors allege that Mr Naqvi masterminded a plot to defraud investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the US government-run agency Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). He denies wrongdoing, but if convicted, could face a prison term of up to 291 years.

Mr Naqvi had challenged the approval of his extradition in 2021 in the London High Court, but Judge Jonathan Swift refused him permission to bring a judicial review against the 2021 approval of his extradition by then Home Secretary Priti Patel. Ms Patel approved the extradition after a magistrate’s court earlier that year found no bars to extradition.

Edward Fitzgerald, a lawyer for Mr Naqvi, had told the high court a day earlier that if extradited, Mr Naqvi was likely to be held in a New Jersey prison where he may have to share a dormitory with violent criminals.

His lawyers approached the court claiming new evidence supporting this argument, pointing to weaknesses in the US prisons system. They reiterated the argument made during his trial that Mr Naqvi suffers from depression and was ‘at risk of suicide’. They also argued that the 2021 magistrate court ruling failed to take into account US prison conditions which Mr Naqvi would likely be subjected to.

Edward Fitzgerald KC told the high court that conditions in the Essex County Correctional Facility in New Jersey where Mr Naqvi was likely to be kept, would breach his human rights and affect his mental health.


Lawyers representing the US government, however, maintained that Mr Naqvi has been given assurances that prosecutors will not oppose bail before he stands trial if the extradition takes place.

US government lawyer Mark Summers argued that the judge in Mr Naqvi’s case, District Judge Lewis Kaplan, is the same who granted bail to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, arguing that it is a “strong indication” that Mr Naqvi too will be granted bail. Mr Naqvi’s lawyers, however, believe that allowing or denying bail is the judge’s discretion, and that the US authorities will change their mind if he is extradited.

Judge Swift denied the appeal, and ruled on Wednesday that there had been no “material change” in prison conditions since the 2021 ruling approving Mr Naqvi’s extradition. The judge also said that his suicide risk could be ‘adequately managed’ if he was held in a US prison.

After Wednesday’s ruling, the US government lawyer told the court that the government had a 28-day period to make the arrangements for “a safe and orderly surrender” by Mr Naqvi to the US.

Mr Naqvi is currently on bail under restrictive conditions after lodging £15mn security pending the extradition proceedings. He lives with his family at his apartment in South Kensington.

Source: Dawn

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Israelis Stage 'Day of Resistance' Against Netanyahu Plan to Overhaul the Judiciary

09 March, 2023

Israeli protesters on Thursday were intensifying their opposition to a contentious government plan to overhaul the judiciary, with plans to block Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s route to the airport ahead of an official trip overseas and as the US defense secretary was visiting.

Demonstrators, who have been out protesting for more than two months against the overhaul, planned a “day of resistance to dictatorship” on Thursday. Parents and children demonstrated across the country ahead of school drop off and some protesters barricaded the offices of a conservative think tank helping to spearhead the judicial changes.

The uproar over Netanyahu’s legal overhaul has plunged Israel into one of its worst domestic crises. Beyond the protests, which have drawn tens of thousands of Israelis to the streets and recently became violent, opposition has surged from across society, with business leaders and legal officials speaking out against the dangers of the plan. The rift has not spared Israel’s military, which is seeing unprecedented opposition from within its own ranks.

Netanyahu, who took office in late December after a protracted political stalemate, and his allies say the measures aim to rein in a court that has overstepped its authority. Critics say the overhaul will upset the delicate system of checks and balances and slide Israel toward authoritarianism.

Critics also say Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, is driven by personal grievances and that he could find an escape route from the charges through the overhaul. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing, and says the legal changes have nothing to do with his trial.

Demonstrations were planned across the country as Netanyahu and his allies have pledged to press ahead with a series of bills that would strip the Supreme Court of its ability to review legislation and give coalition politicians control over judicial appointments.

Protesters planned to block highways leading to Israel’s main international airport ahead of Netanyahu’s departure to Rome for a state visit. Police, overseen by ultranationalist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, have pledged to prevent the disturbances.

