South Asian Countries

Taliban pleads for unfreezing of Afghan reserves at Doha talks

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Taliban delegation has asked US administration to unfreeze Kabul’s financial assets enabling it to function as the government as it faces a tough economic crisis in the talks held in Doha, Qatar.A delegation of US officials led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West met a Taliban delegation led by Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, according to News International. Further, the US State Department spokesperson said that the two delegations discussed the international community’s ongoing and urgent response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.“The United States remains committed to ensuring that US sanctions do not limit the ability of Afghan civilians to receive humanitarian support from the US government and international community while denying assets to sanctioned entities and individuals,” the statement mentioned.Earlier US has frozen $ 9.5 Billion assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash…

South Asian Countries

Need to strengthen emergency evacuation capabilities: NATO on Afghan operations

Brussels [Belgium]: NATO needs to increase the capabilities of member states to conduct large-scale and urgent evacuation operations in the future, foreign ministers of the alliance said on Wednesday considering the evacuation operations undertaken in Afghanistan by the countries post-Taliban takeover.“Meeting in Riga on Wednesday (1 December 2021), NATO Foreign Ministers discussed the lessons learned from the Alliance’s engagement in Afghanistan over almost two decades,” NATO said in a statement. Following the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and forces in August, a comprehensive political and military assessment was conducted by NATO, with the active involvement of its allies and other experts.The ministers gathered in Latvia’s Riga to discuss the results of the alliance’s operation and the lessons they learned from their engagement in Afghanistan. “NATO should consider how to strengthen its capabilities to conduct short-notice, large-scale evacuation operations in the future,” the statement…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan: Imran Khan bars ministers from foreign visits

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister has barred members of the federal cabinet from travelling abroad without permission, stating that he himself was not undertaking foreign visits, local media reported on Wednesday. According to The Express Tribune, National Assembly Member (MNA) Riaz Fatyana’s trip to Glasgow for the global climate summit and his allegations of a brawl were among matters that came in for discussion during the cabinet meeting.The Prime Minister said that when he was not undertaking foreign visits, the ministers of his cabinet should also avoid such visits. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also said that MNAs and senators travel abroad more than the ministers. Responding to this, Imran Khan said that even the government MNAs and senators should not go on foreign trips. “Government affairs should be the first priority for us,” the Pakistan Prime Minister said. Meanwhile, alarmed over the Omicron strain…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan revisits ties with Saudi Arabia to revive its crumbling economy

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan is trying to mend its ties with Saudi Arabia in order to get financial help to revive its crumbling economy.While Pakistan has hailed its ‘brotherly’ relations with Saudi Arabia, it is evident that its new ‘brotherhood’ with Saudi Arabia comes at a time when Pakistan is on the brink of a financial crisis, according to the Times of Israel. “The Pakistani economy has been faltering, with an imminent balance of payment crisis and the country increasingly dependent on external debts to stay afloat. Given its inability to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for release of USD 1 billion,” wrote Sergio Restelli, an analyst for the Times of Israel.Despite this, Saudi Arabia has pledged financial assistance package which includes about $ US 3 billion in deposits and $ 1.2 billion to USD 1.5 billion worth of oil supplies on deferred…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan’s Awami National Party slams Imran Khan government after funds earmarked by Korean bank lapse

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s Awami National Party on Monday slammed the Imran Khan government for showing disinterest in Dir Expressway Developmental Project.The remarks came from ANP spokesperson and former senator Zahid Khan, who claimed that 90 million dollars earmarked by a Korean bank for construction of 120 kilometres Chakdara to Dir expressway had lapsed due to disinterest of the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, reported The News International. “Korean bank had taken back 90 million dollars it had provided during the previous government of PML-N for the construction of 120 kilometres Chakdara to Dir expressway,” he informed media persons.In previous months, Dir Qaami Pasoon (DQP), a non-political organisation working for the uplift of Dir had also demanded the government to take practical steps for initiating and completing development projects in the district reported Pakistan newspaper Dawn News.Speaking at a press conference at Timergara Press Club,…

South Asian Countries

Widespread demolition move in Karachi only a scheme to make it China’s town: Altaf Hussain

London [UK]: Muttahidda Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain has said that properties of Mohajirs in Karachi are being demolished to make room for China to convert Karachi into a remote Satellite colony of Punjab and to accommodate China in the region. The government of Pakistan has entered into an agreement with China in this regard. As per the agreement, the Pakistan military would help China in demolishing buildings in Karachi for new construction and Karachi will become a satellite state of Punjab like Hong Kong.Hussain made the revelation in his telephonic address to the Mohajir nation. He strongly condemned the Supreme Court’s orders for the demolition of the Nasla Tower, a residential project in Karachi. The demolition of properties of Mohajirs in Karachi on the order of the country’s apex court judge on Pakistan military’s orders is a sheer manifest of economic carnage…

South Asian Countries

Pashtun Tahafuz Movement holds power show in Pakistan’s Quetta demanding release of Ali Wazir

Quetta [Pakistan] : A power show was organized by Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) demanding the release of Pashtun Movement Leader MNA Ali Wazir and other workers.Being the leader of PTM, Ali Wazir is also a member of the National Assembly from South Waziristan. The power show was held to protest for the release of the PTM leader who was imprisoned a year ago, as per media reports. Wazir was arrested in Peshawar on Dec 16, 2020, at the request of the Sindh police, and flew to Karachi.Wazir was arrested on the charges of making insulting and incendiary speeches against the state institutions at a PTM protest rally in Karachi on Dec 6, 2020, according to the newspaper.According to media reports, the Balochistan government has banned the entry of the PTM head into the province. However, the head of PTM, Manzoor Pashteen was present at…

South Asian Countries

China will successfully hold 2022 Beijing Olympics despite Omicron concerns

Beijing [China] : China will successfully hold the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games on schedule, despite the worldwide spread of the new Omicron coronavirus strain, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday.“Regarding the impact of the Omicron strain on the Winter Olympics, I think it will definitely bring some prevention and control challenges, but thanks to China’s experience in preventing the spread of and combating COVID-19, I am fully confident that the Winter Olympics the games will be successfully held in accordance with the schedule,” Sputnik quoted Zhao as saying. The Games are scheduled for February 4-20, 2022.The WHO, on November 27, named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’.The World Health Organization has warned the Omicron variant, which has already been confirmed in Europe, Canada, Israel and Hong Kong, maybe more transmissible or evade…

South Asian Countries

Causalties feared as blast hits Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan] : A blast rocked Darul Aman road in Police District 3 of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Tuesday.Casualties are feared, Xinhua reported citing eyewitnesses. No terror group has claimed the responsibility for the attack.Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, attacks by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against them have increased.The rise in terrorist attacks has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two groups.

South Asian Countries

India, Pak struggling to reach consensus on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan: Report

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Islamabad and New Delhi are at loggerheads over the modalities of shipment of Indian wheat to Afghanistan via Pakistan as the two countries are struggling to find a common strategy for humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan, officials here told Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune. The modalities for the transportation of Indian assistance were shared with the Indian government through its mission in Islamabad.As per modalities, Pakistan had proposed transportation of wheat on Pakistani trucks to be operated by the United Nations. The Pakistani trucks under the banner of the UN would load wheat at the Wagah crossing and then take it to Afghanistan. The shipment charges would be paid by the Indian government. India has to complete the transportation within 30 days of the commencement of the first shipment. It is estimated that about 1,200 trucks would be needed to ship…

South Asian Countries

Riots erupt in Pak’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over reports of Quran desecration

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [Pakistan]: At least one man was injured in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after riots broke out over reports about the burning of the Holy Quran at a mosque on Sunday.The incident took place in Tangi tehsil of Charsadda district where police resorted to firing in the air and teargas shelling to disperse an unruly mob that vandalised a police station, Dawn newspaper reported. The report said that protestors destroyed the area’s main police station, four posts and several residential quarters of police.According to the report, the enraged protesters broke into the compound of the police station, set on fire at least 17 vehicles parked there.The person who had allegedly torched the Quran was apparently mentally deranged, adding that the accused was immediately taken into custody and shifted to an unknown location, Dawn reported quoted the Police. “Apparently, the accused is mentally unstable…

South Asian Countries

Two school buildings in Nepal built with Indian assistance inaugurated

Kathmandu [Nepal]: Two new buildings of the primary schools built with the financial assistance of the Indian government in the Darchula district, were inaugurated on Monday.“Inauguration of new school buildings of Shree Moti Mahila Sangh Primary School at Tinkar, Khalanga and Shree Malikarjun Model Secondary School at Mahakali-7, Dhap in Darchula District built with Government of India Financial Assistance,” the Indian embassy said in a statement. The school in Dhap was built with the Government of India Financial Assistance of Nepali Rupees 1.27 crore.It was inaugurated by Namgya C. Khampa, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian embassy; District Coordination Committee, Darchula and School Management Committee and local representatives.The school, established in 1960, has been providing quality primary level education for a long time, The Indian embassy said in a statement.Most students, studying in this school, are from the marginalised Tinkari and Bhutia communities…

South Asian Countries

Afghanistan: Passport distribution in Kabul still on hold

Kabul [Afghanistan] : The passport distribution is on hold for the last 12 days in Kabul despite operational office in 17 Afghanistan provinces.People with medical conditions required to travel abroad for treatment are unable to travel due to halts in passport distribution in Kabul, reported TOLOnews. Passport applicants have approached Islamic Emirate to commence passport issuance and distribution in Kabul.“We have been coming and going for nearly a week. They do not take action and don’t say whether this (process) is working or not. I said that I have a patient, but they say that you will not be allowed anything until the passport office opens,” TOLOnews quoted an Afghanistan citizen as saying.“Every day we come and go, nobody helps us, all we have to do is to get the biometric (processing) then we will get our passport,” said another passport applicant.Officials at the…

