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Islamic World News ( 22 Jul 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan Court Sentences Christian Bicycle Mechanic Ashfaq Masih To Death For ‘Blasphemy’

New Age Islam News Bureau

22 July 2022


Source: @icfdorg (Twitter)


• Hyderabad Mosque Allots Space For Free Haemodialysis Unit, Probably For The First Time In The World

• Foreign Policy Writer Forced to Issue a Public Retraction After Being Detained for 3 Days by the Taliban

• Much Ado About Nothing? Biden Not First US President To Fly Direct From Israel To Saudi Arabia

• Insults Against Islam: Malaysian Religious Affairs Minister Advises Public Not To Take Law Into Own Hands



• Pakistan needs to engage Kabul directly to neutralise TTP: report

• Education ministry renames Single National Curriculum

• Turkish Ambassador meets COAS, lauds Pakistan’s role for regional stability

• Pak-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group in Senate holds meeting with Canadian Parliamentarian

• Pakistan: Local protests and failed govt strategies derail CPEC projects in Gwadar

• Fazl wants govt to arrest Imran



• Hyderabad: Muslim Youth Beaten For Not Chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ In The Charminar Area

• MP's Letter Glare On Narendra Modi's ‘Affection’ For Muslims

• Indigenous Tag Splits ‘Assamese Muslims’ Wide Open

• SC quashes plea seeking worship of 'Shivling' found at UP's Gyanvapi mosque

• Supreme Court to await Varanasi judge’s decision in Gyanvapi case


South Asia

• Islamic Emirate React to UNAMA’s Human Rights Report

• Kabul Hosts Pakistani Delegation for ‘Enhancing’ Regional Trade, Transit

• Afghan Passport Ranks Last in the Henley Passport Index

• Taliban’s Central Bank Auctions $13 Million to Maintain Afghani Currency Value


North America

• Pro-Israel campaign donations far exceed pro-Arab funding in American elections

• UN chief will travel to Istanbul late Thursday: Spokesman

• Air Force official expects Iran to resume attacks on US


Southeast Asia

• Man who insulted Islam jailed 6 months



• Over A Decade Since Islamophobic Terrorist Killed 77 People In Oslo

• UK spy chief doubts Iran Supreme Leader will back nuclear deal

• Russia’s Lavrov to address Arab League on July 24

• UN: Netherlands' court to rule on jurisdiction in Rohingya genocide case

• Fundraising campaigns for purchase of Türkiye's Bayraktar TB2 drone spreading in West

• War criminal's escape to Belgrade suggests Serbian role in Bosnia war: Academic


Arab World

• PKK Terrorists Behind Duhok Attack, Says Head Of Iraq's Largest Sunni Bloc, Sunni Al-Siyadeh

• Saudi Arrested For Facilitating Entry Of Non-Muslim Journalist Into Makkah Through A Dedicated Path For Muslims

• Russian airstrike on Syria’s Idlib kills seven: Monitor

• Israeli airstrikes kill three soldiers, wound seven near Damascus: Syrian ministry

• Construction starts on Egypt’s first nuclear plant

• Putin, Saudi Crown Prince stress importance of OPEC+ coordination: Kremlin



• Israel’s Supreme Court Rules ‘Disloyal’ Citizens Can Be Stripped Of Status

• Iran Criticizes UNSC's Approach Towards Syria

• Nasrallah: Israel Not Allowed to Extract from Disputed Karish Gas Field If Lebanon’s Rights Not Secured

• Iran says talks with Saudi Arabia to advance from security to political level

• President Rayeesi Hails Syrian People's Resistance

• Iran Summons Argentine Envoy Over Exit Restrictions on Plane Crew

• Top Commander Lauds Growing Trend of Iran-Oman Military Ties



• Nigerians against Muslim-Muslim ticket because of Buhari and APC’s failures, says Eya

• A new Libyan force emerges, accused of abusing migrants

• Somalia’s al-Shabab group makes rare attack near Ethiopia border

• Algeria arrests former Tunisian intelligence chief, hands him over to Tunisia

• Libya's parliament speaker affirms rapprochement with Türkiye

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Pakistan Court Sentences Christian Bicycle Mechanic Ashfaq Masih  To Death For ‘Blasphemy’


Source: @icfdorg (Twitter)


21 Jul, 2022

LAHORE – A session court in the Punjab capital has sentenced a bicycle mechanic Ashfaq Masih to death, five years after he was arrested on blasphemy charges.

Reports in the media said Ashfaq, a resident of Mariam Colony in Lahore’s Green Town, was detained after a row with a customer over payment for bike repair.

A crowd had gathered, and accused the man of ‘disrespecting Islam’s personalities’. He was then booked under Section 295 C and was detained shortly.

The man claimed being framed on false charges, saying the other man Naveed was jealous of his success. He maintained that Naveed and other persons also tried to pick fights with him.

The blasphemy laws in South Asian country carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults religion. Blasphemy accusations also incite mob violence and lynching.

Last year, a charged mob stormed a factory in Sialkot and lynched a Sri Lankan national, burning his body publicly over allegations of blasphemy.

Source: Daily Pakistan

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Hyderabad Mosque Allots Space For Free Haemodialysis Unit, Probably For The First Time In The World


Masjid-e-Mohammadia in Langar Houz has a state-of-the-art free dialysis centre mainly for the weaker sections regardless of caste and creed


22nd July 2022

HYDERABAD: Probably for the first time in the world, a mosque in Hyderabad has allotted space on its premises for establishing a full-fledged haemodialysis unit. Masjid-e-Mohammadia, located in Langar Houz area now houses a state-of-the-art free dialysis centre that mainly caters to the weaker sections of the society, regardless of caste and creed.

The centre, set up by two NGOs - Helping Hand Foundation and SEED US, has five latest Fresenius brand machines and will acquire five more machines in the next three months.  The swanky centre, designed like a corporate hospital, has a separate access for dialysis patients and it is equipped with high quality equipment, clinical care as well as facility to manage onsite emergencies.

The unit is being run under medical supervision of Dr Shoeb Ali Khan, leading consultant nephrologist and a kidney transplant surgeon.A medical doctor, ANMs, dialysis technicians and an ambulance will be available at the centre from 8 am to 8 pm on any given day. “We have invested about Rs 45 lakh for the initial setup of this unit. About Rs 2 lakh per month will be managed by Helping Hand Foundation,” said Mazhar Hussaini of SEED. To register for free dialysis, one can call Ph: 9603540864.

Source: New Indian Express

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Foreign Policy Writer Forced to Issue a Public Retraction After Being Detained for 3 Days by the Taliban


Lynne O’Donnell, an Australian writer


By Saqalain Eqbal

21 Jul 2022

An internationally well-known war journalist claimed she received a jail threat for not tweeting an apology to the Taliban for an article accusing Afghanistan’s Islamist authorities of “forcefully marrying teenage girls and using teenage girls as sexual slaves.“

Lynne O’Donnell, an Australian writer who presently writes a column for Foreign Policy magazine, tweeted, “l apologize for 3 or 4 reports written by me accusing the present authorities of forcefully marrying teenage girls and using teenage girls as sexual slaves by Taliban commanders.”

O’Donnell revealed on Wednesday that she was forced to make an apology by the Taliban.

“Tweet an apology or go to jail, said #Taliban intelligence,” she tweeted. “Whatever it takes: They dictated. I tweeted. They didn’t like it. Deleted, edited, re-tweeted. Made video of me saying I wasn’t coerced. Re-did that too.”

The journalist said that the agents disapproved of her reporting on LGBTQ persons and asserted that there were “no gays” in the country.

As of yet, the Taliban’s Ministry of Information and Culture and intelligence authorities have not reacted on O’Donnell’s disclosures.

Following her alleged detention, harassment, and threats, Lynne O’Donnell, who has reported occasionally from Afghanistan for over 20 years, departed the country on Wednesday for Pakistan.

O’Donnell was the Afghanistan bureau head for the Agence France-Presse wire service and the Associated Press between 2009 and 2017, according to her biography on the Foreign Policy website.

Source: Khaama Press

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Much Ado About Nothing? Biden Not First US President To Fly Direct From Israel To Saudi Arabia


Makkah governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington, welcoming US President Joe Biden in Jeddah. (AFP)


July 21, 2022

JEDDAH: Like most media frenzies, the one surrounding US President Joe Biden’s “historic first direct flight” from Tel Aviv to Jeddah was received with much fanfare at first but — at least among Saudi journalists — it quickly turned out to be a case of much ado about nothing.

It all began with Biden’s statement in an oped in the Washington Post on July 9, before he embarked on his Middle East trip, announcing that “on Friday, I will be the first president to fly from Israel to Jiddah (sic), Saudi Arabia.”

Many in the US and Israeli news media quickly latched on to the phrase as further proof that “normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel” was around the corner, a perennial rumor that has taken on a life of its own.

A follow-up announcement by the White House on July 15 fed into the narrative, by quoting the president as saying: “Today, I will be the first president to fly from Israel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.”

While the statement was accurate in the sense that no previous US president had undertaken a direct flight from Israel to Jeddah, Biden was definitely not the first to fly directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia.

Many began to question the limited memory of US and Israeli journalists, who seemed to have ignored or forgotten the fact that it was only as recently as 2008 that another president flew directly to the Kingdom from Israel, albeit to the capital Riyadh, not to the coastal city of Jeddah.

Indeed, the last president to have taken a direct flight from Israel to Saudi Arabia was George W. Bush, who traveled from Tel Aviv in May 2008, the last year of his second term.

According to media accounts of that trip, when Air Force One landed in the Saudi capital, Bush received a red-carpet welcome on the tarmac, and was warmly greeted by Saudi leaders as a military band played the US national anthem.

The Bush White House said the visit was intended in part to celebrate 75 years of formal US-Saudi relations, but the high price of oil ($127 a barrel) was also a factor. Soaring energy costs were proving to be a political headache for the president and a major drain on the US economy, which was experiencing a slowdown that presaged a major recession.

Fourteen years after that visit, another US president claimed he had made history with a direct flight, but this one was in the opposite direction. Donald Trump’s Air Force One took off from Riyadh for Tel Aviv in May 2017 as part of his first trip abroad since taking office.

Another five years on, it was the turn of a Democrat to boast he had been on a “historic first direct flight” between Israel and a Saudi city.

Several Saudi journalists who covered Biden’s recent visit said that they are unsure why this flight was the subject of so much excitement.

“If it is a tour involving two countries, the first being Israel and the second Saudi Arabia, how else was Biden going to fly in?” asked one reporter.

“As for the insinuation by the Western media that this was a step closer to normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel, this is not true because this is not the first time such a flight happened. But, more importantly, it is dwarfed by the Arab Peace Initiative,” said a local newspaper editor, citing the Saudi peace proposal to Israel which was adopted by the Arab League in Beirut in 2002.

One thing remains certain, though: Every visit by a US president to Saudi Arabia has proven to be historic, one way or another.

Source: Arab News

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Insults Against Islam: Malaysian Religious Affairs Minister Advises Public Not To Take Law Into Own Hands


Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad — Bernama pic


21 Jul 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad today advised the public not to take the law into their own hands if the sanctity of Islam is insulted by certain parties.

He said the laws in Malaysia were sufficient to punish individuals who committed such acts.

“I don’t want the public to take the law into their own hands. The authorities such as the police, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), Home Ministry and all enforcement agencies are very efficient in doing their jobs.

“I would like to thank them for taking swift action on the issue of insults against Islam that has occurred a lot lately,” he told reporters after the launch of the national-level Qawwam Men Seminar 2022 at Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur here.

Elaborating, Idris said there were many factors contributing to the act of insulting religion, including the mental state of the individuals involved.

“A sane individual, whether a Muslim or others, will not do things to ridicule a religion,” he said.

Idris said the department is working to create a long-term solution to address the issue using two methods, namely education and legal action.

“We try to educate the public through dakwah efforts in addition to providing explanations and organising various events like today. Secondly, offenders need to be punished according to existing laws,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Qawwam Men Seminar was held in an effort to strengthen the role of men, especially Muslim men, as leaders and protectors of families and society. — Bernama

Source: Malay Mail

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Pakistan needs to engage Kabul directly to neutralise TTP: report

Iftikhar A. Khan

July 22, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will have to engage the Taliban government in Kabul directly to neutralise the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as the group continues to pose threats to Pakistan’s internal security and western borders.

Talking to the outlawed group will not favour the Taliban regime either as it will not help to boost their image as a peace builder; rather, their regime will continue to be considered supportive of the terrorists and manipulators.

These are some of the key findings of the paper series titled “Afghanistan as Seen from Pakistan IV” released here on Thursday by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based policy research and advocacy think-tank. The research is part of PIPS’ on-going quarterly ‘Situation Review’ series on Afghanistan.

In the first research paper, PIPS Director Mohammad Amir Rana assessed the impact of the peace talks between the Pakistani state and the TTP. The second contribution comes from senior journalist Ziaur Rehman, which explores factors of Afghanistan’s persisting outlook on Pakistan.

The research underlines that whether Kabul absorbs the TTP within their ranks and files or expels it, Pakistan should allow Kabul to make its own choice. “Pakistan should have broadly focused on encouraging and facilitating the Taliban to fulfill its commitments, which they made after Kabul’s takeover.”

According to the report, Pakistan must intensify its efforts further for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan which can reduce the bitterness of angry Taliban leaders.

“This trust deficiency is a major issue between Pakistan and the Taliban,” the study says and adds, “For that purpose, Pakistan must have a uniform approach toward all the Taliban groups and factions.”

The research points out that some recent obstacles in trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan have also been causing a negative impact on the relationship between the two countries. It suggests that instead of relying on or leaving it to the governments of the two countries, there is a need to develop and enhance people-to-people contacts at different levels to build trust and cement bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Youth, parliamentarians, religious scholars, academics and non-governmental organisations of both the countries should meet and discuss bilateral affairs.”

The report recommends that initiating cross-border economic activities, trade, and social exchanges could also build stronger relations between the two countries, forcing both governments to sit and discuss ways forward too.