Israeli media reported the disruptions could force Netanyahu to change his travel plans to the airport.

The visit Thursday by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was also being affected by the protests. An Israeli official said that Austin’s meetings had been moved to a factory near the airport due to the expected disruptions. The protest movement has been centered in central Tel Aviv, near the Defense Ministry. The Israeli official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

Source: Al Arabiya

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On Women’s Day: US issues human-rights abuse sanctions on Iran army chief, officials

08 March ,2023

The US issued a new round of sanctions related to human-rights violations and corruption targeting some of Iran’s top military leaders, senior government officials and entities, the Department of Treasury announced on Wednesday, adding that the measures were taken in coordination with Western allies to mark international Women’s Day.

The sanctions target the top commander of the Iranian army, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, a high-ranking commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leading the Shohada Provincial Corps in West Azerbaijan Province, as well as an Iranian government official who directly took part in the regime’s efforts to block internet access to the people.

Mousavi was in charge of units tasked with suppressing protests both in 2019 and the protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the morality police’s custody in 2022. “Troops under Mousavi’s command used machine guns to fire indiscriminately into crowds of protestors,” the Treasury said.

Mass protests have swept Iran for the past six months after Amini’s death. Iranians have gathered across the country to take part in demonstrations that called for the downfall of the regime. The regime responded with a violent crackdown on protesters, with dozens killed in clashes with the security forces and thousands arrested.

The sanctions also targeted two senior officials in Iran’s prison system responsible for serious human rights violations against women and girls. The Treasury said that protestors who have been sent to prisons under Ali Chaharmahali’s oversight have been tortured and pressured into forced confessions. He also “served as warden of the infamous Evin prison, under whose oversight prison officials, including members of the IRGC, tortured political opponents of the regime, including through the use of electrocutions, burnings, and severe beatings,” the Treasury said, adding that female inmates at Evin Prison were regularly threatened with rape as a form of coercion.

The other prison official, Dariush Bakhshi, was in charge of Orumiyeh central prison, in which women have been subjected to sexual violence and other forms of mistreatment at the hands of prison officials and IRGC interrogators. “Prisons officials under Bakshi’s oversight have used their positions of power to coerce women inmates into having sexual relations in exchange for better treatment, such as short furloughs from prison. Bakhshi has personally overseen the physical abuse of prisoners held for political or religious reasons. Prison officials in his jurisdiction have attacked such prisoners with batons, tear gas, and electroshock weapons,” the Treasury reports.

Media reported in December widespread abuse in prisons and sexual assault of Iranians arrested during the ongoing protests. A charge Iran’s prison service denied the allegations as false.

The new US sanctions also targeted three Iranian companies and their leadership for supporting and supplying goods and equipment and services to Iran’s security services, the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), which regularly used lethal force to suppress Iranian protests.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said: “The US, along with our partners and allies, stand with the women of Iran, who advocate for fundamental freedoms in the face of a brutal regime that treats women as second-class citizens and attempts to suppress their voices by any means.”

“We will continue to take action against the regime, which perpetuates abuse and violence against its own citizens—especially women and girls.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israeli protests impact Pentagon chief meeting locations, arrival in Tel Aviv

08 March ,2023

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s meetings with Israeli leaders have changed locations within Israel and his arrival slightly delayed because of a spate of recent protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s court system, a US official said on Wednesday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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EBRD to invest 1.5 bln euros in Turkey’s earthquake-hit regions

09 March ,2023

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Thursday that it will invest up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in the next two years to support reconstruction and recovery in the Turkish regions hit by earthquakes last month.

The investment will include 600 million euros of credit lines to local banks for businesses and individuals affected by the earthquakes, as well as lending to companies working in reconstruction.

The EBRD will also provide funding and advisory to small- and medium-sized enterprises regarding repairing damage and building resilience.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN agency urges probe of schoolgirl poisonings in Iran

08 March ,2023

The UN cultural agency on Wednesday expressed concern about the suspected poisoning of thousands of schoolgirls across Iran and called for investigations.