South Asian Countries

Fifty pc private education centres shut since Taliban takeover

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Over 50 per cent of private education centres have been closed within the past three months across Afghanistan since the Taliban take over the country, local media reported citing the Union of Private Education Centers.As per the union, the deteriorated economic status of families is the main reason for the closure of these educational centers. “With changes happening in Afghanistan, many educational facilities–40 to 50 per cent–stopped their activities. The reason for that was the small number of students in the educational centers,” Sanjar Khalid, head of the union said.Some students said that the long time period has affected their morale for continuing education.“We are still hopeful to study to become a person who can serve their country,” said Shabana Habib Yar, a student, according to Tolo News.“We lost the motivation for the lessons because it is still unclear whether we…

South Asian Countries

Food insecurity increases Pakistan’s woes

Islamabad, [Pakistan] : Pakistan has failed to lift itself out of poverty with the Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranking it 92nd out of 116 nations and with a score of 24.7. The country’s level of hunger is categorised as ‘serious’.According to Dawn, Pakistan has been able to bring the proportion of the undernourished population down to 12.9 per cent from 21.1 per cent in 2000 but still faces problems related to malnourishment. The Global Hunger Index comprises four indicators including undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting and under-five mortality rate.The report, jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe on global hunger, mentions: “As the year 2030 draws closer, achievement of the world’s commitment to Zero Hunger is tragically distant”.Further, over the last three years, Pakistan’s double-digit food price inflation, along with dwindling income, has left more Pakistanis food insecure, according to Dawn.On the other hand,…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan: Poll panel asks police chief to submit report on ‘vote purchasing’ in Lahore

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Sunday directed the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) to submit a report on the alleged ‘purchase of votes’ in Lahore.This came after videos posted, circulated on social media showed a scene where votes are purchased for money. As reported by Samaa TV, one of the videos shows what appears to be a party office of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. (PML-N) The video went viral a few days before Lahore’s NA-133 by-polls that are scheduled to take place on December 5.As per the purported video, people sitting behind the desk could be seen making women pledge that they would vote for the PMLN in the December 5 by-polls.“I swear with my hand on the Quran that on the fifth date [of December] I would vote for Muslim League Noon [PMLN],” repeats each of the women…

South Asian Countries

Taiwan denounces China for taking retaliatory measures against countries forging ties with Taipei

Taipei [Taiwan]: Taiwan on Sunday denounced China for taking retaliatory measures against countries that seek to develop ties with Taipei.The remarks came in a statement from the Mainland Affair Council following China’s interference in the internal matters of Taiwan and Lithuania, Focus Taiwan reported. The MAC termed China’s response to countries for their exchanges with Taiwan as “barbaric”. “The decision by Taiwan and Lithuania to open reciprocal representative offices and develop a friendly, cooperative relationship reflects a basic right for members of the international community, the MAC said in a statement. “This is not an internal affair as described by China” but a matter between Taiwan and Lithuania, Beijing has no right to comment on, it said.As reported by Focus Taiwan, the MAC also called on Beijing to respect international norms and the cross-strait reality, and deal rationally with relations between the two sides…

South Asian Countries

Xi Jinping consolidates power after Sixth Plenum

Beijing [China]: Xi Jinping has further consolidated his power after the Chinese Communist Party’s recently concluded and highly debated Sixth Plenum.The Chinese Communist Party’s recently concluded and highly debated Sixth Plenum, a gathering of all 376 full-time and substitute CCP Central Committee members, only further cemented Xi’s political control and his “authoritarian image” within the party and military echelon. The plenum also called upon the “entire Party, the military, and all Chinese people to rally more closely around the Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core.”“Such an outlook denotes a number of key takeaways: Xi’s return to a third term is all but somewhat appears only guaranteed; the CCP has become, for all intents and purposes, Xi’s party; Xi’s personal ideologies enshrined in the “Xi Jinping Thought” are set to mark the trajectory of China’s domestic and international politics; and Xi’s CCP has…

South Asian Countries

Taliban acting PM Hassan Akhund accuses former President Ghani of corruption

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Afghanistan’s acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund, during his first public address on Saturday, accused the country’s former President Ashraf Ghani of corruption and funds embezzlement, local media reported. “Ghani had established a bank inside the Presidential palace”, Akhund was quoted as saying by Khaama Press.He said that Taliban members found the bulk of cash in the Presidential palace which was left behind Ghani and his team while escaping. As Afghanistan is facing a severe financial crisis, the Taliban appointed acting PM said that problems including poverty and economic crisis existed even before the Taliban seized control of Kabul. He said that Afghanistan’s economic problems will be solved if the central bank’s assets are released. The US has frozen nearly USD 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation. Taliban have been…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan records 303 cases, 5 deaths amid ‘Omicron’ threat

Islamabad, [Pakistan] : Amid the global threat of a new COVID variant ‘Omnicron’, Pakistan has reported over 303 COVID-19 cases and five more people have succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours on Sunday, taking the death toll to 28,709.According to Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), coronavirus has claimed five more lives in the country during the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 28,709. “Statistics 28 Nov 21: Total Tests in Last 24 Hours: 36,979 Positive Cases: 303 Positivity %: 0.81% Deaths : 5 Patients on Critical Care: 946,” NCOC tweeted.A total of 36,979 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, out of which 303 turned out to be positive, showing an infection rate of 0.81 per cent.At present, 946 critical patients have been admitted to hospitals across the country, the NCOC said.On Saturday, Federal Planning Minister…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan agrees to provide life-saving drugs to Afghanistan

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan has agreed to provide life-saving drugs to Afghanistan, which is witnessing a severe humanitarian crisis under the Taliban.A delegation of the Afghan health ministry visited Pakistan, requesting the country’s government to provide the country with life-saving drugs on an emergency footing. Afghanistan’s Minister for Public Health Dr Qalandar Jihad, along with a delegation, met government and non-government figures during a recently concluded trip to Pakistan, sources told Geo News.The Taliban delegation made a request for an immediate provision of life-saving medicines, as well as described the conditions of hospitals in Afghanistan, which have been rendered dysfunctional amid the recent political turmoil in the country.Responding to the request, Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) promised the Afghan government multiple containers of life-saving drugs.The United Nations, in September, said Afghanistan’s health system is on the brink of collapse,“Allowing Afghanistan’s healthcare delivery system to…

South Asian Countries

Myanmar junta warns citizens against purchase of bonds issued by democratic forces

Naypyidaw [Myanmar]: Myanmar junta on Friday threatened to arrest people who will ‘invest’ in bonds offered by the supporters of democratic forces in the country.This came after the National Unity Government (NUG), an alliance of pro-democracy groups in Myanmar informed that it has raised USD 9.5 million in the first 24 hours of its bonds sale, Taiwan News reported. The Myanmar military has warned that people will be sentenced to long imprisonments for their involvement in what it called ‘terrorist financing’.The NUG says the proceeds from the zero-interest bonds will fund the revolution against the military coup, which ousted the democratically elected government in February, Taiwan News reported.“Action can be taken under terrorism charges with heavy sentences for those financing the terrorist groups,” junta spokesperson told a regular televised news conference“If you buy the money bonds, it falls under that (provision),” the spokesperson added.Myanmar…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan restricts travel from 6 South African nations, Hong Kong over new COVID-19 variant

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan on Saturday restricted travel from six southern African nations and Hong Kong amid rising concerns over the newly detected variant of COVID-19.Taking to Twitter, Pakistan Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar on Saturday said , “the emergence of new variant makes it even more urgent to vaccinate all eligible citizens 12 years and older”, Dawn reported. “Based on the emergence of the new covid variant, notification has been issued to restrict travel from 6 south African countries and Hong Kong. The emergence of new variant makes it even more urgent to vaccinate all eligible citizens 12 years and older,” Umar tweeted.The new Omicron variant, which has been detected first in South Africa, has escalated tensions across the world as it is considered more dangerous than the delta variant.It has been declared as a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health…

South Asian Countries

Nepal govt refuses to comment on remarks made by former PM Oli on territorial issue with India

New Delhi [India]: The Embassy of Nepal in India on Saturday refused to comment on remarks made by former Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli over a territorial issue with India.Former Nepal Prime Minister Oli, who is also the Chairman of opposition party CPN-UML, vowed to “take back” Indian territories of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh if he returns to power. This statement was made during his address at the inaugural session of the General Convention of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist in Chitwan.In response to Oli’s remarks, Nepal Embassy said, “We don’t have any comment on recent (KP Sharma) Oli statement.”Oli, during his address, had said, “We have published a new map incorporating Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura which also is published in the constitution of the nation but we need to take those land back.”The Kathmandu sources told ANI said that Oli…

South Asian Countries

US lawmakers introduce bill to help Taiwan expand ties as China tensions spikes

Washington [US]: Amid the deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing, two US lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill earlier this week, which seeks to help Taiwan develop ties with other countries amid China’s coercive actions designed to isolate the country.The Promoting Ties with Taiwan Act, which was introduced this week aims to make it the policy of the U.S. government to use its diplomatic influence and reputation to help Taiwan expand connections with nations and partners around the world. The draft “Promoting Ties with Taiwan Act,” was introduced by Republican Michelle Fischbach and Democrat Scott Peters, Taiwan Focus reported.Taiwan has split from China after the end of the civil war in 1949 and has since been governing independently. Beijing says that the island is a breakaway province, and considers any contacts between Taipei and other countries to be meddling in Chinese internal affairs.The news introduced…

