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Pirana Shrine, an Epitome of Syncretic Tradition of India, Essentially A Hindu Place of Worship, Trust Submits Before Gujarat HC

New Age Islam News Bureau

09 August 2022


To rebut the claims made in a PIL that the Pirana shrine is essentially a Muslim place of worship, the trust that manages the large religious precinct on the outskirts of Ahmedabad


• Har Ghar Tiranga: BJP to Hoist Tricolour in 5 Lakh Muslim Households, Madrasas & Shrines Of UP

• Sharia Law Returns To Afghanistan As Taliban Confirms Public Whippings Of Five People, Including Two Women

• Cop's Anti-Muslim Facebook Posts Were Free Speech under the U.S. Constitution, Court Rules

• UNSC Must Condemn Palestinian Islamic Jihad as Terror Group, US Says



• NIA Arrests Two Bangladeshi Nationals from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh for Spreading Jihad in India

• PM Modi Recalls Sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain on Day of Ashura

• A First: Akal Takht to Hold Prayers for Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims Killed During Partition

• Both Hindus and Muslims Together Drove British Out Of India: All India Tanzeem Ulama-E-Islam on ‘Quit India Movement’ Anniversary

• Pasmanda Muslims to Spiritual Heads, BJP Walks the Extra Mile

• On Muharram, PM's ‘brotherhood’ tweet; Nitish bows to Imam Hussain’s sacrifices

• AMU suspends four students over firing incident on campus

• Film Hum Do Hamare Baarah Targets Muslims, Say Netizens; Director Denies

• BJP MP demands NPR stating ‘infiltration’ of Bangladeshi Muslims in Jharkhand

• Bangalore: Hindu activists demand demolition of Idgah Maidan tower


South Asia

• Prospects of Employment; Taliban Supreme Leader Issues Order to Round up Beggars in Kabul

• Afghanistan: One year since the Taliban takeover

• Pakistan Army and Taliban Clash in Eastern Afghanistan along Durand Line



• EU Submits ‘Final Text’ At Iran Nuclear Talks, Tehran Examining Document

• Russia launches Iranian rocket into orbit, amid Western concerns

• EU proposes ‘final text’ for agreement in Iran nuclear negotiations

• Germany to deploy military contingent to EU peacekeeping mission in Bosnia

• ‘Stranded’ Afghanistan translators sue UK government


North America

• One Year after Afghan War, Biden Struggles to Find Footing

• 'Targeted killings' of Muslim residents rock New Mexico community

• Muslim community expresses fear after killings of men in Albuquerque

• US, Iran face a deadline after nuclear talks end without agreement

• Türkiye 'deeply concerned' over 'serial' killings of 4 Muslim individuals in US



• Senior Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Leader Omar Khalid Khorasani Killed In Afghanistan, Taliban Spokesperson Confirms

• 4 soldiers martyred in North Waziristan suicide attack: ISPR

• COAS, Bill Gates discuss Polio eradication, healthcare in Pakistan

• Imran Khan's Party to Hold 'Haqeeqi Azadi Jalsa' Rally in Lahore on August 13

• Hindu family in Pakistan attacked after they tried to overtake vehicle of politician's relative

• Army unwilling to allow rally at Islamabad's Parade Ground, alleges PTI

• Victim families await justice as 2009 Ashura blast case file gathers dust

• ISI, IB, FIA to jointly probe negative social media campaign post helicopter crash

• Shuhada-e-Karbala Conference pays tributes to Karbala martyrs

• Muharram teaches to stand firm in face of tyranny: speaker


Arab World

• Palestinian Official Assassinated In Lebanon Just Hours after Gaza Truce

• Sadr Rival Demands Parliament Reconvene As Sit-In Continues

• Saudi Arabia wins Special Olympics football gold in first appearance

• Defying warnings, Erdogan highlights ‘permanent’ plan to establish ‘secure line’ at Syria border



• Iran: Ceasefire in Gaza Result of Israel's Fear from Resistance Movement's Missiles

• Iran Condemns Sacrilege of Islamic Sanctities in Germany

• Iran Commemorates Diplomats Martyred in Mazar-i-Sharif Terrorist Attack

• Turkish president commemorates historical 'martyrdom' of Imam al-Hussein

• Two Palestinians killed in Israeli raid in West Bank: Army

• UN Security Council meets over Gaza fighting

• Iran: Police arrest Afghan suspected of stabbing 10 to death

• Yemen Houthis must act on Taiz to show commitment to UN-brokered truce: Minister


Southeast Asia

• Hilarious, Retorts Najib after Rafizi Says He Weakened National Defence

• Ruling on overseas-born kids against Keluarga Malaysia spirit, says Suhakam

• End patronage politics, say youth leaders of Bersatu, Umno

• 50 years on, Mahathir’s Malay dilemma never seems to end



• NCC Warns Users on New Ways Hackers Infiltrate, Jeopardise Privacy through Google Play Store

• Kenya's general polls begin, with Odinga and Ruto locked in close contest for presidency

• Islamic police confiscate 384 bottles of alcohol in Jigawa

• Suspected militants kill 4 Mali soldiers, 2 civilians

• FACT refuses Chad government's peace deal with rebel groups

• Several killed as Nigerian troops attack Ashura procession in Kaduna

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Pirana Shrine, an Epitome of Syncretic Tradition of India, Essentially A Hindu Place of Worship, Trust Submits Before Gujarat HC


To rebut the claims made in a PIL that the Pirana shrine is essentially a Muslim place of worship, the trust that manages the large religious precinct on the outskirts of Ahmedabad


Aug 9, 2022

AHMEDABAD: To rebut the claims made in a PIL that the Pirana shrine is essentially a Muslim place of worship, the trust that manages the large religious precinct on the outskirts of Ahmedabad - the Imamshah Bawa Roza Trust - on Monday told the Gujarat high court that it is a Hindu place of worship.

Before the division surfaced between the Hindu and Muslim trustees of the shrine, Pirana was viewed as the epitome of the syncretic tradition of India.

In a reply filed by the trust in response to a PIL filed by a Muslim outfit, Sunni Awami Forum, the trust maintained that the Pirana shrine, which houses a 600-year-old mosque, Dargah and various temples, is essentially a Hindu place of worship. To say it is fundamentally a Muslim institution is wrong, said the trust's advocate S K Patel. The trust based its claims on a scheme approved by the authorities in 1939, based on which the trust was formed. It suggested the Pirana shrine is an institution of Hindu Satpanthi or Satsangis.

The petitioner approached the HC in June with the complaint that the present trust is trying to convert the Islamic character of the place to a Hindu religious place and invoked the Places of Worship Act. To counter this claim, the trust stated that the Saiyed trustees had approached the charity commissioner to get the religious place declared a waqf property, but it was declined. The charity commissioner's decision was confirmed by a district court, the high court and the Supreme Court.

The PIL was filed claiming that for the past few years there have been efforts for "unconstitutional and illegal conversion of Pir Imamshah Bawa Dargah and its surrounding Muslim religious places to Hindu structures". Even the existing dargah is being converted to Shree Nishkalanki Maharaj and Imamshah Bawa Roja is being converted to the Shree Nishkalanki Narayan Tirthdham Pranpith.

Source: Times Of India

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Har Ghar Tiranga: BJP to Hoist Tricolour in 5 Lakh Muslim Households, Madrasas & Shrines Of UP


IN DELHI: Workers manufacture national flags at a shop in Sadar Bazar ahead of Independence Day. The sale of national flags has increased immensely | shekhar yadav


08th August 2022

By Namita Bajpai

LUCKNOW: In order to give impetus to the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign to mark the 75th year of the country’s independence, the BJP in Uttar Pradesh has decided to rope in its Muslim Morcha to ensure that the tricolour is hoisted in around 5 lakh Muslim households, madrasas and Dargahs (shrines) on August 15. The BJP Muslim Morcha would undertake the three-day exercise starting from August 12.

Party sources say that the minority wing of the ruling party has also been asked to get the photos of the unfurling of the flag clicked in madrasas and Dargahs and get it uploaded on social media platforms, said the party sources.

UP BJP Minority Morcha president Kunwar Basit Ali confirmed the plan and claimed that the exercise was planned for Madrasa and Dargahs as those were the centres with a wide outreach and could help spread the message far and wide as people throng the shrines in large numbers.

Ali said that prior to this in 2017, immediately after coming to power in the state, the BJP had made flag hoisting and rendition of the national anthem mandatory in state madrasas on Independence Day.

According to BJP sources, the party’s intent is to cut through the religious lines in carrying out the `Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign which seeks to cover more than 4 crore households and government offices in the state.

Meanwhile, reacting to the ruling party’s plan, Samajwadi Party chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary termed it as a ploy to politicise the tricolour. He said that it was the national flag which was highly respected. “The BJP should avoid putting pressure on people to unfurl the tricolour and leave it to their wish,” said Chaudhury.

However, SP's reaction comes two days after party chief Akhilesh Yadav had called the BJP’s ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign a sham expressing the apprehension that the ruling party could incite communal tensions in its garb.

Source: New Indian Express

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Sharia Law Returns To Afghanistan As Taliban Confirms Public Whippings Of Five People, Including Two Women


The Taliban has been enforcing Sharia law since seizing power by ousting the government last summer Credit: Daniel Leal /AFP via Getty Images


By Joe Wallen

8 August 2022

Five people, including two women, have been whipped in Afghanistan in the first confirmed public punishment under Sharia law since the Taliban returned to power last August.

A man and a woman were whipped 39 times in front of dozens of local residents before being sentenced to two and six years in prison respectively on Sunday, Taliban officials in Zabul province confirmed.

According to local media. the couple were living together unmarried and engaging in a sexual relationship, which is classed as illegal adultery under Sharia law, a series of strict Islamic laws based on the Quran.

A second woman who lived in the same building as the couple, was whipped 20 times and also sentenced to six years in prison for allegedly permitting the sexual relationship to occur.

Separately. two men were given 20 lashes after being arrested on charges of robbery in the same province. They were sentenced to one month in prison.

“The decision [was] made based on Sharia, it is natural that it will come into effect in Islamic governments,” Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Taliban, told local news outlet Tolo News on Sunday.

Existing laws scrapped

The Taliban has been enforcing Sharia law for a while since seizing power by ousting the government last summer.

However, although there have been unconfirmed reports of similar punishments being carried out elsewhere in the country, this is the first time the Taliban has officially said public whippings are being used.

It came just days after Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s leader, ordered all existing laws to be scrapped and submitted a series of six new articles for how the country should be governed in accordance with Sharia law.

When the Taliban previously ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, they had implemented a draconian version of Sharia law which saw convicted murderers publicly executed in Kabul’s sports stadium, while thieves had their limbs amputated.

Women were forbidden from working or attending school, while they could only leave the home in a full-length burqa, accompanied by a male chaperone.

The Taliban’s decision to re-introduce Sharia law is said to have been sparked by their struggles to maintain law and order in Afghanistan since returning to power.

At least 120 people have died after a series of coordinated attacks by the Islamic State’s regional affiliate on Afghanistan’s Shi’a Muslim minority since Friday, according to the United Nations.

Source: Telegraph UK

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Cop's Anti-Muslim Facebook Posts Were Free Speech under the U.S. Constitution, Court Rules


REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration


By Daniel Wiessner

August 9, 2022

Posts that a Phoenix, Arizona, police sergeant made on his personal Facebook page denigrating Muslims were protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution even though they were offensive, a U.S. appeals court has ruled in reviving his lawsuit against the city.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Friday that the 11 posts by Juan Hernandez, which he made years before the police department moved to discipline him, touched on matters of public concern and had nothing to do with his job duties.

The court reversed a Phoenix federal judge who said that because Hernandez's posts were incendiary and mocked Muslims, they were not protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

One of the 2014 posts stated that most men convicted of rape in England are Muslim and criticized British media for calling convicted rapists "Asian," and another mocked scientific contributions by Muslims.

The 9th Circuit said Hernandez's posts, many of which reflected bias against racial or religious minorities, added little value to public discourse and the Phoenix police department may be warranted in disciplining him, but that U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi had thrown out his lawsuit too early.

The court sent the case back to Liburdi to determine whether the city's interest in regulating the conduct of police officers outweighed Hernandez's free speech rights.

Hernandez had sued Phoenix in 2019, after the police department determined that he should face disciplinary action over the posts but before it actually imposed any. The discipline could range from a one-week suspension to termination, according to filings in the case.

The Phoenix police department and a lawyer for the city did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Neither did a lawyer for Hernandez.

The 9th Circuit panel included Circuit Judges Richard Paez, Richard Clifton and Paul Watford.

Courts have increasingly been asked to grapple with the free-speech implications of public employees' social media posts, and have largely sided with workers in high-profile cases.

The 11th Circuit in April said posts two Florida firefighters made in a private Facebook group criticizing a union official were protected free speech and revived their lawsuit claiming they should not have been disciplined over them.

And in 2020, the 6th Circuit ruled that a Cleveland emergency medical service worker's Facebook posts supporting police officers who had shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was wielding a toy gun, involved a matter of public concern and were protected.

The case is Hernandez v. City of Phoenix, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-16007.

Source: Reuters

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UNSC Must Condemn Palestinian Islamic Jihad as Terror Group, US Says


United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks during the Security Council meeting due to the situation in Middle East and Palestine, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, US, August 8, 2022



By Tovah Lazaroff

AUGUST 9, 2022

The United Nations Security Council must condemn the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a terror group, particularly given that it is an Iranian proxy group that has persistently attacked innocent civilians, United States Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

"This Council should be able to come together and unconditionally repudiate the terrorism of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose reckless actions have put the lives of civilians, on both sides, at risk," Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UNSC during a special emergency meeting it held on the Gaza violence over the weekend between the IDF and the Islamic Jihad.

"Their actions must be condemned by all countries in no uncertain terms. And no country should be expected to tolerate or passively accept such brazen attacks on its civilians," she said.