Thousands of students across hundreds of mostly girls’ schools have reported being sickened by toxic fumes in incidents going back to November. There have been no fatalities.

It remains unclear what chemical might have been used, if any. No one has claimed the attacks and authorities have not identified any suspects. Unlike neighboring Afghanistan, Iran has no history of religious extremists targeting girls’ education.

UNESCO “urges thorough investigations and immediate actions to protect schools and facilitate the return of affected students,” the agency tweeted.

“I am deeply concerned about the reported poisoning of schoolgirls in Iran over the past three months. This is a violation of their right to safe education,” UNESCO head Audrey Azoulay said.

Iranian officials say they are investigating the incidents, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called for anyone found responsible to be severely punished.

But authorities have also further tightened restrictions on independent media, arresting journalists, activists and others for speaking about the alleged poisonings. That has made it difficult to determine the scope and nature of the crisis.

Iran was already heavily restricting media amid waves of anti-government protests in recent months that were sparked by the September death of a young woman who was detained by the morality police. Iran’s clerical rulers force women to dress conservatively and cover their hair in public but have never objected to women’s and girls’ education.

Some Iranian officials have suggested, without evidence, that the protests and the allegations of poisoning are part of a foreign conspiracy to foment unrest. Videos circulated online appeared to show teachers protesting over the suspected poisonings in several cities on Tuesday.

Iran’s Interior Ministry meanwhile announced arrests in six provinces linked to the suspected poisonings. But its statement focused on an individual accused of making a video that was sent to “hostile media” and said three others were active in recent protests.

Iran has described some of the alleged poisonings as episodes of “hysteria.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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11 women, 3 children among 16 Yemenis drowned in 2 Red Sea boat accidents


March 08, 2023

AL-MUKALLA: At least 16 Yemenis, including 11 women and three children, died and 12 were rescued after two boats overturned in separate incidents off Yemen’s western shores, officials and residents reported on Wednesday.

Two Yemeni fishermen died and two others survived when their boat sank in high winds off Khokha on Wednesday morning, a local fisherman told Arab News.

The incident came after a boat — believed to be overloaded — carrying at least 25 people sank on Monday afternoon near Kamaran Island, resulting in at least 14 deaths.

The boat involved in the Monday tragedy had been ferrying passengers from the coastal village of Khuba, in the western province of Hodeidah, to a wedding on Kamaran when a strong gust of wind reportedly capsized it.

A Khuba resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told Arab News: “The only survivors were men who could swim, while all the women and three children died.”

They said locals had received news that the boat had gone missing five hours after it had left and immediately raised the alarm.

“The journey from Khuba to Kamaran generally takes an hour-and-a-half, and no such tragedy has occurred since the 1980s,” the resident added.

Local coastguards and fishermen located the missing boat and started recovering bodies from the sea early on Tuesday morning.

Source: Arab News

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Three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in West Bank

March 09, 2023

JERUSALEM: Israeli forces killed three Palestinians near a village close to the volatile West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, without giving details.

According to residents quoted by Palestinian radio, Israeli forces also raided the village of Jaba, south of Jenin, surrounding a house where there was an exchange of fire and one person was arrested before the Israeli force withdrew.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military but Security Minister Itamar Ben-Givr issued a statement confirming the three dead and hailing the “precise action and the elimination of those who opened fire on our fighters.”

Hamas radio said the Israeli forces targeted a group it called the Jaba Brigade and killed its leader.

The operation came days after Israeli forces raided a refugee camp in Jenin and killed six Palestinian militant fighters, including the Hamas gunman suspected of killing two Jewish settlers in the West Bank on Feb. 26.

The Palestinian health ministry said a 14-year-old boy, wounded during the gunbattle that broke out in Jenin during the Israeli raid, had died of his wounds.

Source: Arab News

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Yemen will launch ‘decisive battle’ if talks with Saudis fail, warns Ansarullah official

09 March 2023

A senior member of Yemen’s Ansarullah says the resistance movement will launch a “decisive battle” to end the devastating Saudi war if the negotiations with Riyadh fail to reach a breakthrough.

