Category Archives: WORLD

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.

Haridwar hate speech case: SC notice to Uttarakhand govt, no stay on upcoming events

The petitioners in the Haridwar Dharam Sansad hearing said no nodal officer had been appointed in the case and that the Supreme Court’s orders were not being followed. Hence, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government.

The SC has issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government in the Haridwar hate speech case.

The petitioners in the case pointed out that orders had been passed in earlier judgments to appoint nodal officers to take action against such gatherings. In this case, the petitioners said, no nodal officer has been appointed. They said that the Supreme Court’s orders were not being followed.

At the gathering, Yati Narsinghanand reportedly said that “arming the Hindu brigade with bigger and better weapons” would be the “solution” against the “threat of Muslims.

As many as 76 lawyers of the Supreme Court had earlier written to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana to seek suo motu cognizance to be taken of the ‘hate speech and calls for ‘ethnic cleansing’ at two religious events held recently in Delhi and Haridwar.

Sibal on Wednesday told the court: “This matter needs to be heard urgently. More Dharam Sansads have been announced in Una, Dasna, Aligarh at a time when the elections are going on in the state. This will vitiate the atmosphere. This is incitement of violence.”

“Preventive detention law is there to prevent exactly such a thing,” he added.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli heard the matter as public interest litigation (PIL), demanding an investigation into the hate speeches targeting Muslims at the Haridwar Dharam Sansad.

European Parliament president Sassoli dies at age 65

BRUSSELS: David Sassoli, an Italian journalist who worked his way up in politics while defending the downtrodden and repressed to become president of the European Unions parliament, died at a hospital in Italy early on Tuesday. He was 65.

European Council President Charles Michel called Sassoli a sincere and passionate European. We already miss his human warmth, his generosity, his friendliness and his smile.

Sassoli, a socialist, had been hospitalized since Dec 26 because of abnormal functioning of his immune system, Cuillo said in a statement released the day before Sassoli’s death.

Sassoli had been struggling for months with poor health after he suffered pneumonia caused by the legionella bacteria in September. His health steadily declined afterward and he was forced to miss several important legislative meetings. Yet, as much as possible, he stayed on the job, where his vigor and easy smile had always been a trademark. He was at his strongest when he took up the cause of migrants who died crossing the Mediterranean or dissidents such as Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is taking on the Kremlin from a jail cell.

Everyone loved his smile and his kindness, yet he knew how to fight for what he believed in, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, reminiscing how a much younger Sassoli had traveled to Germany to see the infamous Berlin Wall come down well over three decades ago.

European unity was his benchmark, just as much as justice among all Europeans was.

Our Union has lost at the same time an Italian patriot, a great European and a tireless humanist, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

Over the past few months, he improved enough to preside over a European Parliament session in December to give the EUs main human rights award, the Sakharov Prize, to Navalny’s daughter. High in symbolism, it showed him at his best. A few weeks later, his wishes for the new year became his political testament as an optimist with great expectations.

We can be that hope when we don’t ignore those in need. When we don’t build walls on our borders. When we fight all forms of injustice. Here’s to us, here’s to hope, he said in the address.

He is survived by his wife, Alessandra Vittorini, and his children, Livia and Giulio. Flags flew half-staff and the European Parliament opened a condolences register. The European Commission will hold a minute of silence when it meets on Wednesday.

Pope Francis, who received Sassoli in audience last year, sent an unusually heartfelt telegram of condolences to Sassoli’s wife, paying tribute to him as an animated believer of hope and charity … who, in a peaceful and respectful way, worked for the common good with a generous commitment.

A lifelong fan of Fiorentina football club, he emulated the refined style of the team where Gabriel Batistuta and Roberto Baggio thrived.