Category Archives: ISLAMABAD

Two brothers reunite at Kartarpur after 74 years

NAROWAL: The Kartarpur Corridor reunites two brothers who separated 74 years ago amid chaotic partition.

Muhammad Siddique, 80, and Habib, 78, separated 74 years ago at the time of partition. They hugged and cried and garlanded each other on the happy occasion of reunion.

The Kartarpur administration distributed sweets.

Siddique, a resident of Phugaran village on the outskirts of Faisalabad district, said he had contacted a Sikh social worker from Canada two years ago. He said the social worker had helped reunite the two brothers.

According to Siddique, his brother and sister had gone to his grandparents’ house with his mother in 1947.

“A civil war was raging on and my father and other family members decided to migrate immediately to save lives and we came to Pakistan,” he said.

Habib from Indian Punjab said it was the happiest day of his life.

The corridor is playing an important role in reuniting friends and relatives who separated during partition.null

The two brothers visited Gurdwara Darbar Sahib and the officials also gave them gifts.

TTP confirms senior leader Khurasani’s death, calls it ‘huge loss’

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday confirmed the death of senior leader Mufti Khalid Balti alias Mohammad Khurasani, whose killing in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan was revealed this week.

The current TTP spokesman, who also shares the Mohammad Khurasani alias with Balti, confirmed his death in a statement but shared no details of how he had died.

A senior security official from Pakistan had confirmed Balti’s killing on Monday, saying he was the current TTP spokesman. However, TTP had said Balti was not holding any position.

A militant source told Dawn.com that Balti’s funeral was held in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province on Tuesday and he was buried there.null

Meanwhile, the current TTP spokesman said in a statement that the group “lost a religious scholar and expert of political affairs”, deeming it a a “huge loss”.

He said Balti joined the TTP when he migrated in 2011 and had remained active since. He was arrested in 2015 and remained imprisoned until last year before being killed on Jan 9 (Sunday).

Earlier, the Pakistani security official said Balti, aged around 50, was involved in several attacks on the people and security forces of Pakistan.

Balti had been visiting Kabul frequently since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August last year, the official added.null

He had been making efforts for uniting various TTP factions and planning terrorist attacks with TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, the official said, adding that Balti had recently hinted at carrying out terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

Despite confirmations from Pakistan and TTP itself, a spokesman for the Afghan government had denied the killing of the senior TTP member and said that no such incident had taken place.

“I do not confirm these reports. They are not true. No such incident has taken place on this (Afghan) side,” Afghan government spokesperson Bilal Karimi had told Dawn.com when asked for a comment on Balti’s killing.

Hailing from Gilgit-Baltistan, Balti had been an operational commander of the TTP for the past several years.

In 2007, he joined the banned Tehreek Nifaz Shariat-i-Muhammadi in Swat and established close ties with Mullah Fazlullah, a former head of the TTP. He had cordial and close relations with TTP members of all tiers, officials said, adding that Balti played a vital role in the TTP’s propaganda campaign.

Officials said Balti ran a terrorist hideout in Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s Miramshah town and had fled to Afghanistan in the aftermath of operation Zarb-i-Azab. In 2014, he served as the head of the TTP media committee.

He was arrested in 2015 in Nangarhar by Afghan forces and remained at Bagram and Pul-i-Charkhi jails, according to a former TTP member, who was aware of Balti’s activities.

Balti, and other TTP militants, were freed last year in August when the Afghan Taliban resorted to releasing prisoners during their military offensive.

He was also the person who had called the media in Pakistan and Afghanistan to claim the 2014 terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar.

FO says ‘real possibility’ of India staging another false flag operation

The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday warned that there was a “real possibility” that neighbouring India might stage “another false flag operation”.

FO spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad made the comments during his weekly media briefing, where he touched upon several topics, including Indian human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

In his opening statement, the FO spokesperson said that Kashmir’s Right to Self-Determination Day was observed earlier this month on Jan 5.

“On this day in 1949, the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan in its resolution guaranteed the Kashmiri people the right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations,” he said.null

He noted that in messages marking the occasion, President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi highlighted the grave human rights violations in IIOJK and urged the international community to ensure accountability for the crimes against humanity and to play their role in resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

“Pakistan reaffirmed its steadfast support for the Kashmiris till the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination,” he said, adding that it was “reprehensible” that Indian occupation forces were continuing the killing spree in IIOJK.