“The talks may fail … and we will have to wage a decisive battle to end the aggression and lift the blockade,” Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of Ansarullah’s political bureau, tweeted on Wednesday.

He advised the Yemenis, who are fighting in the enemy’s ranks, to join resistance fighters in its push to swiftly finalize the decisive battle.

A UN-mediated ceasefire between Ansarullah and the self-proclaimed Yemeni regime, which is supported by Saudi Arabia, broke down last October six months after it went into effect.

Since then, Oman, which borders both Yemen and Saudi Arabia, has stepped up efforts to broker a new truce agreement.

Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015.

The objective was to crush the popular Ansarullah, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen, and reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to achieve any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Also in his tweet, Bukhaiti said that the US presence in Yemen is an extension of the Saudi-led offensive, adding that the reality of the aggression has become clear to everyone

He had earlier said that the United States and Britain do not want peace in Yemen, noting that the pair try to hamper progress in the negotiations and put a military option on the table in case of the failure of the dialogue.

The US has recently increased encroachment in Yemen’s eastern provinces of al-Mahrah and Hadhramaut.

Source: Press TV

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Southeast Asia


Religious speakers without state Islamic council's accreditation may face legal action, says Johor rep

By Ben Tan

08 Mar 2023

JOHOR BARU, March 8 — The Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAINJ) will take legal action against any individual who is found to be teaching or lecturing Islam without accreditation in the state.

State Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid said action will also be taken against the event or programme organiser who is considered to be complicit.

"Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar has decreed that speakers who teach and give lectures on Islam in this state must be accredited," said Mohd Fared in a statement here.

"Any Islamic teaching and lecture programme organiser using speakers who are not certified by MAINJ is committing an offence to conspire under Section 43 of the Shariah Criminal Offenses Enactment 1997.

"If found guilty, they can be fined up to RM5,000 or imprisoned for a maximum of three years or both," he added.

Mohd Fared said those who are found to be teaching and giving lectures on Islam without accreditation are committing a Shariah offence under Section 119(1) of the Islamic Religious Administration Enactment (State of Johor) 2003 and Section 11 of the Shariah Criminal Offenses Enactment 1997.

He explained that those who are prosecuted for the offence can be fined up to RM5,000, or face a maximum of three years in prison, or both, if convicted.

Mohd Fared said that the credentials required from the MAINJ cover the area of mosques and suraus, as well as any place in Johor.

The move, he said, was in line with Section 118(3) of the Islamic Religious Administration Enactment (State of Johor) 2003 as among the methods for controlling doctrines and beliefs that deviate from Shariah law in this state.

"It is also to ensure that those who teach and give lectures on Islam or matters about the Islamic religion must have a MAINJ certificate,” he said.

Mohd Fared said MAINJ is an Islamic religious authority that takes care of the affairs of the Muslim community in the state to comply with Shariah law based on the Sunni denomination's al-Asya'irah and al-Maturidiyyah teachings which follow the Shafie school of jurisprudence.

He added that this decree however does not mean it is rejecting other schools of jurisprudence or Sufi teachings.

"The Muslim community needs to obey the laws that have been enacted to ensure that the true and correct teachings of Islam are upheld and implemented in this state,” he said.

On March 2, Terengganu’s Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council announced a ban on talks and sermons by political leaders in mosques and prayer halls.

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim had in January ordered that political discussions are banned in mosques and prayer halls in the state.

Source: Malay Mail

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Kedah KPDN targets 200 premises to offer Menu Rahmah before Ramadan

09-03- 2023

ALOR SETAR: The Kedah branch of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN) is targeting 200 eateries in Kedah to offer Menu Rahmah before the start of the Ramadan month on March 23.

Its director, Affendi Rajini Kanth said that, so far, the number of eateries offering Menu Rahmah is nearing its initial target of 150 premises.

“We are nearing our initial target and it is hoped that, before this Ramadan month, we can have 200 premises offering Menu Rahmah statewide to help the needy.