South Asian Countries

People in Bangladesh observes 13th Anniversary of Mumbai Terror attacks

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: A series of events were held in Dhaka city to observe the 13th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks.To mark the day, a photo exhibition was held at Shilpakala Academy where pictures of the Mumbai Terror Attacks were put on display.Pictures of Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the mastermind of 26/11 terror attacks, who is based in Pakistan, were also displayed for the visitors. In another event, a cycle rally was held in the city which passed in front of the Pakistan High Commission to make Islamabad acknowledge its support to the perpetrators of 26/11 terror attacks. In a seminar by Bangladesh Online Activist Forum, terrorism in all forms has been condemned. On the 13th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, the world remembered the victims of this dastardly attack and the valiant security personnel who laid down their lives.In New Delhi, a…

South Asian Countries

India-Bangladesh agree to pursue construction work in border areas

New Delhi [India]: India and Bangladesh have agreed to pursue the construction of developmental projects in respective border areas during a four-day Border Co-ordination Conference between Inspectors General of Border Security Force (BSF) and Region Commanders of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).The aim of this conference was to improve mutual co-operation and understanding between both the Border Guarding Forces of India and Bangladesh for better Border Management and to resolve various border-related issues in the mutual interest of both countries. The conference, which was started on November 23 in Kolkata, concluded on Friday. The meeting was conducted between BGB (North-West, Region Rangpur and South West Region Jashore) and BSF (South Bengal Frontier, North Bengal Frontier and Guwahati Frontier). The BSF delegation was led by Inspector General South Bengal Frontier Anurag Garg. From the BSF side, IG North Bengal Ravi Gandhi, IG Guwahati Sanjay Singh Gehlot,…

South Asian Countries

Earthquake of magnitude 6.3 hits near Chittagong in Bangladesh

Chittagong [Bangladesh]: An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale struck east of Chittagong, Bangladesh on Friday morning.The quake hit 183 kilometres east of Chittagong at the depth of 60 km. “M6.0 #earthquake strikes 183 km E of #Chittagong (#Bangladesh),” said European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).

South Asian Countries

Pakistan police arrest four for ‘blasphemy’ after argument with religious cleric

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistani police have arrested four men charged with blasphemy following an argument with a religious cleric, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.Media reports say that the arrest was made in the eastern city of Lahore after an argument about whether a funeral announcement for a Christian neighbour could be made from a mosque. The report said that the four men were charged under sections 295 and 298 of Pakistan’s penal code, which carry penalties of up to two years in prison.The case occurred in the village near Lahore on November 18, Al Jazeera reported citing a local police official Faryad. “The men have been detained and we have presented them before the court,” he said.According to the police report, the men argued with a local cleric after he refused to make a funeral announcement for a Christian man from his mosque.Nadeem Anthony, human…

South Asian Countries

Afghanistan: Explosion occurs in Kart-e-Parwan area of Kabul city

Kabul [Afghanistan]: An explosion was heard on Thursday in the Kart-e-Parwan area of Kabul city, an official from the security department informed.The blast has been reported by Afghan local media Tolo News. This came days after one person was killed while two others sustained injuries in another explosion in Kabul. The explosion had taken place in a vehicle.Meanwhile, the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated after the establishment of the Islamic Emirate by the Taliban in 100 days.Seven big security incidents occurred in the country, since November 13, that caused 630 cases of death or injury, reported Tolo News.

South Asian Countries

Taliban signs deal with Australian company, may legalize ‘cannabis processing’

Kabul [Afghanistan] : The Taliban signed a USD 450,000,000 deal with Australian company Cpharm in the cannabis processing industry in Afghanistan that may lead to the legalized drug trade by the Islamic Emirate.Qari Saeed Khosty, Taliban spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said that the deal has been finalized and its work may start within days, reported Khaama Press. The company will use process cannabis for medical purposes and will be provided with thousands of acres of land of cannabis, Khosty said.The cannabis production and processing will be legally contracted with Cpharm, he added.Meanwhile, Cpharma rejected any kind of involvement in the cannabis deal with the Taliban, the company said in a press release.“We have become aware overnight of numerous media articles stating that Cpharm in Australia has been involved in a deal with the Taliban to be involved in the supply of cannabis in…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan reports 363 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths in last 24 hrs

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan reported 363 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, taking the cumulative caseload to 1,283,223, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Thursday.The death toll reached 28,690 after 13 people have lost lives in the last 24 hours, reported Xinhua citing NCOC. Additionally, 1,002 COVID-19 patients are in critical condition. Reportedly, Pakistan’s southern Sindh province has been facing the brunt of the pandemic and is the worst hit, with a total of 474,772 cases. Sindh is followed by the eastern Punjab province of Pakistan where a total of 442,714 people have been infected by COVID-19, reported Xinhua.As per NCOC, the total number of recoveries in the country has reached 1,240,995, reported Xinhua citing NCOC.

South Asian Countries

China asks US to stop elevating relations with Taiwan

Beijing [China]: China on Wednesday asked the United States to immediately “stop elevating relations with Taiwan in essence” following the second US-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue held this week.“China deplores and strongly opposes this,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. The spokesperson said that China firmly opposes all forms of official interactions in any name or form between Taiwan and countries with diplomatic ties with China. “The US should earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiques, immediately stop elevating relations with Taiwan in essence, stop any form of official interaction and contact with Taiwan,” Zhao said.“We also have this stern warning to the Taiwan authorities that any attempt and act to solicit the United States and other foreign support and sabotage cross-Strait relations is doomed to fail,” Zhao added.Earlier this week, Under Secretary for Economic…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan: Imran Khan orders inquiry against senior bureaucrat for mocking PTI govt

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the government authorities to undertake an inquiry against a senior joint secretary of the Cabinet Division for mocking the Pakistan Tareek-e-Insaf (PTI) government on social media.According to a statement of allegations issued by Pakistan’s Establishment Division on Monday, BS-21 officer Hammad Shamimi had posted a comment on social media that was tantamount to misconduct under the Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020. As reported by Pakistan media Dawn News, Shamimi has posted a comment in which he defined ‘similarity’ between the PTI government and the Taliban group in Afghanistan.“A similarity between the PTI and the Taliban is that both are figuring out how to run the government only after assuming power. And the centre of hope for both of them is Aabpara,” the senior PTI official said in the comment.Meanwhile, an inquiry has been ordered…

South Asian Countries

PoK residents adversely affected by price hike in gas, food items

Muzaffarabad [PoK] : The Imran Khan government is facing flak from residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) amid unprecedented price hike in gas and essential food items.Talking to ANI, a PoK resident said, “The life of the poor in Muzaffarabad has become hell. Rising inflation has jumbled up the budget of the marginalised. Yesterday, one of my friends got a gas cylinder at the cost of Rs 2500.”Khan’s government is facing countrywide protests over rising inflation and price hike on food items.Moreover, the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is holding ‘mehngai’ march across the nation protesting over inflation and price hike.PDM has launched a scathing criticism against the Imran Khan government and demanded snap elections to rid the people of the “illegitimate and incompetent” rulers.Another Muzaffarabad native talking to ANI said, “Imran Khan had promised employment to us, he got nothing. The life of…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI trying to destabilize Bangladesh

Dhaka [Bangladesh] : Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI is trying to destabilize Bangladesh by strengthening the roots of Islamic terrorism in Dhaka, which was formed in 1971 as a secular country.Stressing on the role of the ISI besides the LeT, Bangladeshi minister Hasan Ul-Inu had said “Pakistan’s ISI is trying to destabilize Bangladesh from the time Bangladesh became independent and these aspects cannot be ignored,” reported Bangladesh Live News. The relationship between terror in Bangladesh and its support by Pakistan was established in 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack in the posh locality of Dhaka that killed 20 people from five different countries.The assault was carried out by a home-grown group called Jamat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). The post-attack raids on the terrorist group’s revealed that the group was supported by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), reported Bangladesh Live News.The ISI has often been accused of supporting various…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan govt releases over 100 TTP prisoners as ‘goodwill gesture’

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan government has released more than 100 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) prisoners as a “goodwill gesture” to reciprocate the ceasefire announced by the group earlier this month, local media reported.The majority of the freed Pakistani Taliban prisoners were undergoing de-radicalisation and rehabilitation at the internment centres set up by the government, The Express Tribune reported citing government officials. “Most of the released inmates have not completed a six-month mandatory de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme,” one official said. “The rest were ordinary foot soldiers.”According to the Pakistani daily, the officials also clarified that the prisoners were not released in compliance with any demand from the TTP, which is currently engaged in negotiations with the government. “The Taliban prisoners were released as a goodwill gesture,” the official added.Pakistan and the TTP entered into a month-long truce starting November 9. The ceasefire was the result of a…

South Asian Countries

Chinese firms arrive in Afghanistan to conduct on-site inspections of lithium projects

Beijing [China]: Looking to ‘explore’ nearly trillion-dollar worth of rare earth materials, a group of Chinese delegations have arrived in Afghanistan on special visas and are conducting on-site inspections of potential lithium projects.Despite growing interest from Chinese companies, major uncertainties remain in Afghanistan in terms of policy, security, the economy and infrastructure, the state media tabloid Global Times reported. The report said that five Chinese companies obtained special visas and arrived in Afghanistan early in November to conduct on-site inspections. “[They] have arrived in the Chinatown and are conducting inspections in Afghanistan as planned,” said Yu Minghui, director of the committee, which has been helping Chinese companies explore business opportunities in Afghanistan. Yu told GT that he believes these company representatives received the first batch of special visas issued to Chinese investors.Back in August, Japanese newspaper Nikkei Asia had reported that China is positioning…