“Both the countries, despite having a fence, could mend their relations if the people on both sides join hands for economic, trade, and social exchanges.”

Source: Dawn

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Education ministry renames Single National Curriculum

July 22, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Education Ministry has decided to rename the Single National Curriculum (SNC) - a much-hyped initiative of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government - as National Curriculum of Pakistan (NCP).

“The National Curriculum of Pakistan (NCP) is the new name of the curriculum reforms,” said Federal Education Minster Rana Tanveer Hussain on Thursday.

Addressing a workshop in Islamabad, the minister said: “The word ‘single’ caused confusion and excluded the diversity education that is an asset to our country’s rich heritage. We are now ready for getting back on track.”

The PTI government had launched SNC at the primary level last year in three provinces except Sindh.

‘National Curriculum of Pakistan’ is new name of curriculum reforms, says minister

The education minster said NCP will be a comprehensive exercise, covering all four aspects of a quality curriculum.

“This includes standards, textbooks, teachers training and examinations reforms. Going forward, there will be a special focus on teacher training without which reforms are incomplete,” he said and added that most importantly “we will spearhead examination reforms. Our children must move away from rote memorisation in exams to concept-based understanding,” he said.

The two-day National Curriculum Workshop was organised by the ministry in collaboration with its development partners with representation from all the federating units to promote an inclusive approach on the national curriculum and its implementation.

According to a press release, Mr Tanveer said: “It is imperative to highlight that the true vision of education reforms began in the previous tenure of the PML-N government in 2013 to 2018. After the tragic attack on schoolchildren at an Army Public School in 2014, a national consensus was evolved to counter violent extremism through a National Action Plan. Development of a national curriculum with consensus to set minimum standards for all public and private schools and religious seminaries is a part of this serious effort from the government,” he said.

The minster said that the establishment of the National Curriculum Council (NCC) Secretariat with consensus from all provinces in 2015 was the first major step in this regard. The purpose, he said, was to make minimum standards of quality education for all children in Pakistan, as Article 25A of the Constitution makes it the state’s responsibility to provide education to every child.

“Our government was the first one to make a National Curriculum Framework for the country in the year 2017. A minimum national standards framework document was also released at the time. To ensure progressive and concept-based religious education, a historic Compulsory Teaching of Holy Quran Act was passed in 2017,” he said and added that Pakistan has not had an education policy since 2009.

“However, it was our government that devised and released a new National Education Policy draft in 2017.”

Mr Tanveer said that curriculum reforms should not be forced on provinces. Sindh did not join the important initiative because of this reason. Similarly, he said, private sector was alienated because what was supposed to be a minimum standard was treated as the maximum standard.

“Many private publishers went bankrupt due to this unfortunate step. Finally, the word ‘single’ caused confusion and excluded the diversity education that is an asset to our country’s rich heritage,” he said.

The minister said: “Our focus is on inclusivity, where representation from all sectors is to be ensured. We will keep the national curriculum a living document which will be consistently updated in light of research findings from schools and international best practices.”

He said that to ensure deeper engagement and a truly consultative process for making the national curriculum, a calendar of country-wide curriculum workshops will be released soon.

He said the ministry was committed to providing a supporting role to all provinces for capacity building in education and inter-provincial harmony, respecting the 18th Amendment.

The minister said that special focus will be put on issues related to out of school children, quality of education at school, tertiary and higher education level which mainly includes teacher training, missing facilities, girls’ education, improving adult literacy and accelerated learning programs and last but least skill education.

Source: Dawn

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Turkish Ambassador meets COAS, lauds Pakistan’s role for regional stability

July 21, 2022

Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Pacaci on Thursday met Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa here at GHQ and appreciated Pakistan’s role for regional stability.

During the meeting, matters of regional security situation, mutual and professional interest with special emphasis on defence and security collaboration between the two brotherly countries, were discussed, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) news release said.

The COAS said, “We highly value our brotherly relations with Turkiye which are deeply rooted in history and entrenched in our cultural and religious affinities”.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Pak-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group in Senate holds meeting with Canadian Parliamentarian

July 21, 2022

The meeting of the Pakistan-Canada Friendship Group in the Senate with the Canadian House of Commons Member, Sameer Zuberi was held here at the Parliament House on Thursday to explore new avenues for further broadening the bilateral ties between Pakistan and Canada.

The meeting discussed a host of issues, inter alia, including travel advisory of Canada with respect to Pakistan, Islamophobia and high rate of visa refusal to Pakistani students and traders and other matters of mutual interests, said a press release.

Deputy Chairman Senate Mirza Muhammad Afridi chaired the meeting. Senators Eng Rukhsana Zuberi, Danesh Kumar, Azam Khan Swati, Rubina Khalid and the Parliamentary delegation of Canada led by Canadian MP and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Canadian Parliament, Sameer Zuberi attended the meeting.

The Pakistani Panel briefed the Friendship Group on the improved security situation in the country and the priority areas of the new government to introduce structural reforms in the key sectors and institution-building. The panel also highlighted FDI-friendly policies available in the automobile, energy, telecom, manufacturing and tourism industry in Pakistan, from which Canadian companies can benefit.

Deputy Chairman Senate, Mirza Muhammad Afridi said that as Canada pursues a path to diversifying its partnerships, Pakistan is one of the emerging economies in Asia offering tremendous opportunities. Pakistan seeks to revive the full spectrum relations in political, trade, investment and development fields with Canada, he added.

He also informed the Canadian MP that the existing trade relations between the two countries need to be given a boost and allowing genuine traders to visit Canada to meet with their counterparts can provide the required impetus to trade relations between the two countries.

The Canadian MP, Sameer Zuberi briefed the senators on their endeavours to promote friendship between the parliamentarians of the two countries and remarked that Canada recognizes the economic importance of Pakistan. The meeting also discussed the future roadmap for bringing close together the people of the two countries.

Senator Eng Rukhsana Zuberi stressed that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Canada needs to be increased and the private sector should be encouraged in a push to boost trade ties.

Afridi underlined that both countries enjoy exemplary ties but the bilateral trade needs to be increased for which linkages, information, exchange of trade delegations and holding exhibitions are of vital importance. He also extended an invitation to the Canadian Parliamentary group to visit Pakistan and urged the Canadian business community to form linkages with the chambers of Pakistan.

Senator Azam Swati commended the leadership of Canada for upholding and setting standards of Human rights. He also urged Sameer Zuberi to present a soft image of Pakistan in Canada. He remarked that Islam means spreading love and peace and called for countering anti-Islam propaganda.

Senator Danesh Kumar stressed promoting inter-faith harmony. He also mentioned and thanked the Canadian Barrick Gold company for investing in Reko Dik, Chaghi district. He invited the Canadian MP to visit Balochistan along with other MPs.

Senator Rubina Khalid underlined the importance of learning from each others parliamentary practices. She appreciated the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister of Canada for promoting inter-faith harmony and countering the threat of Islamophobia. She called for avoiding political polarization and promoting inter-societal harmony. She emphasized adopting the practice of providing support staff to the parliamentarians on equal footing.

Deputy Chairman Senate enlightened the visiting dignitary regarding the working of the upper house of the parliament on the bills related to human rights as per the requirement of the FATF. He also invited the Canadian Member Parliament to join International Parliamentarians Congress, an initiative of H.E Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman, Senate of Pakistan.

Senator Swati also raised the issue of the high rate of rejection of student and traders visas. To which Sameer assured that he will convey the reservations regarding visa rejection and work for its perseverance.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Pakistan: Local protests and failed govt strategies derail CPEC projects in Gwadar

22 July, 2022

Gwadar [Pakistan], July 21 (ANI): Several projects under China Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) umbrella continue to face considerable delays due to frequent protests by the locals in Gwadar over denial of basic services and failed executions by governments, authorities and companies involved from both China and Pakistan.

The on-ground progress continues to remain disappointing as numerous crucial projects under the USD 60 billion CPEC umbrella have either missed their completion deadlines or are facing extensive delays.

According to Islam Khabar, Pakistan’s southern coastal city of Gwadar and its port were once billed as the future hub of global trade under CPEC, however, the port city project has turned into a model of failed execution for governments, authorities and companies involved from both China and Pakistan.

Infrastructure projects running behind schedule include Gwadar Port Phase II expansion, New Gwadar International Airport, construction of breakwaters, Pak-China Friendship Hospital, the 300MW coal-based power plant and freshwater treatment, supply & distribution project, the reports said, adding that the locals in Gwadar are often seen protesting over denial of basic services as the majority of the local residents are poor fishermen and in many cases, the over-stretched construction activities have only added to their problems.

Moreover, their struggle to have access to vital necessities including decent health and education has become a severe problem catering to which the administration of Gwadar Development Authority hospital is also experiencing difficulty in retaining employees because of the non-availability of water for them.

The port area does not have its own power generation and it needs to import its electricity from neighbouring Iran, Islam Khabar reported, saying the situation cannot be expected to ease soon as the proposed coal-based power plant is held up due to coordination problems.

To date, only four major CPEC projects are reported to have been completed here. These include East Bay Expressway, Smart Port City Master Plan, construction of Free Zone Phase-1 and the Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute which was built with a USD 10 million Chinese grant.

Notably, in Nov 2021, Pak Senate’s Standing Committee on Planning and Development expressed concern over the slow pace of projects in the port city. The committee had visited Gwadar for an on-site meeting on CPEC projects and observed that progress on infrastructure and basic facilities was not enough to lure local and international investors.

Furthermore, the shrewd Chinese approach towards additional funding has affected the projects falling under CPEC Phase-II including the socio-economic ones as it has forced the South-Asian country to be doubly sure if expanding local infrastructure through Chinese investment is a step worth taking.

Balochistan is located in the southwest of Pakistan and constitutes half of the country’s territory. Demographically though it constitutes a mere 3.6 per cent of the total population of Pakistan. The province is home to over 13 million people, mostly Baloch.

Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest, but least developed province. It is one of the most important provinces of Pakistan because of the high concentration of natural resources including gas, oil, copper and gold.

However, despite the richness in natural resources, Balochistan continues to remain the poorest province of Pakistan.

In 2015, China announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project in Pakistan worth USD 46 billion, of which Balochistan is an integral part.

It would link Pakistan’s southern Gwadar port in Balochistan on the Arabian Sea to China’s western Xinjiang region. It also includes plans to create road, rail and oil pipeline links to improve connectivity between China and the Middle East. The Baloch have opposed China’s increasing involvement in the province.

Source: The Print

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Fazl wants govt to arrest Imran

JULY 22, 2022

Pakistan Democratic Alliance President and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Amir Fazlur Rehman Thursday demanded the arrest of PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan. Addressing a press conference in Bannu, he said religious scholars belonging to the JUI-F were falling a victim to target killing. “We should be told who are the killers; otherwise the state institutions must accept responsibility,” he added. He said the state institutions had occupied many seminaries. “They call madrassas centres of terrorism but they also seek cooperation from religious scholars of these madrassas,” he added. Fazl said the institutions should not make a mockery of the situation and avoid doing politics. “Does the state want the youth to take up arms after getting emotional? Even the servicemen would not have saved the country if it wasn’t for the religious scholars. Despite this, we’re being punished.” He said “crazy and stupid” people were surrounding Imran who were following a “fool”. Fazl also warned that he will make the earth so hot for Imran Khan that his supporters will not be able to place their foot on it. He asked Imran to “stay within his limits”, says a news report. Fazl said he knew what forces were behind the former premier. “When this army was supporting, you [Imran] had no issues and you were fine with the army but now when the general became neutral so you’re calling him an animal? We know your masters.

They have told you to abuse me because this is how politics work in Pakistan.” Fazl said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was unnecessarily being polite.

“I have asked the government to put Imran Khan in jail… get Rana Sanaullah into action,” he said and questioned why the decision on the foreign funding case was being delayed.

“We are being asked to clean up the economic mess created in the last four years. This is a short-term government; it should take short-term decisions instead of long-term ones,” he added. Fazl disclosed that he had opposed raising the prices of different commodities during the first meeting in this regard.

“In the first meeting, I had said don’t talk to the IMF and do the agreement on new terms but everyone opposed. Nawaz Sharif and I became helpless,” he added. Fazl further said he wanted to see the judiciary beyond doubt where no one could object to their decisions. Fazl said the court had the authority to make decisions; however, legislation was the right of the Parliament.

“We have to make laws and not the court,” he said, adding that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was “trying to hide behind the courts”. Fazl said former speaker of the National Assembly and President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi had violated the Constitution, therefore, action should be taken against those.

Source: Daily Times Pakistan

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Hyderabad: Muslim Youth Beaten For Not Chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ In The Charminar Area

SM Bilal

22nd July 2022

Hyderabad: Tension prevailed in the Charminar area late Thursday night after miscreants attacked a Muslim youth for not chanting the Jai Sri Ram slogan during a Bonalu procession in the old city.

The police have identified the trouble mongers and had taken them into custody.

According to the details, Mohammed Shahid aka Afridi a resident of Hussainialam was on his way back on Thursday night, meanwhile a Bonalu procession was moving from Shad cafe Hussainialam.

Suddenly a group of miscreants had allegedly stopped Shahid and applied Tilak on his forehead and forced him to chant Jai Sri Ram slogans, when the youth refused to do so, he was badly beaten up.

After this incident tension prevailed in the area. Shahid lodged a complaint with the Charminar police upon which a case was registered.

Source: Siasat Daily

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MP's letter glare on Narendra Modi's ‘affection’ for Muslims

J.P. Yadav   |   New Delhi


Former Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari in an open letter on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to the BJP to woo the poor among

the minority community, asking if the move was aimed at “pitting Muslims against one another”.

Ansari, who heads the apolitical All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz that champions the cause of the deprived sections among Muslims, criticised Modi’s diktat to the party at the recently concluded BJP national executive in Hyderabad to reach out to “deprived sections other than Hindus” and take out “Sneh Yatras” (march to show affection) in solidarity with the “pasmandas (backwards)” who have been beneficiaries of the government’s welfare schemes.