“We also plan to implement this Menu Rahmah at the Bazaar Ramadan but talks with the traders and local authorities need to be held first to find the best mechanism to implement the programme,” he told reporters, here, today.

Earlier, he officiated the Pre-Ramadan Rahmah Sales Programme held at the Youth and Sports Complex, here, and it was also attended by Suka Menanti state assemblyman Datuk Zamri Yusuf.

Affendi said that in today’s programme, an estimated 150 individuals had the opportunity to obtain 16 types of items which were offered at a low price, among them are chickens, eggs, flour, sugar and rice.

“We hope this programme can be implemented in all state assembly areas to enable local communities to purchase items at a cheap price, so we will cooperate and discuss with the assemblymen in the areas,” he said.

Meanwhile, consumer Zawiyah Shah Budin, 44, from Taman Sri Gunung near here, said she came as early as 8.30 am to purchase goods on offer under the programme today.

“The initiative taken is very good because it can help the less fortunate to obtain goods at prices that are way cheaper compared to grocery stores or supermarkets.

Source: The Sun Daily

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Mufti: 603 Mosques under MAIK never used as political arena

08-03- 2023

KOTA BHARU: A total of 603 mosques in Kelantan, under the state Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIK), have never been used as a stage for politics, said Mufti of Kelantan, Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad.

He said that MAIK had never allowed any party to turn the mosque into a political arena since the religious institution was established in 1915.

“Politics cannot be separated from Islam, but the political party must be separated from the mosque, and individuals who want to speak or teach (in mosques) must have credentials.

“Only certified speakers can teach in the mosque, and this matter is controlled by MAIK, as an institution that is looking after these matters, so that they (mosques) are not disturbed by the situation to the point of causing anxiety,” he said.

He said this to reporters during a press conference, after the launch of the Muhammadi Mosque’s 150th Anniversary Book (1867-2017), at the MAIK Library, here today.

He said this in response to the decree of the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, as the head of state and head of the Islamic religion in Selangor, that mosques in the state must be free of both political influences and elements, so as to prevent divisions caused by religious differences.

Mohamad Shukri said that in Kelantan, there had been attempts to make the mosque a venue for politics, but the effort failed due to the state government constantly monitoring the issue to avoid mosques being used for party interests.

“Thus far there have been no cases, and the mosques in the state have not been abused with political elements.

“Therefore, the management of the mosque needs to ensure that only speakers with religious teaching credentials from MAIK are allowed to deliver lectures in mosques, as stipulated in Section 91 of the MAIK Enactment,” he said.

Source: The Sun Daily

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Hajiji wants Sabahans to fully understand, grasp Malaysia Madani concept


09 Mar 2023

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor wants Sabahans to fully understand and grasp the Malaysia Madani concept.

The Chief Minister said the concept which was inspired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must be explained holistically by experts in various fields.

He added that this must be done by relating the diversity that was synonymous with the country, particularly in Sabah.

The Malaysia Madani concept, he said, has now been upheld as a new paradigm shift for the country to chart its policy direction and strategy implementation for all sectors.

“Efforts to embrace this concept are very important as it is the basis for all of us to be more harmonious and prosperous.

“Therefore, this concept is most apt for the situation and needs of Sabah, which has more than 30 ethnic groups,” Hajiji said, when opening the “Malaysia Forum Madani: Harmony In Diversity” event at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here Thursday (March 9).

The forum was organised by the United Sabah Islamic Association (Usia) in collaboration with the Deputy State Secretary's Office (Special Tasks).

Toward this end, Hajiji said the Malaysia Madani concept was in line with the Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) development plan that was introduced by the state government.

The Chief Minister was also proud that Sabah was the first state to organise seminars and forums related to Malaysia Madani in order to explain and clarify the vision introduced by the premier.

For example, he said, a seminar on developing Malaysia Madani through the local narrative was held by the state Wadah Pencerdasan Umat Malaysia (Wadah), Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE) and the Sabah Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) last month.