South Asian Countries

Taliban expand interim cabinet, 27 new members named

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban on Tuesday said that they have expanded their interim cabinet by adding 27 new members. Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the interim government, said the appointments had been made in compliance with orders from Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.More than two dozen high-level officials, including ministers and deputy ministers, were named. Maulvi Shahabuddin Delawar has been appointed as acting minister of mines and petroleum and Mullah Mohammad Abbas Akhund as acting minister of disaster management. Twenty-five others have been appointed as deputy ministers, corps commanders and heads of independent departments, according to a list released by Mujahid, reported Pajhwok Afghan News. The new names in the interim cabinet of Islamic Emirate include – Maulvi Shahabuddin Delavar, acting minister of mines and petroleum; Haji Mullah Mohammad Esa Akhund, deputy minister of mines and petroleum; Mullah Mohammad…

South Asian Countries

Taliban to appoint new envoys, officials to Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions abroad

Kabul [Afghanistan] : The Taliban on Monday said that new envoys and officials will be appointed to Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions abroad.Inamullah Samangnai, the Deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, said currently most of Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions abroad are run by envoys appointed by the former government. He said the Islamic Emirate is in contact with the Afghanistan embassies abroad. “Soon activities will improve, and some people will be introduced instead of those who are not present and have left their jobs. Or, some people who are a better alternative will be introduced in embassies and consulates,” he said.Meanwhile, a number of former diplomats said the appointment of ambassadors to Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions by the Taliban is not possible, unless the international community recognizes the Islamic Emirate, reported Tolo News.“Appointing new people to the diplomatic missions is not possible unless the Taliban government is recognized…

South Asian Countries

China in Trouble : Is the PLA ground force facing comparative neglect?

Hong Kong: The ground force of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) contains approximately 975,000 active-duty soldiers, but in some regards, its modernization is being left behind by China’s heavy investment in the navy, air force and missile force. The ground force makes up slightly less than half the PLA’s two million members. A report known as Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2021, published by the Pentagon on 3 November, stated that the PLA ground force had “generally achieved mechanization” by 2020. It summarized, “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, border clashes with India and other significant events in 2020, the PLA (ground force) accelerated its training and fielding of equipment from the already fast pace of recent years.”Nevertheless, this annual report for US Congress went on to say that the Chinese ground force “remains a relative laggard within the PLA in…

South Asian Countries

Bangladesh reports zero deaths from COVID-19 in last 24 hours

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Bangladesh has reported no new death from COVID-19 in a day for the first time since April last year.The country reported the first fatality due to COVID-19 on March 18. It logged zero single-day deaths a number of times in March and April last year, Dhaka Tribune reported. Since then, the health authorities had reported multiple deaths every day. The highest number of death in a day was reported on August 10 when 264 succumbed to the infection.Meanwhile, in the 24 hours between 8 am Friday and 8 am Saturday, the country also recorded 178 new cases while seeing 190 patients recover.As many as 27,946 people have died in Bangladesh due to COVID-19 so far. The caseload in the country has reached 1,573,889.A total 15,107 samples were tested at 836 labs across the country between Friday and Saturday mornings, yielding a positivity…

South Asian Countries

Hundreds of children protest in Gwadar, Pakistan in support of basic rights

Balochistan [Pakistan]: In solidarity with protestors staging a sit-in against the unnecessary check posts and fishing trawlers in Gwadar district of Balochistan province, hundreds of children took to the streets on Sunday, local media reported.Carrying placards and banners inscribed with demands “Gwadar ko haq do” (Give rights to Gwadar), the children marched on various roads of the city and later joined the main sit-in, Dawn reported. Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Hidayat Ullah Baloch, who led the rally, criticised the elected representatives of Gwadar and Makran and asked them to join the sit-in or resign from the assembly as they had been elected to represent them, the Pakistani publication reported.He said the representatives who did not visit their constituency should be included in a list of missing persons.Maulana Baloch said that despite the deployment of various security agencies, hundreds of illegal trawlers were involved…

South Asian Countries

Afghan traders demand subsidized air corridor to export goods to Chinese markets

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Demanding a subsidized air corridor for exporting goods to the Chinese markets, the Afghan traders said that the air corridor would be too expensive if the government didn’t implement a subsidy system.“The world countries or so-called donors stopped supporting the subsidy system. This brings a big change. Earlier, the expense for Afghan goods would be less and the Afghan goods were sold in the international markets. We were even able to compete with other countries,” said Mahbobullah Mohammadi, a trader, reported Tolo News. Meanwhile, some Afghan traders in China said that they were expecting more goods to arrive from Afghanistan.“The goods include carpets, raisins, and precious stones that will arrive in the China market,” said Salman Reha, an Afghan trader based in China.The chamber of commerce and investment said that China pledged to facilitate exports of Afghan fresh fruit to its…

South Asian Countries

China’s move to downgrade ties with Lithuania shows its ‘arrogance, pettiness’

Taipei [Taiwan] : China’s move to downgrade the diplomatic ties with Lithuania after Taiwan opened a representative office in the Baltic nation shows the “arrogance and pettiness of large, powerful countries”, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said.Taiwanese foreign ministry, in a strong statement, said that Taiwan exists in the international community and the Taiwanese government “exercises jurisdiction” over the nation, Taiwan News reported. Taipei announced on Thursday it had formally opened the office in the Baltic state – its first in Europe in 18 years – in defiance of a pressure campaign from Beijing.On Sunday, China downgraded diplomatic ties with Lithuania to the level of charge d’affaires. “In the light of the destruction of the political foundation to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level, China has to make the decision to safeguard its sovereignty and basic norms of international relations. Lithuania must bear all the…

South Asian Countries

Battle of Garibpur’s 50th anniversary, marks India-Pakistan’s first direct encounter in 1971

Dhaka [Bangladesh] : India and Pakistan’s first direct encounter in the War of Independence for Bangladesh took place fifty years ago on November 21. Armies of both nations were well-equipped with tanks and fighter jets at Garibpur near Khulna’s Boyra.Reports say, Indian army had destroyed 13 M24 Chaffee light tanks and two F-86 Sabres (fighter jet) along with capturing of two Pakistani air officials by Muktibahini, reported Bangladesh Live News. Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, the second-in-command of India’s then 45th Cavalry C Squadron, believes that the Indian army could have advanced to Jessore Cantonment in East Pakistan following the victory in the battle of Garibpur. But the squadron commander Major Daljit Singh Narang, who was responsible to give instructions, had died during the combat. While Pakistan’s army had been attacking Indian territory and Mukti Bahini Camps through tanks and warplanes.Reportedly, two weeks before Indira…

South Asian Countries

China, ASEAN establish comprehensive strategic partnership

Beijing [China] : China and ASEAN on Monday upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.At the special summit commemorating the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations on Monday, Xi Jinping announced the establishment of the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, Chinese state media Global Times reported. This is a new milestone in the history of bilateral relations and will inject fresh impetus to regional and world peace, stability, prosperity and development, Xi said.ASEAN officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is an economic union comprising of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.China and the ASEAN established dialogue relations in 1991.As per the Chinese state media, the upgraded ties would help the ASEAN and China to tap into more high-quality cooperation potential – including COVID-19 vaccine research.

South Asian Countries

Pakistan Journalist body objects to some clauses of journalists protection law

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Saturday said some clauses of the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021 could be used to frame a media person in a false case and that should have been avoided, local media reported.The bill was approved by the National Assembly on November 8 and the Senate on Friday, Dawn reported. According to the Pakistani publication, the treasury side approved the bill without forwarding it to the relevant standing committee.Later, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain congratulated working journalists over the passage of the bill in a tweet saying: “The law would, for the first time, give working journalists the same rights the journalist community enjoyed in highly developed societies,” Dawn reported.Meanwhile, PFUJ secretary general Nasir Zaidi said Clause 6 (3) of the Act could be used by any government to…

South Asian Countries

New Taliban order targets ‘immoral’ Afghan TV shows featuring women

Kabul [Afghanistan]: In yet another setback for women’s rights in Afghanistan, the Taliban on Sunday ordered television channels to stop airing shows featuring women artists and said female scribes must wear hijabs as per the group’s interpretation of Islamic law.This order is part of the newly issued guidelines by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or moral police, American broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) reported. One of the eight directives issued by the virtue ministry states that films and dramas should not have female actors. The new policy prevents television stations from showing men who are considered indecently exposed or not covered from chest to knees, the report added.The Taliban defended the directive, saying it is aimed at countering propagation of “immorality” and airing of videos that “are against the principles of Sharia.”“Foreign and locally produced movies that promote…

South Asian Countries

Imran Khan ensures support to Chinese businesses in Pakistan

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Amid the rising mistrust among Chinese investors over the safety and security of their projects in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan ensured the country’s “all-weather ally” to support and protect its businesses on “priority basis.”In a meeting between Khan and Chinese business delegation led by Chen Yan from Challenge Fashion (Pvt), he said, “We will support Chinese businesses in Pakistan on priority basis, and are grateful to them for their keen interest in accelerating their investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs)”, reported Geo News. The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to facilitate all Chinese investors, who are setting up industries in Pakistan, on an emergency basis by resolving their issues related to road connectivity and provision of utilities.Khan also said that Pakistan and China haven’t just been connected in past and present, but will remain united through future generations, reported Geo…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan reports 313 new COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan recorded 313 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the total tally to 1,281,872, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Sunday.A total of 28,659 people have died from COVID-19 in Pakistan, including four new deaths, Xinhua reported citing the NCOC. According to the NCOC, over the last 24 hours, 309 more patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries from COVID-19 to 1,230,734 in the Asian country.Pakistan’s southern Sindh province has been the worst hit, with a total of 474,058 cases, followed by eastern Punjab province with 442,422 coronavirus infections, Xinhua reported.