The meeting was held even though an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, created with the help of the UN, the US and Qatar, had been in effect since late Sunday night.

Thomas-Greenfield recalled that her country and many other nations had already designated the Islamic Jihad as a terror group.

'It is also an Iranian proxy group, which has conducted attacks against innocent civilians for years. It is telling that Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders were in Tehran the last several days while the people they claim to be protecting were left in harm’s way.

'I would also note that it was the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, not Israel, that held up agreement on a ceasefire designated to save lives and resume shipments into Gaza, callously prolonging these hostilities," she charged.

Thomas-Greenfield also commended the efforts of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, explaining that his efforts "ultimately prevented further casualties and suffering."

She added that the fully supports "Israel’s right to defend its people against terrorist threats, including from rocket fire aimed at civilians or without regard to them."

Many of the countries that spoke condemned Israel's actions against the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, including its pre-emptive strike on Friday, in which the IDF killed senior Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer al-Jaabari. At issue in particular, was the death of 46 Palestinians during the two-day conflict, which the IDF called Operation Breaking Dawn and which it said was specifically targeted against Islamic Jihad militants and infrastructure. Israel has said that some 21 of those killed were Islamic Jihad operatives.

The Islamic Jihad, in turn, launched 1,100 rockets against Israeli towns and cities of which 200 backfired into Gaza, killing civilians including four children.

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan said that Israel's killing of Tayseer al-Jaabari, as well as its fatal strike against Islamic Jihad commander Khaled Mansour, was comparable to the US targeted killing the previous week of Al-Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan.

Thomas Greenfield said that the US was "deeply saddened by reports of civilian casualties," adding that their deaths should be "thoroughly investigated."

She cautioned, however, against jumping to conclusions.

"Just one example, Israel was originally blamed for an attack that inflicted civilian casualties in Jabaliya refugee camp. It now appears to have been caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket. So let us be sure to follow the facts and see where they lead us."

British Ambassador to the UN James Kariuki also spoke strongly in defense of Israel. "We strongly condemn the firing of over 1,100 rockets at civilians by Islamic Jihad, and the ongoing campaign of terror attacks by the group, which has resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, Israelis and Palestinians alike.

"As my Foreign Secretary has been clear, the UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself in the face of such terrorism and violence," Kariuki said.

Source: J Post

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NIA Arrests Two Bangladeshi Nationals from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh for Spreading Jihad in India

08 AUG 2022

Ahead of the Indian Independence Day, two "highly radicalised" Bangladeshi nationals allegedly involved in propagating jihad in India by posting hateful and incriminating materials online were arrested from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, said a spokesperson of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday.

Hamidullah alias 'Raju Gaji' of Narayanganj district and Mohammad Sahadat Hussain alias "Abidullah" of Madaripur district in Bangladesh were arrested on Sunday, the spokesperson said.

They were arrested in a case related to the arrest of six active cadre of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), including three illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, from Aishbagh in Bhopal early this year, the spokesperson said.

The Union government banned terror group JMB in May 2019. At the time, the Ministry of Home Affairs said, "The Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and its formations like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and their manifestations have committed acts of terrorism, promoted acts of terrorism and have been engaged in radicalisation and recruitment of youth(s) for terrorist activities in India."

The NIA said Hamidullah —also known by aliases 'Muffakir', 'Samad Ali Miyan' and 'Talha'— and Hussain were close associates of the six arrested JMB members and were found using encrypted apps to communicate with their associates in India and Bangladesh.

"The arrested accused are highly radicalised individuals and involved in propagating Jihad by posting hateful and incriminating materials online in various groups on different social media platforms to radicalise other people," the spokesperson said.

With the latest arrest, a total of nine accused have been held in the case so far, the official said.

Source: Outlook India

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PM Modi recalls sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain on day of Ashura

August 9, 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday recalled the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain on the day of Ashura.

The prime minister said that Hazrat Imam Hussain is remembered for his unwavering commitment to truth and his fight against injustice.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said, “Today is a day to recall the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS). He is remembered for his unwavering commitment to truth and his fight against injustice. “He also placed great importance on equality and brotherhood.”

Source: The Statesman

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A first: Akal Takht to hold prayers for Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims killed during Partition

by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar

August 9, 2022

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Partition, Akal Takht will hold common prayers on August 16 for the peace of souls perished during the division of Punjab between India and Pakistan in 1947.

“Around 10 lakh Punjabi men, women and children were killed during the Partition of Punjab between India and Pakistan in 1947. Common prayers for the peace of souls lost during the Partition will be held at Akal Takht Sahib on August 16,” reads the poster released by Akal Takht Sahib, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, on Monday.

Sikh activist Parmpal Singh said, “Akal Takht has already issued instructions to all the gurdwaras across the world to hold such prayers during this week. Gurdwaras can hold prayers whenever it is convenient to them to remember those killed during the Partition. The concluding ceremony will be held at Akal Takht on August 16. Representatives from Hindu and Muslim communities will also be part of these prayers.”

Alami Punjabi Sangat, a group of Punjabi activists, had offered prayers for the victims on the 70th anniversary of the Partition in 2017.

Gangveer Rathour, one of the founders of Alami Punjabi Sangat, said the Akal Takht prayer initiative will be a big step in understanding the Partition and the problems created due to it.

“Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh understands the phenomenon of the Partition very deeply. So when we made a request to him to hold prayers for the Partition victims, he not only agreed to it but also chalked out the idea of prayer at Akal Takht,” said Rathour, who belongs to a Hindu family from Rahon near Nawanshahr.

He said, “Personally I am not a victim of the Partition. No-one from my family migrated during the Partition. But my hometown Rahon still has many symbols of civilisation depicting coexistence of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs before 1947. Rahon helped me develop my understanding about the Partition, and I think every single Punjabi is still affected by the two-nation theory whether their family members migrated or not in 1947.”

Talking to The Indian Express about the idea of prayer, Giani Harpreet Singh said, “The Partition is the biggest blot in the history of India and Pakistan. The then top leadership completely failed to foresee the large-scale ill-effects of dividing the country on the basis of two-nation theory. While leaders on both sides managed to get top posts for themselves after the division, lakhs of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims from Punjab perished without a trace during the Partition with many not even getting the solace of the customary last rites. The problems of today’s Punjab have their origin in the two-nation theory.”

He said, “The story of the Partition is still untold. We are suffering the effects of the Partition even today. What we call the border area now, it was the most prosperous region of Punjab before the Partition. Now, this border belt is infamous for smuggling. Relations between India and Pakistan are not allowing smooth official trade between the two countries which is again affecting Punjabis on both sides economically. While Urdu has taken over Punjabi language in West Punjab, the monopoly of Hindi has been threatening Punjabi in East Punjab. All these have their origins in the Partition.”

Source: Indian Express

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Both Hindus and Muslims together drove British out of India: All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam on ‘Quit India Movement’ anniversary

9 August, 2022

Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh) [India], August 8 (ANI): All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam organized a big programme on Monday on the anniversary of the Quit India Movement, where Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi, Secretary General of the Tanzeem, recounted the importance and history of the Quit India Movement.

Razvi said that both Hindus and Muslims together liberated India and sent the British across the seven seas, now again the people of both communities will work together for the progress and prosperity of India and will take India to new heights.

Razvi said that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi started the ‘Quit India’ movement on August 8, 1942, at the All India Congress Committee session in Bombay.

The next day, Gandhi, Nehru and several other leaders of the Indian National Congress were arrested by the British government. In the following days, there were disorderly and non-violent demonstrations across the country, he added.

By mid-1942, Japanese troops were approaching India’s borders. There was increasing pressure from China, the United States and Britain to resolve the issue of India’s future status before the end of the war, he stated.

Further, he said, in March 1942, the Prime Minister sent Sir Stafford Cripps, a member of the War Cabinet, to India to discuss the draft declaration of the British government.

The draft gave India Dominion status after the war but otherwise accepted some changes in the British Government Act 1935. The draft was unacceptable to the Congress Working Committee which rejected it. The failure of the Cripps Mission further alienated Congress and the British Government.

Gandhi captured the failure of the Cripps Mission, the progress of the Japanese in South-East Asia, and the general frustration with the British in India. He called for a voluntary British withdrawal from India. From 29 April to 1 May 1942, the All India Congress Committee gathered in Allahabad to discuss the proposal of the Working Committee.

Although Gandhi was absent from the meeting, several of his points were included in the resolution, the most important of them being a commitment to non-violence. On 14 July 1942, the Congress Working Committee met again at Wardha and resolved that it would authorize Gandhi to take charge of the non-violent mass movement. The resolution, commonly referred to as the ‘Quit India’ motion, was to be approved by the All India Congress Committee meeting in Bombay in August.

From August 7-8 1942, the All India Congress Committee met in Bombay and ratified the ‘Quit India’ resolution. Gandhi called for ‘do or die’. The next day on 9 August 1942, Gandhi, members of the Congress Working Committee and other Congress leaders were arrested by the British Government under the Defense of India Rules.

The Working Committee, the All India Congress Committee and the four Provincial Congress Committees were declared unlawful associations under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908. The assembly of public meetings was prohibited under Rule 56 of the Defense of India Rules.

The arrest of Gandhi and Congress leaders led to massive demonstrations across India. Thousands were killed and injured in the wake of the ‘Quit India’ movement. The strike was called in many places. The British swiftly suppressed many of these demonstrations by mass detention; More than 100,000 people were imprisoned.

The ‘Quit India’ movement, more than anything, united the Indian people against British rule. Although most of the demonstrations were suppressed by 1944, after his release in 1944, Gandhi continued his resistance and went on a 21-day fast. By the end of World War II, Britain’s place in the world had changed dramatically and demands for independence could no longer be ignored.

Source: The Print

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Pasmanda Muslims to spiritual heads, BJP walks the extra mile

9th August 2022

By Preetha Nair

NEW DELHI: In a major outreach to the Muslim community, the BJP on Friday held a meeting of several Pasmanda (backward) leaders in the capital. The meeting ‘Pasmanda Muslim Sneh Samman Samroh’ was in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for his party cadres to reach out to the deprived sections among the minority communities, such as Pasmanda Muslims.

The effort was clearly to highlight Uttar Pradesh, which has the first Pasmanda Muslim minister, Danish Azad Ansari, in the state cabinet and a few community members at the organizational level.

The Delhi meeting is seen as a part of the ongoing outreach plans for the backward sections ahead of the 2024 general election.

Sources said the party has taken cognizance of the support extended by the backward Muslim community to the BJP in the recent by-elections and assembly polls, which played a crucial role in its victory.

The socially and economically backward Pasmanda Muslims account for nearly 80% of the Muslims in the country. The BJP also highlights the fact that Muslim leaders in various parties come from the upper caste Ashrafs that comprise the Syeds, Mughals, and Pathans.

BJP spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan told TNIE that in the coming years, the party would cultivate leaders from the Pasmanda community in leadership roles, though it already has substantial representation at the organization and government levels. He pointed out that in UP, the chairpersons of the state minority commission and madrasa board belong to the Pasmanda community.

“The BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha by-polls in Azamgarh and Rampur illustrates that the backward Muslim community has reposed faith in us and the welfare programmes of the government,’ said Paswan.

Analysts point out that Pasmanda Muslims, who are being historically neglected by all ruling dispensations, will grab the opportunity for their uplift.

However, Ali Anwar Ansari, former Rajya Sabha MP and head of All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (AIPMM), doesn’t agree. He said the PM’s outreach to the backward Muslims is only posturing as it lacks sincerity. “On one hand, the BJP makes false promises and on the other, it is attacking the backward Muslims in the name of mob lynching, love jihad, and so on. The PM once said that Muslims could be identified from their clothes. It is sheer hypocrisy,” said Ansari.

Source: New Indian Express

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On Muharram, PM's ‘brotherhood’ tweet; Nitish bows to Imam Hussain’s sacrifices

Aug 09, 2022

As the Muslims around the world observe Muharram today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the “great importance” Hazrat Imam Hussain placed on equality and brotherhood. In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said that Muharram is a day to recall the sacrifices of Imam Hussain, a 7th century revolutionary leader and grandson of Prophet Muhammad, and his unwavering commitment to truth and his fight against injustice.

“Today is a day to recall the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS). He is remembered for his unwavering commitment to truth and his fight against injustice. He also placed great importance on equality and brotherhood,” PM Modi tweeted.

Imam Hussain is known for his sacrifice for social justice against Yazid. On this day, Muslims are prohibited from taking part in activities like warfare and use it as a period of prayer and reflection.

Several political leaders, including Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also remembered Imran Hussain's sacrifice for truth and justice.

“On the occasion of Muharram, I bow to the martyrs of Karbala and the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain. It is an appeal to the people of the state to remember the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain and adopt his ideals,” Kumar posted on Twitter in Hindi.

Source: Hindustan Times

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AMU suspends four students over firing incident on campus

Aug 08, 2022

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) suspended four students on Monday, following charges of violence and attack on fellow students on Saturday. The charges include firing, kidnapping and physical assault leading to indiscipline and misconduct on the university campus.

“We had received two complaints and in one of them Mohd Kashif, a student of BA (Hons) at AMU had blamed students Ashraf Ali (BTech), Atif Jamal (BA) and Farhan Ali (BSc) for physically assaulting him with a pistol butt at 5pm on August 6, 2022. Moreover, they also attempted to kidnap him at gunpoint while he was returning from the faculty of arts examination centre on the Aligarh Muslim University campus on Saturday,” informed Wasim Ali, the Proctor at Aligarh Muslim University.

It has come to light that the accused students had opened fire while running away from the spot creating a panic situation on the campus.

“University took note of the incident and prima facie these three students were found to have committed the act of indiscipline and misconduct according to AMU Student’s Conduct and Discipline Rules, 1985 thus these students were placed under suspension with immediate effect from rolls of university pending enquiry and are not allowed to enter the university campus and its maintained institutions till then,” stated the proctor.

