23 August 2019

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Thursday February 28, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Aurangzeb Khan Zalmay, Editor of The Pashtun Times condemned the Pulwama terrorist attack. Being a Pashtun himself, Aurangzeb said that the Pashtun welcome surgical strike conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF). He said, “Being a Pashtun I condemn the Pulwama terrorist attack. After this attack we saw Indians sinking into grief. It was an irreversible loss for Indian jawans. As far as the recent surgical strike is concerned, Pashtun welcome this attack. Pashtun in Pakistan are tired of the atrocities of Pakistani militaries upon Pashtuns. Not only Pashtuns, but also Baloch and Sindhis are suffering from these atrocities. Pakistan is not only producing terrorism, but Pakistan is also exporting terrorism to the world. People want to get rid of terrorism.”

Tuesday February 26, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the urbane, US-educated architect of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, announced his resignation unexpectedly on Monday on Instagram, Reuters reports.
“Many thanks for the generosity of the dear and brave people of Iran and its authorities over the past 67 months. I sincerely apologise for the inability to continue serving and for all the shortcomings during my service. Be happy and worthy”, he wrote on his Instagram page jzarif_ir.
He gave no specific reasons for his decision. Unconfirmed media reports indicated he resigned over Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s visit to Tehran on Monday. Noting that Zarif was not pictured in any of the coverage of the visit, one online website said: “the foreign minister was not informed”.
Zarif played the lead role in striking the deal under which Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international financial sanctions.
He came under attack from anti-Western hardliners in Iran after the United States pulled out of the agreement last May and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s economy and its lifeblood oil industry that were lifted under the deal.
Assad made his first public visit to Iran since the start of Syria’s war in 2011 on Monday, meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a post on Twitter, dismissed Zarif and Rouhani as “front men for a corrupt religious mafia.”
“Our policy is unchanged – the regime must behave like a normal country and respect its people”, Pompeo said.
A foreign ministry spokesman and spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations, Alireza Miryousefi, confirmed the announcement of the resignation. There was no immediate word, however, on whether Rouhani would accept it.
Several lawmakers and politicians took to social media calling on the pragmatist Rouhani to reject the resignation, saying it would not serve national interests and would empower hardliners in Iran’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
Born in 1960, Zarif lived in the United States from the age of 17 as a student in San Francisco and Denver, and subsequently as a diplomat to the United Nations in New York, where he served as Iranian ambassador from 2002-07.
He was appointed the minister of foreign affairs in August 2013 after Rouhani won the presidency in a landslide on a promise to open up Iran to the outside world.
Although Rouhani, as the president, is responsible for choosing ministers, Iran’s top authority Khamenei traditionally has the last say over the appointment of key ministers, including the foreign minister. Since taking charge of Iran’s nuclear talks with major powers in late 2013, Zarif has been summoned to parliament several times by hardline lawmakers to explain the negotiations.
Some hardliners even threatened Zarif with bodily harm after the nuclear deal was signed. Khamenei guardedly backed the agreement, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear work.
In February 2014 he caused an uproar with public comments condemning the Holocaust and was subsequently summoned to parliament. Holocaust denial has been a staple of public speeches in Iran for decades.
A former commander of Iran’s hardline Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hassan Abbasi, said in a speech earlier this month he believed Iranian people would spit on Zarif and those officials who supported the nuclear pact with powers.
“Rouhani, Zarif and (parliament speaker Ali) Larijani, go to hell,” Abbasi said in the central city of Karaj, Iranian media reported.

Tuesday February 26, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Indian fighter jets destroyed a major terrorist camp in Pakistan, the ANI news agency said, as tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals rose following an attack in Kashmir earlier this month.
Quoting unnamed sources in the the Indian Air Force, the Indian news agency said a dozen Mirage 2000 Indian fighter jets dropped 1,000-kilogram bombs on terror camps across the Line of Control, the de-facto border between the two countries in disputed Kashmir.
The Indian minister of state and agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat confirmed the strike via Twitter, saying: "Air Force carried out aerial strike early morning today at terror camps across the LoC (Line of Control) and completely destroyed it".
Indian defence ministry spokesman Colonel Aman Anand did not respond to a call and text for comment. Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar declined to comment when reached by phone on Tuesday morning.
“Indian aircraft intruded from Muzafarabad sector," Major General Asif Ghafoor, spokesman for the Pakistan Armed Forces, said in a Twitter post, adding that the Pakistan Air Force responded by scrambling its own jets. “Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.”
This risks escalating India-Pakistan tensions dramatically, but the fact that Pakistan has already said the aircraft did no significant damage could lead to a de-escalation, Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, focusing on nuclear proliferation and strategy, said via email.
"The last time the Indian Air Force crossed the line of control intentionally and publicly to conduct air strikes was 1971," Mr Narang said, referring to the Indo-Pakistan war.
Relations between the historic arch-rivals has been extremely tense since a suicide car bombing, claimed by the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, on February 14 in Kashmir killed 40 members of India’s security forces. Jaish-e-Mohammed is a United Nations-designated terrorist group.
The Indian rupee weakened offshore, with one-month non-deliverable forward trading at 71.32 a dollar before local markets open.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who faces a general election in the coming months, is under enormous pressure after blaming Pakistan for the worst attack on security forces in Kashmir in several decades, and markets reacted after Mr Modi pledged a “befitting reply.”
Islamabad has denied any role in the attack. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to retaliate against India in a televised speech on February 19 if New Delhi launched any sort of military response. Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in the past few days visited troops along the LoC” to see their preparedness, according to the military media wing Inter-Services Public Relations.
The Indian Army said earlier that it had killed a Jaish-e-Mohammed leader in Kashmir who was a Pakistani with links to that country’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, the main spy agency for the government in Islamabad.
Mr Modi had previously said the country’s defence forces had been given the freedom to respond.
Both India and the US see Pakistan as providing safe haven for terrorist groups and point to the fact that the leadership of groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the Mumbai attacks in 2008, still live freely there.

Sunday February 17, 2019

Kabul (BNA) The Human Right Watch asked Pakistan to recognize the country’s ethnic diversity as a strength and not a weakness.
“The government should listen to and engage the concerns of the country’s many communities and allow for peaceful expression of dissent,” the Human Rights Watchdog (HRW) said. The HRW’s call comes days after the death of Arman Loni, an activist of Pushtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). Loni, a leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, a social movement for Pashtun rights, died during a sit-in in Baluchistan province’s Lorelai district. The police reported that Loni died of a heart attack following clashes between police and protesters.
But his supporters allege he died from torture while in police custody.  Baluchistan’s chief minister has ordered in inquiry into the death. The February 2 death was called the latest outrage against the beleaguered community. He died during a sit-in in southwestern Baluchistan province. “As a start, the authorities should ensure the investigation into the death of Arman Loni is effective and transparent,” the group said in a statement. Pakistan Prime Minister Khan has been vocal about the plight of the residents of the tribal areas throughout his political career, and in April stated that he would address many of the PTM’s grievances, such as easing of checkpoints in the former tribal areas and removal of landmines.

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