South Asian Countries

‘No one dares interfere with my work’, says Pakistan Chief Justice fumes

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Refuting allegations that the judiciary is under any pressure from security institutions, Pakistan Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Saturday said that the judiciary in the country never takes dictation from other institutions.Pakistan’s Chief Justice made this comment while responding to remarks made by former president of the country’s Supreme Court Bar Association, Ali Ahmad Kurd, during a conference in Lahore, according to Dawn newspaper. This spat comes as Pakistan has been ranked at 130 out of 139 countries in the World Justice Project’s ‘Rule of Law Index,’ just above Nicaragua and Haiti, and below Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Myanmar.Ahmad Kurd, during a conference, had heavily criticized the judiciary while speaking on the topic of — “Role of Judiciary in Protecting Human Rights and Strengthening Democracy.”“One general is dominating a country of 220 million people. This same general has sent the judiciary down to…

South Asian Countries

Sindh Assembly objects to unilateral negotiation of Imran Khan’s PTI with TTP

Karachi [Pakistan]: Objecting to Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tareek-e-Insaf (PTI) move to unilaterally negotiate with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Sindh Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution through a majority vote, calling upon the government to take on board all stakeholders and political parties through parliament for building a national-level consensus on the issue of talks with the outfit.“This house objects to the unilateral negotiations with banned TTP that are being carried out in the most secretive manner by the federal government, which indicates the complete bypass of the parliament as the supreme institution in the country to decide upon such matters of national security,” the resolution stated, reported The News International. “TTP has claimed thousands of innocent lives in the country over the last two decades including innocent civilians, brave soldiers of the armed forces, police officers, religious scholars, non-political prominent people, and…

South Asian Countries

UAE firm files lawsuit against State Bank of Pakistan

Islamabad [Pakistan] : An United Arab Emirates-based trading and investment firm has filed a lawsuit worth around Rs 74 billion against the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and a private bank, local media reported.According to The Express Tribune, Energy Global International FZE filed the damages suit against the central bank on account of “unlawful” action of freezing the bank accounts and illegally converting the foreign currency account into a rupee account in December 2012. A private commercial bank has also been made party to the suit, filed in the Sindh High Court (SHC), for not releasing the funds, according to the court application, reported The Express Tribune.According to the publication, SHC has summoned representatives of the SBP and BankIslami to appear before the additional registrar of the court on February 15 next year to respond to the damages claim, showed the court documents.In December…

South Asian Countries TOP NEWS UPDATES

Olympics Politics: China chides Biden for considering diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics

Beijing [China], November 20 (ANI): China has hit out at US President Joe Biden for considering a diplomatic boycott of next year’s Beijing Games, saying politicising sports violates the Olympic spirit and undermines the interests of all athletes. President Joe Biden confirmed on Thursday that he is mulling a US diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.“It’s something we’re considering,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office following a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A senior administration official told CNN on Wednesday that Biden is not expected to attend the upcoming Olympics in China this February and that his administration is on the verge of implementing a diplomatic boycott of the games. Reacting to Biden’s remarks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the US “falsely accuses” China of committing genocide and forced labour in Xinjiang. “The 2022 Winter…

South Asian Countries

Afghan heroin flooding global markets, motivating narco-terrorism

Amsterdam [Netherlands]: After the Taliban assumed power in Kabul, a fresh threat has emerged and that is heroin from Afghanistan, which has started flooding global markets and motivating narco-terrorism, making a severe threat to peace, a report said.Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium producer, accounting for about 87 per cent of the global production despite a USD 9 billion effort over a two-decade period by the United States (US) to deter illegal production in the country, European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) said in a report. Soon after coming to power on August 15, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid had said that “Afghanistan will not be a country of cultivation of opium anymore. However, he added that “it is only possible when the whole world helps us in empowering the farmers and providing them with an alternative to earn their livelihood”, according to the…

South Asian Countries

Amid Chinese military threat, Taiwan unveils new F-16V fighter jets

Taipei [Taiwan]: Amid rising military threats from China, Taiwan on Thursday (local time) unveiled more than two dozen upgraded F-16 fighter jets – F-16V at the Chiayi base.The F-16s screamed across the sky at Chiayi Air Base on the island’s southwestern coast as pilots performed aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the capabilities of Taiwan’s first squadron of US-made F-16V, reported CNN. During the commissioning ceremony, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said the formation of a new F-16V combat wing has demonstrated the deepening friendship between the island and the US.“The Lockheed Martin team has provided us with a lot of assistance in completing the upgrade,” she said.“This not only signals the further progress of Taiwan-US friendship but also represents a firm commitment to Taiwan-US relations.”In the event of an air attack from China, F-16V fighter jets, or Viper will defend the island nation. The planes were…

South Asian Countries

China made dubious claims of victory in its ‘war on poverty’: USCC

Washington [US]: US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) in its newly released report has said that China made dubious claims of victory in its “war on poverty” and stressed that it has been one of the central themes of the centennial propaganda campaign of Beijing.“One of the central themes of the centennial propaganda campaign has been Beijing’s assertion that it had eliminated “extreme poverty” by 2020, a goal first announced by General Secretary Xi in 2015,” USCC said in its report on Wednesday. The USCC is a bipartisan commission created by Congress to monitor and report on trade, economic, and defence issues in the US-China relationship.In April 2021, China’s State Council Information Office released a white paper titled “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution.”The white paper referred to poverty alleviation as “a key task and index of realization of the First Centenary Goal”…

South Asian Countries

Taliban officials meet German, Dutch diplomats, promise to prevent cultivation, smuggling of opium

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Afghan officials on Thursday met diplomats of Germany and the Netherlands and promised to prevent the cultivation and smuggling of opium in the country.Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate in a series of tweets said, “We will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan’s soil against the region and the world. We will make efforts to prevent the cultivation and smuggling of opium and we are trying to provide alternative economic schemes in cooperation with the international community for the farmers,” reported Tolo News. The meeting took place in Kabul and according to Samangani, the Afghan officials discussed bilateral relations with the German and Dutch envoys.“The deputies of prime minister Abdul Salam Hanafi and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar today before noon met with representatives of the Netherlands and Germany and delegates accompanying them at the ARG (presidential palace),” tweeted Samangani.He said…

South Asian Countries

Taiwan deploys first squadron of F-16 jets amid China’s military aggression

Taipei [Taiwan]: Taiwan on Thursday deployed the most advanced version of the US-made F-16 fighter jet in its defence force, a move that experts say would significantly boost the island’s defence against the Chinese military aggression.These aircraft are equipped with advanced technology that will substantially strengthen Taiwan’s national defence against threats emerging from the Chinese Communist Party. The defence machines also symbolize Taipei’s close cooperation with the US, President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen informed in a tweet. “Taiwan’s first squadron of upgraded F-16V fighter jets has entered service. These aircraft symbolize our close cooperation with the US & are equipped with advanced technology that will substantially strengthen our national defence,” Tsai said in a tweet.This came as Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has increased military incursions in the democratic country.In October, a border security analyst had said that early delivery of the US-made…

South Asian Countries

IS claims responsibility for two blasts in Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for two explosions that hit western Kabul on Wednesday, Sputnik reported citing Arab Al-Arabiya broadcaster.The first blast hit the Dashte Barchi area and killed four people leaving two more injured, according to locals. It was followed by another explosion, which claimed the lives of five civilians and injured seven others, Sputnik quoted a source as saying. Deborah Lyons, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, has said that the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) is now expanding to nearly all Afghan provinces and the Taliban are unable to stop them.“Major negative development has been the Taliban’s inability to stem the expansion of the Islamic State Khorasan Province,” Lyons said during the United Nations Security Council meeting on Afghanistan.

