KASHMIR DISPUTE AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE


India has a long history of employing fascist tactics to suppress the genuine aspirations of Kashmiris. Indian troops in their unabated acts of state terrorism, martyred 95,917 innocent Kashmiris including 7,215 in custody, widowed 22,939, orphaned 107, 855 and molested 11,245 women since January 1989.

India has introduced coercive measures including new domicile laws to change the demographic structure of IIOJK. These actions are illegal and in blatant violation of UNSC resolutions and international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and Security Council Resolution 122.

Pakistan has presented a 131-page dossier detailing a series of atrocities committed by Indian government in IIOJK. Pakistan has shaken India diplomatically as the document has been officially shared with over 100 countries of the world.

Unfortunately, India did not reply to any of the questions asked by UNHRC rapporteurs on human rights violations, and is considered the acceptance of the crimes by Indian government committed in IIOJK.

UN should compel India to allow free access to special procedure mandate holders of the UN Human Rights Council for independent investigations of human rights violations.

Bitcoin falls by a fifth, cryptos see $1bn worth liquidated

Bitcoin shed a fifth of its value on Saturday as a combination of profit-taking and macro-economic concerns triggered nearly a billion dollars worth of selling across cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin was 12 percent down at 0920 GMT at $47,495. It fell as low as $41,967.5 during the session, taking total losses for the day to 22pc.

The broad selloff in cryptocurrencies also saw Ether, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, plunge more than 10pc.

Based on cryptocurrency data platform Coingecko, the market capitalization of the 11,392 coins it tracks dropped nearly 15pc to $2.34 trillion. That value had briefly crossed $3tn last month when Bitcoin hit a record $69,000.

The plunge follows a volatile week for financial markets. Global equities and benchmark US bond yields tumbled on Friday after data showed US job growth slowed in November and the Omicron variant of the coronavirus kept investors on edge.

Justin d’Anethan, Hong Kong-based head of exchange sales at cryptocurrency exchange EQONEX, said he had been watching the increase in leverage ratios across the cryptocurrency markets as well as how large holders had been moving their coins from wallets to exchanges. The latter is usually a sign of intent to sell.

“Whales in the crypto space seem to have transferred coins to a trading venue, taken advantage of a bullish bias and leverage from retail traders, to then push prices down,” he said.

The selloff also comes ahead of testimony by executives from eight major cryptocurrency firms, including Coinbase Global CFO Alesia Haas and FTX Trading CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, before the US House Financial Services Committee on December 8.

The hearing marks the first time major players in the crypto markets will testify before US lawmakers, as policymakers grapple with the implications of cryptocurrencies and how to best regulate them.

Last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission rejected a second spot-Bitcoin exchange-traded fund proposal from WisdomTree.

Data from another platform Coinglass showed nearly $1bn worth of cryptocurrencies had been liquidated over the past 24 hours, with the bulk being on digital exchange Bitfinex.

“If anything, this is the opportunity to buy the dip for many investors who might have previously felt like they missed the boat. We can see tether bought at a premium, suggesting people are getting cash ready, within the crypto space, to do just that,” D’Anethan said, referring to the biggest stable coin in the cryptocurrency world.

A plunge in Bitcoin funding rates — the cost of holding Bitcoin via perpetual futures which peaked at 0.06pc in October — also showed traders had turned bearish.

The funding rate on cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX fell to a negative 0.18pc from levels of 0.01pc for most of November.

PM Imran vows to go after those resorting to violence in the name of religion

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday categorically said that the government will not spare those who resort to violence in the name of Islam or the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

The premier made the comments while addressing a condolence reference for Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, who was lynched to death by a mob in Sialkot last week, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad.

Members of the federal cabinet also attended the event, which was held in solidarity with Kumara’s family and the Sri Lankan nation and government. The premier also laid a floral wreath on a portrait of Kumara.

A certificate of appreciation was also awarded to Malik Adnan — Kumara’s colleague who had tried to save his life. PM Imran had taken notice of the brave attempt and lauded Adnan’s “moral courage and bravery” on Sunday. He had also announced that Adnan would be honored with the Tamgha-i-Shujaat.