Ansari, a former leader of the JDU that is the ruling ally of the BJP in Bihar, questioned the real intention of Modi’s government and party while highlighting how during the past eight years Muslims in general and backward Muslims in particular have been politically and economically boycotted.

“Has the sudden move to take out ‘Sneh Yatra’ for Pasmanda society something to (do) with vote-bank politics? Isn’t it aimed at pitting Muslims against one another?” Ansari asked in the letter, stressing that deprived sections among Muslims needed “sammaan (equality and dignity)” and not “sneh (affection)”.

“What’s the point in taking out a ‘Sneh Yatra’ if hate statements and bulldozers also go on?” he asked, pointing out that most Muslims killed during mob lynchings by cow vigilantes belong to deprived sections.

Ansari specifically drew attention to the hate mongering against Muslims and Modi’s silence on it.

“Didn’t Home Minister Amit Shah ji call upon the people, at the time of the Delhi Assembly elections when a peaceful movement of Muslim women against NRC and CAA was also going on, to ‘press the button in such a way that Shaheen Bagh gets electric shock’?” Ansari wrote.

He flagged Modi’s comment that the CAA protesters could be identified by their dress. “Prime Minister, does it suit a person of as high a stature as you to say that you recognise people by their sartorial preferences?” Ansari asked in the letter.

“When Muslims did not come under provocation, aren’t their prayers now being disrupted, aren’t their mosques being attacked and isn’t blasphemy against their Prophet being committed?” he asked, stressing how the Prime Minister had “not spoken a single word against it till date”.

Ansari and the Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz have long been raising their voice against religion-based discrimination in providing reservation benefits and demanding that many castes among Muslims and Christians be recognised as Scheduled Castes.

In the letter, Ansari underlined how even the Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Mishra Commission had made such a recommendation.

Source: Telegraph India

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Indigenous Tag Splits ‘Assamese Muslims’ Wide Open

Rahul Karmarkar

JULY 22, 2022

Many within the community are unhappy on being divided into subcategories, and vying for the ‘indigenous’ tag, even as there is a lack of clarity on what this term means; political leaders argue that the exercise pits Bengali-speaking Muslims against the rest of the community, Rahul Karmakar reports

On July 6, the BJP-led government in Assam approved the identification of five Muslim sub-groups as ‘Khilonjia Musalman’ or indigenous Assamese Muslims to set them apart from Bengali-speaking or Bengal-origin Muslims usually referred to as Miyas.

This was based on the recommendation of a government-appointed ‘Subcommittee on Cultural Identity’ that the ‘Assamese Muslim’ subgroups — Syed, Goriya, Moriya, Deshi and Julha — be given identity cards as distinct, indigenous communities and a Census undertaken to document them. This subcommittee, headed by TV journalist Wasbir Hussain, was set up in July 2021.

It was constituted along with six other subcommittees that submitted their recommendations together to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. The other subcommittees submitted their reports on the issues of health, education, financial inclusion, skill development, women empowerment and population stabilisation.

Soon after the subcommittees submitted their reports on April 23, an organisation representing one of the subgroups said some of the recommendations would set a dangerous precedent.

“The suggestion to identify a section of Muslims in Assam by their religion instead of their ethnicity is faulty and divisive since our history has no reference to ‘Assamese Muslims’,” the Sadou Asom Goriya Jatiya Parishad (SAGJP) said.

In April 2021, three months before the panel was set up, another organisation called Janagosthiya Samannay Parishad, Assam (JSPA) launched a portal to conduct the first-ever ‘Census’ of Assamese-speaking Muslims. The exercise by the JSPA, which has been campaigning for a ‘janagosthi’ or ethnic group status for the community, is yet to be completed.

“We welcome the government’s decision to recognise Assamese Muslims as a distinct group but the cultural panel’s recommendations could do with some amendments,” JSPA’s chief convenor and BJP leader, Syed Mominul Aowal said. He did not elaborate on how the recommendations could be tweaked.

‘Define Assamese first’

Yasmin Saikia, who is the Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and a Professor of History at Arizona State University, said the ‘Assamese Muslim’ tag is essentially flawed as the “Assamese people” have not yet been officially defined.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had in 2019 formed a high-level committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord (meant to provide certain safeguards to the Assamese people, which are not available to those who migrated to the State between 1951 and 1971) headed by Biplab Kumar Sarma, a retired judge of the Gauhati High Court.

This committee, which had Mr. Hussain as a member, submitted its recommendations to the then Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, to be forwarded to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The signing of the Assam Accord in 1985 ended six years of a violent anti-immigrant movement sparked by the large-scale migration of refugees from present-day Bangladesh, during India’s 1971 war with Pakistan, into Assam.

The accord accepted as an Indian citizen anyone who came before midnight on March 24, 1971. But it did not define who falls under the ambit of “Assamese people”.

The MHA’s silence on the report made the Clause 6 panel “reveal” its key recommendations in February 2020. These included considering five categories of people residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951, as Assamese — Assamese speakers, other indigenous communities, other indigenous tribal communities, all Indian nationals and descendants of the people from these four categories.

“The Assam government’s decision conveys divisiveness, which goes against the Assamese ethos of assimilation. Filtering out a small group within a larger religious group and giving them identity cards will lead to socio-economic complications,” Ms. Saikia said.

The 2011 Census, without finer categorisation, had counted 1.06 crore Muslims (34%) out of a total population of 3.12 crore people in Assam.

The subcommittee put the current Muslim population in the State at 1.18 crore. It specified that 42 lakh of them belonged to the five “indigenous” groups — Syed, Goriya, Moriya, Deshi and Julha — and that almost half of these 42 lakh people were Deshis.

The five subgroups

The subcommittee constituted in July 2021 described the five communities in its report.

The Deshis, believed to be among the earliest people in Assam to have embraced Islam, trace their lineage back to Ali Mech, a Koch-Rajbongshi chieftain who converted during the invasion of Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turkish-Afghan military general around 1205 AD.

The panel described the Syeds as descendants of Sufi preachers and their followers. The most prominent among these preachers were Syed Badiuddin Shah Madar (Madan Pir) and Syed Moinuddin Baghdadi (Shah Miran or Azan Fakir) who came to Assam around 1497 and 1630 respectively.

The subcommittee cited certain documents to say the Goriyas are the descendants of Mughal soldiers who, during the Mughals’ several attempts to invade Assam between 1615 and 1682, were taken prisoners by the ruling Ahom regime.

Many of these soldiers, it said, belonged to Gaur, the ancient Muslim capital of Bengal, and thus came to be known as ‘Goriya’. Although, as per one account, the name is derived from ‘Goriya gaon’, an eastern Assam village of ostracised people who converted to Islam.

These people settled in Assam, married local women and gradually became a part of the Assamese society, the subcommittee's report stated. It added that converted tribals and Hindus during Azaan Fakir’s time were brought under the Goriya fold.

The Moriyas are also described as descendants of the prisoners of war who were captured by the Ahoms after an attempted invasion by Turbak Khan in the 16th century.

According to a 1933 account by a British historian Edward Gait, the Moriyas were associated with brass work. The ancestors of some of the Moriyas were brought by the Ahom kings from other parts of India to furnish weapons and utensils.

The Julhas, listed as an MOBC (More Other Backward Class) community in Assam, are believed to be Adivasis, originally from undivided Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal, who converted to Islam. They are said to have migrated to Assam in two phases — first as weavers during the Ahom rule and then as tea estate workers brought by British tea planters.

‘Puzzling inclusions’

The JSPA, which launched the Census of Assamese Muslims in April 2021 with a view to publishing a separate National Register of Citizens-like list, represents three categories of the Muslim community — Goriya, Moriya and Deshi.

The Julhas were kept out of the census because the JSPA considers the Muslims living in Assam before the British takeover in 1826 as the indigenous followers of Islam.

Another reason the JSPA excluded the Julhas from its ‘Census’ is that “their association with tea plantation could eventually make them eligible for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status”.

The tea garden workers, referred to as "tea tribes", have been demanding the ST status along with five indigenous communities — Chutiyas, Koch-Rajbongshis, Mataks, Morans and Tai-Ahoms.

The "tea tribes", who prefer to be called Adivasis, comprise more than 90 communities such as Santhal, Kol, Bhil, Munda and Oraon, whom the British had relocated from central and eastern India in the 19th century. Most Julhas came along with the other “tea tribes” while some of them are said to have converted after settling down in Assam.

“If we go by the United Nations definition, the Julhas are not indigenous. But they may be considered indigenous if the cut-off year to determine who is an Assamese is considered to be 1951. Many Julhas have Bangladeshi roots like the Muslims of Mymensingh and Sylhet (regions of Bangladesh),” Mir Arif Iqbal Hussain, general secretary of the SAGJP told The Hindu.

The Julhas are culturally and linguistically “totally different” from Goriyas, Moriyas and Deshis. The Goriyas and Moriyas are similar in many aspects while the Deshis are distinguishable from these two communities, Mr. Hussain said.

There are differences within the Julhas too. The Julhas of western Assam resent the claim of the Julhas of eastern Assam — the belt from Jorhat to Dibrugarh — to be “more Assamese” than them.

“We are often looked down up as Bangladeshis who don’t belong,” a member of the community in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district said.

A section of Assamese Muslims is puzzled by the categorisation of the Syeds as a community. “Syed is not a community but a lineage and they have historically belonged to the Goriya group,” Mr. Aowal, whose JSPA did not list the Syeds as a distinct community, said.

Mr. Hussain agreed. “Syed Abdul Malik, the tallest Assamese Muslim writer, called himself a Goriya and also wrote a poem about it. Syed is not exclusive to Assam. You will find Bengal-origin Syeds in Hojai (home turf of All India United Democratic Front chief and MP, Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, who is perceived to support the cause of migrant Muslims),” he said.

‘Unwarranted exclusions’

The “Assamese Muslims” generally see themselves as part of the larger, predominantly Hindu, Assamese-speaking community. They are conscious of being bracketed with the Bengali-speaking or Bengal-origin Muslims.

Few doubted the exclusion of the Bengal-origin or Bengali-speaking Muslims from the cultural subcommittee’s list of groups “deserving” the Assamese Muslim tag. But many Muslims in the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley of southern Assam say their exclusion was unwarranted.

The Kachari Muslims, who trace their origins to the Kachari kingdom that flourished between the 13th and 19th centuries, are pained by the State Cabinet’s decision to approve the identification of the five Muslim subgroups as indigenous Assamese Muslims.

The Kachari Muslims consider themselves distinct from the Muslims who migrated from Bengal, before and after the Partition of India.

Atiqur Rahman Barbhuyan, president of the Society for Indigenous Muslims of Barak Valley, said that the exclusion of the Kachari Muslims was unwarranted and called it “a great injustice”.

He said he had made a presentation to the subcommittee before it filed its reports, arguing why the “non-migrant” Kachari Muslims also qualified for the indigenous label.

Ziaur Rahman, a Kachari Muslim and leader of the Assam Jatiya Parishad, said his community was among the indigenous Muslim groups which had in 2017 sought “automatic inclusion” in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) without documentary evidence by virtue of being “original inhabitants”, a category the NRC authority had proposed. The Supreme Court had struck down the proposal.

The organisation representing all the indigenous Muslim groups is called Bhoomiputra (Islamdharmi) Samannwayrokkhi Sangram Samity, Asom. The name translates to “Coordinated Movement Committee of Muslim Sons-of-the-soil, Assam”.

“The Kachari Muslims converted from the Dimasa tribe and are perhaps more indigenous than some communities the subcommittee included in the list, which was approved by the State Cabinet. If some Muslims are to be given the indigenous tag, then all communities with an extensive history of domicile in Assam should have been included,” Mr. Rahman said.

Contrary to the popular belief in the Assamese-dominated Brahmaputra Valley, a large number of Bengali-speaking Muslims have inhabited Barak Valley for centuries.

However, many feel that their linguistic affiliation may have made them “untouchable”.

“Unlike the Assam Agitation phase (1979-85), when society in the State was polarised between the indigenous and the outsiders, a cold war has developed between the Hindus and Muslims in Assam today,” Mr. Rahman said.

He added, “The Muslims of Barak Valley have probably not been considered indigenous because the religious divide is the strongest there. The BJP probably fears losing the Hindu support in Barak Valley if the Muslims there are recognised as indigenous.”

Political agenda?

All said and done, the push for the indigenous tag for Muslims is an exercise in futility as it is designed to further the divisive agenda of right-wing political parties, Mr. Rahman said.

“One has to first ask what the constitutional validity of the term ‘Assamese Muslims’ is. The approval of the cultural subcommittee’s proposal has not been passed in the Assembly; a Cabinet decision does not guarantee indigeneity. There is nothing new in the term ‘Assamese Muslim’, which has been prevalent for decades. This is why our party does not encourage the term and why we think the recommendations are in keeping with the political agenda of divide and rule,” he said.

Members of the cultural subcommittee prefer not to comment on the recommendations. “We did our job of submitting the report. The ball is now in the court of the government,” Wasbir Hussain, its head, told a web portal a few days ago.

‘Muslim’ tag

Organisations representing the Goriyas, Moriyas and Deshis such as SAGJP are uneasy with the ‘Muslim’ tag.

“We had objected to the term ‘Assamese Muslim’ and sought its removal through a notification when the cultural subcommittee sought our opinion. Our religious affiliation has never been as important as our ethnic identity. Goriya, for instance, is as much a historically recognised community as the Ahoms, Morans or Mataks. But the subcommittee did not give importance to our inputs,” a leader of SAGJP said, declining to be quoted.

Organisations and leaders representing the perceived Miyas or migrant Muslims said the very act of constituting a subcommittee on Assamese Muslims reflected the political motive of the BJP.

“Pitting one category of Muslims against the other is a move to further marginalise the Bengali Muslims,” said Aminul Islam, the AIUDF legislator from Mankachar, a constituency dominated by Bengali-speaking Muslims.