South Asian Countries

After months of closure, girl schools reopen in Afghanistan’s Ghor province

Kabul [Afghanistan]: After months of the closure of girls’ schools in Ghor province of Afghanistan, now female students from grade 7 to 12 were allowed to attend their schools in Ferozkoh, capital of the western province, reported local media. The reopening of schools came as a result of efforts made by the Ferozkoh council which had urged the province’s education officials to reopen the girls’ schools, reported TOLOnews.Sultan Ahmad, head of the Ferozkoh council, said: “We reached an agreement that the high schools for girls in the capital and all districts of Ghor should be reopened.” Expressing happiness over the reopening of the schools in the province, civil rights activist Habib Wahdat said: “Fortunately, the schools will be reopened for the girl students.” Stressing that reopening of the schools is very important, Wahdat said: “If women are deprived of education, the next generation of…

South Asian Countries

Nepal: Foundation stone laid for school building being built with Indian assistance

Kathmandu [Nepal]: The foundation stone for the construction of a new building of a school in Nepal’s Butwal, which is being built with the assistance provided by India, was laid on Wednesday.The new school building at Butwal-11, Naharpur will be built at an estimated cost of Nepali Rupees (NRs) 44.17 million as High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) under India-Nepal Development Partnership, India embassy here said in a statement. The foundation stone was laid by Karun Bansal, Head of Development Partnership and Reconstruction Wing of the Embassy of India, Kathmandu and Shiv Raj Subedi, Mayor of Butwal Nagarpalika, for the construction of a new school building of Shree Naharpur Secondary School in Rupandehi.Shree Naharpur Secondary School is an old school in this area set up in 1971. Once completed, the school will shift to its new premises. Currently, 1,127 students are enrolled in the…

South Asian Countries

Afghanistan state firm vows to pay electricity debts to central Asian countries

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Amid the economic and power crisis in the country, Afghanistan state electricity company has promised that it will soon pay the electricity debts owed to Central Asian countries.“Breshna Sherkat is going to pay the electricity debts very soon to the neighbouring countries,” said Hekmatullah Noorzai, a spokesperson for officials of De Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), as quoted by TOLOnews. Afghan Chamber of Industries and Mines said factories will stop operating if electricity is cut off by the neighbouring countries.“Productive factories rely on electricity, if there is no electricity, the problems will significantly increase,” said Mohammad Karim Azimi, CEO of Chamber of Industries and Mines.Last week, Afghanistan decided to import 100 megawatts of electricity from Iran due to the shortage of electricity and the approaching winter months when demand for power increases.DABS said they have signed an agreement with Iran to import…

South Asian Countries

China announces new five-year plan to promote ‘rule of law’, stresses adherence to Xi Jinping leadership

Beijing [China]: China has announced a new five-year plan to promote “rule of law” throughout the education system for teenagers, said a report, adding that the plan’s purpose is to “continuously improve rule of law literacy” and stresses adherence to the leadership of Xi Jinping.China’s Ministry of Education on November 12 announced a new five-year plan to promote “rule of law” throughout the education system for teenagers, China Media Project reported. It further cited the notice and said that it follows a spate of actions in recent months focusing on China’s youth and maintaining political and ideological security, including bans on online gaming, a crackdown on “fandom culture,” and even actions against the popular trend of “script murder” games.While the notice stated that the plan’s purpose is to “continuously improve rule of law literacy in the education system,” key sections of the document stressed…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan responsible for humanitarian crisis

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Pakistan, the creator, organizer and mentor to the Taliban is responsible for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, according to an Arabic media outlet.According to a news piece published in Al Arabiya Post, Pakistan is using the recognition card as a tool to leverage aid to the Afghan people. Taliban which controls the country has been unable to provide care for Afghan people. The United Nations had warned that almost half of the population of Afghanistan will face a hunger crisis between the present time and March next year, Al Arabiya Post reported.It further said that things are getting worse on the humanitarian front.The latest report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Afghanistan shows concern about “conditional humanitarianism” or attempts to “leverage” humanitarian assistance for political purposes.Apart from it, protection and safety risks to people…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan appoints terror supporter Masood Khan as delegate to US

New Delhi [India] : Pakistan has appointed Masood Khan as its ambassador to the United States. According to a media report, Khan is a terror supporter and former president of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Masood Khan is a dangerous radical with a long history of working with Islamists in the West and “jihadists” in the East, National Review, a US-based magazine stated. His appointment is evidence of an increasingly dangerous Pakistani regime, which is working to support Islamists all around the world, including in the United States, according to National Review. In July this year, while serving as president of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Khan provided a “special message” on Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, who was killed in 2016 during his fifth death anniversary. “We grieve today for Burhan Wani. He lives on in our hearts. He sacrificed his life for a cause,”…

South Asian Countries

Indian fisherman released from Pak jail

Attari (Punjab) [India] : Indian fishermen, who were released by Pakistan after four years expressed their happiness on reaching the country and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing financial support to their families while they were in jail.At least 20 Indian fishermen have been released from jail in Karachi on the completion of their sentences. Many of them, who were released from Landhi District Jail, Malir, Karachi were arrested about four years ago and sentenced to imprisonment, according to the Pakistani media. On November 15, all the 20 fishermen have reached India via the Attari-Wagah border.One of the fishermen lauded the Modi government for providing financial aid to their family.“We were caught in the sea and languished in Landhi jail for last four years. We thank Modi Government for providing Rs 9,000 to our families when we were in jail in Pakistan,” Ravinder…

South Asian Countries

Attendance of girl students drops after cancellation of final exams in Afghanistan’s Herat

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The attendance of girl students has dropped as Herat provincial school teachers’ council decided to cancel annual examinations and promote them to the next grade without appearing for end-term examinations.Educational officials in Herat province of Afghanistan said school teachers’ council’s decision to waive off annual examinations and promote students to the next scheduled grade was the reason for the reluctance of girl students to attend schools, reported Afghanistan’s TOLOnews. “The student of grade seven will be directly promoted to grade eight. The students of grade 12 will be graduated from school. And therefore some disorder is resulting at schools,” TOLOnews quoted Mohammad Sabir Mashal, head of the council as saying.The government had last week permitted girl students from grades 7th to 12th in the Herat province to attend schools. Out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan, education of girls from grades 7th to…

South Asian Countries

Reconstruction of 50,000 India-funded houses in Gorkha, Nuwakot districts

Kathmandu [Nepal]: Embassy of India in Kathmandu on Monday organised a closing ceremony and Lessons Learnt workshop to mark the successful completion of the Government of India- funded reconstruction of 50,000 houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts of Nepal. In a statement, the Embassy said that the event was held in association with National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Office for Project Services.During the event, Namgya C Khampa, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India Kathmandu has announced that reconstruction of 50,000 private houses as committed by Indian Government has been completed with Owner Driven Reconstruction Approach adopted by the Government of Nepal. According to the statement, UNDP and UNOPS were engaged by the Government of India in March 2018 to provide socio-technical facilitation and consultation (STFC) services to earthquake affected beneficiaries in 4 Urban Municipalities and 14 rural…

South Asian Countries

Incidents like Minar-e-Pakistan create difficulty in bringing justice to victims: Pakistan activists

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Victim-blaming mindset and social stigma attached with reporting incidents such as the Minar-e-Pakistan incident where a woman was allegedly assaulted by hundreds of men on Independence Day, often weaken the authenticity and progress of other cases where women are sexually assaulted in a brutal manner, opine human rights activists in Pakistan.In August, a horrifying video from Pakistan had emerged online in which hordes of men were seen groping, mauling and tearing off the clothes of a woman named Ayesha Akram, who is famed for her videos on TikTok. Later, during an investigation into the incident, an audio recording between the woman and the suspect Amir Sohail (Rambo) has surfaced in which the police said it discovered some “mysterious elements,” Pakistan Today reported.Citing details of the conversation, the Pakistani publication reported that they (Ayesha and Rambo) both were planning to take money…

South Asian Countries

UN special envoy meets women religious scholars in Kabul, discusses Islamic Law, women’s rights issues

Kabul [Afghanistan]: A top UN Special Representative in Afghanistan on Sunday met with women religious scholars in Kabul and discussed different aspects of Islamic Law and the key issues concerning rights of girls and women in the country.Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Mette Knudsen, has been holding several rounds of talks with all stakeholders in the country including Taliban to address various issues including need for humanitarian aid. “UNAMA Dep-Head @Metknu hosted women religious scholars in Kabul today. They discussed different aspects of Islamic Law, the importance of girls being able to go to school and women being gainfully employed,” UNAMA tweeted.This meeting came the same day as Islamic clerics from several countries across the world, including India, held a virtual conference, where they called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.The…

South Asian Countries

‘Human rights must not be forgotten amid China’s climate change promises’

Beijing [China]: The ignorance of the ongoing genocide of humanity by the Chinese Communist Party in China’s Xinjiang where millions of Uyghurs live, undermines the goals of creating a tradeoff between climate goals and human rights, cites an opinion piece in a US newspaper.In July, more than 40 progressive groups had urged US President Joe Biden to stop demonizing China as it “risks undermining much-needed climate cooperation”, reported an opinion piece written by Louisa Greve published in The Hill. However, the White House rejected such a tradeoff in its readout on the US-China talks in Switzerland in October highlighting that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan “raised a number of areas where we have concern with the PRC’s actions,” that included the Uyghur crisis and human rights.The Uyghur forced labour bill that would ensure that goods made with Uyghur forced labour and other predominantly Muslim…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan media regulatory authority prohibits telecast of Noor Mukadam CCTV footage

Islamabad [Pakistan] : The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Sunday prohibited the telecast of footage from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the residence of Zahir Jaffer, the prime accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case as it revealed shocking scenes from before and after the murder.The restriction has been placed under Section 27 of PEMRA Ordinance, 2002 as per a notification issued by the media regulatory authority, reported Geo News. It comes a day after several media outlets aired and uploaded the disturbing and sensitive CCTV camera footage. Horrifying scenes of what happened before and after the murder of Noor Mukadam came to light after transcripts of the CCTV camera footage were submitted in court earlier this week in Islamabad, reported Geo News.The prosecution submitted transcripts of the CCTV camera footage in the court of additional sessions judge Justice Ata Rabbani.…

South Asian Countries

Uzbekistan extends support to Afghanistan to reconstruct Balkh airport

Balkh [Afghanistan] : Uzbekistan has said it will rebuild and renovate an airport in Mazar-e-Sharif city of Balkh province of Afghanistan.The announcement was made by Esmatullah Ergashev, a special representative of Uzbek President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Ergashev, on Sunday, met with the local officials in the northern Afghan province of Balkh along with officials from Afghanistan’s ministry of transport and aviation, reported Afghanistan’s TOLO news.Extending support to reconstruct Balkh airport, Uzbekistan’s special representative stated that they have sent a 30 member technical team to look into the technical issues and aid Afghans rebuild and renovating the said airport.TOLOnews quoting Esmatullah Ergashev as saying, “We were urged to help in the resumption of the airport (Balkh) and repair the damaged equipment. Hence, we have brought 30 technical staff from Uzbekistan, and they are repairing the equipment and reconstructing the airport and soon the airport will become…

