Category Archives: International Press Releases

PAKISTANI WRESTLERS HAVE WON TWO GOLD MEDALS IN WORLD BEACH WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP IN TURKEY

Water and Power Development Authority wrestlers Inayat Ullah and Muhammad Inam have won two gold medals in World Beach Wrestling Championship.

The event was held in Dalyan, Turkey from 13 to 15 of this month.

According to a press release, both the wrestlers won gold medals in their separate categories for Pakistan. Inayat Ullah grabbed gold medal in minus 70 kg category, while Muhammad Inam also secured gold medal in minus 90 kg category.

WAPDA Chairman, and WAPDA Sports Board officials have congratulated wrestlers on their excellent performance.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Pakistan Deports Turkish Teacher Along With Family

Pakistan has deported the Turkish former director of the PakTurk chain of private schools along with his family, his former colleagues and a lawyer have said.

Mesut Kacmaz, his wife, and two daughters were flown out of Pakistan after having been detained in September in the eastern city of Lahore, former school officials said.

A Pakistani government official who asked not to be identified told Reuters that the family was deported to Turkey over the weekend.

“The Turkish family was taken into custody by a team of security officials,” the official said.

“On Saturday, they were deported to Turkey from Islamabad on a special plane sent by the Turkish government.”

Turkey has claimed the PakTurk chain of schools was linked to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed coup in July 2016.

PakTurk denies any links to Gulen, who himself denies involvement in the attempted coup.

Usama Malik, a lawyer for the Mesut family, told AFP that the deportation had gone ahead despite a ruling by the Lahore High Court directing authorities not to take any action while the petition was still pending.

He also said that Mesut family had been granted asylum in Pakistan as refugees until November 2018.

There was no immediate comment by Pakistani officials.

In November 2016, Pakistani authorities deported dozens of Turkish teachers tied to the PakTurk International Schools and Colleges following a visit from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

More than 10,000 students are enrolled at PakTurk’s 28 campuses across Pakistan.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

asianetpakistan.com 2017-10-16 05:00:00

Four-Way Afghan Peace Talks Set to Resume in Oman

ISLAMABAD Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are set to resume four-way discussions Monday in Oman in a renewed bid to seek a politically negotiated settlement to the Afghan war.

The meeting of the so-called Quadrilateral Cooperation Group, or QCG, in the Gulf state is taking place after a gap of 16 months. Senior foreign ministry officials from the four nations will lead their respective delegations at the talks.

The objective is to bring the warring factions within Afghanistan to the negotiating table. It is upon all members of QCG to meet and decide on how to move forward in this context, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said on the eve of Monday’s meeting.

The QCG was launched in January 2016. The aim was for members to use their respective influence on the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgency to nudge them to the negotiating table.

But the peace process broke down after a fifth session in May of that year, when a U.S. drone attack killed the Taliban Chief, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, while he was traveling through the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

The insurgents’ reluctance to engage in peace talks with the Afghan government and Kabul’s strained relations with Islamabad also hampered previous QCG sessions from making any significant headway.

While officials have reported a thaw in bilateral relations following recent high-level meetings between Afghan and Pakistani leaders, the Taliban has reiterated its stance of not engaging in peace negotiations with Kabul until all American and NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

A senior insurgent official told VOA his group has nothing to do with the QCG process.

Nobody has contacted us, nor are we participating in this meeting, the official said requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to publicly discuss Taliban political matters.

The Islamist insurgency currently controls or contests more than 40 percent of Afghan territory and continues to make battlefield gains despite intensified ground operations and airstrikes by U.S.-backed Afghan security forces.

Pakistani officials blamed Washington for scuttling the four-way process by eliminating Mansoor.

For their part, Afghan and U.S. officials complained Islamabad was not doing enough to prevent the Taliban from using sanctuaries on Pakistani soil to orchestrate insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, charges Pakistan denied.