Among the recommendations of the cultural subcommittee is a provision similar to Article 333 (it empowers the Governor of a State to nominate Anglo-Indians to the Legislative Assemblies) to send Assamese Muslims to Parliament and the State’s Legislative Assembly. The subcommittee has also recommended that a specific number of seats be reserved for the community after the creation of Assam’s Legislative Council.

Some of the other recommendations of the other subcommittee for the Assamese Muslims have raised concern among the Muslims on either side of the “line of indigeneity”.

The subcommittee on population stabilisation has recommended enforcement of a population policy and “sterilisation services and services for the implant of inter-uterine cervical devices in hospitals that mostly service indigenous Muslim community”.

The subcommittee on women empowerment said the women should be free to discard social subjugation in matters of choice of individual dress, especially in public spaces and there “must not be coercion to wear niqab, burqa and hijab”. It also sought the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

Source: The Hindu

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SC quashes plea seeking worship of 'Shivling' found at UP's Gyanvapi mosque

Srishti Ojha

New Delhi

July 21, 2022

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a writ petition filed seeking permission for the disciples and followers of Lord Shiva to pray to the Shivling reportedly found inside the wazukhana or reservoir in the Gyanvapi mosque complex during a court-ordered survey.

A bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice PS Narasimha dismissed the petition as withdrawn.

"The suit is pending. There has to be some observance of the CPC. You can’t come here and suddenly file a petition seeking modification of an order we’ve passed,” said Justice Chandrachud.

The petition filed by the president of Shri Krishana Janma Bhumi Mukti Dal sought directions to allow him and other disciples to perform religious practices and rituals at the premises of the Gyanvapi Temple at Varanasi,

The bench also dismissed as withdrawn, another petition filed seeking carbon dating and GSR survey of the Shivling stated to be found in the Gyanvapi complex.

In another important development, the Supreme Court today observed that the hearing of Masjid Committee’s special leave petition challenging Varanasi court’s survey order will have to await the decision of the District Court on their Order 7 Rule 11 application.


The present dispute dates back to 1991 and relates to the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi. Several pleas have since then been moved before both Civil Court in Varanasi and the Allahabad High Court by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi, Hindu devotees, and others.

A suit was filed in 1991 by devotees Kashi Vishwanath temple near which the Gyanvapi Mosque is situated. It was alleged that the Gyanvapi Mosque was built after a Lord Vishweshwar's temple was destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

Twenty years later, some devotees of Lord Shiva filed another suit in 2021 seeking to perform rituals at the ancient Temple at the Gyanvapi mosque complex.

After an order was passed on 08.04.2021 in the 1991 suit directing ASI inspection, the Allahabad High Court had on 9th September 2021 granted a stay on the inspection order and further proceedings in the 1991 suit.

Several pleas have since then been moved before both Civil Court in Varanasi and the Allahabad High Court by both Hindi devotees and Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi and others.

The case presently before the Supreme Court has been filed by the Committee of Management Ajnuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi challenging Allahabad High Court’s refusal to interfere in Varanasi Civil court’s order directing survey of the mosque on a suit filed by few Hindu devotees.

The impugned order of the High Court was passed in a miscellaneous petition filed by the Masjid Committee also challenging three orders passed by the Civil Judge Senior Division, Varanasi on April 18, 2021 and April 5 and April 8, 2022.

The August 18, 2021 order was an ex parte order allowing an application for appointment of an Advocate Commissioner to make local inspection of the property, the April 5 order was rejection of Mosque management's objections to appointment of Advocate Commissioner and the 8th April order was directing appointment of Advocate Mishra as the Advocate Petitioner.

A Varanasi Court had in May this year sealed the disputed area after being informed that the Advocate Commissioner had found a Shivling inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises during the survey.

Source: India Today

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Supreme Court to await Varanasi judge’s decision in Gyanvapi case

Krishnadas Rajagopal

JULY 21, 2022

Special Bench did not act on plea of mosque caretakers to first decide correctness of local court’s order to appoint advocate commissioner

The Supreme Court on July 21 did not act on a plea made by caretakers of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi to first decide the correctness of a local court’s ex parte order to appoint an advocate commissioner, whose survey paved the way for the reported finding of a shivlingand sealing of a part of the mosque premises.

A Special Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud instead chose to wait for the decision of the Varanasi District Judge on an application filed by the caretakers, Anjuman Intejamia Masjid, challenging the very maintainability of a civil suit filed by several Hindu women for declaration of their right to worship Maa Shringar Gauri and other “visible and invisible deities" within the mosque premises. It was this suit that had initially triggered a series of orders by a Civil Judge, including the inspection of the mosque premises.

The Bench said in case the District Judge rules in favour of the Anjuman, the civil suit of the Hindu women would itself “fall”, leaving the advocate commissioner’s work redundant. On the other hand, if the District Court upholds the suit, the caretakers could pursue other remedies in law.

‘Domino effect’

During the hearing, Anjuman’s lawyer, senior advocate Huzefa Ahamadi indicated there were several other cases pending in various courts across the country involving religious places of worship. Advocate commissioners could be appointed in these cases in the same way it was done in the Gyanvapi case. The Supreme Court ought to step in to prevent such a “domino effect”.

“I am not concerned only about this case. I am concerned about other cases as well. My Lords will have to go into the correctness of the order appointing the advocate commissioner. In a case like this, sensitivities are involved, particular places of worship are involved… Commissions are appointed and reports are created to change perceptions and alter the status quo… You have to examine the correctness of the order appointing the commissioner in this case. All the rest that happened on the ground is like fruit from a poison tree,” Mr. Ahamadi submitted.

The civil judge had appointed the advocate commissioner in April without hearing the caretakers. The Allahabad High Court had subsequently dismissed their apprehensions about the fallout of the survey. The following days had witnessed the discovery of the shivling and cordoning off of the premises where it was said to have been found. In May, the Supreme Court protected the area around the shivling though Muslims were allowed access to the mosque to offer namaaz. The apex court had transferred the civil suit proceedings from the civil court to the District Judge, saying the case required a “seasoned hand”.

‘Status quo altered’

Recounting how the High Court had rejected their fears, Mr. Ahamadi said “my apprehensions before the High Court were wished away by the judge who said the order for the survey was innocuous… But see what it has resulted in… It has altered the status quo that has been in existence for hundreds of years… please allow me to make my case against the appointment of the advocate commissioner”.

But the apex court indicated that the caretakers’ remedy lay in the District Court.

The Special Bench said the Anjuman could raise its objections about the appointment in the District Court proceedings. The advocate commissioner’s report was also available to them.

Source: The Hindu

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South Asia


Islamic Emirate React to UNAMA’s Human Rights Report

22 Jul 2022

Some officials of the Islamic Emirate reacted to UNAMA’s report regarding the human rights situation in Afghanistan.

The acting Minister of Vice and Virtue accused the US and the international community of interfering in the affairs of Afghanistan.

Talking at a gathering in southeastern Paktia province, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, the acting Minister of Vice and Virtue, said the international community is pressing them under the pretext of human rights.

"If the international community thinks that if they bring pressure on the Islamic Emirate they will drag them one step back from their stance, I swear that as long as we breath, we will not take even one step back from Sharia law,” he said.

Hanafi also denied the claims in the report regarding violations of human rights in Afghanistan.

“The report published ... by the human rights I can tell you that it is not true from A to Z,” he said.

“After the Islamic Emirate swept into power, the humanitarian situation has improved in every aspect in Afghanistan and the killing of people has been stopped,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

Meanwhile, some analysts said the report of the UN is unbiased.

“We may not have complete access to all aspects, but the reports of human rights are usually neutral and the main point is that the UN is the only international partner of the government in Afghanistan and they are trying to find better ways,” said Torek Farhadi, a political analyst.

Source: Tolo News

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Kabul Hosts Pakistani Delegation for ‘Enhancing’ Regional Trade, Transit

By Arif Ahmadi

21 Jul 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban authorities hosted a Pakistani delegation in Kabul from July 18-20, according to a press release by the Pakistan Embassy in Afghanistan, discussing mutual actions for enhancing bilateral ties and regional trade and transit.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, Deputy Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said the meeting focused on better opportunities for trade and transit, facilitating exports and imports, resolving problems at the crossing points, as well as addressing visa-issuing concerns for easy travel to neighboring country.

“Both sides agreed to work in coordination with each other for economic development and to further facilitate trade between the two countries,” Zia Ahmad Takal told TOLOnews.

Pakistani delegation in Kabul led by Commerce Secretary Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui agreed on the following points with the Islamic Emirate: 

During the current financial year bilateral trade and transit has registered growth. This momentum needs to be sustained and further strengthened on mutually beneficial basis.

It was agreed to make border crossing points more efficient to ensure early clearance of trade and transit traffic and address the bottlenecks and impediments on priority basis.

The two sides agreed to implement Temporary Admission Document (TAD) allowing free movement of bilateral trade vehicles and prevent loading and unloading of goods at the border crossing points with view to further increase trade between the two countries.

The relevant authorities of the two sides also agreed to increase operational timings at all crossing points, particularly Torkham, Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan and Chaman/Spin Boldak.

The heads of the Custom departments of the two countries agreed to work together and evolve mutually connected custom procedures and systems to improve efficiency in clearance of goods.

Steps to be taken for starting luxury bus service between Peshawar & Jalalabad and Quetta & Kandahar making all possible efforts to commence the service from end of August this year.

Difficulties in visa processing would be addressed through mutual coordination.

Meanwhile the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said that no representative of the ACCI was invited to the meeting between the Pakistani delegation and Islamic Emirate.  

“In general, the talks were good. We confirm this, particularly the barter trade was discussed. We hope a good decision will be made and the use of both currencies (for trade) will be the decision—not only Koldar but also Afghan currency,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI, as local media quoted.

“The 12-member delegation of Pakistan arrived in Afghanistan and met with the Minister of Commerce and Industry (Nooruddin Azizi). This was a good opportunity for Afghanistan, thus the Afghan trucks can carry the products to any location in Pakistan,” said Mirwais Hajizada, deputy head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock.

Earlier, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said it has collected more than 24 billion Afs in revenue from customs offices within the first three months of the fiscal year – a promising figure for a country that has been suffering from financial loose since the fall last August.

“Approximately, so far, more than 24.16 billion Afs has been made in revenue,” said Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman for the MoF, as TOLOnews quoted. “This is good revenue compared to the previous years.”

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said that the exports and imports have had a positive impact on this year’s revenue, adding the surge in exports of coal caused the rise in the country’s annual revenue. 

“The previous year’s first period (three months), the exports were worth nearly $200 million, and it is now more than $400 million,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI. “Last year, we had one billion dollars in exports and this year I hope it increases to one and half billion dollars.

Meanwhile, Afghan economist expressed joy over the increased revenue, saying such a progress is promising and it could help the country improve its economy amid ongoing concerns about poverty across Afghanistan.

“The exports caused an increase in investment and it helps to develop of the country’s economic status,” said Seyar Qureshi, an economist, as local media quoted.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan Passport Ranks Last in the Henley Passport Index

By Saqalain Eqbal

21 Jul 2022

The Henley Passport Index, updated quarterly, has once again designated an Afghan passport at the bottom of the list as the world’s least powerful passport, with its citizens only being able to travel to 27 countries without a visa.

Japan tops the list of countries, allowing its citizens to enter 193 countries without a visa or visa upon arrival, according to the Henley passport index. Singapore and South Korea are next on the list of countries where it is possible to enter 192 countries visa-free or with a visa upon arrival, ranked 2nd.

Germany, Spain, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, and the United States of America are the other countries at the top of this list, having nationals to travel to over 186 countries.

Afghan passport, which is ranked at the bottom of the list as the world’s least powerful passport, allows Afghan nationals to travel to 27 countries and territories visa-free or provided a visa upon arrival.

The 27 countries and territories include Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Comoros, Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritania, Micronesia, Mozambique, Palau, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, and more.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban’s Central Bank Auctions $13 Million to Maintain Afghani Currency Value

By Saqalain Eqbal

21 Jul 2022

To maintain the Afghani currency’s purchasing power versus the US dollar, the Central Bank of the Taliban’s caretaker government sets an auction on Saturday, 23rd July, to sell about 13 million dollars.

According to the Central Bank’s newsletter, a foreign currency auction will be held on Saturday, July 23, and banks, money exchange dealers, and other informed parties, including licensed money service organizations, are invited to participate.

s food prices increased as a result of the Afghani currency’s decline versus other currencies, the Taliban’s Central Bank also released approximately 24 million dollars into the market during the past week.

A US dollar is currently worth 89 Afghanis in Kabul. The US dollar was worth less than 80 to the Afghani currency prior to the Taliban taking power.

The Afghani currency lost value against the US dollar during the first few months of the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, with 120 Afghanis being exchanged for every dollar.

According to a research by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), rising inflation rates are having a severe impact on hundreds of thousands of unemployed, impoverished Afghans and their families.

Source: Khaama Press

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North America


Pro-Israel campaign donations far exceed pro-Arab funding in American elections

July 22, 2022

A pro-Israel network of political action committees, coordinated by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has spent more than $12 million during the current election cycle in direct donations, and millions more through coordinated Super PACs, to oppose any candidate who questions or challenges Israel, according to officials who monitor US election financing.

Dale Sprusansky, an editor at Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine who tabulates and investigates pro-Israel PAC money, said that the amounts involved dwarf the money spent in support of pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian candidates.

He told Arab News that in many cases, the donations and activities tied to AIPAC do not even address Israel directly and instead focus on local issues that are twisted, distorted or fabricated to undermine candidates who either support Palestine and criticize Israeli authorities, or who generally support Israel but do not consistently stick to the accepted pro-Israeli agenda.

“What we can track thus far for the current campaign cycle is $12 million but that is … not the dark money,” Sprusansky said on Wednesday during an appearance on The Ray Hanania Radio Show.

“So, and every study shows this on this issue and on other issues, the dark money is multiples of what the overt money is — I would say hundreds of millions sounds right to me.”