South Asian Countries

Pak opposition is fighting for country’s survival: Fazlur Rehman rips into Imran Khan govt

Karachi [Pakistan] : Ramping up the protests against Prime Minister Imran Khan government, the Pakistan Opposition alliance– Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)– said it is fighting for the country’s survival and that it would win in this struggle.Addressing a PDM protest in Karachi, PDM and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman said: “We will win this war, and Pakistan will have a government that is truly representative of the people, which will understand the problems faced by the masses. The ones who [were imposed] are not aware of the public’s issues.” Politicians are the hope of the nation. If we do not play our role today, the nation will not forgive us,” Rehman said adding that the state intuitions should review their “mistakes” and seek apology from the nation, Geo News reported.The rally was held against the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan for its “anti-people policies”…

South Asian Countries

Chinese envoy to US condemns Taiwanese political party for seeking ‘Taiwan independence’

Beijing [China]: Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang condemned the Taiwanese political party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for seeking “Taiwan independence” during the 2021 annual meeting of Alliance for China’s Peaceful Reunification (ACPR) in San Francisco, Chinese state media reported on Sunday. In the speech, Qin’s also blamed the US saying it has been “manipulating the Taiwan question in an attempt to use it as leverage to shadow and control the Chinese mainland”, Global Times reported.Qin’s speech came on the day when Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a phone conversation. The talks between the two was a preparation from both sides for a virtual meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden, which is scheduled on November 16. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed concerns over…

South Asian Countries

Young Taliban recruits refuse to believe 9/11 ever happened

Bagram [Afghanistan]: Many children born after 2001, growing up hating America and trained by the Taliban say that they do not know if the 9/11 attacks ever happened with some refusing to believe that the attacks were orchestrated by al-Qaeda.One such child who never benefited from billions of dollars in Western aid money that elevated the lives of countless Afghans is Esmatullah Omari who said that when he was 12, he was trained by the Taliban to plant roadside bombs and at 16, he was attacking military convoys near Bagram airfield, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan and the epicentre of America’s longest war, reported The Washington Post. The Americans are now gone, however, the 19-year-old Omari stands guard at one of the Bagram’s entrances and still does not understand why did the Americans come in the first place.Thousands of Americans who were…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan: Major opposition alliance holds rally against Imran Khan government in Karachi

Islamabad [Pakistan] : The alliance of major opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Saturday is holding a rally at Karachi’s busy Regal Chowk to protest the rising inflation under Imran Khan government.PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan leader of the opposition in the national assembly, Shehbaz Sharif are also likely to address the rally, Samaa TV reported. Hundreds of workers from the PDM parties, especially Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, have gathered in the rally.Karachi traffic police have closed at least five roads leading to Regal Chowk and released a traffic plan, Samaa TV reported.This came days after PDM announced to hold ‘mehngai’ march across Pakistan before going ahead with a long march towards Islamabad.The PDM informed that the rallies against the government over rising inflation would be held in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar.In other recent developments, the Imran Khan…

South Asian Countries

Pak: 32 journalist harassment cases filed in a year in Islamabad

Islamabad [Pakistan] : As many as 32 journalist harassment cases filed in a year, according to police in Pakistan’ Islamabad.On Friday, Islamabad police informed Supreme Court that police had over the last one year, submitted to trial courts the cases of 32 persons suspected of involvement in 16 attempts on the lives of journalists or of assaulting them, Dawn reported. A report on behalf of the deputy inspector general of police operations in Islamabad stated that out of 16 cases registered by police from September 13 last year to September 12 this year, four were still under investigation, the Pakistani publication reported.According to Dawn, the report was furnished in compliance with a directive by a three-judge Supreme Court bench after it took up suo motu a complaint of harassment moved by the Press Association of the Supreme Court (PAS) on behalf of a journalist.At…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan likely to allow transportation of Indian wheat to Afghanistan through its territory

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan would ‘favourably’ consider the request by the Taliban regime for transporting wheat offered by India through the country on an “exceptional basis” for humanitarian purposes, said Prime Minister Imran Khan.Imran Khan expressed the views while speaking to a delegation led by Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Dawn reported citing Prime Minister’s Office’s statement. “The Prime Minister conveyed that in the current context Pakistan would favourably consider the request by Afghan brothers for transportation of wheat offered by India through Pakistan on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes and as per modalities to be worked out,” Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed Islamabad’s support to Afghanistan and the Afghan people in overcoming the challenges being faced by the neighbouring country.He also stressed the vital importance of a peaceful, stable, sovereign, prosperous and connected Afghanistan for…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan joins hand with Taliban to destroy Afghan identity, culture: Former Pak senator

Amsterdam [Netherlands]: A former senator of Pakistan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has accused Islamabad of joining hands with the Taliban to “destroy” Afghan identity and its culture.In an interview with the Amsterdam-based European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), Afrasiab Khattak, who is also a Pashtun rights activist said, “Pakistan expanded into Afghanistan through its strategic depth policy. During the Afghan civil war, the Pakistani military establishment, aided by the US and the Arab Gulf States, enrolled Afghan refugees in Pakistani madrassas to brainwash them with extremist Islamist ideologies”. Khattak believes that these measures were aimed at ultimately emphasising the Afghans’ Muslim identity over their identity as Afghans and Pashtuns, and thereby deconstructing the Afghan/Pashtun component of their communal identity.He observed that this erosion also played out in practice as the Taliban sought to destroy cultural products and practices that were seen as Afghan, replacing…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan, Taliban-led Afghanistan agree to establish joint trade commission

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to establish a high-level interstate commission that will deal with trade issues between the two countries, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.The decision was made at a meeting of Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting Afghan foreign minister, appointed by the Taliban and his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on Thursday. The commission is expected to be tasked with monitoring the implementation of a bilateral trade strategy, Sputnik reportedLast month, the Pakistani top diplomat said that the countries had agreed to simplify travel between the countries. At the meeting in question, Qureshi detailed Islamabad’s initiatives regarding Kabul, including free access to all Pakistani ports for Afghan traders, the free movement of heavy vehicles, resumption of the movement of passenger buses, and an increase in air traffic.During his meeting with acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi,…

South Asian Countries

UN Security Council appeals for end to violence in Myanmar

New York [US]: The UN Security Council has called for an immediate cessation of violence across Myanmar, and efforts to ensure the safety of civilians, following reports of more clashes between the armed forces and militant groups.In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the Council expressed deep concern over the violence, noting that “recent developments pose particular serious challenges for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and internally displaced persons.” The UN continues to monitor developments in Myanmar, where the army seized power in February. Subsequent pro-democracy protests were met with brutal crackdowns.This week, international media reported that the army has begun to amass heavy weapons and troops in Chin state, located in the northwest of the country, suggesting an imminent attack against militia groups that have surfaced since the coup.UN Security Council members also underlined the importance of steps…

South Asian Countries

Inflation in Pakistan fourth highest in world, could lead to unrest

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The rate of inflation in Pakistan is the fourth highest in the world which could lead to unrest and protests against the Imran Khan government.Citing an incident in a family of Karachi, Shah Meer Baloch wrote in The Guardian that a shoe-seller set himself on fire as he could not meet his expenses or send money home due to the “skyrocketing prices”. Imran Khan had vowed to lift people out of poverty before gaining power as he promised the creation of 10 million jobs. Instead, he announced financial support of USD3 billion from Riyadh after his visit to Saudi Arabia last month.Imran Khan blamed inflation in the international market for the miseries of the people and announced a “relief package” of 120 billion Pakistani rupees providing subsidies on the essential food items, wrote Shah Meer Baloch.“The package is a drop in the…

South Asian Countries

Chinese tech firms appear to censor Uyghur, Tibetan languages

Beijing [China] : Chinese tech companies appear to censor Uyghur and Tibetan by removing their languages from study courses as well as banning comments in them from their websites.Public concerns about tech-enabled suppression of ethnic minorities have deepened, reported Protocol. As per Talkmate, a language-learning app that partners with UNESCO, posted via its official Weibo account that it had “temporarily” taken down Tibetan and Uyghur language classes “due to government policies.”This announcement was posted last Friday but appears to have been removed. The app, which appears to champion linguistic diversity, offers courses in nearly 100 languages, from Urdu and Montenegrin to Creole and Slovak, reported Protocol.Another website named Bilibili banned comments posted in Uyghur and Tibetan. Screen recordings shared by Fergus Ryan, a senior analyst with ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre, showed that when he tried to type comments in Uyghur and Tibetan, he…

South Asian Countries

US special representative to Afghanistan to meet Taliban FM in Pakistan

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Thomas West, US special representative to Afghanistan, and Amir Khan Motaqi, one of the top leaders of the Taliban are intended to meet each other in Islamabad, where they are scheduled to attend Troika Plus meeting, reported Khaama Press.Motaqi, Foreign Minister in the Taliban government, leading a high-level delegation arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday evening. Pakistan will host senior diplomats from the US, China and Russia in Islamabad to discuss the situation in Afghanistan on Thursday.Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and its National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf will chair the ‘Troika Plus’ meeting.The representative of the four countries will also meet Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Dawn reported. Muttaqi also arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday. It is the first visit to Pakistan by an Afghan minister since the Taliban seized control of Kabul in August.Pakistani officials have said…

South Asian Countries

Imran Khan govt’s talks with Pakistani Taliban called into question in Senate

Islamabad [Pakistan] : The opposition in the senate in Pakistan has called into question Imran Khan government’s talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban, reported local media.Mian Raza Rabbani, former Senate Chairman and Pakistan People’s Party’s stalwart, underlined that it was the mandate of the Parliament to decide on negotiations with a banned outfit. Stressing that it would be better to lock the parliament if is to be treated this way, the PPP Senator emphasised that all the decisions on national security are neither being taken from the platform of parliament nor is the Senate being taken into confidence.Pakistan Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary had earlier said that the government has reached the deal with the TTP and a ceasefire was agreed upon.TTP has been active in several parts of Pakistan since 2007 and is responsible for carrying out several attacks and blasts in the country.