“I believe there will be more associations, non-governmental organisations and public as well as private institutes of higher education, and government agencies, will organise seminars, forums and workshops that will further explore and deepen the concept of Malaysia Madani for the benefit of members, students, graduates and government servants,” he said.

Hajiji added that although Usia was an Islamic organisation, its role and responsibility in helping the government to implement a programme beneficial to the people regardless of race and religion should be supported by all parties.

Source: The Star

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Allah guide, grant you wisdom as president – Sultan of Sokoto tells Tinubu

March 8, 2023

By Seun Opejobi

The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III has said Allah would guide and grant the President-elect, Bola Tinubu the wisdom and strength to pilot the affairs of Nigeria.

Abubakar spoke in a congratulatory message to Tinubu, and was contained in a statement by the Deputy Secretary-General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, Prof. Salisu Shehu.

He said Tinubu’s trajectory of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication in public service speaks volume.

The monarch described the president-elect as an experienced human and financial resources manager.

The statement reads: “Tinubu would also foster unity, peace and engender sustainable development that we all crave.

“We would like to remind him that as a Muslim in a position of authority, leadership is trust and a lot will also be expected from and demanded of him by the people of this great country.

“We pray that the Almighty Allah bless him abundantly and grant him success so that his tenure shall be a reference point in the annals of leadership in this country.

“We also beseech Allah to guide, guard and grant him the wisdom and strength to discharge his duties creditably.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Tinubu winner of the presidential election after gaining the highest number of votes.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Split Libya pushes back against UN plan for elections

March 09, 2023

TRIPOLI: The new UN envoy to Libya had hoped to usher in long-delayed elections, but his initiative is facing pushback from the eastern-based parliament and a lukewarm reception by its rivals in Tripoli.

Senegalese diplomat Abdoulaye Bathily told the UN Security Council last month he planned to create a panel tasked with delivering presidential and legislative elections in conflict-torn Libya later this year.

But his blunt criticism of the North African country’s two houses of parliament for failing to agree on a legal basis for elections has sparked a backlash that threatens to derail Bathily’s plans.

The pushback was “predictable,” said Khaled Al-Montasser, a professor of international relations at the University of Tripoli, as elections would see members of both chambers potentially lose their seats and privileges.

Despite the rivalry between them, both view the UN initiative as “interference in their sovereign decision-making power and an attempt to impose international will on Libyans,” Montasser told AFP.

Libya has seen more than a decade of stop-start conflict since the 2011 revolt that toppled strongman Muammar Qaddafi, with a myriad rival militias, foreign powers and multiple governments vying for influence.

The country remains split between a supposedly interim government in the western capital, Tripoli, and another in the east nominally backed by military chief Khalifa Haftar.

While most observers believe Libyans overwhelmingly support elections, bitter wrangling over the legal basis for holding them has been a key sticking point since the last major battle between Haftar and western Libyan forces in 2020.

Last month, the eastern-based House of Representatives passed an amendment to the country’s Constitutional Declaration — an interim constitution — which it said would provide a legal basis for elections.

Bathily, who was appointed as head of the UN’s Libya mission UNSMIL in October, said the amendment was “controversial” among Libyans and lacked clarity of key issues such as who may stand in presidential polls.

He also noted it had not been endorsed by the High Council of State, the Tripoli-based upper house of parliament.

The House in turn accused Bathily of “double standards” and “lacking impartiality“

Libyan analyst Abdallah Al-Rayes said the UN envoy’s initiative aimed to put pressure on rival Libyan factions by giving them a “last chance” before “a vote takes place without them.”

“The international community wants to embarrass the two chambers, who are masters in the art of wasting time and political horse-trading,” he said.

The Tripoli-based transitional government of Qaddafi-era tycoon Abdelhamid Dbeibah has signalled its willingness to cooperate with Bathily’s plan, asking the United Nations to provide logistical support to that end.

The US embassy last week called on “key Libyan leaders to approach the plan in a constructive spirit,” saying in an online post the UN proposal would “build on progress made between” the two chambers “on the legal basis for elections.”