AIPAC does not necessarily promote messages that express direct support for Israel, he explained. Instead, most of the money is used to attack the records of candidates it believes are not loyal enough to the Israeli state, and target mainstream issues and local policies in an attempt “to erode voter support” for the candidates it opposes, he added.

“It takes so much gall to act like they care, right?” Sprusansky said. “They are running ads saying she is bad for her constituents who have needs, when their real focus is on a country that is half a world away. They don’t (care) about her constituents, so it is astonishingly disingenuous.

“Maybe in districts perceived as being very Zionist, like South Florida, New York and California, you will see ads actually mention Israel. But for the rest of the country, 90 percent of the districts, no pro-Israel ad is going to mention Israel.

“They know that the average American is going to sit there and say, ‘Why are they talking about Israel when I have 10,000 issues in front of me as an American?’ That is their strategy: To get you in a fury over something other than the issue they are causing you to vote for.”

Sprusansky described such methods as “deceitful and disingenuous.”

The estimate of the AIPAC money does not include the millions raised by another, affiliated PAC called the United Democracy Project, which makes no direct mention of Israel in its messages but targets any candidate that does not embrace a pro-Israel agenda.

One the people it targeted was former Representative Donna F. Edwards who served 10 years in Congress but stepped down in 2017 to pursue an unsuccessful run for the Maryland Senate. When she attempted a return to congress in the contest for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District this year, she was defeated in the Democratic primary on July 19 by Glenn Ivey.

Sprusansky said the UDP spent more than $6 million in attack adds targeting Edwards that accused her of lying to voters about her record on mainstream American issues. Ivey is considered a strong supporter of Israel.

“If you look at Donna Edwards’s record (on Palestine), it is better than most congresspeople but it is not phenomenal; she is not Rashida Tlaib and she is not Ilhan Omar,” Sprusansky said.

“Edwards did vote to support Israel on multiple occasions but she did (say) several things that did not completely toe the line. And … when you don’t completely, 100 percent toe the line, (when) you are bad on one out of 100 (issues), you are bad and you can expect $6 million to be poured against you in a local election campaign.”

Sprusansky also highlighted the Democratic primaries due to take place on Aug. 2 in Michigan, in which several candidates are being targeted by AIPAC, UDP and “dark money” sources. They include Palestinian candidate Huwaida Arraf in the 10th District, Jewish American Congressman Andy Levin in the 11th, and Palestinian Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib in the 12th.

Levin “is so middle of the road” and supports the “two-state solution, which many people view as perpetuating the status quo and injustice,” Sprusansky noted. “AIPAC originally started as supporting the two-state solution (but) now views (it) as somehow being anti-Israel. So much of the deck is already stacked before you even get to the ballot box.”

AIPAC’s strategic-funding approach to US elections is both legal and effective, and far outspends pro-Arab donations, he said.

“Why does a local official, city council member or school board member pass a resolution supporting Israel in Gaza, which is more than 9,000 miles away from the little voter constituency where they hold offices?” Sprusansky asked.

“It happens in so many ways. For a lot of them, they (the candidates) get approached very early in their careers by pro-Israel groups and they become activists, city council members, at the most local of levels. School board members.

“It happens in so many ways. For a lot of them, they (the candidates) get approached very early in their careers by pro-Israel groups and they become activists, city council members, at the most local of levels. School board members.

“Often (they are approached) by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and others. And they basically start slowly cultivating them toward their views. And the next thing you know they are going on trips to Israel — free, paid for — and it becomes very clear to them that being pro-Israel is good for raising money and it is good to keep trouble off of your back.

“Not only did Donna Edwards have $6 million (spent opposing her) but she (faced) attacks ads and it was a double whammy of trouble when you don’t have pro-Israel money behind you.”

According to a seven-page analysis published in this month’s Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, AIPAC has donated more than $100,000, and as much as $892,000, to 25 candidates in election races in Ohio, Michigan, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Illinois and New Jersey.

Sometimes the donations are designed to soften the opposition, as in the case of Illinois congressmen Jesus Garcia, who has received $19,600 from APIAC, and Danny K. Davis, who has received $56,484. Both have presented themselves to Arab Americans as being supportive of Palestinian rights.

Source: Arab News

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UN chief will travel to Istanbul late Thursday: Spokesman

Servet Gunerigok  



The head of the UN will leave New York for Istanbul later Thursday, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said one week after a meeting tackled Ukraine’s grain export.

Antonio Guterres "will travel to Istanbul, Türkiye this evening, as part of his efforts to ensure full global access to Ukraine's food products, and Russian food and fertilizer," Haq said at a news conference.

The visit comes after a meeting last week where Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian and UN officials agreed to establish a coordination center in Istanbul to facilitate Ukrainian grain exports.

Tons of Ukrainian grain are stuck because of the Russia-Ukraine war that is in its fifth month, causing global shortages and price hikes. Russia, which is accused of using food as a weapon, said Western sanctions are to blame for the food shortages.

Haq said the UN wants to have an agreement that would allow Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer to reach global markets.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Air Force official expects Iran to resume attacks on US

21 July ,2022

The top US Air Force general in the Middle East warned on Thursday that Iran-backed militias could resume attacks in the region against the US and its allies as tensions rise — assaults that could lead to a new Mideast escalation.

Speaking to journalists before stepping into his new role at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, with responsibility for military operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and across the region, Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich also expressed fears over Russian and Chinese influence taking hold as superpowers vie for economic and military influence in the Middle East.

For instance, he said, recent US intelligence that Iran is preparing to send Russia armed and unarmed drones to use in its war on Ukraine “is not a surprise … but it’s concerning.”

Iran's mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Grynkewich, who had served as director of operations at Central Command in Tampa, Florida, thousands of miles from the baking desert outside of Doha, Qatar's capital, spoke as regional tensions remain high over Iran’s rapidly expanding nuclear program and talks to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers at a deadlock.

“We’re in this position where we’re not under attack constantly, but we do see planning for attacks ongoing,” Grynkewich said. “Something will occur that unleashes that planning and that preparation against us.”

Iran tested a satellite-carrying rocket last month, prompting the White House to threaten more sanctions on Tehran to prevent it from accelerating its advanced ballistic missile program. And last week, as President Joe Biden toured the region, Iran unveiled armed drones on its warships in the Gulf.

Tehran has rapidly grown its stockpile of near-weapons-grade nuclear fuel in recent months, spreading fears about an escalation. It also has spun more advanced centrifuges prohibited under the landmark atomic accord, which former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

“Everyone in the region is very concerned,” Grynkewich said.

Still in recent weeks, he said, US forces have seen a reduction in targeted attacks across the region, as a tenuous cease-fire between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led military coalition continues in Yemen and as an ongoing government formation process in Baghdad keeps Iran-backed militias in limbo, waiting for the political chaos to settle before they strike.

“We’re in a bit of a period of stasis," Grynkewich said.

As other threats subside, the US has sharpened its focus on containing and countering Russian and Chinese influence in the region, Grynkewich said, noting that Russia is seeking to maintain the leverage it gained from years of military intervention in the region, such as in Syria where it helped save President Bashar Assad’s government and turned the tide of the war in his favor.

Grynkewich said an apparent reversal of the military relationship between Russia and Iran — with Moscow potentially interested in procuring drones from a traditional buyer of its own military equipment — “shows a bit more of a relationship than we’d like them to have, given the context of everything going on in Ukraine.”

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Tehran on a rare trip abroad and won staunch support from Iran for the war that has plunged the Kremlin deeper into confrontation with the West.

Meanwhile, China's significant economic inroads in the region have raised concerns about the country's plans “to secure those interests either through arms sales or other means," Grynkewich said. In China, many Gulf Arab states have found an investor that won't lecture them about human rights concerns.

Despite appearances to the contrary after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the US isn't quitting the region, Grynkewich insisted, a case Biden made repeatedly on his Mideast tour last week.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Southeast Asia


Man who insulted Islam jailed 6 months

July 21, 2022

PETALING JAYA: A man has been jailed for six months after he failed to pay a RM50,000 fine for posting a video that insulted Islam.

Dressed in a green t-shirt and jeans, Nor’muzil Razalli was escorted by police from the Sepang sessions court to carry out his sentence at the Kajang Prison.

This was confirmed by Sepang district police chief Wan Kamarul Azran Wan Yusof, according to a Sinar Harian report.

Nor’muzil, 39, was fined by judge Ahmad Rizki Abdul Jalil after pleading guilty to uploading a video that insulted Islam last Saturday.

He was charged under Section 233 (1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for improper use of network facilities by uploading the video with the intention of annoying others.

Deputy public prosecutor Nor Azizah Aling prosecuted, while Nor’muzil was unrepresented.

Nor’muzil was arrested at his house in Bukit Kuchai, Puchong, on Sunday over the video.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Over a decade since Islamophobic terrorist killed 77 people in Oslo

Büşra Nur Çakmak, Zehra Nur Düz


Over a decade has passed since the Oslo terror attack in which a far-right Norwegian extremist, inspired by anti-Muslim hate in a quest to "save" European culture, killed eight people with a bomb and shot dead another 69 at a youth camp.

Anders Breivik began the carnage of July 22, 2011 with a bomb attack in Oslo, Norway’s capital.

Two hours after that attack, wearing a police uniform as a disguise, he slaughtered dozens of participants of the Workers’ Youth League (AUF) summer camp on Utoya Island, near Oslo.

Summer camp on Utoya Island, near Oslo, July 23, 2011

In total, 77 people died and more than 200 others were wounded. The victims included Gizem Dogan, 17, a young woman of Turkish descent.

Following the attacks, many politicians from far-right parties in Europe voiced support for the mass murderer both on social media and in public.

These politicians, including members of far-right Italian, British and French parties, expressed their opposition to what they call the “Islamization” of Europe, with Jacques Coutela of France’s National Front (later renamed the National Rally) even hailing Breivik as a "defender of the West.”  

Breivik’s far-right ideas

Breivik himself wrote pieces online praising far-right ideas and movements, explaining that he had mounted the attack in rejection of Norway's policy of multiculturalism.

Nearly 90 minutes before the deadly bomb went off, Breivik emailed a compendium of texts entitled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence” to over 1,000 addresses.

In his manifesto, Breivik described his ideology as well as why he carried out this attack using anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Islamic slurs.

In the texts, he also accused feminism of carrying out a European "cultural suicide." He advocated a restoration of patriarchy, which he claimed would save the European culture.

The text called for the deportation of all Muslims from the European continent, adding that his main motivation for the attacks was to publicize his manifesto.

Many times in his manifesto he cited the ideas of Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, and Pamela Geller, outspoken purveyors of anti-Muslim hatred, as a source of inspiration.  

Aftermath of the attacks

In his first court appearance, Breivik said that his motive was “saving Norway and Western Europe from a Muslim takeover,” adding that the Labor Party (which then led a coalition government) had “betrayed the country and the people and paid the price for that,” according to state broadcaster NKR.

In August 2012, Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison – the maximum penalty in Norway – with a minimum of 10 years served.

However, he could be held longer than 21 years under a provision that allows court to keep criminals in prison for as long as they are considered a threat to society, which in practice could mean a life sentence.

In March 2017, a Norwegian court overturned a verdict that Norway had violated Breivik’s human rights.

"The court has come to the conclusion that Anders Behring Breivik is not, and has not, been subjected to torture or inhumane or degrading treatment," said the court ruling.

The verdict said there were "no clear indications” that Breivik has been subjected to harm through isolation while serving his sentence.

"The court is of the opinion that there is a high risk that Breivik will resort to violence in the future," it added.

In January 2022, Breivik sought parole at Telemark District Court but was denied, with the court ruling he still poses a threat to society.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UK spy chief doubts Iran Supreme Leader will back nuclear deal

21 July ,2022

Britain's spy chief voiced doubt Thursday that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will back a return to a 2015 nuclear accord despite marathon negotiations.

“If we can get a deal it's probably the best means still available to constrain the Iranian nuclear program. I'm not convinced we're going to get there,” MI6 chief Richard Moore told the Aspen Security Forum.

“I don't think the supreme leader of Iran wants to cut a deal. The Iranians won't want to end the talks either so they could run on for a bit,” he said at the conference in the US state of Colorado, in what was billed as his first public speaking appearance abroad.

President Joe Biden has backed reviving the 2015 agreement which was negotiated under former US leader Barack Obama and trashed three years later by Donald Trump.

But indirect talks in Vienna have dragged on, in part over the US rejection of Iranian demands to reverse Trump's blacklisting of the powerful Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group.

“I think the deal is absolutely on the table. And the European powers and the administration here are very, very clear on that. And I don't think that the Chinese and Russians on this issue would block it. But I don't think the Iranians want it,” Moore said.

Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia were all parties to the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, under which Iran drastically scaled back nuclear work in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.

Khamenei, who has led the Shia clerical state since 1989, is known for his hostility toward the US, a central tenet of the Islamic Revolution a decade earlier that toppled the Western-oriented shah.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Russia’s Lavrov to address Arab League on July 24

21 July ,2022

Russia’s top diplomat will address the Arab League at its Cairo headquarters Sunday, the organization said, days after Russia took part in a summit hosted by Iran, a regional rival of some Arab states.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia will meet Arab League head Ahmed Aboul Gheit and representatives of the 22 nations that make up the pan-Arab bloc, it said on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hosted a summit that was attended by his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The meeting was nominally about conflict-ridden Syria, where Iran and Russia back the government while Turkey supports anti-regime groups.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and the impact of the conflict on the global economy was also at the center of talks in Tehran.

On Tuesday, Putin said “progress” had been made in discussions towards exporting grain from Turkey, adding after talks with Erdogan and Raisi that any deal hinged on the West’s willingness to yield some ground.

NATO member Turkey has been using its good relations with both the Kremlin and Kyiv to try to broker an agreement on a safe way to deliver the grain.

The war in Ukraine has caused food insecurity in Arab nations, many of which are heavily dependent on wheat imports from the former Soviet state.

The Tehran summit came days after US President Joe Biden toured the Middle East, where he visited Israel, the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia.

