News Desk

Oct 142017

Afghan officials say that a US drone strike has killed 14 ISIS militants in the Kuner province of eastern Afghanistan. The strike happened on Thursday afternoon. “The drone had targeted a meeting of ISIS commanders who were planning a terrorist attack,” spokesperson for the provincial governor, Abdul Ghani Musamim, told the Associated Press. The government of Afghanistan has no formal control over the part of the country where IS’s Afghan affiliate has been able to establish its presence. British ‘White Widow’ Sally Jones killed by US drone strike in Syria: report The US-led forces were not immediately available for comment, though Dawlat Waziri, spokesperson Afghanistan’s defence ministry, has confirmed the drone strike. Conflicting reports are coming out of the country, however, as the Kuner province’s MP Shahzada Shaheed said that the victims of the drone strikes were not militants, but actually innocent civilians. After new strategy: Trump resurrects drone campaign Drone strikes have intensified under the new Trump administration, as the US looks to target IS strongholds in the country with air strikes and operations on the ground. According to US officials, there are about 600-800 IS fighters in Afghanistan, most of them based in Nangarhar. The US forces are also helping Afghan forces fight a Taliban insurgency in large swathes of the country. This article originally appeared in The Guardian. The post Drone strike kills 14 in Afghanistan appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Oct 142017

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) issued on Saturday non-bailable arrest warrants for Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) members and lawmakers in a hate speech case. The MNAs against whom the warrants were issued included MNA Rasheed Godil, Salman Mujahid, Khalid Maqbool and Khushbakht Shujat, Express News reported. In August 2016, MQM’s founder Altaf Hussain’s address to his workers let to attacks on the offices of television channels. The development led to the party being divided into two factions, one of them being led by veteran Farooq Sattar. The court issued the warrants after hearing in three of the 29 cases registered against the accused, relating to hate speech and incitement of violence. Later, Sattar told journalists that raids at workers’ houses and arrests had intensified. “We hope that the ongoing cases will reach their logical conclusion,” he added. The post ATC issues non-bailable arrest warrants against MQM-Pakistan leaders appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Oct 132017

An Islamic faith school’s policy of segregating boys from girls is unlawful sex discrimination, leading UK judges have ruled. Three Court of Appeal judges in London overturned last year’s finding by a High Court judge that Ofsted inspectors were wrong to penalise the mixed-sex Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham on the basis of an “erroneous” view that segregation amounted to unlawful discrimination, Mail Online reported. In a test case ruling on Friday, the Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, Lady Justice Gloster, and Lord Justice Beatson unanimously allowed a challenge by Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman against Justice Jay’s decision. The ruling will affect other schools which have a segregation policy. Muslim school where library books said husbands could beat wives to be taken over by UK govt The appeal judges held that the school’s policy of complete segregation from year five caused detriment and less favourable treatment for both male and female pupils by reason of their sex, and was contrary to the 2010 Equality Act. For religious reasons the voluntary-aided school, which has pupils aged between four and 16, believes that separation of the sexes from year five onwards is obligatory. It has complete segregation of boys and girls from nine to 16 for all lessons, breaks, school clubs and trips. Full response from Birmingham City Council to Al Hijrah school court ruling: — Bham City Council (@BhamCityCouncil) October 13, 2017 Spielman said after the ruling: “I am delighted that we have won this appeal. “Ofsted’s [Read More…]

Oct 132017

Taking a dig at Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said on Friday that it was a “miracle” that even a person like him had the audacity to speak on corruption. “He [Zardari] is the worst disease and robber in Pakistan. He and his sister [Faryal Talpur] have served me with defamation notices because I don’t respect them,” he told the participants of a PTI rally in Peshawar. “But I will continue to speak the truth. I will go to Sindh to free its people from the chains of fear and the PTI will form the next government in the province,” he added. Beware of politicians like Imran and Sharif, Zardari tells K-P people Khan said Pakistanis had to go to other countries to find jobs because $10 billion was sent abroad every year through money laundering. “People like Zardari and [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief] Nawaz Sharif steal money from Pakistanis and buy properties and build factories in other countries. Our citizens then go abroad and work at these factories,” he maintained. “If all this money is spent on building factories and universities in Pakistan, we won’t have to seek loans from the IMF and lose our dignity,” he added. The PTI chief said the government begged for IMF loans and then imposed heavy taxes on citizens to pay back their installments.   The post It’s a ‘miracle’ that even Zardari’s speaking on corruption, says Imran appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click [Read More…]