Britain also said it supported the plan.

“Libyans deserve certainty and faith in their institutions,” its mission at the United Nations in New York tweeted shortly after Bathily had spoken at the Security Council.

“Conditions for elections must be agreed by all and the results respected.”

But Monstasser said US and British backing was “not enough,” stressing the importance of buy-in from their arch-rival Russia, which has a presence in southern Libya via the Kremlin-linked Wagner paramilitary group.

“Moscow is a powerful actor in Libya and exerts influence on Haftar,” he said.

Western Libyan efforts to prevent Haftar, a US citizen, from standing in presidential polls have been a key factor in the stalemate over the legal basis for polls.

Source: Arab News

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Jordanian Senate’s Palestine Committee calls on inter-Palestinian unity to face Israeli aggression

March 08, 2023

AMMAN: The Jordanian Senate’s Palestine Committee has reiterated its call for inter-Palestinian reconciliation and unity to face blatant Israeli aggression, Jordan’s News Agency reported on Wednesday.

In a statement, the committee referenced Israel’s violent operations against the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, in conjunction with incursions by the Israeli army and Jewish settlers into cities of Nablus, Jenin and Hawara, which led to numerous people being injured.

Headed by Nayef Qadi, the committee said hundreds of extremist Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and carried out provocative activities and rituals under the protection of Israeli police.

Decrying Israel’s measures against the Palestinians, the committee said that such activities undermine a just settlement to end Arab-Israeli conflict by establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital on the June 4, 1967 borders.

At the same time, the committee praised the “remarkable” efforts made by Jordan’s diplomacy to achieve a solution that meets Palestinians’ aspirations and restores their full rights of sovereignty, dignity and independent will.

Source: Arab News

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Opposition bloc calls for release of political prisoners in Tunisia

Adel Al Thabiti 


TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia’s main opposition bloc on Wednesday called for the release of political prisoners amid a deep crisis in the North African country.

Supporters of the National Salvation Front (NSF) staged a protest in the capital Tunis to demand the release of critics of the policies of President Kais Saied.

Protesters held pictures of activists held by the authorities, including NSF member Chaima Issa, former Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh, and Issam Chebbi, Secretary-General of the Republican Party, according to an Anadolu reporter.

Protesters also chanted slogans condemning what they called a “coup” by the Tunisian president.

“We stand in solidarity with political detainees,” Abdellatif Mekki, Secretary-General of the Labor and Achievement Party, told the protesters.

“A regime that uses arrests for accountability and fails to deal with corruption is nothing but an authoritarian regime, and the largest incubator of corruption is the tyrannical regime,” Mekki added.

There was no comment from the Tunisian authorities on the NSF rally.

Earlier Wednesday, a protest was staged by the Women Against Tyranny group to demand the release of Issa and other political detainees.

The NSF says three of its leaders are held for “political reasons”, but the Tunisian president accuses them of "conspiring against state security.”

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis that aggravated the country's economic conditions since 2021 when Saied ousted the government and dissolved parliament.

Since then, Saied held a referendum to draft a new constitution in July 2022 and parliamentary elections last December.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UN special envoy for Syria to meet with cease-fire task force to discuss need for calm on ground

Beyza Binnur Donmez



UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen said Wednesday he will meet a cease-fire task force to discuss the need for calm after two earthquakes devastated the region.

"We need calm on the ground. Something that I will be stressing when I'm meeting tomorrow with the ceasefire task force here in Geneva," Pedersen said at a news conference.

The earthquakes that struck the region last month have also acted as a wake-up call to the world that the Syrian tragedy is "far from over," he said, noting that after 12 years of war and conflict, Syrians have been struck by a terrible natural disaster.

He said the attention on Syria renewed regionally and internationally following the earthquakes.

"We need to take this attention and see if it can help us unlock progress on the way forward, " he said.

"Without the political solution, Syrian suffering will endure," he said. "All the challenges that existed pre-earthquake still remain and I think this is extremely important."