In Jerusalem, Biden and Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced a new security pact which commits Washington to never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

And in Saudi Arabia, he stressed that the US “will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN: Netherlands' court to rule on jurisdiction in Rohingya genocide case

22 July ,2022

The United Nations’ highest court is ruling Friday on whether to proceed with a landmark case that accuses Myanmar’s rulers of genocide against the country's mainly Muslim Rohingya minority.

The International Court of Justice is set to deliver its decision on Myanmar’s claims that the Hague-based court does not have jurisdiction and that the case filed by the tiny African nation of Gambia in 2019 is inadmissible.

If judges reject Myanmar's objections, they will set the stage for court hearings airing evidence of atrocities against the Rohingya that rights groups and a UN probe say amount to breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

In March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that violent repression of the Rohingya population in Myanmar amounts to genocide.

Amid international outrage at the treatment of the Rohingya, Gambia filed the case with the world court alleging that Myanmar is breaching the genocide convention. The nation argued that both Gambia and Myanmar are parties to the convention and that all signatories have a duty to ensure it is enforced.

Lawyers representing Myanmar argued in February that the case should be tossed out because the world court only hears cases between states and the Rohingya complaint was brought by Gambia on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

They also claimed that Gambia could not bring the case to court as it was not directly linked to the events in Myanmar and that a legal dispute did not exist between the two countries before the case was filed.

Gambia’s Attorney General and Justice Minister Dawda Jallow insisted in February that the case should go ahead and that it was brought by his country, not the OIC.

“We are no one’s proxy,” Jallow told the court.

The Netherlands and Canada are backing Gambia, saying in 2020 that the country “took a laudable step towards ending impunity for those committing atrocities in Myanmar and upholding this pledge. Canada and the Netherlands consider it our obligation to support these efforts which are of concern to all of humanity.”

Myanmar’s military launched what it called a clearance campaign in Rakhine state in 2017 in the aftermath of an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled into neighboring Bangladesh and Myanmar security forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings and torching thousands of homes.

In 2019, lawyers representing Gambia at the ICJ outlined their allegations of genocide by showing judges maps, satellite images and graphic photos of the military campaign.

That led the court to order Myanmar to do all it can to prevent genocide against the Rohingya. The interim ruling was intended to protect the minority while the case is decided in The Hague, a process likely to take years.

The ICJ case was complicated by last year’s military coup in Myanmar. The decision to allow the Southeast Asian nation’s military-installed government to represent the country at the February hearings drew sharp criticism. A shadow administration known as the National Unity Government made up of representatives including elected lawmakers who were prevented from taking their seats by the 2021 military coup had argued that it should be representing Myanmar in court.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Fundraising campaigns for purchase of Türkiye's Bayraktar TB2 drone spreading in West

Muhammet Tarhan  


Donation campaigns launched for the purchase of Türkiye's Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles to support the Ukrainian army and people amid war are increasing in many countries, especially in Europe.

Several campaigns have been launched in Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Canada, as well as in Ukraine, to purchase Bayraktar TB2, produced by Turkish drone maker Baykar, for Ukraine as its war with Russia has continued since its start on Feb. 24.

Volunteers are participating in the campaigns by donating various amounts of money to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Influenced by campaigns, Baykar donates 4 combat drones

The donation campaign organized by the Ukrainian people in June under the name of "People's Bayraktar" was completed successfully.

Affected by the Ukrainians’ solidarity, Baykar donated three Bayraktar T2 drones, which were aimed to be purchased with the donations collected, to Ukraine without any charge.

Over $6M collected in 3 days in Lithuania

In the campaign organized by the Lithuanian people to buy a Bayraktar TB2 drone for Ukraine, €6 million ($6.11 million) were collected in just three days. Affected by the campaign, Baykar donated the combat drone to Lithuania free of charge on July 6 to contribute to the solidarity of Lithuanians.

The campaign "Give a Bayraktar from the Norwegians to the Ukrainian people" was launched in Norway for the same purpose to collect 55 million crowns ($5.5 million).

The campaign launched in Ukraine's neighbor Poland to reach the target of 22.5 million Polish zlotych ($5 million) for the same purpose continues.

Campaigns in Europe inspire Canada as well

The donation campaigns held for the donation of Bayraktar TB2 drones to Ukraine inspired Ukrainians in Canada as well.

The campaign, launched by the Toronto-based humanitarian aid organization UhelpUkraine in Canada, aims to collect 7 million Canadian dollars ($5.4 million).

The combat drone, which will be purchased if the campaign achieves to collect money needed, is aimed to be delivered to the Ukrainian army on Aug. 24, Ukraine's Independence Day.

Canada suspends sale of armed drone parts to Türkiye

In October 2020, the Canadian government suspended the sale of electro-optical and infrared camera systems sold to Türkiye as armed uncrewed aerial vehicle equipment, citing the use of Turkish combat drones in operations against the Armenian army in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In April 2021, the Canadian administration announced that it had canceled the "military export permits" for Türkiye.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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War criminal's escape to Belgrade suggests Serbian role in Bosnia war: Academic

Lejla Biogradlijaand Ahmet Nurduhan 



The fact that Radovan Karadzic, a convicted war criminal and mastermind of the Bosnian genocide, hid in Belgrade is evidence of Serbia's role in the war, genocide, and other crimes, according to a Bosnian academic.

It has been 14 years since Karadzic, one of those responsible for the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was captured in Serbia's capital Belgrade, but not before executing the most well-documented and widely known genocide and crimes against humanity in Europe after World War II.

Karadzic was held responsible for many crimes including genocide, massacres, ethnic cleansing, and rape committed by the Serbs during the war and was caught on a bus on July 21, 2008, after living in Serbia for many years as "Dragan David Dabic," despite a decision for his arrest in 1995.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency about Karadzic's thinking, Sedad Dedic, a legal scholar at Zenica University, said the fact that Karadzic hid in Serbia under the pseudonym 'Dragan David Dabic,' for 13 years after the war is proof of the role of Serbia's official institutions in the aggression, genocide, and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We must be vigilant, careful, and ready," said Dedic.

Dedic said the crimes that Karadzic and figures like him committed were motivated and planned by official "institutions" in a systematic, organized, and detailed way that aimed to eliminate a civilization.

"The important thing is that this murderous ideology has now suffered a heavy defeat at the military, political, and every other level. It is alarming that ideas about war crimes are still alive, but the real problem is that it still exists in Republika Srpska -- glorifying war criminals, giving their names to public institutions and organizations, and not recognizing international resolutions on genocide," he said.

Republika Srpska is one of the two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Radovan Karadzic was president of the self-styled Bosnian Serb Republic and supreme commander of its armed forces between 1992 and 1995, when around 100,000 Bosnians died as the former Yugoslavia descended into ethnic bloodshed.

Karadzic was first indicted in July 1995 for the shooting of unarmed civilians in the city of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage. Four months later, he was accused of orchestrating the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys after Serb forces seized the UN's Srebrenica "safe area" in eastern Bosnia.

He went on the run after the war and was finally arrested in Belgrade in 2008.

During his trials at a UN tribunal in The Hague, more than 580 witnesses gave testimony of crimes including the murder of Muslims and Croats and the destruction of private property and mosques across Bosnia.

He was charged with 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica genocide, Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

In 2016, Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity relating to the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

He filed an appeal seeking an acquittal or retrial. Following the closure of the former Yugoslav tribunal in 2017, the Council of Appeal of the International Criminal Courts Mechanism took over the ongoing cases.

The council in 2019 sentenced Karadzic, 73, to life in prison for genocide, crimes against humanity, and violating the laws and customs of war. The appeal of his 40-year prison sentence was also rejected.

While the court convicted Karadzic over his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, he was found not guilty of genocide in seven other Bosnian towns.

Apart from his single genocide conviction, he was also found guilty on five counts of crimes against humanity and four war crimes charges, including taking UN soldiers hostage, exterminating civilians, murders, and attacking soldiers.

Allegations against Serbia

Since the war, many have claimed that Serbia and its President Slobodan Milosevic played a crucial role in driving ethnic tensions in the region.

He represented the Bosnian Serbs in the Dayton peace accords, which ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Milosevic was arrested in 2001 and charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He died in prison in 2006 before his trial's conclusion.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Arab World


PKK Terrorists Behind Duhok Attack, Says Head Of Iraq's Largest Sunni Bloc, Sunni Al-Siyadeh

Ali Makram Ghareeb  



Terrorist organizations, including the PKK, are responsible for a deadly attack that earlier this week targeted civilians in northern Iraq's Duhok province, the chairman of the country's largest Sunni coalition has said.

On social media, Khamis al-Khanjar, head of the Sunni al-Siyadeh bloc in parliament, demanded that the government take serious action against these terror groups -- the PKK and various local armed militias on the border with Türkiye -- who he said plotted the attack that killed nine people on Wednesday.

Al-Khanjar, who leads the legislative bloc with the most Sunni lawmakers, said the terrorist mafia in the region then carried out the attack, with the PKK's support.

In its over 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

He accused these terrorist mafia groups of seeking to achieve political goals by killing people in the country.

Urging the public to unite against terror groups, Al-Khanjar voiced regret at the government's lacking efforts against terrorists.

Attack in Duhok

Nine people were killed and 23 injured in the attack in the Zakho district on Wednesday.

Turkish security sources have rejected reports "in support of" the PKK claiming that the civilians lost their lives due to "shelling" by Turkish forces.

The country's Foreign Ministry released a statement after the incident, asking Iraqi government officials not to make statements on the attack "under the influence of rhetoric and propaganda" of the PKK terrorist organization.

"We invite Iraqi government officials ... to cooperate in bringing the real perpetrators of this tragic incident into light," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Noting that Türkiye is against all manner of attacks targeting civilians, it said: "Türkiye carries out its fight against terrorism in accordance with international law, with utmost sensitivity to the protection of civilians, civilian infrastructure, historical and cultural property and the environment."

The Turkish foreign minister also said that Ankara had no role in the strike.

"According to the information we received from the Turkish Armed Forces, we did not carry out any attack against civilians," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a live interview on Thursday with public news broadcaster TRT Haber.

"We have announced that we can cooperate with the Iraqi authorities after the treacherous attack that we think was carried out by terrorist organizations. We reject both authorized and unauthorized statements regarding Türkiye," Cavusoglu said.

He added that PKK propaganda in Iraq came as Türkiye is soon to launch a new anti-terror operation in northern Syria, saying that Iraqi authorities must not fall into the trap of terrorist groups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Saudi Arrested For Facilitating Entry Of Non-Muslim Journalist Into Makkah Through A Dedicated Path For Muslims

July 22, 2022

JEDDAH — Police in Makkah have referred a Saudi citizen to the Public Prosecution after he allegedly became complicit in facilitating the entry of an American non-Muslim journalist into the holy city, according to the official spokesman for the Makkah region police.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Friday, the spokesman detailed the incident in which the citizen transported the American journalist to Makkah through a dedicated path for Muslims.

He said this was an explicit violation of the regulations that prohibit non-Muslims from entering the holy precincts. The citizen was arrested and legal measures were taken against him.

The spokesman noted that all visitors to the Kingdom need to respect and abide by the regulations especially with regard to the Holy Mosques and the sacred sites.

“Any violation of this kind is considered a crime that will not be tolerated, and suitable penalties will be applied to perpetrators according to the relevant regulations,” he added.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Russian airstrike on Syria’s Idlib kills seven: Monitor

22 July ,2022

A Russian airstrike killed seven people, four of them children, in Syria’s opposition-held Idlib region on Friday, a war monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it confirmed the deaths “including four children who are siblings, two men and an unidentified person... as a result of Russian airstrikes,” in the Jisr al-Shughur countryside.

The children are all under 10 years old, said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the British-based Observatory.

Six of the victims are confirmed to be civilians, the Observatory said, adding that more people including women and children were still trapped under the rubble.

The victims are mostly displaced Syrians from neighboring Hama province, said the monitor, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.

Russia is a main backer of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

With Russian and Iranian support, Damascus clawed back much of the ground lost in the early stages of the conflict, which erupted in 2011 when the government brutally repressed pro-democracy protests.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israeli airstrikes kill three soldiers, wound seven near Damascus: Syrian ministry

22 July ,2022

An Israeli strike killed three Syrian soldiers and wounded seven others near Damascus early Friday, the Syrian defense ministry said.

“The Israeli enemy carried out an airstrike... from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan... The aggression killed three soldiers and wounded seven others,” the ministry said in a statement.

Syrian air defense intercepted some of the missiles, the statement said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said that three more people had been killed and that ten people were wounded in total.

The monitor, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria, said that the strikes targeted an air force intelligence facility, and a high-ranking officer’s office, also striking a car near the Mezzeh military airport.

The missiles also destroyed an “Iranian weapons depot,” the monitor said.

Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against its neighbor, targeting government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters.

While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes, it has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of them.

The Israeli military says the strikes are necessary to prevent its arch-foe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

Last month, Israeli strikes on Damascus International Airport rendered its runways unusable for weeks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Construction starts on Egypt’s first nuclear plant

21 July ,2022

Construction of a nuclear plant by Russia’s state-owned energy corporation Rosatom on Egypt’s north coast has begun, according to a joint statement from the company and Egyptian authorities.

The plant at El-Dabaa is Egypt’s first and is planned to have four units, each with a generating capacity of 1,200MW, according to the statement posted by the Egyptian nuclear authority late on Wednesday.

Egyptian Energy Minister Mohamed Shaker was quoted as saying the pouring of concrete for the first unit marked an “historic event” for Egypt, made possible by Egyptian-Russian cooperation.

Egypt has been considering a nuclear plant at El-Dabaa on and off since the 1980s. Contracts for the plant came into effect in 2017, but the start of construction was delayed for several years.

Rosatom received approval from the Egyptian regulator to start construction on the first unit last month.

The statement gave no details on the cost or time frame for construction. In 2016, Egypt said most of the construction cost would be covered by a $25 billion Russian loan.

The plant will use pressurized water reactors similar to those at Novovoronezh and Leningrad nuclear power plants in Russia, and at a Belarusian plant that was connected to the grid in November 2020, the joint statement said.