Diplomatic sources told VOA that participating nations this time have agreed to revive the QCG process with a commitment to maintain secrecy of its proceedings.

Source: Voice of America

PROVISION OF BETTER EDUCATION, TRAINING FACILITIES TO YOUTH RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVT: GOVERNOR SINDH

Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair has said the provision of better education and training facilities to the youth is responsibility of the government.

This he said while addressing the reception hosted to reward the outstanding students of Cadet College Petaro and National University of Science and Technology at Governor House in Karachi on Sunday.

He said that 60 percent of the country’s population consists of youngsters who are very talented and their abilities should be utilized for the progress and development of Pakistan.

Source: Radio Pakistan

3 Ahmadi Men Sentenced to Death in Pakistan on Blasphemy Charges

WASHINGTON A court in Pakistan’s Punjab province has sentenced three men of a minority religious group to death on charges of violating the country’s controversial blasphemy law.

Mubasher Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmed and Ehsan Ahmed were found guilty and convicted by the trial court Wednesday for insulting the prophet of Islam.

The men were tried under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s penal code, commonly referred to as the blasphemy law, which recommends either life imprisonment or the death penalty for anyone found guilty of deliberately insulting Islam.

The men were arrested in May 2014 in a remote village in Punjab province after residents filed a complaint with the police and accused the defendants of tearing down a religious poster.

Four men were arrested at the time. The fourth man, Khalil Ahmad, was shot dead by an angry man while in police custody just a few days after the incident.

Saleemuddin, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, told VOA that the charges against the defendants and the court’s verdict were unfair.

The convicted men were trying to take down a poster, which had anti-Ahmadi slogans and text that urged the community to socially boycott the already persecuted Ahmadi community, Saleemuddin said.

We will challenge the trial court’s decision in high court, he added.

Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims, but Pakistan’s state does not recognize them as such and labels them heretics. There are more than a half-million Ahmadis living in Pakistan under the constant threat of persecution.

The Ahmadi community “is one of the most mistreated communities in the country. They have had been a target of blasphemous charges, sectarian violence and target killings, said Mehdi Hasan, a prominent human rights activist in Pakistan.

Ahmadis ‘a threat’

The death sentence for the three individuals came just a few days after Muhammad Safdar, a prominent member of the ruling party and son-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, publicly denounced Ahmadi community members as a threat to Pakistan and urged the country’s institutions not to hire them in the military or the civil service.

Safdar’s remarks stirred a debate in the country on the issue of minorities and their rights.

Pakistan Minister of the Interior Ahsan Iqbal, without mentioning Safdar by name, denounced the anti-minority rhetoric coming from politicians.

It is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly. We believe in inclusive Pakistan. Pakistan respects all minorities, Iqbal said in a tweet.

Abuse of law

Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan. We’ve seen several incidents where angry mobs killed those accused of committing blasphemy without giving them a right to face the trial, human rights activist Hasan told VOA.

Rights groups say the controversial blasphemy law has often been abused to settle personal vendettas and disputes. Due process is often ceremonial, the rights activists add, and decisions are often informed by the growing religious intolerance in the country.

Even if courts do drop charges against defendants, mobs and local residents attack them, and law enforcement authorities look the other way in most cases, the activists charge.

Social media posts

Nadeem James, a Christian, was sentenced to death last month in Punjab after the court established that he sent a blasphemous poem to a friend via WhatsApp, an instant message application.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a recent report said 15 people were arrested on charges of blasphemy in 2016, including 10 Muslims and five members of religious minorities.

In April 2017, Mashaal Khan, a journalism student, was accused of posting blasphemous content online and was beaten to death by fellow students at Abdul Wali Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Pakistan’s government is being criticized for strictly enforcing the blasphemy laws.

In April 2017, the government used newspapers and mobile phone services to warn its citizens not to post or upload any blasphemous materials on social media.

The government has also reportedly encouraged people to report those who violate the blasphemy law.

Source: Voice of America