“Since the start of this year, at least 15 Kashmiris have fallen victim to extra-judicial killings in fake encounters and so-called cordon-and-search operations. At least 210 Kashmiris were martyred in 2021. India is also shamelessly targeting journalists and human rights defenders,” the spokesperson said.

“We are also concerned and we are continuing to alert the international community about India’s track record. There is a real possibility that India might stage another false flag operation to complicate the current situation. So we continue to alert our friends in the international community about this prospect,” he added.

Ahmad also called on the international community to take immediate notice of Indian state-terrorism in IIOJK and to hold New Delhi accountable for the egregious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

“India must allow unhindered access to international human rights and humanitarian organisations and UN Special Mandate Holders to conduct independent investigations in IIOJK,” he said.

Relations with India

According to Radio Pakistan, Ahmad also said that Pakistan remained committed to peaceful relations with all its neighbours, including India.

“However, the onus is on India to create an enabling environment for dialogue,” he said while responding to question from a reporter.

The FO spokesperson regretted that there was no visible change in India’s “hostile attitude and negative behaviour,” the state broadcaster quoted him as saying.

Minorities in India

During the media briefing, the FO spokesperson also said that the “despicable harassment and insult of Muslim women in India through purpose-built online application” was rightly and widely condemned.

“This obnoxious and repugnant act is the newest low in the violent streak of hate attacks and targeting of minorities with impunity overseen by the BJP-RSS extremist dispensation under which space for minorities is continuously shrinking in India,” he said.

He added that the “deafening silence” of the BJP leadership and the absence of discernible action against Hindutva proponents openly calling for genocide of Muslims should “send alarm bells across the international community”.

As the prime minister had said, it is high time the global community takes note and acts to stop this dangerous slide and ensure the safety, security and well being of minorities in India, he added.

PM Imran to pay three-day visit to China

The Radio Pakistan report also quoted the FO spokesperson as saying that the premier would embark on a three-day visit to China on February 3 to attend the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics at the invitation of Chinese leadership.

During his visit, the premier will also interact with the Chinese leadership to further strengthen the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries and to exchange views on regional and international issues, he said.

Security reviewed in commanders conference

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over operational preparedness of the army’s formations.

He made these remarks while chairing the 246th Corps Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters. The participants of the conference reviewed the security situation with particular focus on border management and internal security.

Bajwa satisfied with operational preparedness of army’s formations

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Gen Bajwa emphasised continued mission-oriented training for the formations to ensure combat readiness in view of the emerging threats and challenges.

The participants were also apprised of the progress and achievements of operation Radd-ul-Fasaad.

The ISPR said the army chief appreciated the efforts of the formations involved in relief operations to mitigate challenges of the people affected due to snowstorm in Murree and heavy rainfalls in Balochistan.

Taliban FM meets Ahmad Massoud’s son, Ismail Khan in Iran

KABUL: The Taliban’s foreign minister said on Monday he held talks in Iran on the weekend with Ahmad Massoud, son of the late legendary Afghan resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, and guaranteed his security if he returned home.

Massoud’s Panjshir Valley forces provided the last resistance in September to the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, weeks after government troops capitulated.

In a video posted by state media on Twitter, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said he also met Ismail Khan, a Herat province warlord who surrendered to the Taliban and left the country.

The Taliban had announced Muttaqi’s departure to Tehran for talks with Iranian officials but made no mention of any plans to meet exiled leaders.

“We met commander Ismail Khan and Ahmad Massoud, and other Afghans in Iran, and assured them that anyone can come to Afghanistan and live without any concerns,” Muttaqi said in the video.

“It’s home to all, and we do not create insecurity or other problems for anyone. Everyone can come freely and live.”

The Panjshir Valley is famed for being the site of resistance to Soviet forces in the 1980s and the Taliban in the late 1990s, during their first stint in power.

Its most revered figure is Ahmad Shah Massoud, known as the “Lion of Panjshir”, who was assassinated in 2001 by Al Qaeda two days before the 9/11 attacks.

His son has since picked up the mantle, and there have been reports of him organising a resistance with other exiled Afghan leaders.

The Massoud-led National Resistance Front has repeatedly denounced the Taliban — calling it an “illegitimate government” — but does not appear to have made any physical attacks.