Oct 132017

A technocrat or undemocratic government cannot resolve the issues faced by Pakistan, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said. “The masses are cognisant of the incumbent government’s performance and they will make their decision [by casting their votes] in the 2018 general elections,” the premier said after inaugurating an oil and gas project in Attock on Friday. “We need to strengthen democracy because the journey on the path to development cannot continue without stable democracy.” Abbasi, who took over the PM’s office after disqualification of Nawaz Sharif from office in August, claimed PML-N’s performance during the last four years was better than the work done [by the former governments] in the last 15 years. PM Abbasi busy saving Sharif’s skin, says Imran “Initiation of 103 oil and gas projects during the aforementioned period is a sign of better future for the country,” Abbasi said. The project in Attock, other than oil and gas, he added, will offer 50 tonnes of liquid petroleum gas (LPG). The PM claimed that every sector was being provided with the facility of gas. “The government has added more than 10,000MW of electricity to the national power grid during its tenure,” he added. The post Technocrat govt can’t resolve Pakistan’s issues: PM Abbasi appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Oct 132017

Karachi has secured a slot among the top 60 safest cities in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s The Safe Cities Index 2017, but the one at the very bottom. Pakistan financial hub ranked 60th with an overall score of 38.77. It ranked last for health security and personal security, and had the highest frequency and severity of terrorist attacks. Tokyo tops the overall ranking, scoring 89.8, with its strongest performance is in the digital security category while it has risen seven points in the health security category since 2015. However, in infrastructure security, it has fallen out of the top ten, to 12th. Singapore received a score of 89.64, and Osaka 88.87. Toronto, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Sydney, Stockholm, Hong Kong, and Zurich also made it to the top 10. Karachi up top, but not by much Yangon in Myanmar came in second last with a score of 46.47. Dhaka, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Caracas, Quito, Tehran, Cairo, and Johannesburg were also at the bottom of the list. The US performed well in digital security, but the country’s infrastructure negatively affected its rankings this year. No US city was among the top 10 – San Francisco, at 15, was the only one in the top 20. It is observed in the report that in many cities, security is falling rather than rising. With two exceptions (Madrid, which is up 13 points and Seoul, up six), cities tend to have fallen in the index since 2015 (for example, New York is down 11, Lima is down 13, Johannesburg is down nine, Ho [Read More…]

Oct 122017

The Foreign Office raised on Thursday Pakistan’s concerns on India’s ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary with UN Security Council’s five permanent members. The UN Security Council permanent members include China, France, Russia, UK and US. According to a statement, the heads of P5 states were briefed by Janjua as well as the DGMO Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza in Islamabad on the surge in violations from the Indian side, particularly in the past two months. The foreign secretary underscored the need to stop the unprecedented escalation by the Indian army at the LoC. She said that the ceasefire violations in populated areas has led to the martyrdom of 45 civilians as well serious injuries to 155 in this year alone. The victims include a large number of women and children, she added. The foreign secretary said the violations were taking place in complete disregard to the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding and of International Law. Indian regime’s actions, Janjua said, were a serious threat to the maintenance of regional peace. India admits ceasefire violations under ‘Operation Arjun’ “While emphasizing the important role of the United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOGIP) which has the mandate for maintaining peace and tranquility at the LoC and the Working Boundary,” the communique read.  “However, India is not cooperative and limits their access. ” Pakistan, it said, maintains India should permit UNMOGIP to play its mandated role in line with the UNSC resolutions to ensure peace. She said that the situation has been aggravated by [Read More…]