The second complaint was filed by Ashraf Ali against another student Saqlain (BA), in which he accused him of attempting to kill him by opening fire on him and threatening dire consequences.

“In this complaint, prima facie Saqlain was found guilty of indiscipline and misconduct and was placed under suspension with immediate effect from rolls of university pending enquiry and is not to have an entry in the university campus and its maintained institutions till enquiry pending,” stated Proctor, AMU Wasim Ali.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Film Hum Do Hamare Baarah Targets Muslims, Say Netizens; Director Denies

8th August 2022

Mumbai: The poster of the upcoming Hindi movie – Hum Do Hamare Baarah – starring veteran actor Annu Kapoor launched on August 5, has created a stir and has given rise to several Twitter feuds. The poster for the movie shows the head of a Muslim family (played by Annu Kapoor) surrounded by his 11 children and a pregnant wife.

The poster caught the eyes of many as it depicted a Muslim family and evoked outrage among Twitteratis. Many eminent journalists including Rana Ayyub have slammed the censor board, saying that the poster was a blunt representation of Islamophobia.

Ayub questioned how films that depict Muslims in a bad light get an easy pass.

Reacting to the criticism, Hum Do Hamare Baarah’s director, Kamal Chandra, defended the poster and refuted claims that it targets a certain section of society. Speaking to ETimes, he said the film talks about the ‘population explosion’ in the country.

“The film is not objectionable at all. It needs to be seen in the right context,” he said.

Confident that his film ‘Hum Do Hamare Baarah’ will be received with a positive response from the public, Chandra said, “I am sure people will be happy to see one of the most relevant issues of our times on population growth and we are making it without any prejudice and hurting sentiments of any particular community.”

When asked why he chose a Muslim family to depict his idea of population explosion, Chandra said, “Today, people from one particular community are feeling that they are being targeted through our film. If we would have made a poster reflecting any other community, they would have said the same thing. I feel that cinema is the best medium to express our thoughts and feelings. I urge everyone to not make an issue out of this.”

Source: Siasat Daily

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BJP MP demands NPR stating ‘infiltration’ of Bangladeshi Muslims in Jharkhand

8th August 2022

New Delhi: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey on Monday raised in Lok Sabha the issue of “infiltration” of Bangladeshi Muslims in Jharkhand, demanding that the government carry out the National Population Register exercise there and dismiss the Hemant Soren-led state government for aiding “Islamization” activities.

Raising the issue under rule 377 in the House, Dubey said he has been flagging the issue of infiltration from adjoining Bangladesh into Jharkhand for the last 13-14 years.

“This issue has nothing to do with Hindu-Muslim as those who infiltrate take away the employment of both Hindus and Muslims,” Dubey said.

Bangladeshi Muslims by marrying “gullible” tribal girls are looking to change the demography of the region, the BJP MP from Godda said.

He cited the example of a head of zila parishad in Sahibganj elected on tribal quota and married to a Muslim. “There are thousands of such examples,” he added.

Dubey also raised the issue of cyber crimes as well as cows and sand being sent to Bangladesh from Jharkhand illegally.

“There is Islamization with students being taught in Urdu in government schools and weekly holiday now shifted to Friday. Due to these four-five issues, there is unrest in the region and it is moving toward Islamisation,” he said.

“I request the government to carry out NPR there, there should be a National Investigation Agency office there, and since the Jharkhand government (led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) along with the Congress is aiding these activities, president’s rule be applied under article 356,” Dubey said.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Bangalore: Hindu activists demand demolition of Idgah maidan tower

8th August 2022

Bengaluru: Following the decision of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) that the property of Idgah Maidan belongs to the revenue department of the state government, Hindu activists are now demanding demolition of the tower at the controversial site.

Vishwa Sanatan Parishat President Bhaskaran on Monday said that when there was a declaration that the Idgah Maidan is a property of the state government, then why should there be an Idgah tower in Idgah Maidan of the Chamarajpet locality of Bengaluru.

“We have been fighting over the issue since 2017. Muslims have been given separate Idgah Maidan and kabristan (funeral ground) by the state government. If they are still insisting on conducting prayers here and stake claim, then their intention is very clear. They don’t want any other community to make use of this property,” he said.

“The state government has allotted an alternative site for Idgah Maidan though Muslims did not own the previous Idgah Maidan considering that they are also citizens of this country,” he said.

“We will write a letter to BBMP and state government and also file a petition before the High Court making the state government and revenue department as parties to take down Idgah tower,” Bhaskaran explained.

“If Idgah tower is allowed to stand there, which is now a property of the revenue department, it will create a permanent problem and lead to communal clashes. It will lead to the murders of Hindus. We all know how violence flared up after laser light was flashed on a mosque during Ganesh festival in Hubballi city. Hence, the Idgah tower must be demolished in the interest of society,” he added.

Talking about the Wakf Board approaching court against BBMP’s decision, Bhaskaran said the Wakf board and the Muslim Central Board were not even parties when the Supreme Court gave its order in 1965. If they approach the court, they will be rapped by the court, Bhaskaran said. Idgah tower will stand as an impediment to the celebration of Hindu festivals, he added.

Meanwhile, the Muslim leaders have claimed that Idgah tower has hundreds of years of history and “what will be the gain from the demolition of Idgah tower. If the ground is utilised for other purposes it’s fine but why seek the demolition,” they ask.

Source: Siasat Daily

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South Asia


Prospects of Employment; Taliban Supreme Leader Issues Order to Round Up Beggars in Kabul

By Saqalain Eqbal

08 Aug 2022

Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, has assigned the deputy prime minister of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to round up beggars from the streets of Kabul, the Afghan capital.

According to the Taliban-controlled Bakhtar News Agency, the Deputy Prime Minister of the group has been directed to coordinate with respective agencies to begin work on rounding up panhandlers from Kabul city, addressing and solving their problems.

After biometrics, beggars with skills and abilities will be given jobs and their guardians will be asked to give up and swear off begging in the future, according to Bakhtar.

Per the statement, street children beggars would receive an education, and beggars who are extremely underprivileged and unable to work will receive a monthly salary.

According to a recent Save the Children report, 13 million children are among the 24.4 million people in Afghanistan who urgently need humanitarian assistance.

After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan it put the nation in a sharp decline in international aid, loss of access to foreign reserves, and disruption of financial links.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghanistan: One year since the Taliban takeover

Aug 9, 2022

KABUL: The Taliban stormed back to power a year ago as US-led forces withdrew from the country, two decades after first ousting the hardline Islamist regime.

Here are the key events of the past 12 months:

As the United States and its allies begin withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban launch a final offensive to win back control of the country they ran between 1996 and 2001.

In August, the Islamists accelerate their campaign, seizing a string of cities in a lightning 10-day sweep across the country that culminates with the fall of the capital, Kabul, on August 15, 2021.

President Ashraf Ghani flees to Abu Dhabi, admitting the "Taliban have won".

Thousands of terrified Afghans and foreigners rush to Kabul airport in a frenzied scramble to board the last flights out of the country.

Washington freezes some $7 billion in Afghan reserves in US banks, and donors suspend or dramatically reduce their aid to the country.

Chaos reigns at the airport, where several people are crushed to death while trying to get onto the tarmac as the United States and its allies hastily evacuate their citizens and Afghan nationals who aided the ousted government.

On August 26, a suicide bomb rips through the crowds, killing more than 100 people, including 13 US service members.

The Islamic State group's chapter in Afghanistan and Pakistan, rivals of the Taliban, claims responsibility.

Four days later, the Taliban celebrate as the last American forces and their allies leave on August 30.

Despite the Taliban's claim to have ended their repressive ways, the signs are inauspicious. A new interim government is unveiled in September, with hardliners in all key posts and no women.

The Taliban also bring back the feared Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, enforcing the group's austere interpretation of Islam.

The actions spark protests in Kabul and Herat, where two people are shot dead.

In October, blasts tear through a Shiite mosque in Kandahar during Friday prayers, killing 60 people in the deadliest attack since the departure of US troops.

The attack claimed by Afghanistan's IS chapter comes a week after a suicide attack at another Shiite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz claimed by the jihadists in which dozens were killed.

Deprived of aid, Afghanistan is plunged into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis.

Norway invites the Taliban to talks with members of Afghanistan's civil society and Western diplomats in Oslo.

An all-male Taliban delegation travels to the meeting, during which officials from the United States and Europe explore the possibility of providing aid directly to the Afghan people.

In March, the Taliban block secondary school girls from returning to class, hours after schools reopen. The Islamists also instruct that government employees must grow beards.

In May, women and girls are ordered to wear the hijab and cover their faces when in public, with the religious police saying they prefer women to stay at home.

Women TV presenters are among those targeted by the measure, sparking an international outcry.

Women are also banned from making long-distance journeys alone and can only visit public parks in the capital on days when men are not allowed.

More than 1,000 people are killed and thousands left homeless when an earthquake strikes Afghanistan's border with Pakistan on June 22.

The disaster poses a huge logistical challenge for the Taliban government, which has not been formally recognised by any country.

International aid agencies come to the rescue, sending food, tents and medical supplies.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan Army and Taliban Clash in Eastern Afghanistan along Durand Line

By Saqalain Eqbal

08 Aug 2022

Taliban officials in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan say that the Pakistani army and the Taliban forces engaged in an armed clash in the province along the Durand line.

According to Najibullah Hanif, the Taliban’s Head of Information and Culture Department in Kunar province, there were no casualties and the situation is now resolved.

Taliban official, Hanif, stated that the incident occurred because the Pakistani military planned to construct a post and put up barbed wire in the Bain-e-Shahi region of Dangam district in Kunar province close to the Durand Line.

Locals in Kunar province, on the other hand, said that the skirmish went on until 10:00 PM and that both sides utilized light and heavy weapons.

After the clash, Najibullah Hanif stated that Pakistani forces fired mortar shells, attacking various areas in the Dangam district.

Source: Khaama Press

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EU submits ‘final text’ at Iran nuclear talks, Tehran examining document

August 08, 2022

VIENNA: The European Union submitted a “final text” at talks to salvage a 2015 deal aimed at reining in Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Tehran said Monday it was reviewing the proposals.

Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia, as well as the United States indirectly, resumed talks on Thursday in Vienna, months after they had stalled.

The European Union has submitted a “final text,” a European official said on Monday. “We worked for four days and today the text is on the table,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

“The negotiation is finished, it’s the final text... and it will not be renegotiated.”

“Now the ball is in the court of the capitals and we will see what happens,” the European official added. “No one is staying in Vienna.”

The official said he hoped to see the “quality” text accepted “within weeks.”

Iran said it was examining the 25-page document.

“As soon as we received these ideas, we conveyed our initial response and considerations,” state news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official as saying.

“But naturally, these items require a comprehensive review, and we will convey our additional views and considerations.”

On Sunday, Iran demanded the UN nuclear watchdog “completely” resolve questions over nuclear material at undeclared sites.

Iranian sources have suggested a key sticking point has been a probe by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on traces of nuclear material found at undeclared Iranian sites.

“That has nothing to do with” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement of 2015, the European official said.

“I hope Iran and the IAEA will reach an agreement because that will facilitate a lot of things.”

The UN agency’s board of governors adopted a resolution in June, censuring Iran for failing to adequately explain the previous discovery of traces of enriched uranium at three previously undeclared sites.

“We believe that the agency should completely resolve the remaining safeguard issues from a technical route by distancing itself from irrelevant and unconstructive political issues, Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday.

Kelsey Davenport, an expert at the Arms Control Association, warned against abandoning the IAEA probe in a bid to revive the JCPOA, which she called “the most effective way to verifiably block Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons.”

If the United States and the other signatories to the 2015 deal do not support the UN body, it will “undermine the agency’s mandate” and broader non-proliferation goals, she wrote on Twitter.

The EU-coordinated negotiations to revive the JCPOA began in April 2021 before coming to a standstill in March.

The 2015 accord gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its atomic program to guarantee Tehran could not develop a nuclear weapon — something it has always denied wanting to do.

Source: Arab News

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Russia launches Iranian rocket into orbit, amid Western concerns

09 August, 2022

A Russian rocket carrying an Iranian satellite successfully launched into space on Tuesday as Moscow and Tehran seek to build closer ties in the face of Western sanctions.

The remote sensing satellite, called “Khayyam” was launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the home of Russian space launches located in southern Kazakhstan, at 08:52 a.m. Moscow time (0552 GMT) on Tuesday, according to a video broadcast by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency on YouTube.

Tehran has rejected claims the satellite could be used by Moscow to boost its intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, saying Iran will have full control and operation over it “from day


The Washington Post reported last week that US officials are concerned by the fledgling space cooperation between Russia and Iran, fearing the satellite will not only help Russia in

Ukraine but also provide Iran “unprecedented capabilities” to monitor potential military targets in Israel and the wider middle east.

Iran says the satellite is designed for scientific research including radiation and environmental monitoring for agricultural purposes.

Russia has sought to deepen its ties with Iran since February 24, when the Kremlin ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.

In July, President Vladimir Putin visited Iran in his first international trip outside the former Soviet Union since the start of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Source: Al Arabiya

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EU proposes ‘final text’ for agreement in Iran nuclear negotiations

Askin Kiyagan and Zehra Nur Duz



EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has offered a "final text" to the parties to reach a consensus in the ongoing Iran nuclear negotiations, an EU official said on Monday.

“During these four days we have worked on these issues with technical questions and today the high representative (Borrell) is putting into table basically the same text with some improvements for these technical questions,” said the EU diplomat, who asked not to be identified, referring to Borrell’s official title, high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

Now the parties to the talks will consider this text, said the official, calling it the best possible effort by the EU to reach a compromise between the parties.

Underlining that the text covers every single aspect of the deal, he said the parties’ response will determine whether a final agreement is reached or not.

The text put forward by Borell will not be changed or negotiated, the official added.

The diplomat said he expects the process to "come to a conclusion very, very soon.”