Egypt rapidly expanded its power generation capacity over the past decade, notably with large gas-fired plants built by Siemens, and now has a power surplus, with plans to begin or expand electricity exports to several Middle Eastern countries.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Putin, Saudi Crown Prince stress importance of OPEC+ coordination: Kremlin

21 July ,2022

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a phone call and stressed the importance of further cooperation within the OPEC+ framework, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

The two leaders noted that Russia and Saudi Arabia are “consistently fulfilling their obligations in order to maintain the necessary balance and stability in the global energy market.”

They also gave a “positive assessment” of bilateral relations and discussed “expanding mutually beneficial trade and economic ties,” the Kremlin said.

The two leaders also discussed the state of affairs in Syria and Putin brought up the conclusions of the July 19 meeting in Tehran with the Presidents of Iran and Turkey.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel’s Supreme Court rules ‘disloyal’ citizens can be stripped of status

21 July ,2022

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state can revoke the citizenship of people who carry out actions that constitute a breach of trust against the state, including terrorism, espionage or treason.

The ruling addressed a 2008 Citizenship Law in Israel that gives the state authority to revoke citizenship based on actions that constitute a “breach of loyalty.”

It came following separate appeals in the cases of two Palestinian citizens of Israel who were convicted of carrying out attacks that killed Israeli citizens. The two were handed long sentences but the state sought to strip them of citizenship.

The Supreme Court denied the removal of citizenship in these two cases based on “serious procedural flaws” but ruled that the practice itself was constitutional, even if a person became stateless as a result.

It said in such cases, the interior minister would have to grant permanent residency.

A joint statement in response to the ruling by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah, an Arab rights group, called the law discriminatory and said it “will likely be used exclusively against Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

“There are many cases of Jews in Israel who took part in terror and not even once has the interior ministry thought to appeal to revoke their citizenship,” the ACRI’s Oded Feller told Reuters. “The only cases that were submitted to the court were of Arab citizens.”

While many countries have laws that allow revocation of citizenship, “leaving someone stateless, without any other citizenship, this is something else,” Feller said, adding that the law can be applied whether a person was convicted or merely suspected of carrying out security-related offences.

In the court statement, the justices acknowledged that leaving a person stateless challenged international law standards, but the majority opinion was that “the difficulty in itself does not render the entire practice as unconstitutional.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran Criticizes UNSC's Approach Towards Syria


"Considering the cooperation of the Syrian government in implementing its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)s, it is expected that the Security Council will not allocate its meetings to repeating positions and baseless claims against the Syrian government, because this does not help the effectiveness of the Security Council," Ershadi said addressing a meeting of the Security Council on Syria.

The full text of the Iranian ambassador's address to the UNSC meeting is as follows:

Mr. President,

As a major victim of the use of chemical weapons, Iran once again condemns, in the strongest terms, the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, at any time, and under any circumstances.

We believe that only the complete destruction and elimination of all chemical weapons on a global scale, as well as the implementation of all essential measures to prevent their production, can ensure that chemical weapons are never used again.

Meanwhile, we call for the complete, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as well as the preservation of the OPCW's authority.

Politicizing the implementation of the Convention and exploiting the OPCW for politically driven national goals bring about major negative consequences for the Convention's authority and credibility as well as those of the Organization. Therefore, the OPCW must not be used to accomplish politically motivated national objectives.

While Syria has fulfilled its obligations under the Convention and continues to cooperate with the OPCW, it has been subjected to such attempts by some State Parties in recent years.

We commend Syria’s efforts in submitting its 104th monthly report to the OPCW regarding activities in its territory related to the destruction of its chemical weapons and their Production Facilities on 15 July 2022.

Syria has also agreed to extend the tripartite agreement between the Syrian Arab Republic, the OPCW, and the United Nations Office for Project Services for six months, until December 31, 2022, in order to facilitate planning for the organization's tasks and activities in Syria.

The Government of Syria regularly provides information to the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW about the possession and use of chemical materials by some terrorist organizations, as well as the fabrication of chemical incidents in order to blame the Syrian Army for such heinous acts.

The proposed meeting in Damascus between the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Director-General of the OPCW is a proper move in the right direction, moving the parties' discussions forward. We note that the Syrian government has welcomed this meeting and hope that the Director-General of the OPCW will do the same.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Nasrallah: Israel Not Allowed to Extract from Disputed Karish Gas Field If Lebanon’s Rights Not Secured


“Lebanon is facing a historic and golden opportunity to get out of its financial crisis. If we fail to take advantage of it, we would not be able to extract oil within the next 100 years. We are not looking for moral gains out of extraction in the Karish natural gas field. We rather want to tap into our oil reserves. There would, therefore, be no room for oil or gas extraction in the entire region if Lebanon does not get its right,” Seyed Hassan Nasrallah addressed a group of Shia Muslim preachers and scholars in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Tuesday, presstv reported.

He said the issue is of greater importance today, as it comes in light of Europe’s need for oil and gas amid the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and Russia's move to stop sending gas to several European countries.

The Hezbollah chief went on to stress that Lebanon does not want a war, but will not permit the Israeli regime to violate its inalienable rights.

“We would not like to cause a new military confrontation. We are only demanding our rights. We are pushing up the costs for Americans and Israelis in order to force them into surrender, because Lebanon is on the path to collapse,” Nasrallah warned.

Nasrallah highlighted that Amos Hochstein, the US mediator for indirect talks on border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel, has not yet come up with an initiative.

“Even though Lebanon has offered great concessions, it has not achieved anything tangible yet,” the Hezbollah leader said.

Earlier this month, Nasrallah said Hezbollah would not remain “silent” in the face of the Israeli regime’s efforts to plunder Lebanon’s maritime energy resources.

He made the remarks on June 9 after a vessel operated by a Greek company arrived at the Karish gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean to extract gas for the occupying regime.

“The resistance cannot stay silent in the face of plunder of Lebanon’s resources. The resistance’s essential duty is to protect Lebanon’s land, waters, oil, gas, and dignity,” Nasrallah said, adding, “All options are on the table for the resistance [towards enabling such protection].”

“The enemy does not recognize the international law and resolutions,” he said, stressing that it was not the international regulations but actually “pressure, war of attrition, and resistance” that forced the occupying enemy to retreat from Southern Lebanon and the Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip.

Lebanese politicians hope that commercially viable hydrocarbon resources off Lebanon’s coast could help the debt-ridden country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.

In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for drilling in two blocks in the Mediterranean with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, Eni, and Novatek.

Lebanon and Israel took part in indirect talks to discuss demarcation in 2020. But the talks stalled after Lebanon demanded a larger area, including part of the Karish gas field, where Israel has given exploration rights to a Greek firm.

The talks were supposed to discuss a Lebanese demand for 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of territory in the disputed maritime area, according to a map sent to the United Nations in 2011.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran says talks with Saudi Arabia to advance from security to political level

Syed Zafar Mehdi 


Iran’s foreign minister said Saudi Arabia has expressed its readiness to advance the tension-easing talks between the two estranged neighbors from the security to the political level.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in an interview with Iran’s state TV late on Thursday, noting progress in the Baghdad-brokered talks that have been underway since last April.

Iran’s top diplomat said they received a message from Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein last week, who said that the Saudis were ready to advance the talks to the “political and public level.”

Iran, he added, also expressed its readiness to continue the ongoing talks brokered by the Iraqi government to the political level to restore their diplomatic ties.

The two Persian Gulf neighbors severed their diplomatic relations in 2016 after protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad over the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.

After almost five years, the two neighbors last year agreed to hold peace talks mediated by Baghdad. While both sides have noted progress in the talks, a significant breakthrough has been eluding.

Amir-Abdollahian said the two countries have reached some agreements in the five rounds of talks, including on the reopening of embassies, lending credence to reports already doing rounds.

Pertinently, last week, after the Jeddah summit, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said Riyadh has “extended a hand of friendship to Iran.” The comments were welcomed by Tehran.

Iran’s top diplomat also announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait would be sending their ambassadors to Tehran “in a few days,” saying the two countries introduced their envoys, and Tehran agreed with the choices.

His remarks came almost a week after UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash said Abu Dhabi was considering reinstating its ambassador to Iran, seeking enhanced economic ties with the country.

“We are now indeed considering sending an ambassador to Iran,” Gargash told journalists. “The next decade cannot be like the last decade. It is a decade where ‘de-escalation’ should be the keyword.”

Amir-Abdollahian also informed that Kuwait, which also snapped its diplomatic ties with Iran over the same incident in 2016, will be sending its envoy back to Tehran in the coming days.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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President Rayeesi Hails Syrian People's Resistance


The Iranian president made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad in Tehran.

"I am sure that the future will benefit the people of that country and the patience and resistance of the Syrian people will make the future of the country and the region bright," the Iranian president said.

President Rayeesi reiterated that the Americans have no option but to withdraw from Syria.

"America's withdrawal from East of the Euphrates and the entire region is the fundamental solution to the crises in West Asia," he added.

The Iranian president, meantime, emphasized the need for the Syrian army to regain its control over all of the borders of the Arab country.

“Syria’s national sovereignty must be respected,” he said, adding that ignoring the issues he mentioned will cause various threats.

The top Syrian diplomat conveyed President Bashar al-Assad’s greetings to Iran's leaders and appreciated Tehran's hosting of the latest round of talks to establish peace in his country.

In a relevant development earlier on Wednesday, Mekdad met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian.

During a press joint press briefing after the meeting, the Syrian foreign minister said that “nothing can threaten Syria's independence and sovereignty".

Amir Abdollahian also expressed concern regarding a fresh potential Turkish invasion of Northern Syria under the pretext of fighting "terrorists".

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Summons Argentine Envoy Over Exit Restrictions on Plane Crew


The Argentinean officials seized the passports of the Iranian nationals last month after the plane was prevented from landing in neighboring Uruguay and was returned to Argentina.

The Iranian foreign ministry, meanwhile, expressed "grave concern" on the part of the Iranian government and the crewmembers’ families over the continued confiscation of the Iranians’ travel documents, calling their mistreatment “a manifestation of violation of human rights.”

Meeting with the Argentinean diplomat, Iran’s Foreign Ministry officials called the allegations leveled against the Iranians “unfounded,” and protested the lengthy nature of the Argentinean judge’s investigation into the case.

“The situation concerning the Venezuelan plane and its Iranian crew is within the framework of the international law and aviation conventions, [and are therefore] completely legal,” the Argentinean official was told.

Back then, an Argentinean judge ordered the crew’s documents to be held after Security Minister Anibal Fernandez said information had been received from “foreign organizations” that some among the crew might be linked to companies with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

Source: Fars News Agency

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Top Commander Lauds Growing Trend of Iran-Oman Military Ties


General Baqeri made the remarks in a meeting with the Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman (CRNO) Rear Admiral Saif Al Rahbi.

"In matters related to the security of the region and other matters, the policies of the two countries are coordinated and aligned," the top Iranian commander said.

General Baqeri pointed out that the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman as  common areas are of vital importance for Iran and Oman, and said, "These areas are considered one of the areas of close cooperation between the two countries."

He further that Iran is establishing a maritime security center in Chabahar and the country welcomes the presence of the Omani side in the center, as well as holding joint exercises.

"Certainly, the presence of foreigners in the common region of the two countries has no effect other than insecurity, and the expansion of military relations between Iran and Oman is definitely in the interest of the nations of the region, especially the people of the two countries," he added.

In a relevant development earlier, Commander of Iranian Army's Navy Rear Admiral Shahram Irani discussed broadening of naval cooperation with the Omani Navy commanders.

General Irani said that General Al Rahbi's visit will strengthen the friendly relations between Iran and Oman as two important countries on both sides of the Strait of Hormuz, adding that from now on, sharing technical knowledge between the two navies of Iran and Oman will accelerate.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Nigerians against Muslim-Muslim ticket because of Buhari and APC’s failures, says Eya

22 July 2022

Why do you think agitation against Muslim-Muslim ticket is resounding?

Nigeria has a problem; the problem of forgetting sequences and they jump at current situations and address it as if that is the thing. Everything has a background. I had said earlier that part of the problems of Nigeria is the 1999 Constitution, which clearly was imposed on the people. Obasanjo was president in 1999 but he did not know anything about that constitution until he was sworn in. He swore on a constitution he would protect which he had not read. The truth is that the 1999 Constitution was parochial and developed by the Nigerian military and in the interest of a part of the country against the others. Everything in that constitution is lopsided against some sections of the country and everybody is expected to share from the same pot.

This is where the trouble started and we have gone from bad to worse. So because the current administration of the country has encouraged divide and rule and continued to treat certain parts of the country as if they are slaves, agitation against the same faith ticket will exist. Because the Muhammadu Buhari-led government has treated the economy with disdain. Agitation against the same faith presidential ticket will grow; because there is insecurity, which the government has failed to address, and people are bound to reject anything coming from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Let me say that myopic leadership tendencies created anger over the same faith ticket and it is bound to continue unless those who foisted it leave the scene.

Some are arguing that Nigerians once voted Muslim-Muslim ticket for Abiola and Kingibe

I said Nigerians never sat down anywhere to write the present Constitution. It is an imposition by the military. Besides, who are the people trying to benefit from the Muslim-Muslim ticket? Are they people Nigerians can trust? Who are the people behind them? These are the key questions. Remember that MKO Abiola was an established international businessman before he joined politics. Abiola was a known name in telecommunications. He made money as a businessman before he entered politics. He was a philanthropist and showed pedigree in his business. He reached out to all parts irrespective of the fact that he was a Muslim. He did not differentiate. Abiola was free and established himself. At that time, the military had served several years in power and Nigerians wanted a change to the civil rule. So it didn’t matter to Nigerians whether there were two Muslims or not because the people wanted to restore Nigeria. It was a different environment compared with what we have now. The people didn’t care. Abiola was 1993 and when you compare it with now that Muhammadu Buhari is in power, you discover that Nigerians have gone through a lot of hell. So many things that could have made the country great have been jettisoned.