The envoy said no existing group or actors "can resolve this conflict alone" before adding: "There needs to be a genuine Syrian-led and own political process facilitated by the United Nations. There needs to be a coordinated international effort in support of this with all key players working in a coherent effort."

Beyond the need for a new Constitution for Syria, other issues also need to be addressed, he said, such as issues of governance, sovereignty, territorial integrity, nationwide cease-fire, building a safe, calm and neutral environment, files of the detained, disappeared and missing, safe, dignified and long term return of refugees and post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation.

The earthquakes have only created new needs, he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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2 men paid for Paludan's police applications for burning copy of Quran, Swedish daily says

Alexandra Enberg 


Two unidentified middle-aged men were the accomplice of Rasmus Paludan, who caused great anger and condemnation after his hostile act of burning a copy of the Quran last month, according to a report by local media.

The men had paid for a quarter of the 47 permit applications Paludan had filed to the police authorities, but now they are trying to erase the traces of their connection with him, Aftonbladet reported on Wednesday.

Paludan has said he received the offer for payment from at least one new member of his far-right Stram Kurs party's Swedish branch, according to the daily. The party operates both in Denmark, where Paludan is originally from and in Sweden.

He, however, did not reveal the identities of the men, failing to respond to Aftonbladet's questions in an effort to keep their identities unknown. Paludan also claimed that he hardly knew any Stram Kurs members in Sweden.

Eleven of the applications have been paid by the two men and they are both believed to be living in Orebro city, according to the report.

The first man, in his 60s, had no criminal record and was described by former colleagues as a loyal worker and the second one, in his 40s, was previously convicted of financial crimes.

The second man paid for 8 of Paludan's applications. He made the first such payment in May 2022 for a Quran-burning act in his hometown of Orebro.

According to the daily, the older man said he had been duped in an advanced fraud where he paid several fees to the Police Authority as part of the payment for a purchase of nine precious collector cars from the web auction site. But a list of all collector car sales found by Aftonbladet did not match the description the man gave.

When confronted with inconsistencies in his story, the man changed the story.

The daily also found out that the man had contact with Ingrid Carlqvist, who for several years had been a central figure in the Swedish extreme right, who is known for Islamophobic views, has openly considered collaboration with the Nazi organization Nordic Resistance Movement, and has also expressed support for Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine on Twitter.

Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Stram Kurs, while surrounded and protected by the police, set the Quran on fire in Sweden's capital Stockholm in front of the Turkish Embassy in January.

Following a long rant in which he verbally attacked Islam and immigration in Sweden, he shouted: "If you don't think there should be freedom of expression, you have to live somewhere else."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Belgium raises over $1.9M in single day for quake victims in Türkiye, Syria

Agnes Szucs 



Over €1.8 million ($1.9 million) was raised in a single day in Belgium to help the victims of last month’s earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria in response to a call by the country’s biggest charities.

In a statement Tuesday, the 12-12 Consortium, assembling Belgium’s seven most important charity organizations, said that “€1.8 million has been raised in favor of the victims of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria at the big day of solidarity on March 6.”

Marking one month since the disaster, all Belgian media outlets dedicated programs or content on the disastrous effects of the earthquakes and called on people to make donations.

“The day of solidarity ended with an impressive result,” said Gilles Van Moortel, the consortium’s coordinator, explaining that they received three times more donations than in an average day due to the media coverage.

The amount collected Monday represents 15% of the funds, bringing the total to €11.6 million.

Caritas International, Red Cross Belgium, Handicap International (Humanity & Inclusion), Medecins du Monde, Oxfam Belgium, Plan International Belgium and UNICEF Belgium are members of the consortium.

The charities raised over €8.27 million in the first two weeks after the earthquakes, according to their data.

More than 46,100 people were killed in Türkiye by magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes that struck on Feb. 6, according to officials.

The strong tremors, which were centered in Kahramanmaras province, also hit 10 other provinces: Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa and Elazig.

Some 13.5 million people have been affected in Türkiye by the massive quakes, which struck in less than 10 hours.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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