The US and Iranian delegations, as well as EU officials, will leave Vienna on Monday or Tuesday, the EU diplomat noted.

“So we are leaving Vienna because the negotiation is over. We have finished the negotiations. We have produced a text,” the official added.

Referring to then-President Donald Trump’s unilateral US withdrawal from the deal – officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in 2018, he said: “When we arrived here, there were many questions of what we can do for the US go back to full compliance with the JCPOA and what we can do for Iran to go back to meeting its commitments under the nuclear agreement.”

“It's my strong conviction that all the questions have been answered in the best possible way for the JCPOA,” he added.

After a five-month break, negotiations resumed last Thursday in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal by finding a compromise between the US and Iran.

‘What can be negotiated has been negotiated’

“Negotiators used these days of discussions and proximity talks between the US and Iran to fine tune and address – with technical adjustments – a handful of issues remaining in the text that I have put on the table last July 21, as coordinator of the JCPOA nuclear deal,” Borrell said Monday on Twitter.

“What can be negotiated has been negotiated, and it’s now in a final text. However, behind every technical issue and every paragraph lies a political decision that needs to be taken in the capitals. If these answers are positive, then we can sign this deal,” he added.

The nuclear deal was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, and the EU.

Under the agreement, Tehran committed to limit its nuclear activity to civilian purposes and in return, world powers agreed to drop their economic sanctions against Iran.

Trump’s withdrawal in 2018, with the US reimposing sanctions on Iran, prompted Tehran to stop complying with the nuclear deal.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Germany to deploy military contingent to EU peacekeeping mission in Bosnia

Mustafa Talha Öztürk  



Germany will deploy a military contingent to the EU peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR).

"This new EUFOR personnel will provide additional capacity in EUFOR HQ and for EUFOR’s network of Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) Houses which are located on an impartial basis all over Bosnia and Herzegovina," EUFOR said on Monday.

Germany's move will bring the total number of nations contributing troops to the mission to 20.

"The number of personnel to deploy will be up to a maximum of 50," said the statement.

The deployment will take place in phases starting mid-August.

Germany had withdrawn troops from EUFOR 10 years ago.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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‘Stranded’ Afghanistan translators sue UK government

August 09, 2022

LONDON: Several Afghan translators who worked with the British army during their deployment in Afghanistan and who were allegedly left behind during last year’s evacuation are reportedly suing the UK government.

According to Sky News, the solicitor for at least six translators said the processing system they had been through was “appalling” after four of them were initially rejected, and then later approved to come to the UK after legal papers were lodged.

One of the translators, who was not on an evacuation flight with his family last August, and who lodged a legal appeal following an ARAP (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy) scheme rejection, told the channel he felt “stranded” in Afghanistan.

According to the report, he successfully applied for relocation in February and in May was told to await instructions regarding how to leave Afghanistan via a third country, but is still awaiting those instructions.

“I’m really afraid and I’m in hiding,” he told Sky News. “I’m feeling so unhappy, I live like in a prison, my message to the British Army ‘we saved the lives of the British soldiers and now it’s time to save my life and my family’s life.’”

Another man, who has also lodged a legal appeal, had to be assisted by the Canadian government to escape Afghanistan, and has since been living in a hotel room in Pakistan with his wife and five children.

“The overall handling of the scheme, in spite of reassurances, has been appalling,” solicitor Qays Sediqi told Sky News.

“These individuals — if they didn’t have legal representation — would be left stranded in Afghanistan or a third country where they have no right of residence,” he added.

ARAP was launched in April 2021 and, since then, more than 10,000 people have successfully relocated, from around 120,000 applications. However, it is believed a further 8,000 are eligible.

Delays were “regrettable,” according to the UK Ministry of Defense, which also said it was putting more resources into identifying and assisting eligible applicants.

“We continue to relocate eligible Afghans who worked with the UK armed forces under the ARAP scheme and are working with partners in the region to bring out as many people as we can on a regular basis,” a spokesperson said.

“All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Processing timelines vary due to the complexity and personal circumstances of each applicant and we regret any delays as we work through complex cases.

Source: Arab News

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North America


One year after Afghan war, Biden struggles to find footing

Aug 9, 2022

WASHINGTON - The 12 months since the chaotic end to the US war in Afghanistan haven't been easy for Joe Biden.

The new president was flying high early in the summer of 2021, the American electorate largely approving of Biden's performance and giving him high marks for his handling of the economy and the coronavirus pandemic.

But come August, the messy US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan seemed to mark the start of things going sideways for him.

It was a disquieting bookend to the 20-year American war: the U.S.-backed Afghan government collapsed, a grisly bombing killed 13 US troops and 170 others, and thousands of desperate Afghans descended on Kabul's airport in search of a way out before the final US cargo planes departed over the Hindu Kush.

The disastrous drawdown was, at the time, the biggest crisis that the relatively new administration had faced. It left sharp questions about Biden and his team's competence and experience - the twin pillars central to his campaign for the White House.

As the one-year anniversary of the end of the Afghan war nears, the episode - a turning point in Biden's presidency - continues to resonate as he struggles to shake dismal polling numbers and lift American confidence in his administration ahead of November's critical midterm elections.

"It was a pivotal moment that he hasn't ever really recovered from," said Christopher Borick, director of the Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. "Things were going really well in terms of how voters viewed him in terms of bringing stability to the economy and how the government addressed the pandemic, issues that are higher priorities to the American electorate than the war in Afghanistan. But Afghanistan cracked that image of competency, and he hasn't ever really been able to repair it."

The Afghanistan debacle was just the start of a series of crises for Biden.

As Biden was still dealing with fallout from the Afghan withdrawal last summer, Covid-19 cases began spiking again. Layered over that in coming were months were strains on the economy caused by inflation, labor shortages and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sum of it left Americans weary.

In the weeks before Afghanistan went sideways, Biden was riding high. His approval rating stood at 59% in a July 2021 poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. An AP-NORC poll conducted last month put his rating at 36%.

White House officials and Biden allies hope the president is now at another turning point - this one in his favor.

The administration has recently racked up high-profile wins on Capitol Hill, including passage of the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act designed to boost the U.S. semiconductor industry. Congress also passed a program to treat veterans who may have been exposed to toxic substances from burning trash pits on U.S. military bases.

And over the weekend the White House sealed the deal on far-reaching legislation addressing health care and climate change that also raises taxes on high earners and large corporations, a package the administration says will also help mitigate the impact of high inflation.

The legislative victories followed Biden ordering the CIA drone strike in Kabul that killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, who along with Osama bin Laden masterminded the 9/11 attacks. Biden says the operation validates the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.

"I made the decision to end America's longest war ... and that we'd be able to protect America and root out terrorism in Afghanistan or anywhere in the world," Biden told a Democratic National Committee virtual rally last week. "And that's exactly what we did."

Biden had other big legislative wins after the Afghanistan debacle.

In November, he signed into law a $1 trillion infrastructure deal to fund rebuilding of roads, bridges and other big projects In April, the Senate confirmed Biden's history-making U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Jackson Brown, who became the first Black woman to serve on the high court. And in June, Biden notched another win as Congress passed the most significant changes to gun laws in nearly 30 years.

But those legislative accomplishments weren't rewarded with a boost in his standing with voters.

Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, argues that there's reason for the White House to hope that momentum is shifting with the recent legislative wins.

"The question is, 'What did Democrats deliver when they swept into power in 2020?'" Schultz said. "And I think for Democrats running in November, we have an even better answer to that question than we did just a few weeks ago."

Schultz added that the operation that killed al-Zawahri also offered strong evidence that Biden's instincts as commander in chief were correct.

"Nobody thought Afghanistan was going to be a panacea of rainbows and unicorns after we left," Schultz said. "But the president made the right decision that based on U.S. national security interests we could execute our counterterrorism imperatives without having thousands of troops on the ground."

William Howell, a political scientist and director of the Center for Effective Government at the University of Chicago, said the biggest drag on Biden's standing with Americans has been runaway inflation and an unrelenting pandemic.

But the Afghanistan debacle became a defining moment in the Biden presidency, he said, marking when the American electorate began questioning Biden's ability to fulfill his campaign promise to usher in an era of greater empathy and collaboration with allies after four years of President Donald Trump's "America first" approach.

"Afghanistan remains significant going forward as he tries to make that central 2020 argument of competency," Howell said. "The images of Afghanistan are going to remain Exhibit A in the other side's rebuttal of the competency claim."

The administration, for its part, has pushed back that lost in the criticism of the U.S. withdrawal effort is that in the war's final days, the United States pulled off the largest airlift in American history, evacuating some 130,000 U.S. citizens, citizens of allied countries, and Afghans who worked with the United States.

Biden continues to face criticism from immigrant refugee advocates that the administration has fallen short in resettling Afghans who assisted the US war effort.

As of last month, more than 74,000 Afghan applicants remained in the pipeline for special immigrant visas that help military interpreters and others who worked on government-funded contracts move to the United States and pave the way for them to receive a green card. That total counts only the principal applicant and does not include spouses and children. More than 10,000 of that pool of applicants had received a critical chief of mission approval, according to State Department data.

Days after the unexpected fall of Kabul last year, national security adviser Jake Sullivan promised the White House would "conduct an extensive hot wash" and "look at every aspect" of the withdrawal from top to bottom." But that effort has dragged on and is not expected to be completed before the Aug. 30 anniversary of Biden ending the war.

The White House has yet to detail how the president will mark the anniversary of a war that cost the lives of more than 2,400 U.S. troops and wounded nearly 21,000 more. Republicans are certain to resurrect criticism of the administration's drawdown.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted to reporters that while taking out al-Zawahri was a triumph for the intelligence community, the moment also confirmed that the Taliban - ousted from power by U.S. forces after 9/11 to deny al-Qaida a haven - are once again harboring al-Qaida.

Source: Times Of India

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'Targeted killings' of Muslim residents rock New Mexico community

8 August 2022

The murders of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have sent shockwaves throughout the Muslim community, with police investigating a potential link between the killings.

The latest victim, 25-year-old Naeem Hussain, was gunned down on Friday night, shortly after attending funeral services for two other victims - Aftab Hussein, 41, fatally shot on 26 July and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, fatally shot on 1 August. All three men are of South Asian descent and Muslim.

Police believe the killings could be linked to the November 2021 murder of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a Muslim man from Afghanistan, who was ambushed outside a halal supermarket and cafe in Albuquerque.

The victims were all "ambushed with no warning, fired on and killed", said Kyle Hartsock, deputy commander of Albuquerque Police Department's criminal investigations division.

'Targeted killings'

Police have so far refrained from calling the murders hate crimes, but Arizona Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has characterised them as "targeted killings of Muslim residents".

On Monday, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said, ”in my opinion, clearly it is hate-driven”.

"They are obviously targeting Muslim men, and they are happening right here in our own refugee community," Keller said in a CNN interview.

"We know that folks in our community, in the Muslim community especially, they are afraid to even leave their house, especially at night. They are afraid to pray. They are afraid to go to school,” he added.

The Albuquerque area is home to around 3,000-5,000 Muslims who make up about 85 percent of the entire state's Muslim population.

The brutal killings have torn through the tight-knit community. The three latest victims attended the same mosque, according to Tahir Gauba, a spokesperson for the Islamic Center of New Mexico.

Naeem Hussain, who was gunned down on Friday night, arrived in the US as a refugee from Pakistan in 2016, fleeing persecution as a minority Shia Muslim. He became a US citizen just last month, according to his brother-in-law, Ehsan Shahalami.

"He was the most generous, kind, giving, patient, and down-to-earth person that I could ever meet," said Shahalami.

"He was very hardworking. He shared whatever he made with his family back home.”

Naeem Hussain had started his own trucking business this year, and intended to bring his wife to the US from Pakistan, Shahalami said.

Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, who was killed on 1 August, worked as the planning and land use director for the city of Espanola, New Mexico, and has been described as a diligent and committed public servant.

He also worked on the campaign team of Representative Melanie Ann Stansbury. Speaking at a news conference on Sunday, the congresswoman described him as “a kind, funny, brilliant, amazing young man from Pakistan who came to the United States to pursue his career and his life’s dream and to study at the University of New Mexico".

The Albuquerque Police Department is asking the public for help. They have released a photo of a "vehicle of interest” believed to be a Volkswagen Jetta that could have been used in the killings. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the investigation.

Source: Middle East Eye

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Muslim community expresses fear after killings of men in Albuquerque

NEELAM BOHRA, Vimal Patel   |   New York 


Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain is afraid to step outside his home in Albuquerque to water his plants. Or retrieve books from his car. Or even venture out onto his balcony.

“My kids won’t let me go outside of my apartment,” said Hussain, 41, whose younger brother Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, was fatally shot a week ago Monday just a few blocks away. He was one of four Muslim men who were killed recently in the city — three in the past two weeks — and authorities believe the deaths are connected and meant to target the Muslim community.

The latest victim, a Muslim man in his mid-20s from South Asia whose name has not been released by the police, was killed on Friday just before midnight. Another man, Aftab Hussein, 41, was fatally shot on July 26. Authorities say that the killings of all three might be connected to the November 2021 killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, outside a business he and his brother ran.

As the Albuquerque Police, the FBI and the State Police appealed to the public for help in finding the killer or killers — on Sunday authorities described a vehicle of interest, a dark-coloured, four-door Volkswagen sedan — the attacks have left Muslims in a state of terror.

One member who attended the Islamic Center of New Mexico, the same mosque as all four of the victims, said that he may never return, citing fear of becoming “bait”.

Other members have temporarily left the state to stay with family members in other parts of the country to wait out the investigation. One man, who immigrated from Iraq, said that he felt safer back when he first came to the country in the 1980s. Another member, Salem Ansari, said that some who attend the mosque and work night shifts have quit their jobs.

“This situation is getting so much worse,” Ansari said.

Ahmad Assed, president of the mosque, said that he grew up in Albuquerque attending the Islamic Center but never felt isolated as a Muslim in the city. But now, he said, the community is going through a “sort of managed panic”.

