The members of the Shia and Hazara community have concerns with the recent developments in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops from the war-torn nation.
Speaking at a virtual summit titled “Developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan and impact on Shias”, Dr Akram GIzabi, Chairman of World Hazara Council blames Pakistan military for backing the Taliban and fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan. He said, “Amir Abdur Rahman (Emir of Afghanistan) started the Holy war against Hazaras, abducted women and sold them as slaves, expelled Hazara from Kandahar and Zabul pushed them to barren lands in Central Afghanistan. When the Taliban came to power with help of ISI, Hazara suffered the most. Twenty thousand Hazaras were killed in Mazar-i- Sharif alone”.“Iran is not helping Hazaras. Iran’s way of thinking is racial but their rhetoric is Shia-based. In Afghanistan, they helped even those Sunnis who are racially linked to Persians or Aryans. But they use Hazaras to fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq and threaten to deport Iran-based Hazaras if they refuse to fight. Now, Afghan and Pakistani Hazaras are targeted because of those Hazaras who fought for Iran”.
Dr Akram GIzabi is disturbed by the changing scenario in Afghanistan as he fears the Taliban will intensify targeting the Hazara Shias with the withdrawal of United States -led NATO forces.
He said, “In Afghanistan, Hazaras are shutting down businesses and schools. Hazara schools and maternity homes were targeted in western Kabul killing hundreds including pregnant women. Afghans in the north have picked up arms to fight the Taliban. As Afghan army is regaining ground, the Taliban want to cease fire and release more prisoners as a condition to end the fight. Afghan government should not release more Taliban as this will only strengthen them and encourage them to resume fight”.
Senge H. Sering, Director of Institute of Gilgit Baltistan Studies said, “Today Ye jo dehshatgardi hai; is ke peechay vardi hai” means army is promoting terrorism, has become the most common slogan among Shias, Baloch, Sindhis, Pashtun and the people of Gilgit Baltistan.
“This shows that people have a basic understanding of the driving forces behind the large-scale killings of civilians’ especially racial and religious minorities opposing Pakistan’s strategic depth paradigm. In Pakistan, the relationship between the military and the militants is supreme and it comes at the cost of wellbeing and security of people like Shias. This means that the law enforcers and security personnel will not come to the rescue of Shias, Baloch or Hazaras when militants attack to displace or eliminate them”.
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AFTER PEGASUS SNOOPING REVELATIONS, ISRAEL INSPECTS NSO GROUP OFFICES
Israeli authorities have inspected the offices of NSO Group, a surveillance outfit, in response to the Pegasus project investigation into abuses of the company’s spyware by several government clients, as per The Guardian report.
Officials from the Defence Ministry visited the company’s offices near Tel Aviv on Wednesday, at the same time when Defence Minister Benny Gantz arrived in Paris for a pre-arranged visit. Gantz discussed the Pegasus revelations with his French counterpart.
French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the high-profile figures whose phone numbers appeared on a leaked database of 50,000 numbers that are believed to have been selected as candidates for possible surveillance by the clients of NSO, as per the report. Macron spoke to Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last week to stress the importance of “properly investigating” the project’s findings.
According to early media reports, the moves on NSO’s offices were described as a raid but the company stated that the authorities had only “visited” and not “raided” its premises.
The NSO clarified that it had been informed in advance that Defence Ministry officials, responsible for overseeing commercial exports of sensitive cyber-exports, would be doing an inspection. “The company is working in full transparency with the Israeli authorities,” the report added.
The Defence Ministry tweeted that the visit conducted by several state bodies was related to disclosures stemming from the Pegasus project — a consortium of 17 media outlets, including The Guardian, which revealed last week that government clients around the world have used the hacking software sold by NSO to target human rights activists, journalists, and lawyers.
As the scale of the disclosures has become clearer, diplomatic pressure has mounted on Israel to explain the nature of the relationship between NSO and the state under the tenure of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the report stated.
The wider Pegasus project investigation found that the Israeli government gave the NSO explicit permission in 2017 to try to sell the hacking tools to Saudi Arabia in a deal reportedly worth at least $55 million, the report added.
Gantz told French Defence Minister Florence Parly, on Wednesday, that Israel is investigating the matter “with the utmost seriousness”, as per a statement from the Israeli Defence Ministry.
BANGLADESH RAINS CREATE HAVOC; 20 DEAD, 3 LAKH STRANDED
DHAKA: Owing to the monsoon floods and landslides, 300,000 people in villages across southeast Bangladesh have been cut off, and at least 20 people have been killed including six Rohingya refugees, said officials.
Rohingya refugees living in camps have been battered by torrential rain since Monday. The officials informed, “The floods have stranded some 306,000 people in Cox’s Bazar district. At least 70 villages have been submerged by floods,” Mamunur Rashid, the district administrator, told AFP. He added, “At least 20 people have died in floods and landslides including six Rohingya refugees.” Also, about 36,000 people have been moved into schools and cyclone shelters, they added.