Oct 102017

Twitter users did not react kindly to Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar’s recent National Assembly speech in which he had launched an attack on the Ahmadiyya community. In the speech, Safdar, son-in-law of former premier Nawaz Sharif,  called for a ban on hiring Ahmadis in the armed forces and other important institutions of the country. Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath: Fazl claims credit for defending religious law Some journalists and social media activists voiced their concern over the consequences Safdar’s words could have on the precarious law and order situation in the country. Capt Safdar's narrative is v dangerous 4 Pakistan's stability &unity. His constant attacks on people's faith must be condemned unequivocally — Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) October 10, 2017 One user scathingly reminded Safdar of the contributions prominent Ahmadis had made to the state of Pakistan. These two Ahmadis have done more for Pakistan than Capt. Safdar, PMLN and their forefathers put together. — Sohaib (@soahb) October 10, 2017 Gen Akhtar Hussain Malik (Ahmadi)the war hero of 1965…Apparently he shudnt have been in the military in the first place acc to Capt Safdar — Awais Bajwa (@awaisbajwa_) October 10, 2017 Others like journalist Zahid Hussain and activist Jibran Nasir were not so subtle, and called for his arrest outright. Capt Safdar must be tried for making hate speech. He had earlier hailed Mumtaz Qadri. — zahid Hussain (@hidhussain) October 10, 2017 Kh. Asif had told Asia Society that diff between PMLN & PTI is that: PMLN is a liberal party. And now Capt. Safdar [Read More…]

Oct 092017

A ministry of minority affairs’ committee in India has recommended reducing embarkation points for Hajj from 21 to nine, in a bid to cut down government spending. The five-member panel, tasked with drafting a new policy for the pilgrimage between 2018 and 2022, recommended reducing the quota of pilgrims going through the Hajj Committee of India (HCI) by fixing the ratio of HCI pilgrims and those going through private tour operators to 70:30. Court orders India to scrap hajj subsidies According to Hindustan Times, the panel also suggested that purchasing of ‘Adahi’ (animal sacrifice) coupons should be mandatory for all pilgrims. It said the policy was drafted in light of a 2012 Supreme Court order asking the centre to gradually abolish the Hajj subsidy by 2022. It was submitted to Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on October 7, who said the government would come up with a final draft after reviewing the recommendations. “The 2018 Hajj pilgrimage will be in line with the new Hajj policy. It is a better policy, looking at the facilities proposed. It will be a transparent, people-friendly policy. It will ensure safety and security of pilgrims,” said Naqvi. The draft policy, the committee members said, would allow the central government, which has already substantially reduced the subsidy, to quash it all together within a year. “We had to find ways to reduce government spending,” said Kamal Faruqui, one of the committee members also associated with All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AMPLB). The [Read More…]

Oct 072017

As the US-led invasion of Afghanistan enters its seventeenth year, Taliban militants have been reported saying that they are not tired of the war at all, according to Afghanistan’s Khaama Press. In a statement, the group called on all the American forces present in the region to withdraw, claiming that only the Taliban represented the Afghan people as a whole. Pakistan urges Afghan Taliban to shun violence The statement spoke at length about the Taliban’s long-term commitment to the war, insisting that they did not feel disappointed but instead had even higher morale for the continued war effort. It also said that the Afghan nation had not become tired of war, nor will it ever become tired of it. “Taliban remain fully committed to driving the Americans out of the country,” the statement reads. RAW supports Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, acknowledges Indian analyst in top daily The group though, did not comment on the recent efforts of the international community to bring it to the negotiation table, aimed at furthering the peace efforts in Afghanistan on behalf of the Afghan government. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had called on the Taliban to opt for “ballots instead of bullets” and to renounce the use of violence as a political tool last week. Ghani has repeatedly asked the group to join peace efforts in the past. Afghan Taliban leaders are in Quetta and Peshawar: Gen Nicholson The Taliban statement comes merely weeks after US President Donald Trump unveiled his new strategy for the conflict-ridden South [Read More…]

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