The elder Hussain said that he had lived safely in his neighbourhood for eight years since moving to the United States with his wife and children. His brother Muhammad arrived in 2017, and both men would go to the library at midnight or buy coffees late into the evening while attending the University of New Mexico as international students.

“Now, I look outside the window and think, ‘Oh, this is the place where my brother was killed. Should we move?’” he said.

Hussain said that he had initially hoped to send his brother’s body back to be buried with family in Pakistan, but the numerous gunshot wounds had made his brother unrecognisable, and Hussain did not want his family to see him. The killer “wanted to finish him — the whole nine yards,” he said.

In general, anti-Muslim hate crimes in the US have been trending downward. Brian Levin, a professor of criminal justice at California State University at San Bernardino and the director of the school’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said that the number of hate crimes reported against Muslims was lower in 2020 than in any year since 9/11, though he added that those numbers may be skewed because of pandemic restrictions.

But he said that hate crimes remain a concern: They rose more than 20 per cent in 2021 and increased another 4.7 per cent in the first half of 2022, the centre reported. Also, “underlying anti-Muslim attitudes” are pervasive and resurface during times of national hardship, according to Professor Levin’s studies.

The authorities said that they are refraining from using the term “hate” in labelling the crimes until a motive could be established.

Just last year, the Islamic Center faced an attempted arson from a woman who the police say set three fires on the mosque playground and one fire at the mosque’s main entrance. No one was injured, and the woman was arrested and charged with arson. The case is pending.

The Islamic Center has instructed its nearly 2,500 members to stay home as much as they can, use the “buddy system” when going out and refrain from “engaging with or agitating” anyone, Assed said.

He added that he still felt supported by other communities but that this time he also was feeling a sense of “hopelessness and despair”.

“I do watch my back and get in the car. I’m watching all my surroundings,” he said. “You don’t know whether they’re following you from the mosque if they’re actually watching people going in and out of the mosque and following them elsewhere. The pattern is unknown.”

Some community members have expressed frustration about the lack of details from the police investigation, but Assed said he was in contact with authorities and understood why they have kept any developments under wraps. Authorities have neither elaborated on why they believe the killings are linked nor indicated whether there were any witnesses.

Hussain said that he wanted the federal and state governments to pour as many resources as possible into catching the killer.

But until someone is caught, nothing is likely to lessen his fear — or his grief.

“My 5-year-old keeps asking, ‘Hey, where is my uncle?’” he said. “She’ll see me crying and say, ‘Are you a crybaby? Why are you crying?’ But we can’t tell her. Not yet.”

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has characterised them as “targeted killings of Muslim residents”.

US President Joe Biden posted a message on Twitter on Sunday expressing solidarity with the Muslim community, adding, “These hateful attack have no place in America.”

“There are several things in common with all four of the homicides,” city police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos told reporters on Sunday.

Asked whether investigators consider the killings to be hate crimes, city police spokesman Gallegos said, “Hate is determined by motive, and we don’t know that motive at this point.”

Source: Telegraph India

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US, Iran face a deadline after nuclear talks end without agreement

08 August, 2022

The US and Iran have just weeks to decide whether they want to revive their nuclear deal, after European Union diplomats presented parties with a final draft accord that could deliver a major expansion of Iranian oil exports to global markets.

Negotiators wrapped up more than 15 months of talks in Vienna on Monday with a blueprint that requires the sign-off of US President Joe Biden and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, according to two European Union diplomats familiar with the process, who asked not to be identified in exchange for discussing sensitive topics.

The 2015 nuclear pact granted the Persian Gulf nation relief from punishing economic sanctions, including on oil sales, in exchange for limits to its nuclear program. It slowly unraveled after the Trump administration exited four years ago.

The potential deal on the table spells out the steps that Iran and the US would each take, with the former eliminating its stockpiles of enriched uranium in return for economic concessions from the latter.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will send a message telling leaders that they now have a few weeks to choose whether or not to re-enter the deal, according to the officials. US special envoy Robert Malley and Iran’s top negotiator are expected to return to their capitals within the next day, the officials said.

Tehran’s insistence that International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors end their investigation into decades-old nuclear activities remains a key sticking point that the talks failed to resolve. The IAEA has for years been probing traces of uranium found at several undeclared locations, with the Vienna-based agency’s board formally censuring Iran over its lack of cooperation in June.

Diplomats from China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and US are mediating talks between the IAEA and Iran in an attempt to resolve the inquiry, according to the EU diplomats. But those discussions are continuing on a separate track and there’s no guarantee that the IAEA -- which operates as an independent nuclear auditor -- will agree to a compromise.

Iran ramped up its nuclear activities and restricted international monitoring of atomic sites after the US left the original deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

It has accumulated enough enriched uranium to fabricate multiple weapons, if the country’s leadership chose to militarize its atomic work. While Iran has always said its program is entirely peaceful, world powers pursued the 2015 agreement to verify the claim.

Iran’s growing stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent purity -- a level that IAEA inspectors call technically indistinguishable from weapons grade -- shows why sides need to urgently agree now rather than let an agreement fester in limbo, according to the EU officials.

But politics may prevent either side from taking up the EU proposals.

Diplomats say that Iran is keenly aware that relinquishing its nuclear gains will mean sacrificing negotiating leverage built up over years.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Türkiye 'deeply concerned' over 'serial' killings of 4 Muslim individuals in US

Seda Sevencan


Türkiye said on Monday that it is "deeply concerned" over the suspicious killings of four Muslim individuals since November in the US city of Albuquerque.

“We are deeply concerned about the suspicious consecutive killings of 4 Muslim individuals since November in the US city of Albuquerque, three of which have been in the past week,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We want the perpetrators of these serial murders, which are stated to be related to each other and may be hate crimes, to be found immediately and brought to justice,” the statement said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Senior Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Leader Omar Khalid Khorasani Killed In Afghanistan, Taliban Spokesperson Confirms

Tahir Khan

August 8, 2022

Senior Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Omar Khalid Khorasani and two others members of the banned outfit were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan on Monday, according to Taliban spokesman Muhamamad Khorasani.

Omar's real name was Abdul Wali Mohmand and he previously headed the TTP in the Mohmand Agency bordering Afghanistan.

In a statement today, TTP officials said that the car carrying Omar came under attack in the eastern Paktika province near the Barmal district on Sunday evening.

They urged the Taliban government in Afghanistan to investigate the incident and unearth “spies” who could be responsible for the death of senior TTP leaders.

Apart from Omar, the two other men killed in the attack have been identified as Mufti Hassan and Hafiz Dawlat Khan. They were among several TTP leaders who had joined the outlawed Daesh in 2014.

It is pertinent to mention here that Omar was a member of the TTP team involved in negotiations with Pakistani officials, Pashtoon jirgas and recently with religious scholars over the past few weeks.

Read more: TTP talks’ oversight

Recently, a jirga member had posted the TTP leader's photo on the sideline of its meeting with Pakistan's side which had held two rounds of talks in Kabul in the first week of June and late July.

Omar and a majority of the TTP members from Mohmand agency had parted ways with the TTP and formed a splinter faction Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat Ahrar (TTP-JA) in 2014.

The then TTP chief Maulvi Fazalullah had sacked him after he had announced the formation of his own group Jamaat ul Ahrar, which comprised of almost all the Taliban leaders from the Mohmad Agency. Omar had accused the TTP leadership of deviating from the outfit's ideology.

The group received prominence when Jamaat-ul-Ahrar spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the Wagah border suicide attack in November 2014, in which over 70 people, almost all civilians, were killed.

The TTP leader's killing could be seen as a major blow to the group, especially at a time when it is involved in talks with the Pakistani government.

Omar was wanted by the Pakistani government for his involvement in a series of attacks on security forces, tribal elders and members of the peace committee in the area.

In July 2017, one of the UN Security Council’s sanctions committees, upon Pakistan’s request, had approved the addition of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar in the list of entities and individuals subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

Meanwhile, the United States added Omar's name to the US State Department's Rewards for Justice wanted list in March 2018. The US had announced a reward of up to $3 million for information on him.

In recent years, several TTP leaders, including former chief Maulvi Fazallah, have been killed in Afghanistan after they crossed into the border due to military operation in the tribal areas, Swat and parts of the Malakand division. Fazlullah, who served the TTP chief in Swat, was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province in June 2018.

TTP leaders killed in the last few years

In January this year, the TTP confirmed the death of senior leader Mufti Khalid Balti alias Mohammad Khorasani in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

Earlier in July 2016, Umar Mansour, alias Khalifa Mansour, the mastermind of the 2014 attack on the Army Public School Peshawar, in which more than 150 people were martyred, was killed in an American drone strike in Afghanistan.

Besides the TTP, the Daesh Khorasan chief Hafiz Saeed Khan was also killed in July 2015 in a US drone strike in the Nangarhar province.

Separately, former TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid and 24 other militants were killed in a US drone strike in Nangarhar in July 2015. Shahid had joined Daesh along with Saeed Khan in October 2014.

Source: Dawn

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4 soldiers martyred in North Waziristan suicide attack: ISPR

Naveed Siddiqui

August 9, 2022

Four soldiers were martyred in a suicide blast at a military convoy in the Mir Ali area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s North Waziristan district, the military’s media affairs wing said on Tuesday.

The martyred soldiers have been identified as 22-year-old Lance Naik Shahzaib, a resident of Mansehra, 26-year-old Lance Naik Sajjad, hailing from Ghizer, 25-year-old sepoy Umair, a resident of Kohat and 30-year-old sepoy Khurram, a resident of Narowal.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), intelligence agencies have commenced investigations to find out details about the suicide bomber who carried out the attack and his handlers and facilitators.

The “Pakistan Army is determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers will not go unpunished,” the ISPR said.

Attacks on security forces and clashes with suspected terrorists in the North Waziristan tri­bal district have become quite frequent in recent months.

On July 4, at least 10 security personnel were injured when a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of security forces in the area.

Officials said at the time that the convoy was going from Mirali to Miramshah, the district headquarters, when the suicide bomber, who was on a motorcycle, blew himself up near one of the vehicles.

Source: Dawn

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COAS, Bill Gates discuss Polio eradication, healthcare in Pakistan

August 8, 2022

RAWALPINDI: General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) had a telephone conversation on Monday and discussed matters related to healthcare particularly Pakistan’s commitment for comprehensive Polio eradication.

Mr Gates appreciated Pakistan’s Army for supporting national polio drive and ensuring proper reach and coverage of polio campaigns, particularly through involvement of community leaders .

Source: Pakistan Today

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Imran Khan's party to hold 'Haqeeqi Azadi jalsa' rally in Lahore on August 13

Aug 9, 2022

ISLAMABAD (PAKISTAN): Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has announced that it will now hold its "Haqeeqi Azadi jalsa" rally in Lahore on August 13.

The party had earlier announced to hold the rally at Islamabad's Parade Ground.

Azhar Mashwani of the PTI said that party chief Imran Khan after a political committee meeting with other party members has decided to shift the venue of the rally from Islamabad's Parade Ground to the Lahore Hockey Ground, the Dawn reported.

"The decision was taken by chairman Imran Khan in a meeting today after the party learnt about the federal government's "insufficient" plans for celebrations on Independence Day," Mashwani said on Monday.

"The proud Pakistanis of Lahore will celebrate the 75th Independence Day in a grand manner at Hockey Stadium Lahore," he said, adding that Imran Khan will attend the rally and address the supporters as well.

According to sources, the change in PTI's plan comes after Pakistan Interior minister Rana Sanaullah warned the PTI of "dire consequences" if its workers disrupted law and order or resorted to violence during the party's August 13 rally in Islamabad.

"PTI chief approved the proposal to organise the rally in Lahore instead of Islamabad amid fears that the federal government could create obstacles," sources said.

Earlier, on August 6, PTI announced that it will hold a public gathering in Islamabad on August 14. Later, the party declared through its Twitter handle that it will hold the rally on the country's Independence Day.

On Sunday, the PTI chief had said that he would announce a strategy to "counter this fascism" during the August 13 rally, the Dawn reported.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI is trying to up the ante against the incumbent government, demanding them to hold early elections in the country.

PTI chief Imran Khan has over time, reiterated that "only early election can end economic, political crises in Pakistan" adding that timely elections would have saved the country from the economic crisis that it is facing today.

The ousted prime minister claimed that there is only one way for Pakistan to come out of the prevailing situation and that is to ensure fresh general elections in the country.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI chief Imran Khan has over time, reiterated on conducting fresh elections in the country saying that "only early election can end economic, political crises in Pakistan".

The ousted prime minister claimed that timely elections would have saved the country from the economic crisis that it is facing today.

On July 25, the party held a long Azadi March, towards Islamabad which faced stiff resistance from the PML-N-led federal government from entering the capital.

However, PTI remained successful in entering the capital, only to be cancelled later by the PTI Chairman Imran Khan who said that to avoid confrontation he cancelled the rally and announced that he would return to the capital again.

Imran Khan said that his party will continue protests against Pakistan's 'imported' government till the announcement of fresh elections.

Source: Times Of India

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Hindu family in Pakistan attacked after they tried to overtake vehicle of politician's relative

Aug 9, 2022

KARACHI: A Hindu family was attacked allegedly by a relative of a Pakistani politician and his guards in Pakistan's Sindh province after the family tried to overtake his vehicle, police said on Monday. The Inspector General of Sindh Police has ordered an inquiry into Sunday's incident after the incident triggered an uproar on social media as a video of the harassment went viral and people demanded justice for the victims, which included a man, three women and two children, belonging to the minority community.

The alleged attacker named Shamsher Pitafi, said to be a cousin of Sindh's Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdul Bari Pitafi, and his guards allegedly harassed and misbehaved with the family near Ghotki area after they tried to cross his vehicle but they were repeatedly denied the right to overtake.

"Apparently, as the family's car overtook Pitafi's car on the highway, one of the children threw an ice cream wrapper outside, which hit the windshield of Pitafi's vigo car and he was upset that the family did not even stop and sped away," police said.