The event began with the recitation of the Holy Quran. A short documentary promoting religious harmony among all faiths was also played.

Addressing the somber event, the premier lauded Adnan’s bravery and said that it was heartening to see that a person tried to save another by risking his own life.

“Role models are important in the country because people follow them,” he said, adding that “moral power is greater than physical power”.

“I am sure our youth will remember the way Malik Adnan stood up against those beasts,” he said.

The premier also lamented the fact that people were killing others in the name of religion. “Prophet (PBUH) preached peace […] he taught us peace and justice,” he said. Justice is meted out in a humane society, but there is no rule of law in a society of animals, he said.

The premier said that people were killing others in the name of religion. “If someone accuses a person of blasphemy, the victim rots in jail and no lawyer or authority comes to his defense to see what actually transpired.

“Everyone is afraid of it. In fact, lawyers do not come forward and judges also refuse to listen to the cases.”

Commenting on the Dec 2014 attack on the Army Public School Peshawar, PM Imran said that the horrific incident had united the nation which had resolved to end terrorism. “After the Sialkot incident, the whole nation has decided that we will not let such a thing happen again.”

PM Imran said that the business community in Sialkot had informed him that they had collected $0.1 million for Kumara and that his family would continue to receive his monthly salary.

The prime minister said that he had established the Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority so that the entire nation could follow in the footsteps of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and so that the ulema could spread his teachings.

“But we are heading in a different direction,” he said as he called on the nation to read up on the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

“Our country is the only one that was built in the name of Islam. But this incident has brought us embarrassment,” he said, adding that he received many messages from those living abroad.

This image shows the certificate of appreciation that was awarded to Malik Adnan.
This image shows the certificate of appreciation that was awarded to Malik Adnan.

“People who are based overseas do not know what Islam is, and they distance themselves from the religion after seeing such incidents take place.”

PM Imran also said that the Sialkot tragedy was highlighted in India in an effort to defame Pakistan. “Their TV programs called this incident a routine occurrence in Pakistan, which is unjust,” he said, adding that he would not allow such incidents to happen as long as he was alive.

Concluding his speech, the premier once again paid tribute to Adnan. “It was painful to see what the mob did [to Kumara]. But seeing Adnan restored our faith in humanity.”

He added that Adnan would be given the Tamgha-i-Shujaat on March 23.

Sialkot lynching shames nation

A mob comprising hundreds of protestors, including the employees of the factory Kumara was the manager of, had tortured him to death on Friday and later burnt his body over blasphemy allegations.

A first information report was registered against 900 workers of Rajco Industries on the application of Uggoki Station House Officer (SHO) Armaghan Maqt under Sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 and 11WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The incident was followed by national outrage across the country, which led to calls and reassurances for retribution and justice from government officials. Kumara’s remains were repatriated to Sri Lanka on Monday with state honors.

In videos of the incident shared on social media, Malik Adnan was seen trying to calm the mob down and later shielded Kumara when the matter escalated, but in vain. The workers overpowered Adnan and dragged the Sri Lankan national out on the road.

‘Un-Islamic and inhumane’: Ulema condemn the lynching of Sri Lankan national over blasphemy allegation

Clerics from various schools of thought on Tuesday unanimously condemned the brutal lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot, calling it “un-Islamic” and “extrajudicial” as they demanded that strict legal action will be meted out to those responsible.

Kumara, a senior manager in a factory in Sialkot, was tortured to death on Friday (Dec 3) by hundreds of protesters, including the factory employees, and his body was later burnt over allegations of blasphemy.

“It was an inhumane act, and to accuse someone of blasphemy without proof is not in accordance with the Shariah,” said Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Dr. Qibla Ayaz as he read out a joint statement from ulema following their meeting with Sri Lankan High Commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Islamabad.

He said all scholars from a variety of sects had gathered to express condolence and solidarity on the horrific incident. “This tragedy caused anger worldwide as the mob brutally killed a man and later burned his body.”

Dr Ayaz termed the incident against the teaching of the Holy Quran, the Constitution as well as the laws of Pakistan, adding that “the act of some people brought shame to the people of Pakistan.”