South Asian Countries

Afghanistan’s acting FM to discuss Kabul-Islamabad relations, economic issues with Pakistani side

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Afghan acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, will discuss Kabul-Islamabad relations, the economy, transit and as well as refugee issues with the Pakistani side, local media reported.“Transit and Economic issues will be discussed. Traders’ problems and as well (de facto) border crossing problems will be addressed,” Tolo News quoted Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid as saying. Muttaqi has arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday. It is the first visit to Pakistan by an Afghan minister since the Taliban seized control of Kabul in August.This comes after Pakistan earlier on Tuesday sent a special invitation to Muttaqi to attend the Troika Plus meeting, the Pakistani media reported.“Special Representatives for Afghanistan from the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan will be meeting on Thursday and we hope that Muttaqi will also be able to attend,” The News International…

South Asian Countries

Chinese company holds back insurance cover of major China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects

Beijing [China]: Chinese insurance company ‘Sinosure’ has held back insurance cover to six major energy power projects worth USD 5 billion, these projects are a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).The company has also underwritten around USD 8 billion insurance cover to Mainline-1, a 1,733km railway line from Karachi to Peshawar, Pakistani newspaper Dawn News reported. Meanwhile, the Imran Khan government has urged Beijing to persuade the China-based insurance company to clear about USD 13 billion insurance covers of energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan, Dawn news reported.Special Assistant to the Pakistan Prime Minister on CPEC Khalid Mansoor has taken up the matter to the Chinese ambassador in Islamabad.Mansoor has written a letter to the Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), urging for his intervention to resolve all issues relating to strategically important projects on a priority basis.The strategically…

South Asian Countries

Afghanistan: Over 600 IS terrorists arrested by Taliban in past 3 months

Kabul [Afghanistan] : The Taliban have arrested over 600 Islamic State (IS) terrorists in the past three months.Citing Afghan intelligence service spokesman appointed by the Taliban, Ariana News broadcaster said that the security situation in the country is improving, reported Sputnik. The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in mid-August and since then IS has ramped up attacks across the country.IS have carried out several assaults in recent weeks, including a twin bombing of a military hospital in Kabul last week, which left at least 19 people dead, reported Sputnik.The terror group claimed a massive suicide bombing in Kandahar, besides orchestrating targeted killings in Nangarhar and Parwan provinces and another major suicide bombing in a Shia community mosque in the northern Kunduz province, killing more than 100 people. 

South Asian Countries

Pakistan seeks China’s help for insurance cover of 6 CPEC projects

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan has sought the Chinese government’s intervention to persuade China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation, Sinosure, to clear about USD 13 billion insurance cover of energy and infrastructure projects on a priority basis, a media report said.The Chinese State insurer, Sinosure has to underwrite all foreign investments and debts but has been holding back insurance cover of about USD 5 billion to six major power projects of over 3,500MW under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It also has to underwrite USD 8-9 bn insurance cover to Mainline-1, a 1,733km railway line from Karachi to Peshawar, reported Dawn. Khalid Mansoor, Special Assistant to Pakistan Prime Minister on CPEC, on Tuesday said that he had taken up the matter with China’s Ambassador in Islamabad.All issues are related to strategically important projects, including ML-1 and six energy projects including Gwadar, Karrot, Kohala and Azad…

South Asian Countries

Pak to host US, China, Russia meet on Afghanistan on Thursday

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan will host senior diplomats from the United States, China and Russia in Islamabad to discuss the situation in Afghanistan on Thursday.Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and its National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf will chair the ‘Troika Plus’ meeting. The representative of the four countries will also meet Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Dawn reported.Muttaqi is set to arrive in Islamabad on Wednesday. It is the first visit to Pakistan by an Afghan minister since the Taliban seized control of Kabul in August.“Troika Plus at SRs (special representatives level) will meet with Muttaqi,” the Pakistani official said.The dialogue is taking place at a time when the Taliban is seeking international recognition. However, the international community is not in hurry to give legitimacy to the Taliban interim government unless they fulfil their promises.“Troika Plus has become an important forum…

South Asian Countries

Afghanistan facing humanitarian crisis, its social, economic situation deteriorating

New Delhi [India] : Expressing concerns over the prevailing situation in Afghanistan, Karim Massimov, Chairman of Kazakhstan National Security Committee, on Wednesday said the social and economic situation of Afghans is deteriorating and the country is facing a humanitarian crisis.Speaking at a regional security dialogue on Afghanistan hosted by India, Massimov said there is a need to increase humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. “We are concerned about the prevailing situation in Afghanistan. The social and economic situation of Afghans is deteriorating and the country is facing a humanitarian crisis; necessary to increase humanitarian assistance,” he said.Massimov said that the stabilization of Afghanistan demands the efforts of the whole international community.“With the Taliban movement coming into power the situation inside the country remains complicated. There are many obstacles to forming an effective government. The terrorist organisations are intensifying activities,” he noted.“Stabilization of Afghanistan demands the efforts…

South Asian Countries

India-Nepal friendship bus service resumes

Siliguri [India]: After a gap of one and a half years, a private transport company in Kathmandu on Tuesday resumed the 45-seater air-conditioned deluxe bus service on the route Kathmandu-Kakarvitta-Siliguri.The bus will leave Siliguri thrice a week at 3 pm and reach Kathmandu via Kakkarvitta-Panitanki “Indo-Nepal” border the next day around 11 am. The bus has Wi-Fi facility and the fare is Rs 1,500 in Indian currency. It was flagged off on August 26, 2019, by the Minister for Transport Management of Nepal, the Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri and staff of the private bus company.Talking to ANI, Secretary, Siliguri Bus Owners Welfare Association, Santosh Saha said that it is a matter of pleasure for both the countries that the bus services have resumed after a gap of one and a half years.“It is a matter of pleasure for both the countries…

South Asian Countries

Tens of thousands of needy Afghans receive relief aid: UN humanitarian office

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Tens of thousands of Afghans have received relief assistance as the aid agencies scaled-up effort to provide assistance to more people before the winter in the Asian country, a UN humanitarian agency said Tuesday.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a statement that 150 organizations, non-governmental organizations and UN agencies were delivering effective and principled aid in Afghanistan. Last month, the aid agencies reached 4 million people with food aid, 48,000 children with community-based education, and 580,000 people with primary healthcare, according to the UN agency.Director of UN World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley has called the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan “the worst crisis” on earth.As many as 95 per cent of people in Afghanistan do not have enough food and added that 23 million people are on the brink of starvation in the country, Khaama…

South Asian Countries

Taliban say US support of Afghan NRF would violate Doha Agreement

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday warned the US of the 2020 Doha agreement between Washington and the Taliban becoming null and void if the country supports the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), reported Sputnik citing his interview with Afghan 1TV News broadcaster.After the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban on August 15 2021, Panjshir, the last province to resist the Taliban, surrendered on September 6. However, the NRF leader Ahmad Massoud called on the Afghans to rebel against the Taliban, according to Sputnik. The US and the Taliban had signed the peace agreement in February 2020 under the Presidency of former US President Donald Trump. The deal stated the withdrawal of the US troops from the Afghan soil and the Taliban would abate violence and guarantee that its soil will not be a safe haven for the terrorists.Meanwhile, the…

South Asian Countries

Pakistan invites acting Afghan Foreign Minister to Troika Plus meeting

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan has sent a special invitation to Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to attend the Troika Plus meeting, local media reported.“Special Representatives for Afghanistan from the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan will be meeting on Thursday and we hope that Muttaqi will also be able to attend,” The News International quoted an official. The meeting is scheduled in Islamabad for November 11.Muttaqi is expected to extend his visit by a day at the conclusion of the Troika Plus meeting and hold bilateral consultations with officials in Pakistan. So far, there has been no confirmation from Kabul about a likely visit to Islamabad by Muttaqi, The News International reported.According to the officials, it would be clear by Tuesday if Muttaqi, a senior member of the Taliban government, would be able to undertake his maiden visit to Pakistan.While Pakistan has…

South Asian Countries

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan announces month-long ceasefire from today

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has declared a one-month ceasefire, starting from November 9, local media reported on Monday.The spokesperson for the banned outfit said the ceasefire could be extended with the consent of the parties involved — the TTP and the Imran Khan led-PTI government — while both parties should abide by the rules of the ceasefire, Geo News reported. According to the banned TTP, the Afghanistan Taliban are playing the role of a mediator in the negotiation process.The banned TTP said that the group has agreed to set up negotiating committees, which will try to move forward with the next course of action as well as the negotiation process on the demands of the parties, Geo News reported.This comes after Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had said the government and the banned TTP agreed to a…

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