The family, which lives in Sanghar, was returning after visiting a temple known as Raharki Sahib, later stopped at a roadside restaurant in Ghotki.

Pitafi followed them there, and he and his men then allegedly misbehaved with the Hindu family and broke the windows of their car.

Source: Times Of India

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Army unwilling to allow rally at Islamabad's Parade Ground, alleges PTI

Ikram Junaidi

August 9, 2022

ISLAMABAD: After failing to get permission for its public meeting scheduled for the eve of Independence Day despite proposing three venues in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to shift the event to Lahore.

“We have been told that the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has already applied for its public meeting at Parade Ground on Aug 13. However, we have reached the conclusion that the permission was conditional to the nod of the 111 Brigade that is not willing to allow us. Otherwise, we would have been allowed one of our proposed venues,” PTI Islamabad president Ali Awan said while talking to Dawn.

On Aug 6, the PTI’s political committee had announced plans to hold a power show in the federal capital on Aug 13, the eve of Independence Day. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by PTI chairman Imran Khan and attended by its senior leadership, including Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Shireen Mazari, Omar Ayub, Saifullah Niazi and others. Mr Khan had also stated that he would announce his party’s future strategy during the event, and that is why directions were issued to party leaders to ensure an “impressive” show of power.

Mr Awan said the PTI had sought permission from the district administration to hold its public meeting at the Parade Ground, but it was informed that the TLP had already applied for the venue.

Aug 13 power show moved to Lahore

“Then we requested [the administration] to shift the public meeting to Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) objected to it and we were told that their curators were working there as a security team is expected to visit before the English team’s visit to the country,” he maintained.

“Then we started considering holding the public meeting at Liaquat Bagh, but were told that recently, plantation has been undertaken at the park and there will be very little space for the public meeting,” he added.

The PTI leader further said he reached the conclusion that it was not possible to get permission in the twin cities, as the nod of the army’s 111 Brigade was also required.

“Although we have been told that confirmation has not been given to the TLP yet, it is strange that the TLP can hold a public meeting at the Parade Ground, but not the PTI. So now we have decided to hold the public meeting at Hockey Ground, Lahore,” he announced.

He further said that former premier Imran Khan will address the Lahore gathering, which will be telecast across the country.

Source: Dawn

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Victim families await justice as 2009 Ashura blast case file gathers dust

Naeem Sahoutara

August 9, 2022

KARACHI: Senior journalist and Karachi bureau chief of Geo News Faheem Siddiqui is busy in planning for the coverage of the religious events of Ashura in the city. However, the activity every year reminds him of the painful events of 2009 Muharram he would never want to repeat in his life as a father, but has to go through as a newsman.

“Obviously, it causes pain. I lost my first child on this day. I lost my niece too,” says Mr Siddiqui referring to the Ashura bomb blast in which more than 45 people were killed on M.A. Jinnah Road on December 28, 2009. Mr Siddiqui’s six-year-old son, Bazil Ahmed Siddiqui, and 13-year-old niece, Anzalna Hanif, were among those killed in the attack.

“We remained issueless for five years after the martyrdom of our son,” the 49-year-old tells Dawn in a gagged voice. Then, Allah, the Almighty, blessed us with three kids, all of them are boys,” he says. “But, the pain for losing our firstborn still haunts us. If Bazil were alive, he would have been 19 today,” adds the father, helplessly.

Mr Siddiqui is among dozens of families of the victims of the tragic incident that shook the nation in general. And they are all awaiting justice for the past 13 years, as the country’s security establishment fails to re-arrest the three Jundullah militants allegedly involved in the bombing, who had escaped from the custody of the police days after their arrest.

13 years on, no progress made to arrest absconders; three ‘Jundullah militant’ reportedly killed

The high-profile Ashura bombing case files are gathering dust in the storeroom of an antiterrorism court (ATC) as Rangers and police are yet to re-arrest the suspects, who had escaped from City Courts.

Four Jundullah men — Murtaza alias Shakil, Mohammad Saqib Farooqui, Wazir Mohammad and Murad Shah — were arrested in January 2010 and booked in four cases pertaining to a series of attacks on Muharram processions in Karachi in 2009.

“The four cases pertaining to the targeted attacks on the mourning processions, including the one on the main Ashura procession, remain shelved in the court’s custody since October 2010 for want of accused,” judicial staffers told Dawn.

Witnesses had reportedly identified four detained suspects during an identification parade held before a judicial magistrate at a pre-trial stage in the cases, according to prosecution officials.

The Jundullah militants, who were arrested after a shoot-out at Hawkesbay in 2010 and had allegedly confessed to the attacks, had escaped from the City Court the same year.

All the suspects were reportedly got freed from police custody by their accomplices after a gun attack on the premises of the crowded City Courts judicial complex on M. A. Jinnah Road, where the police had produced them in another case registered against them by the Anti-Car Lifting Cell on June 20, 2010.

Case still on dormant file

One of the four suspects, Murad Shah, was killed while fleeing, but his alleged accomplices were never caught again.

“After the suspects managed to flee, the investigating officer (IO) informed the ATC-III about it,” said an official.

“Subsequently, the court kept the cases ‘dormant’ because the police and other law enforcement agencies have yet to show any progress regarding the arrest of the suspects, who remain at large after a decade,” added the official.

“The case is still ‘dormant’, as there is no progress till the day,” a judicial official at the trial court told Dawn. “It means the accused are still absconding and have not been brought to the court,” the official added.

The trial court had issued life warrants for the arrest of the three suspects on Oct 7, 2010 directing the police to produce them in court “as soon as possible”.

The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of police had at the time of their arrest claimed that the suspects were ‘high-profile’ criminals associated with the proscribed outfit. However, they were not tried in a court inside the central prison and jail authorities sent them to the city courts without making proper security arrangements.

It was the responsibility of the IOs to ask or recommend to the home department through a letter to notify the jail trial of hardened criminals in high-profile cases or if the jail authorities had insufficient security arrangement to take them to courts.

Delay favours accused

Legal experts believed that the prolonged suspension of the proceedings in such high-profile cases always benefited the accused party as prosecution witnesses might change their residences or go underground.

Also, it is hard for a witness to remember the exact evidence for years while it is also a difficult task for the IOs to maintain the case property, police files and stay in touch with their witnesses, they added.

The SIU arrested the suspected militants following a shoot-out on Hawkesbay Road on Jan 23, 2010 and claimed that they had allegedly confessed to have carried out the attacks on the Muharram processions.

Subsequently, they were charge-sheeted under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and their cases were sent to the ATC-III for trial. However, they escaped before their indictment.

Murtaza and Saqib were booked for killing over 45 people and wounding about 100 others in the bomb attack on the main Ashura procession on Dec 28, 2009.

Police filed a charge sheet against the duo in the Paposh Nagar blast that took place on Dec 26, 2009 when an 8th Muharram procession was passing by and it left 13 people wounded.

They also filed a charge sheet against deceased Murad Shah in a case pertaining to a low-intensity blast that targeted a 9th Muharram procession in Qasba Colony on Dec 27, 2009.

Besides, the four suspects were also booked in a case registered under Sections 4/5 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 read with Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the ATA at the Sir Syed police station, as the police claimed to have recovered explosive material on a lead provided by them.

Prosecutor general says absconders killed Sindh Prosecutor General Dr Faiz Shah had last year made a disclosure about the three fleeing suspects by saying that “they were also killed in a shootout with law-enforcers”.

Without elaborating further, Mr Shah had said that according to the IO of the case the absconding suspects had been killed in an encounter.

Talking to Dawn, Dr Shah said that the “situation is the same” and the case was still dormant as there was no progress.

After the lapse of 13 years, Mr Shah’s claim gives the case yet another interesting twist as to whether the law-enforcers have failed to re-arrest the fleeing suspects or they have been killed in an encounter.

In both conditions, the relatives of the victims as well as the survivors of the main Ashura attack still await justice.

Source: Dawn

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ISI, IB, FIA to jointly probe negative social media campaign post helicopter crash

August 8, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Federal government on Monday notified a six-member committee comprising members from the FIA, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and ISI to help probe a negative campaign being launched post helicopter crash in Lasbela that saw martyrdom of six Pakistan Army officials including Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali.

According to the notification, the six-member committee formed to probe the negative campaign would be led by Additional Director General (DG) of FIA cybercrime unit Muhammad Jaffar.

The members included Lieutenant Colonel Saad from ISI, Deputy Director IB Waqar Nisar, Director FIA Waqaruddin Syed, deputy director Ayaz and Imran Haider.

The committee will identify those who launched the negative campaign on social media and arrest them and launch legal proceedings against them. The Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) has condemned negative propaganda over social media after the Helicopter crash in Lasbela leaving five Army officers martyred.

A statement issued by ISPR said that the propaganda hurt the sentiments of the families of the martyrs. Pakistan Army’s ranks and files have expressed severe displeasure over the negative propaganda, ISPR said.

They added that the nation stands with the Pakistan Army in this difficult time. The negative callous propaganda is unbearable and condemnable, they added.

The wreckage of an unfortunate Army helicopter that went missing during a relief and rescue operation in the flood-hit Balochistan area has been found in Musa Goth, Winder, Lasbela.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Shuhada-e-Karbala Conference pays tributes to Karbala martyrs

August 8, 2022

PESHAWAR: Bacha Khan Islamic Research Foundation (BKIRF) Monday organized ‘Karbala Martyrs (Shuhada-e-Karbala) Conference’ to pay tribute to Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions who rendered sacrifices of their lives for the sake of Islam.

The conference was held at Bacha Khan Center here. Provincial President of Awami National Party (ANP) Amil Wali Khan in his address as a chief guest said that the Karbala incident gives us the lesson of resistance against injustice and unfairness in society.

He said the best way to pay tribute to the martyrs of Karbala is to make commitment on this day to work and devote oneself for the development and strength of the country. “We have to forget our trivial differences and adopt the teachings of Islam and promote peace, security and brotherhood,” he added.

Yazid’s name is not even today but the followers of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain are still alive today. Bacha Khan has also taught us through his teachings that we have to fight for the truth through non-violence.

Senior Executive Officer of Bacha Khan Trust Syed Masoom Shah Bacha, Maulana Qari Roohullah Madani, Maulana Mohsinuddin Sahib Haq, Maulana Muhammad Yunus Hanif, and Maulana Qari Farmanullah participated in the conference.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Muharram teaches to stand firm in face of tyranny: speaker

August 8, 2022

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions were the noblest models in preaching and practising the Islamic philosophy of patience and sacrifice.

In his message on Youm-i-Ashura, Ashraf said their unflinching faith in Allah and the Day of Judgment, their exemplary devotion, dauntless courage, and unfailing patience in the way of Allah was a unique exhibition of the spirit of patience and martyrdom described in the Quran.

The speaker said the Battle of Karbala reminded us of the great sacrifices of Hussain (RA) and his companions for the sake of truth and justice.

He said it was our collective responsibility to stand firm in the face of the tyrannical forces spreading chaos in society to achieve their evil designs.

He said the best way to pay tribute to the martyrs of Karbala is to make a commitment on this day to work and devote oneself to the development and strength of the country. “We have to forget our trivial differences and adopt the teachings of Islam and promote peace, security and brotherhood,” he added.

The speaker termed the martyrdom of Hussain (RA) as a great sacrifice against falsehood, and said it would be a beacon for those who would come until the Day of Judgment.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani, in a separate message, said the battle was fought between the forces of truth and falsehood which would continue to impart to Muslims a lesson of sustained struggle against oppression.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Arab World


Palestinian official assassinated in Lebanon just hours after Gaza truce

08 August, 2022

A Palestinian security official was shot dead late on Monday in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon, three Palestinian security officials said, just hours after a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Saeed Alaeddine was an officer in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, in charge of liaising between the group and Lebanese security.

He was killed by a gunman, who fired at him while he was praying at a friend’s house in the camp, said senior Fatah official Mounir Makdah.

An unknown gunman shot him several times, and Alaeddine was rushed to hospital, where he died.

The perpetrator fled the scene and details on his identity and motive were not immediately clear.

An AFP correspondent heard more gunshots in the camp after Alaeddine’s killing.

The camp has seen intermittent clashes in recent years between the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and allied factions against Sunni Islamist factions. It is home to more than 54,000 registered Palestinian refugees, who have been joined in recent years by thousands of Palestinians fleeing the conflict in Syria.

By long-standing convention, the Lebanese Army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, leaving the factions themselves to handle security.

That has created lawless areas in many camps, and Ain al-Helweh has gained notoriety as a refuge for extremists and fugitives.

More than 450,000 Palestinians are registered in Lebanon with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sadr rival demands parliament reconvene as sit-in continues

09 August, 2022

Former Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday called for the resumption of legislative sessions, after his political rivals occupied parliament for almost a week, deepening political tensions.

Though supporters of the powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have not camped inside the legislative complex since Friday, they continue a sit-in in the gardens around it, inside Baghdad’s normally secure Green Zone.

They are protesting a nomination for the post of prime minister by the rival Shia Coordination Framework, to which Maliki belongs and which is backed by Iran.

The protest is part of pressure tactics by al-Sadr after months of negotiations following October elections failed to produce a new government, prime minister and president.

Last Wednesday al-Sadr called for the dissolution of parliament and early polls.

But in televised remarks Monday, Maliki said: “Neither the dissolution of parliament nor the change of the regime nor early elections will be possible without the resumption of parliamentary sessions.”

Parliament “alone discusses these demands and what it decides we will execute,” he continued in his speech marking the Shia mourning ritual of Ashura.

Sadr’s bloc had emerged as the largest in parliament following the October ballot but in June 73 of his lawmakers quit in a bid to break the deadlock over forming a new government.

That led to the Coordination Framework becoming the largest bloc in the legislature.

On Thursday the Framework had said they were conditionally open to al-Sadr’s call for new elections, signaling a potential de-escalation.