The Buhari campaign came up with the change mantra following the level of corruption going on in the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I am of the opinion however that what should be the paramount concern of Nigerians a few months before the election is a scorecard. PDP with all its corruption ruled us from 1999 to 2014 and Nigerians should begin to look back at their social condition, their security condition, and economic and political condition and begin to compare those conditions with that of today.

The APC administration has been there since 2015, what has our situation been? Have things changed for the better? Nigeria has been so divided, particularly in the last seven years. Buhari’s agenda has resurrected ethnicity and religion and that is why there is so much controversy in the land. The blame should be on Buhari for his method. Tinubu has been the national leader of the APC, which is the party in power; what has he done to call attention to the level of deceit and decay as well as the suffering of Nigerians? Does it mean that he remained aloof in the guise of coming in as president, but to do what? What else is he coming to do? Who is his running mate and what do Nigerians think about him?

Nigerians are fighting and opposing the Muslim-Muslim ticket because of what has happened in the last seven years that Buhari has run the country. He has ensured that only one region and his religion dominate in every aspect of the country.

You cannot be talking about security without the three major tribes being involved. But in the case of Buhari, he removed the tripod and appointed only the Fulani. Buhari is the first leader, who defied the federal character of Nigeria and the Commission could not ask questions. Let us publish how the ministries and parastatals are headed and you will agree with me that his appointments are lopsided.  In a country that is secular, somebody who studied Sharia law was appointed a Chief Justice of Nigeria.  Was that the best Nigeria could boast of?

Look at the issue of corruption and tell me whether we are fighting or encouraging corruption. If we talk about zoning, after the north it should be the south. So, why did it become the turn of the south and we started prevaricating on whether to give it to them or not? What happened at the presidential primaries of the APC and PDP, does it mean that the North and Southwest are the owners of the country? Why won’t we tell ourselves the truth and allow the country to run? PDP leaders ganged up and took their ticket to the north while the APC in turn took theirs to Southwest, even when there are regions that have not been ruled for the first time?

The same presidential primaries seem to have thrown up regional contests with Atiku, Tinubu and Obi coming from different regions. Does it look like people will vote along regional interests in 2023?

I want to talk as a concerned Nigerian and I think we must be very careful.  Your observation is right but it should not have been so if we had put equity and fairness in our dealings. If we practice what we preach, the person Nigerians should be voting for in 2023 should be one that is best suited for the job. But because of our parochial interests and desire to cling to power, that division is still on. If we are one, Tinubu should not have accepted the presidential ticket of APC when it was zoned to the South. He should have allowed an Igbo man to run, knowing that the Southeast remained the only region that has not tasted power at that level. He decided to join the bandwagon against the zone.

The PDP did the same when its leaders conspired against the Southeast. That was why Peter Obi resigned from the party after buying the presidential nomination forms to pick the presidential ticket of the Labour Party. 

Despite the colouration being imported into the 2023 contest, I want to, however, warn the Igbo not to make Peter Obi’s candidature an Igbo project because if they do, it will fail. This is because, those who planned that no Igbo person no matter how good he is, will not be president will ensure that he does not emerge. What has happened so far has shown that Obi and his running mate have what it takes to move the country forward.  I think he is Godsend from nowhere.  We need to rescue this country. Corruption has grown bigger and with the level of consciousness going on now, I think there is hope for Nigeria.

The fuss over the presidential primary of the PDP is yet to settle; how do you read the situation?

I am neither of the PDP nor of any other political party. I am however a Nigerian who believes that the country should move forward and it is time we make the needed change since those we entrusted with power have failed us. It is about ideology and principle and if you ask me, where is the ideology and where is the principle?

The challenge the PDP has at the moment is how to manage the fallout from its presidential primary. One of the governors who very much believed he would get the nomination of the party, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, unfortunately, did not get the support of some of his colleagues. It is also the problem of the party betraying its own constitution as it regards zoning. So, who wouldn’t complain? Wike said he built the PDP. He has done very well in the Rivers state. I didn’t like him when he was Minister of Education because of the role he played in the leadership of the University of Nigeria, which is my alma mater. But he has shown class as governor of Rivers State. He changed the infrastructure of the place and you could hardly know Port Harcourt. He has put in new ideas whereas people thought that he was a combatant. But the problem with him is that he has no diplomacy.

We saw what happened at the presidential primary as well as the choice of the presidential running mate. His colleagues rejected him and that affected his angling for the choice of a running mate. So the fuss is about interests. It is about who gets what. Atiku made a better choice in Okowa as running mate. Okowa is from Delta State and an Igbo. Wike couldn’t get the nomination because of his attitude and since then, he thinks that the party will lose in the election without him. That is the posturing of the Nigerian politician. It is the people that should have the last say in the real sense of the word but that does not happen in our clime. The implication is that appeasing him will go a long way in giving his party victory in the election.

There are uncertainties over the 2023 general elections, such as insecurity and vote-buying. Could these fears be real?

The way and manner the President has gone about security in the last seven years does not show seriousness and this is part of the fears being expressed over the 2023 general elections.  We have not been able to contain insecurity and Nigerians are dying anyhow. People are kidnapped in their homes and farmlands and those who kidnap them ask for huge ransom.  Boko Haram is holding sway in the North; in the South, especially Southeast, it is unknown gunmen. Who created insecurity? Boko Haram has continued to attack facilities in the country and recently, they attacked the President’s advance team and went to Kuje prison. And all he could say was that “I am disappointed”.

Boko Haram strikes anywhere they want. Our farmers don’t go to the farms anymore. This government is a failure. Nigeria has become a failed state and that is why I am emphasizing that we should begin to ask questions regarding the scorecards of the two political parties that have ruled us since 1999. I think we should try to change. We should try other political parties. The Obi phenomenon has become something else because the people seem to have woken up from their slumber.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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A new Libyan force emerges, accused of abusing migrants

Jul 22, 2022

CAIRO: The Moroccan man had been stopped before at sea in his multiple attempts to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe. But his most recent time was different. The Libyan force that intercepted the boat full of some 50 migrants was more brutal.

The armed men beat and humiliated the migrants, he recalled. They were then taken to a detention facility where for months and weeks they were severely beaten, abused and tortured.

He said he was repeatedly beaten with rifle butts and whipped with rubber hoses.

Badges on their uniform showed the affiliation of the gunmen, he said: the Stabilisation Support Authority (SSA).

The SSA, an umbrella group of militias, has risen to become one of the main forces carrying out Libya's European Union-aided effort to stop migrants from crossing to European shores.

Though migrants have long been brutalised in Libya, rights groups and former detainees say the abuse is taking on a more organised and dangerous nature under this feared new body. And officials say it also is benefiting from EU support.

The SSA has come to rival in strength the official anti-migrant agencies like the coast guard and navy. But unlike them, it reports directly to Libya's Tripoli-based presidential council and is not subject to EU and UN scrutiny intended to prevent rights abuses.

More than a dozen migrants interviewed by the Associated Press told of how they were brutalised by the SSA while being held in its detention facility in the town of Maya on Tripoli's western outskirts.

The migrants, fearing retaliation, spoke on condition of anonymity or that they be identified only by their first names. They were all trying to get out of Libya.

"All I want is to leave this hell," said Rabei, a 32-year-old Egyptian from a Nile Delta province, describing his feelings before his release earlier this year.

He described repeatedly seeing guards beat migrants into unconsciousness, then drag them away. He doesn't know whether any of them are still alive.

The Stabilisation Support Authority did not respond calls and messages from the AP seeking comment.

Previously, the group and the Tripoli-based government dismissed allegations of abuses against migrants in statements following a report by the rights group Amnesty International.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East move through Libya trying to reach Europe.

For years, Libyan militias have been notorious for involvement in human trafficking and for detaining migrants, abusing them and extorting money from them.

Most notorious is the SSA's detention centre, set up in a complex that was once a state-run factory in the town of Maya.

UN agencies and other groups working on migrants have no access to the site, according to spokeswoman for the Intentional Organisation for Migration, Safa Msehli.

Up to 1,800 migrants have been held there since its creation, Libya Crimes Watch estimates. Women and children among the detainees are held in a separate part of the prison, the group said.

Libya Crimes Watch and Amnesty International separately documented rampant abuses at Maya prison, including torture, rape, forced labour and forced prostitution, as well as severe overcrowding and lack of food and water.

Ramadan, an Egyptian recently released from Maya, recalled how one young Moroccan was severely beaten after being caught trying to escape.

For a week, he was left in the cell, bleeding and his wounds festering as other migrants pleaded with guards to take him to a hospital.

Finally, the guards dragged him away. "He was still alive. We don't know what happened to him," Ramadan said.

Torn by civil war since 2011, Libya is divided between rival governments in the east and west, each backed by international patrons and innumerable armed militias on the ground.

In a bid to stem the flow of migrants, the European Union has given the government in Tripoli more than $500 million since 2015.

The funds are intended to beef up Libya's coast guard, reinforce Libya's southern border and improve conditions for migrants in detention centres run by the Interior Ministry.

The EU and the UN are supposed to monitor the detention facilities to ensure migrants are properly treated. In reality, abuses have been rampant.

The SSA is not subject even to that nominal level of monitoring. It was created in January 2021 and recognised by the Tripoli-based government of the time, which mandated it to carry out a number of security tasks - including preventing illegal migration.

It is led by Abdel-Ghani al-Kikli, an infamous warlord known as "Gheniwa" who is accused by Amnesty International of war crimes and other serious rights violations over the past decade.

It is still funded by the Tripoli government, now headed by Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah, one of Libya's two rival administrations claiming to govern.

In 2021, the government allocated the equivalent of around USD 9 million for the alliance. It has also given the SSA ad hoc payments, most recently one in February amounting to the equivalent of $28 million, according to government officials and Amnesty International.

A former head of the coast guard said the SSA indirectly draws money from the funds given by the European Union. He and other officials spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. EU officials did not respond the AP requests for comment on the SSA.

The group's operations are intermingled with the coast guard, officials from the navy and coast guard said.

In the western town of Zawiya, for example, the coast guard unit "virtually belongs to them. It's a separate unit in name only", one navy official said.

SSA vessels are maintained by the navy, which benefits from the EU funds, another naval official said.

He said that the SSA has also become involved in the continual coordination between Libyan naval authorities and the European border agency, Frontex.

In several cases, its fighters have shot and killed migrants at sea during interceptions of boats.

Two Egyptian migrants died earlier this year in Maya prison, according to migrants and activists.

A report by UN experts documented torture and abuse at the Maya prison and said at least three people were abused to death as of December 2021.

The report said the prison's chief, Mohamed al-Kabouti, was personally involved in beating detainees.

"They keep beating you for hours, with anything they have clubs, rifle butts, iron bars. Or a few of them just keep hammering at you with kicks and punches and rifle butts," recalled Rabei, the Egyptian migrant, who was held for three months until he could pay around $650 in ransom. "Eventually you just wish you were dead from all the beating."

Source: Times Of India

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Somalia’s al-Shabab group makes rare attack near Ethiopia border

21 July ,2022

Militants from Somali extremist group al-Shabab attacked two villages near the border with Ethiopia, killing 17 people including three civilians and Ethiopian police officers inside Somali territory while 63 of its fighters were killed, an Ethiopian security commander at the scene said.

The rare border-area attack occurred on Wednesday when fighters of the al-Qaeda-linked group raided Yeed and Aato villages in Somalia’s Bakool region after the killing days earlier of one of their commanders on the Ethiopian side of the border, the Ethiopian commander said.

Attacks by al-Shabab in areas near Ethiopia’s border are rare because of a robust Ethiopian security presence in the region and inside Somalia, where they are also part of an African peacekeeping force.

An al-Shabab commander had crossed the border to create a unit in Ethiopia, said the Ethiopian commander, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The Ethiopian commander had initially put the death toll at 17 Ethiopian police officers killed but later clarified that civilians were among the dead.

He said the regional Ethiopian police seized heavy machine guns and vehicles from al-Shabab fighters.

He said he had seen dozens of al-Shabab dead.

Al-Shabab’s military operation spokesperson, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said the group’s fighters had captured the two villages and killed dozens of Ethiopian police officers there. He also said the group seized weapons from the Ethiopian police.

Musab declined to comment on al-Shabab’s death toll.

Casualty figures given by al-Shabab and the authorities in Somalia or elsewhere are often significantly different. Reuters is generally unable to independently verify the numbers.

Somalia Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre’s office said he had spoken about the attack with the president of Somalia’s southwest region, where Bakool is located. The president of Ethiopia’s Somali region had no comment on the attack.

Barre’s office said he had ordered security and relief agencies to respond to the situation in Bakool.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Algeria arrests former Tunisian intelligence chief, hands him over to Tunisia

21 July ,2022

Algeria arrested former Tunisian intelligence chief Lazhar Longo and handed him over to Tunisia after he turned up in the neighboring country, a Tunisian security official told Reuters on Thursday.

Longo, who also served as a Tunisian security attaché in Paris, was sacked and placed under house arrest last year after President Kais Saied seized control of executive power and closed the parliament.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Libya's parliament speaker affirms rapprochement with Türkiye

Moataz Wanees 



The speaker of Libya's parliament has affirmed a rapprochement with Türkiye, stating that he would visit Ankara in the near future.

"There is rapprochement with Türkiye ... there is no permanent rupture or lasting adversary. Politics is flexible and subject to development and change," Aguila Saleh said late on Wednesday in an interview with a local broadcaster.

"A visit to Türkiye is planned, but it has yet to be scheduled due to recent events in Libya," he told Al-Massar TV.

Early in July, Libyan protesters stormed and set fire to the premises of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (parliament), calling for the abolition of legislative and executive bodies and the holding of elections as soon as possible.

The Tobruk-based parliament elected Fathi Bashagha as prime minister in a Feb. 10 session, which most deputies in the country's west did not attend on the grounds that the mandate of the Government of National Unity (GNU) had expired on Dec. 24, 2021. On March 1, the Bashagha-led government received a vote of confidence.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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