Bangladesh evacuated 10,000 Rohingyas from around refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar because of the storms earlier this week.
As per aid workers, Covid lockdown in the camps, following a major spike in cases, has affected rescue work as access is restricted.
For all I care, you can die any time, Philippine President’s message to unvaccinated people
MANILA: The President of the Philippines said that he doesn’t care if people who deny the Covid-19 die from the virus. In a national address on Wednesday, Rodrigo Duterte said: “For those who do not want it, well, for all I care, you can die anytime.”
The President added that he wants the police to restrict the movement of people who refuse Covid vaccines: “To those people who do not want to be vaccinated, I am telling you, don’t go out of your house. If you go out of your house, I will tell the police to return you to your home. You will be escorted back to your house because you are a walking spreader.”
Only 6% of the country is vaccinated, as per Reuters. Duterte previously threatened to jail people who refuse to get a coronavirus vaccine. Supply delays have also slowed the vaccination rate in some parts of the country, as per Bloomberg report.
TALIBAN TAKEOVER WOULD MAKE AFGHANISTAN ‘PARIAH STATE’, SAYS US SECRETARY OF STATE BLINKEN
NEW DELHI: The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, on Wednesday, that Afghanistan would become a “pariah state” if the government (after Taliban takeover) commits atrocities against its population.
Blinken said, “An Afghanistan that does not respect the rights of its people, an Afghanistan that commits atrocities against its people would become a pariah state,” as per TOLO News report. He added that the violence carried out by the Taliban against the Afghan people was deeply troubling and not a good sign for the future of the country.
“What we were seeing on the ground in the last week is the Taliban making advances on district centres, challenging some provincial capitals,” Blinken said and added, “we have also seen these reports of atrocities committed by the Taliban in areas that it has taken over that are deeply, deeply troubling and certainly do not speak well of the Taliban’s intentions for the country as a whole.” Blinken was on a two-day visit to India for talks with Indian leaders. He said the only path to peace in Afghanistan is through negotiations. –
INDIA’S GRANT ASSISTANCE: NEPALI TEMPLE RESTORATION BEGINS
Repair work of Nepal’s Hiranyavarna Mahavihar and Digi Chhen temple, which is one of the cultural heritage sites in the Himalayan country, began on Thursday. This restoration work has been funded by India.
It is part of the 28 cultural heritage projects being undertaken under the Indian government grant assistance of $50 million for Post-Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of cultural heritage sites in Nepal.
“The Mahavihar (temple) is being reconstructed at a cost of Nrs (Nepali Rupees) 181 million,” informed Indian Embassy.
Reconstruction work of Hiranyavarna Mahavihar and Digi Chhen, Lalitpur started after the local community performed “Chhema Puja”.
The puja was attended by officials from the Embassy of India in Kathmandu, the Central Level Project Implementation Unit and the government of Nepal. Seven cultural heritage projects are being reconstructed in the Lalitpur district, of which work on five projects are ongoing. Hiranyavarna Mahavihar, popularly known as the Golden temple, is situated in the monument zone of Patan Darbar square.
India, US renew Triangular Cooperation Agreement for global development
India and the United States have signed the Second Amendment to the statement of Guiding Principles on Triangular Cooperation for global development, says the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on Friday that India and the United States have signed the Second Amendment to the statement of Guiding Principles (SGP) on Triangular Cooperation for global development, .
As per the MEA release, the amendment was signed by Abhilasha Joshi, Joint Secretary, Development Partnership Administration-II Division, Ministry of External Affairs of India and Karen Klimowsky, Acting Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in India. The SGP Agreement, signed in November 2014, underscores the contribution of the India-US partnership to global stability and prosperity. It provides a framework for promoting cooperation between the two countries to meet the developmental aspirations of partner countries, particularly in Asia and Africa.
“The Second Amendment to the SGP Agreement, signed today, extends the validity of the SGP Agreement up to 2026. It expands the scope of capacity-building activities undertaken jointly by India and the United States under this framework and also provides a consultative mechanism for joint biannual monitoring and review of activities undertaken under the SGP,” stated the MEA release.
Under this agreement, India and the US will continue to offer capacity-building assistance to partner countries in multiple sectors focusing primarily on agriculture, regional connectivity, trade and investments, nutrition, health, clean and renewable energy, women empowerment, disaster preparedness, water, sanitation, education and institution building.
The agreement helps fulfil the joint commitment of both nations to work together and leverage their combined capacities to provide a demand-driven development partnership. This cooperation with the US will complement India’s other ongoing and future development partnerships, capacity building and technical assistance with countries globally.
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