But they suggested the occupation of parliament must end.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia wins Special Olympics football gold in first appearance

09 August, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Special Olympics football team won gold after competing in the tournament for the first time on Saturday in the US, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The Kingdom took first place in the Unified Cup in Detroit in the state of Michigan beating Romania by three goals to one.

It was the second time the teams had faced each other, after Saudi Arabia beat Romania with a 1-0 penalty in the group stage.

Muhammad al-Mutairi scored a hat trick for the team in the final, after scoring his first goal in the 36th minute.

Teams from Brazil, Jamaica, Korea, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Singapore, and the USA also competed.

Dr. Maha al-Juffali, President of the Saudi Special Olympics Federation, congratulated the team in a statement on Tuesday and highlighted the efforts of the federation to promote sports for people with intellectual disabilities in the Kingdom.

The Unified Cup is a competition featuring both athletes with intellectual disabilities and those without.

Saudi Arabia’s Director of Special Olympics, Abdulrahman al-Quraishi, also congratulated players, technical staff, and administrative staff for their efforts in winning the gold.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar took part in the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Detroit on Sunday, July 31.

“So happy to see our @saudiarabiasco athletes at the @SpecialOlympics @UnifiedCup 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Thrilled to be able to share their excitement and achievements on this special occasion,” Princess Reema tweeted on Wednesday.

In a speech addressing the Saudi team, Princess Reema praised its “good performance throughout this tournament” after it won its first match against Singapore, according to SPA.

Saudi Arabia’s Special Olympics body was established in 1994, and accredited by Special Olympics International.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Defying warnings, Erdogan highlights ‘permanent’ plan to establish ‘secure line’ at Syria border

09 August 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has underlined his determination to carry on with his plan for a new cross-border offensive in neighboring Syria to remove members of the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militant group from border areas.

“We will continue our fight against terrorism. Our decision to establish a 30-kilometer-deep (18.6-mile) secure line along our southern border is final,” Erdogan said in an address to Turkish diplomats attending the 13th Ambassadors Conference in the capital Ankara on Monday.

He went on to say that he hoped Turkey would soon eliminate the remaining pockets of the militant group in Syria.

Last month, Erdogan hinted that a new Turkish operation against the YPG militants will remain on the agenda until security concerns are addressed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Press TV

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Iran: Ceasefire in Gaza Result of Israel's Fear from Resistance Movement's Missiles


"Israel launches blind attacks against women and children in order to cover up the multi-layered crises in the occupied territories, but the assaults fail every time and further lead to its isolation," Amir Abdollahian wrote on his Instagram account on Monday.

Amir Abdollahian's remarks came after holding separate phone calls with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his Qatari, Syrian and Lebanese counterparts to discuss Israel’s recent deadly attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Iran’s top diplomat said the Islamic Republic condemns the Israeli crimes and reiterated its support for an “active resistance that stops the malice of the occupiers” during talks with its allies and neighboring counties.

The Iranian foreign minister also renewed his earlier remarks that the Israeli regime "only understands the language of force".

Tel Aviv's regime has been trying to "change the balance of power and terror" since the 33-Day war in Lebanon in July 2006, during which Israel was forced to accept a ceasefire without achieving any of its declared goals, he said.

"Only just, wise observers can testify whether they have won or have been defeated”, Amir-Abdollahian said, adding that the ceasefire took effect “because the Zionists only understand the language of force," the Iranian foreign minister added.

On Friday, the Israeli regime launched airstrikes targeting residential areas in the Gaza City, killing dozens of people, including Taysir al-Jabari, a senior commander of the Palestinian resistance movement of Islamic Jihad, and fifteen children.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Condemns Sacrilege of Islamic Sanctities in Germany


The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said that the heinous act is a clear example of sedition and spreading hatred and it is strongly condemned by all Muslims, monotheists and those with a pure conscience, as well as those who believe in coexistence and dialogue between religions.

He also warned about the dangerous consequences of such seditious actions, and added that such audacities towards Islamic sanctities are another aspect of extremism, ISIL-Takfiri violence, and dealing with such heinous acts shall be borne by the governments as claimants of human rights, freedom and democracy.

Holding the German government accountable for this incident, Kana'ani said that the Iranian foreign ministry is waiting for Germany's immediate, strong and clear reaction in dealing with the perpetrators of this insulting act and quick judicial follow-up to prevent the repetition of such heinous actions.

"The seditious acts, which are aided and abetted by global arrogance and Zionism, show that Muslims and Islamic states should enhance unity in the face of enemies’ plots," he concluded.

According to reports, ten people desecrated the Holy Quran in front of the Islamic Centre of Hamburg on Sunday.

German police forces, who were present in the place, did not take any action to prevent the blasphemous act, which is prohibited under Germany’s law, nor reacted to those who committed it.

The desecration of the Islamic sanctities took place on the ninth day of the mourning month of Muharram, which is called Tasua.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Commemorates Diplomats Martyred in Mazar-i-Sharif Terrorist Attack


The Iranian foreign ministry in a statement issued on Monday paid tribute to the diplomats and the journalist who were killed in Afghanistan back in 1998 while renewing its condemnation of the "unforgettable crime".

The Iranian foreign ministry also demanded measures by Kabul to clarify the circumstances that led to the incident.

The nine Iranian citizens were killed after Taliban militants entered the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in an incident that sparked worldwide condemnations.

Elsewhere in its statement, the Iranian ministry stressed that Tehran has always backed "the oppressed nation of Afghanistan", expressing the Islamic Republic’s support for "any solution" that would restore peace, stability, and tranquility to the war-torn country.

The ministry also stressed the importance of the formation of an inclusive government that would represent all ethnic groups.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Turkish president commemorates historical 'martyrdom' of Imam al-Hussein

Diyar Guldogan  



The Turkish president on Monday commemorated the anniversary of the historical "martyrdom" of Imam al-Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad who was killed in the year 680 during the Battle of Karbala in what is now Iraq.

"I hope the Day of Ashura and the (Muslim) month of Muharram, which are symbols of unity and solidarity, will be auspicious for the entire Muslim world," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter.

The 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram, also known as Ashura, marks the anniversary of the passing of Mohammad’s grandson Hussein in the desert plains of Karbala, some 113 kilometers (70 miles) from the modern-day capital Baghdad.

Erdogan added: "On the anniversary of his martyrdom, I commemorate Imam Al-Hussein, the lord of the martyrs and the grandson of the Prophet, and all the martyrs of Karbala with mercy and reverence."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Two Palestinians killed in Israeli raid in West Bank: Army

09 August, 2022

Two Palestinians including a senior militant commander were killed Tuesday as Israeli forces raided a house in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the army said.

Source: Al Arabiya
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UN security council meets over Gaza fighting

09 August, 2022

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the situation in Gaza, with several members raising concerns despite the tenuous truce between Islamic Jihad militants and Israel after three days of deadly conflict.

Speaking via video at the start of the meeting, UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland warned that a resumption of hostilities will have “devastating” consequences.

“The ceasefire is fragile,” he warned.

Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzia stressed the council is “deeply concerned by this turn of events, which could lead to the resumption of a fully fledged military confrontation and a further worsening of the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

Israel had since Friday launched a heavy aerial and artillery bombardment of Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza, leading the militants to fire over a thousand rockets in retaliation, according to the Israeli army.

The violence was Gaza's worst fighting since an 11-day war last year.

An Egypt-brokered ceasefire reached late Sunday ended the intense fighting that killed 44 people, including 15 children, and wounded 360 in the enclave according to Gaza's health ministry.

Both sides have reserved the right to respond if the ceasefire is violated.

Wennesland said that the UN's assessment of the violence was ongoing, noting that “some 20 percent” of the approximately 1,100 rockets fired by armed Palestinian groups had fallen within the Gaza Strip.

Ahead of the meeting, Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called for the council to place “full accountability” on Islamic Jihad, accusing the Iran-backed group of using Gazans as “human shields.

“There must be one outcome and one outcome only, to condemn the (Islamic Jihad) for its double war crimes while placing the full accountability ... for the murder of innocent Palestinians on the shoulder of the radical terror group,” he said at a press briefing.

“They fire rockets at Israeli civilians while using Gazans as human shields. This is a double war crime,” he said.

The United States' UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield supported “Israel's right to defend its people against terrorist threats.”

“This Council should be able to come together and unconditionally repudiate the terrorism of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose reckless actions have put the lives of civilians, on both sides, at risk,” she said.

But Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour slammed Israel's “unjustified aggression.”

“Are you ready to say enough is enough? As the highest authority responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security?” he demanded. “How many more children do we have to bury until someone says enough is enough?”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran: Police arrest Afghan suspected of stabbing 10 to death

08 August, 2022

Police in Iran arrested an Afghan man suspected of stabbing 10 other farm laborers to death following a quarrel over land, Iranian state media reported Monday. The rampage in a remote village in southeastern Iran was a rare such incident in the Islamic Republic.

The official IRNA news agency said four Iranians and six Afghans were killed, and one farm worker was wounded in the rampage on Sunday and was in hospital. According to the report, the suspect was mentally unbalanced.

A decades-long drought in Iran has caused increased disputes over water resources and land with better access to water. Hunting rifles are the only weapon that Iranians are allowed to possess legally.

Violent acts have escalated in recent years in Iran as the country’s economic conditions deteriorate amid crushing American sanctions that helped spark soaring inflation and increasing unemployment.

In May, an employee fired from one of Iran’s largest state-owned financial conglomerates went on a shooting rampage at his former workplace in western Iran, killing three people and wounding five before turning the gun on himself.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Yemen Houthis must act on Taiz to show commitment to UN-brokered truce: Minister

08 August, 2022

War-scarred Yemen’s internationally recognized government accused the Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Monday of failing to reopen roads to the besieged city of Taiz, a key element of a truce agreed between them.

Yemen’s warring parties, who have traded accusations of non-compliance with the two-month UN-brokered truce, agreed last week to renew it for a further two months.

They are under international pressure to agree on extended and expanded deal that would build on the longest stretch of relative calm in over seven years of conflict.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Southeast Asia


Hilarious, retorts Najib after Rafizi says he weakened national defence

August 7, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak had a two-word retort to PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli who had claimed that national defence was weakened under Najib’s watch.

“That’s hilarious!” Najib responded in a Facebook post.

In return, he questioned what Pakatan Harapan (PH) had done to strengthen the nation’s defences when it was in power for 22 months.

“What did PH do? What assets were added? Was there an increase or decrease in the number of security officials?” he said.

However, Najib did not respond to a threat by Rafizi that he would divulge details of shell companies used to launder money from the RM9 billion littoral combat ship project, which entails the construction of six corvette-class ships for the navy.

He said earlier today that he would provide details on the misappropriation of funds, including the establishment of shell companies to launder money. He said the methods used were similar to those in the 1MDB scandal.

Rafizi said that his upcoming expose on the LCS project would put the former prime minister in a spot.

Najib responded to Rafizi’s claim that the former prime minister had been “slandering others” about the sale of national assets, by pointing out that Khazanah Nasional had sold a 16% stake in IHH Healthcare Bhd to Japanese conglomerate Mitsui for RM8.42 billion and also disposed of RM364 million in CIMB shares.

He said the finance ministry under PH had wanted to sell a 28-storey office tower in Hong Kong belonging to China Evergrande Group for RM1.6 billion, and had held talks to sell a 60% stake in the Bandar Malaysia mixed commercial project for RM7.41 billion to property developer Iskandar Waterfront Holdings and China Railway Engineering Corp.

The LCS project was the subject of a report by Parliament’s watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, which said that not a single ship had been completed despite RM6 billion being spent since 2011.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Ruling on overseas-born kids against Keluarga Malaysia spirit, says Suhakam

August 7, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has called on the government to expedite the proposal to amend the Federal Constitution to provide citizenship to children born overseas to their Malaysian mothers.

The commission expressed its disappointment in the recent Court of Appeal ruling to uphold the current law that children derive citizenship from only their Malaysian fathers.

“This is not in line with the intent and spirit of the Keluarga Malaysia concept. Malaysian women are also forced to migrate because their children are not accepted here.

“Many children are separated from their families and even suffer mental health issues due to their uncertain future,” it said in a statement.

“They are deprived of their basic needs, including access to medical services, education, citizenship and other rights guaranteed to all Malaysian citizens under the law.”

In view of this, Suhakam urges the government to provide a permanent solution to the plight of Malaysian mothers and their overseas-born children in order for them to remain a family.

“The government must expedite its proposal to amend the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution in line with Malaysia’s current membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council and its responsibility to achieve gender equality and fulfil the rights of children,” it added.

On Friday, the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling in September in which judge Akhtar Tahir had held that mothers were entitled to confer citizenship by operation of law in all processes, just like fathers.

He said the word “father” in the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution must mean and include mothers.

However, the Court of Appeal ruled by a 2-1 majority that the word “father” is “clear and unambiguous” and could not be construed to include “mother”. It held that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers can be denied citizenship.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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End patronage politics, say youth leaders of Bersatu, Umno

Predeep Nambiar

August 6, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Malay-based parties have been urged by two rival youth wing leaders to get rid of patronage politics and feudalistic ways.

The calls came from Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal and Umno Youth deputy leader Shahril Hamdan at a debate hosted by the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students.

Wan Fayhsal said that as long as political patronage exists, the moral decay among leaders would fester and further perpetuate a Malay political crisis that might be hard to reverse.

Shahril said young Malay politicians can start by ridding the Malay political system of feudalistic ways. He said support should be given instead based on best policies.

Wan Fayhsal said patronage was the biggest problem in Malay politics and Malay identity. “Look at all the cases involving 1MDB. It has to do with the way we Malays conduct our politics,” he said. “A drastic change is needed, which I believe is the common cause for everyone.”

Earlier, Wan Fayhsal had asked Shahril for his thoughts on patronage and what Umno would do about it.

Shahril said young politicians can start by ridding feudalistic ways in the Malay political system such as the notion “Umno exists because only the party can help Malays”.