“The strictest possible legal action must be taken against these miscreants,” he said.

He said there was no place for extremism and violence in Islam, and urged scholars to play their due role in uprooting the menace.

Dr. Ayaz said ulema fully supported the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to award Tamgha-i-Shujaat (Medal of Bravery) to Malik Adnan — the man who had tried to shield Kumara from the violent mob but in vain.

SL high commissioner satisfied with Pakistan’s response

Earlier, Sri Lankan High Commissioner Wijewickrama called the Sialkot incident a “horrific and horrendous” act but added that he was satisfied with the arrests made and the launching of legal proceedings.

“At the same time, I have seen that in the last three days people in Pakistan from all areas are condemning it (Kumara’s lynching), and they all say that ‘this is not Pakistan’ and we believe it.”

He acknowledged that Pakistan and Sri Lanka had both assisted each other on a number of occasions, adding that “this particular incident in Sialkot will not have any impact on the relations between the two countries.”

The high commissioner also said that Kumara’s family should be provided “adequate compensation”.

Govt plans network of sports grounds for youth: PM Imran

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan kicked off what he called the country’s biggest sports gala — Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive — on Monday and said that the government had disbursed Rs47 billion in scholarships and Rs100bn in soft loans to the youth.

The sports drive is part of four new projects worth Rs4 billion initiated by the present government in coordination with the Kamyab Jawan Programme and the Higher Education Commission to keep the country’s youth engaged in sports and extracurricular activities.

“Besides the promotion of sports activities, the government is also focusing on education and has disbursed Rs47bn in scholarships to 6.3 million youth, the highest number of scholarships in the country’s history,” the prime minister told a huge gathering of youths while launching the sports drive at Jinnah Stadium.

Kicks off Kamyab Jawan sports drive, chairs meeting on climate change

Mr Khan vowed that his government would lay a network of sports grounds across the country as sports gave the youth a healthy life and mental strength to fight the challenges in life.

“You win and lose in sports and defeat gives you a lesson to rise again. Sports give courage to the people to face difficulties in life,” he said, adding that since the country’s 70 percent population was under the age of 30 years, the present government had so far developed 300 and 260 sports grounds in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab respectively.

He said New Zealand, a country of just five million people, had more sports grounds than Pakistan, a country of 220m people, adding that the present government was striving to develop sports grounds in every village, town, tehsil, and district across the country.

The prime minister said that since a new sports policy had been announced, the government was taking all-out measures to reform and strengthen sports bodies and organizations and eliminate mafias from there.

Mr. Khan mentioned his 21 years of experience in sports to advise the youth that they should never feel discouraged after defeating in a game as it provided them an opportunity to review their shortcomings and prepare themselves for the next competition with renewed vigor and spirit.

The prime minister congratulated his special assistant on youth affairs Usman Dar on organizing such a big event and hoped that such talent-hunt drives would help further promote sports culture in the country.

Besides the participation of 6,000 youths — 3,300 boys and 2,700 girls — in the age group of 15 to 25 years in the sports competition, he said, a large number of youths from across the country had gathered at Jinnah Stadium to witness the sports drive.

Climate change

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the fourth meeting of the PM’s Committee on Climate Change and was briefed on issues relating to air pollution and violations of the Indus Water Treaty, adversely impacting the bio-diversity of Indus River Basin in Pakistan.

The prime minister emphasised the need for long-term planning in urban areas where environmental issues, including loss of green cover, sewage treatment, solid waste management and air pollution, needed immediate solution. He lamented that Pakistan’s contribution to global environmental pollution sources was negligible, but the impact of climate change was huge. “Pakistan is not part of the problem, yet we want to be part of the solution,” he added.

The prime minister approved in principle a concept plan of “Ecological Restoration of the Indus Basin for a Climate Resilient future”.

The concept plan comprises conservation and pollution control measures to be taken upstream, Indus plain and downstream of the Indus River Basin. A detailed plan will be completed within four months for approval and implementation. It will provide a vision and action-based framework to integrate current initiatives and develop new initiatives to fill the gaps.