He said while some of his party colleagues subscribed to this notion, he would never support it. “I want Malays to support Umno and not because they’re Malays. I want Malays to support Umno because Umno has the best policies and formulas.

“We’ve got to talk to our Malay constituency in a language that doesn’t scare them or create fearmongering. But instead, persuade them to support our parties based on a positive idea, not a scary, negative defensive idea,” he said.

Wan Fayhsal agreed that the belief in a need for a “protector” of the Malays ran deep in the community. He said Malaysia could not move forward with such a mentality: a better future required citizens to transcend race-based considerations.

The two youth leaders also exchanged jibes about the similarity between their two parties.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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50 years on, Mahathir’s Malay dilemma never seems to end

K. Parkaran

August 9, 2022

Young people do not really know who Dr Mahathir Mohamad is, beyond the fact that he was prime minister twice, and was the longest in office.

It’s important that they know who he really is, and was, more so because he has, yet again, launched a new race-based political platform for the next general election.

Five million new young voters have been added to the rolls since the voting age was lowered to 18; some will be voting for the first time.

Mahathir’s new Malay-only coalition is called Gerakan Tanah Air. Loosely translated in English, it means Homeland Movement. Lacks some oomph, many are saying.

Social media reaction was generally one of “Oh no! Not another racially-based political outfit in an already highly charged environment.” Many people now wonder if the only way to win elections in Malaysia is by using the race and religion cards.

The formation of the Pejuang-led GTA as a Malay-only coalition has come under criticism from several quarters, including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who said a more multiracial approach is needed to resolve the country’s woes.

However, Federal Territory Pejuang deputy chief Rafique Rashid Ali was quick to ask why the critics are not picking on the many other political parties which are also racially-based.

He claims being a racial party does not make it a racist one, and that it is open to cooperation with all.

Mahathir’s return to the Malay base comes half a century after his book, the Malay Dilemma, which he wrote a year after the May 13 racial riots had put the nation in a perilous mode.

In it, Mahathir openly advocated affirmative action policies for Malays.

The book was banned in Malaysia by then prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. It was lifted 11 years after Mahathir became prime minister.

Since then, historians have noted its influence on Malaysian society and governance, particularly the New Economic Policy which widened the affirmative action of special quotas for Bumiputeras in all fields. Mahathir’s open and unapologetic thrust was:

Malays are the indigenous people (Bumiputeras) of Malaysia, and by definition follow Islamic faith.

The sole national language is the Malay language and people of all other races are to learn it;

The tolerant and non-confrontational nature of the Malays has allowed them to be subjugated in their own land by people of other races, with the collusion of the British; and

A programme of affirmative action is required to correct the hegemony of Chinese Malaysians in business, and create a bigger Malay professional class.

Well, the rest is history. Malaysians are grappling with the racial impact these policies have caused. No prime minister or party will dare undo these embedded privileges as it will mean a huge voter backlash.

Some say the prospect of a Malay community deprived of special privileges is a potential time bomb. They may have a point but questions arise why after 50 years, the imbalance has not been corrected. In fact, it has led to a much more politically divided community.

In Mahathir’s early years as prime minister, he had to whet the appetite of the Malays as the government was faced with a pressing need to provide jobs. He launched a massive recruitment exercise for the public services, called Operasi Isi Penuh, to fill all vacancies in the civil service.

Veteran union leaders say the policy was the cause of the racially lop-sided civil service today.

After retiring in 2003, he returned to active politics in 2016 as one of the founders of Bersatu, formed by those who left Umno. Again it was a Malay-only party but with a weak exception: others could join as associate members without voting rights

But it was his presence at the highly contentious Malay Dignity Congress in 2019 while he was the prime minister of the multiracial Pakatan Harapan government that courted criticism. He stated that the Malays had accepted outsiders as citizens in exchange for independence from the British.

He not only defended his presence at the congress, he gave a pro-Malay speech and berated some non-Malays who had called the gathering racist, saying others could freely organise their gatherings and speak in their mother tongue without being labelled as bigots.

To some, this gathering was the start of a move by Umno, PAS, Bersatu and some Malay-based NGOs to oust PH claiming there were just too many non-Malay ministers in the Cabinet. Umno and PAS leaders were meeting Mahathir often to tell him the Malays were unhappy with the PH racial equation and it was a dangerous situation.

True, his government contained the largest number of non-Malay ministers in a Malaysian cabinet, mainly from the DAP. But they were legitimately elected to Parliament by Malaysians.

It was obvious that Mahathir did not put in enough effort, intentionally or otherwise, to stop the eventual “Sheraton Move” that ousted PH from power after 22 months, resulting in a near all-Malay government.

When asked at that time why he did not hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim as promised to the voters in the general election campaign, Mahathir said Anwar could not be prime minister because he is from a multiracial party and that PKR was not a Malay outfit.

After leaving Bersatu with his son and a small group of hardcore supporters, Mahathir formed Pejuang, another Malay-only party. Again, his theme was to “defend” the Malays from the so-called “marauding” Umno politicians who he claimed were corrupt.

Now at 97, Mahathir, who suffered a life-threatening illness last year, has just announced the formation of the Malay-based GTA coalition which currently comprises Pejuang, Parti Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa), Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) and the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party (Iman).

The movement also consists of Malay NGOs, academics and professionals. The aim is to change the government, going up against Umno at GE15.

For a man who publicly referred to Indians using the derogatory term “keling” a month before the 2018 general election and who later said it was “normal” for Malays to use that term on Indians, it must have come easy to form a race-based party or political platform over and over again.

But to keep on using the same old template, claiming that the move is to “save the Malay race” is actually an insult to the Malays themselves, let alone other races.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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NCC warns users on new ways hackers infiltrate, jeopardise privacy through Google Play Store

August 8, 2022

By John Owen Nwachukwu

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has flagged a new malware, HiddenAds, which has infiltrated Google Play Store that can impact device performance and jeopardize users’ privacy.

In its advisory of August 8, 2022, NCC-CSIRT classified the virus, first identified by the McAfee Mobile Research Team, as high in probability and damage potential.

The malware infiltrated the Google Play Store in the form of several device cleaners or optimization apps.

According to the summary provided by NCC-CSIRT “Upon installation, it can run malicious services without the user opening the app. It also spams the user with irrelevant advertisements. The apps have received downloads ranging from 100,000 to over a million.

“Some of the apps HiddenAds masquerades as are: Junk Cleaner, EasyCleaner, Power Doctor, Carpet Clean, Super Clean, Meteor Clean, Strong Clean, Windy Clean, Fingertip Cleaner, Keep Clean, Full Clean – Clean Cache, Quick Cleaner, and Cool Clean.

“When a user installs any of the aforementioned apps, whether the user has opened the app or not, a malicious service is immediately installed on the device. The app will then attempt to blend into the app tray by changing its icon to the Google Play icon that every Android user is familiar with. Its name will also change to ‘Google Play’ or ‘Setting’. The device will then be bombarded with ads in a variety of deceptive ways, severely impairing the user experience,” the advisory stated.

Anyone that installs the compromised app will experience their device performance suffering significantly, clicking on the ads may result in stealth downloads/installation of other malware, users may inadvertently subscribe to services and be billed on a monthly basis, and the privacy of users will be jeopardized.

NCC-CSIRT advised users to avoid downloading questionable apps or apps they are unsure about while those who have installed any of the identified malicious apps should immediately delete them.

It further disclosed that where the malicious app’s icon and name have changed, it can be identified by the fact that it is removable while the legitimate Google Play app cannot be uninstalled.

The advisory recommended the installation of anti-virus/anti-malware software with a proven track record for detecting and removing malware.

The Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) is the telecom sector’s cyber security incidence centre set up by the NCC to focus on incidents in the telecom sector and as they may affect telecom consumers and citizens at large.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Kenya's general polls begin, with Odinga and Ruto locked in close contest for presidency

Andrew Wasike



Long queues of voters were seen at different polling stations in Nairobi as voting to elect Kenya's president for the next five years began on Tuesday morning.

The country's election commission said the voting process began at 6 a.m. local time (0300GMT) and will continue until 5 p.m. local time (1400GMT) across 46,229 polling stations.

The commission reports that 22.1 million registered voters are exercising their democratic rights in the general elections, which are being monitored by 18,000 observers, including 1,300 international observers.

Electorates are casting ballots for the president, governor, members of parliament, and members of county assemblies.

The National Assembly is made up of 290 elected members, each representing a part of a county, 47 elected women from each of the 47 counties, and at least 12 members nominated to represent women, youth, and the marginalized. This gives the country 349 members to govern its affairs.

Many political pundits believe the elections will be a two-horse race between the country's 77-year-old former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the deputy president, 55-year-old William Ruto.

For the past 10 years, Kenyans have been governed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto. During his presidency, enormous expenditures on infrastructure were made, leaving Kenya more developed but also in debt.

Two other candidates have also been cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to contest the race.

Odinga, who is running for the presidency with the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance party, and his running mate Martha Karua, 64, have promised a government that focuses on manufacturing to promote wealth and fight unemployment.

Ruto, who is running for president with his Kenya Kwanza coalition, says his government will focus on a manifesto that is aimed at transforming the country's economy to achieve durable growth while maintaining macroeconomic stability and empowering the people at the bottom of the pyramid.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Islamic police confiscate 384 bottles of alcohol in Jigawa

August 8, 2022

By Khaleel Muhammad

Jigawa State Hisbah Board has seized 384 bottles of alcohol in Kazaure Local Government.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the command’s spokesman, Muhammad Sale Korau on Monday.

He said the personnel, while on patrol led by the state commandant Ibrahim Dahiru, succeeded in apprehending the alcohol on the route from Katsina to Kazaure town.

Korau said one person was arrested in connection with smuggling the alcohol into the state.

He said the suspect was handed over to the police for further investigation and would be charged to court for prosecution.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Suspected militants kill 4 Mali soldiers, 2 civilians

August 9, 2022

At least four soldiers, two civilians and five assailants were killed on Sunday in an attack in a strategic border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, Mali’s army said. The army blamed the attack on “terrorists” in an announcement late Sunday, using the term it typically uses for militants.

Earlier, it had said its troops had been repelling an attack by the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group, affiliated with the Daesh organization. The army’s death toll could be “much higher,” an elected official said, asking not to be named for security reasons.

The two civilians killed were local elected officials, their relatives said. Tessit is located on the Malian side of the so-called three-border area in a vast gold-rich region beyond state control.

Armed groups under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda aligned militants Jama’at Nasr Al-Islam wal Muslimin, or JNIM, are fighting ISGS there. The Malian army, which has a military camp next to the town of Tessit, has frequently been attacked in the area.

UN peacekeepers and, until a few months ago, French soldiers from Operation Barkhane, have also been deployed there. Thousands of residents have fled the area, many heading to the town of Gao, some 150 kilometers away.

The Tessit area, like the whole of the so-called three-border zone, is even more isolated during the rainy season when heavy rainfall prevents passage.

Source: Pak Observer

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FACT refuses Chad government's peace deal with rebel groups

09 August 2022

The Chadian main insurgent group has refused to join a peace deal signed between the government and rebel groups.

More than 40 rebel groups signed the national reconciliation deal in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Monday, but the Central African country’s main rebel group, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), refused to take part in the deal despite all efforts by the mediators.

Under the new deal, the opposition groups and the military government of Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, also known as Kaka who seized power following his father's death, will initiate reconciliation talks aimed at paving the way for a smooth democratic transition within 18 months.

Kaka, 38, who leads the Transitional Military Council (TMC), took power in April last year after FACT fighters led a rebel offensive in which his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who had been president for 30 years, was killed.

He proposed the start of the national dialog with rebels and members of the civil society, trade unions, political parties and government officials to agree on a constitutional framework to hold a presidential election.

Under the Doha peace deal, the national reconciliation dialog is scheduled to begin its work on August 20 in N’Djamena. The deal commits signatories to a ceasefire during the talks. The military government has also guaranteed the safety of rebel leaders who attend the talks.

Fadoul Hissein, from the National Council for Reform, one of the groups that inked the peace deal, said, “All Chadians will be happy with this deal.”

He said the FACT group, which is estimated to have between 1,500 and 2,000 members, is welcome to join the deal.

“The peace agreement is still open for anyone to come and join in the future. I urge anyone who has not signed to do so. They [FACT] are welcomed in the future to sign this agreement,” he added.

Source: Press TV

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Several killed as Nigerian troops attack Ashura procession in Kaduna

08 August 2022

Nigerian troops have reportedly attacked Shia Muslims, killing several people and injuring many others during a peaceful annual Ashura procession in Zaria, Kaduna state in the northwest.

Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello, a spokesman for the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), confirmed that at least four Shia mourners were killed by security forces in the attack on the peaceful mourners' procession held in Zaria's Central Market on Monday.

"Many of our members were attacked, and at least four people have been confirmed dead," Sheikh Bello, who is the representative ofIMN leader Ibrahim al-Zakzaky in Zaria, was quoted as saying.

Bello said the death toll from the attack had risen to six, while at least 50 more had sustained varying degrees of injury and were receiving medical attention in health facilities.

He accused the soldiers of “sporadic shooting at innocent citizens, including Shia members”. Unconfirmed reports said Sheikh Zazaky's nephew was among the dead.

An eyewitness cited by Iranpress, Abdulhakam Muhammad, said the procession had already finished peacefully when the police moved in and started firing teargas.

He said that after the police initiated the attack, the soldiers who were initially stationed in front of Emir of Zazzau Palace, starting firing live bullets, killing and injuring the mourners who were leaving the marketplace via the Babban Dodo roundabout.

Ashura mourning processions are held each year in many cities and towns in Nigeria. The mourning procession held on Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar, marks the day Imam Hussein (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was unjustly assassinated by the tyrant of the time Yazid in Karbala, Iraq.

A human rights activist, Ali Musa, also shared the information on his Twitter handle.

Source: Press TV

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