Category Archives: Entertainment

DNA TESTS OF 125 DEAD BODIES OF BAHAWALPUR TRAGEDY IN PROGRESS: BALIGH

Minister of state for Interior Baligh-ur-Rehman has said that process of DNA tests of one hundred and twenty five dead bodies of oil tanker fire tragedy is in progress and after identification the bodies will be handed over to their legal heirs.

He was addressing a function in connection with distribution of compensation cheques among the legal heirs of victims in Bahawalpur on Wednesday.

The Minister of State said that government has also announced to provide government jobs to family members of victims.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Activists Question China’s Response to Missionaries’ Murder in Pakistan

Religious rights activists are questioning Chinese authorities’ handling of the aftermath of two missionaries from China, who were recently abducted and killed by the Islamic State (IS) group in Pakistan.

Instead of consoling the family and friends of the pair, activists said the Chinese government is using the tragedy as an excuse to suppress family churches and Christians in Wenzhou, a port city in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang.

Jonathan Liu, a priest with the San Francisco-based Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, said police in Wenzhou have detained four church leaders who had assigned the pair to go to Pakistan.

They [China] should have had held the murderer [IS] responsible, but, instead, they have [now] arrested the victims’ family members, friends and fellow workers from their churches, Liu said, citing updates from a Wenzhou priest.

Other missionaries missing

China claims a South Korean missionary organization recruited the two to preach in war-torn areas, but activists tell VOA that the pair were college-educated and devoted Christians who voluntarily went to Pakistan on assignment from their own churches. The assignment was arranged in collaboration with the South Korean missionary group.

After the killing of these two preachers, 11 Chinese nationals who had worked with the pair have returned back to China, but their whereabouts remain unknown. And no lawyers have been allowed to visit them. I find it appalling, Liu added.

The two Chinese missionaries Li Xinheng, 24 and Meng Lisi, 26, were abducted by the IS group in Quetta last month, the capital of Pakistan’s impoverished Baluchistan province. IS later claimed responsibility for their deaths on June 8.

The Pakistani Interior Ministry said that the Chinese pair had travelled to Quetta in November of 2016 under the garb [guise] of learning [the] Urdu language from a Korean national but were actually engaged in preaching.

Blame game

The Korean national and 11 other Chinese nationals from his Urdu-language school were later ordered to leave Pakistan after their business visas were revoked and they were accused of involvement in illegal preaching activities.

Chinese state media have put the brunt of the blame on South Korean missionary organizations.

The Global Times said the South Korean group recruits young people in China and sends naA�ve teenagers to conduct missionary activities in Muslim countries Some Chinese voluntarily join in the dangerous missionary activities in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq after being converted by South Koreans.

Mixed reaction

Such characterization immediately drew mixed reaction online while some observers say the authorities’ twist was meant to mislead the Chinese people.

On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging platform, some users threw their support behind the state media’s accusations.

For those who don’t cherish their own lives, I have nothing to say to you but: you deserve it [to die]. Sorry, our consolation doesn’t come cheap, wrote one Weibo user.

Others, however, disagreed.

[This is] so strange that many hurry to slam South Korea, Christians and missionaries. Yet few blame the IS killer? asked a user named Shen Dafei.

This is evil when you show no respect for the lives of others and do nothing but find fault with the victims, another user wrote.

Rights lawyer Ge Yongxi said he believed both Chinese and South Korea missionaries working in Pakistan have broken no laws, neither does China have a legal footing to detain local church members associated with the pair.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. He, who is a religious follower, can certainly freely share his religious belief and doctrines � rights clearly enshrined in the article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which all United Nations members, including China and Pakistan, should honor, Ge said.

Liu, the California-based priest, said the Communist government’s stance on the tragedy shows its true colors.

In the minds of Chinese Communists, people are viewed and treated like dirt. All they care is to follow through their Belt and Road plan [linking neighboring countries] in order to tighten its grip of power, Liu said.

Iron brothers

In an editorial, the Global Times insisted the IS killing won’t impact China-Pakistan ‘iron brother’ ties.

The atrocity committed by the IS is appalling, it wrote, But it cannot drive a wedge between China and Pakistan, nor will the construction of the CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] be disrupted.

China has pledged to invest more than $50 billion in Pakistan in projects linked to its Belt and Road Initiatives, although its concerns over the country’s security are running high in the wake of the tragedy.

Following the security lapse, Pakistan is said to have dispatched some 15,000 military personnel to protect Chinese engineers working for the economic cooperation project in the country.

Source: Voice of America

US Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Pakistan Steps Down

WASHINGTON �

The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan has stepped down.

Laurel Miller left the office Friday without a replacement being named.

The departure of the special envoy comes at the same time the U.S. is preparing to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan in its continued fight against the Taliban insurgency.

Politico, the news website, reported Friday that diplomats thought the special envoy’s office was closing Friday, with its responsibilities being folded into the State Department’s South and Central Asian Affairs Bureau.

Later Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that he had not yet made a decision about the future of the office. Tillerson has indicated he plans to reduce the number of special envoys in the State Department, which is facing potential budget cuts of up to 30 percent.

Source: Voice of America

Reports: U.S. Eliminating Post Of Special Envoy On Afghanistan-Pakistan

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. State Department is eliminating the post of the U.S. special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying the move will leave Washington without anyone at the policy post that was created by the previous U.S. president, Barack Obama.

The reports quoted current and former U.S. officials who said the current acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan would vacate the post on June 23.

The decision comes as the United States prepares to deploy thousands of new troops to Afghanistan, and as U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis heads a policy review board on the two countries, in a bid to bolster the fight against Taliban and Islamic State (IS) militants.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Politico reported that the duties of the post will be folded into the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

However, sources said that bureau currently has no political leadership.

The Afghan-Pakistan post was first held by the late U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke.

Since 2009, it has been a key position for leadership on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and 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.

Reports: U.S. Eliminating Post Of Special Envoy On Afghanistan-Pakistan

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. State Department is eliminating the post of the U.S. special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying the move will leave Washington without anyone at the policy post that was created by the previous U.S. president, Barack Obama.

The reports quoted current and former U.S. officials who said the current acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan would vacate the post on June 23.

The decision comes as the United States prepares to deploy thousands of new troops to Afghanistan, and as U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis heads a policy review board on the two countries, in a bid to bolster the fight against Taliban and Islamic State (IS) militants.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Politico reported that the duties of the post will be folded into the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

However, sources said that bureau currently has no political leadership.

The Afghan-Pakistan post was first held by the late U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke.

Since 2009, it has been a key position for leadership on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and 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.

Afghanistan Promoted To Elite Status Of International Cricket

Afghanistan has joined an elite list of countries eligible to compete at the highest level of test cricket after it was voted a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The ICC voted unanimously on June 22 to allow Afghanistan and Ireland to become the 11th and 12th countries to be allowed to face other world powers in five-day test cricket matches, considered the sport’s ultimate honor.

Afghanistan Cricket Board Chief Executive Shafiq Stanikzai called it a huge and remarkable achievement for his country.

The entire nation will be celebrating, he added. “We dared to dream that this would happen, and today it has become a reality.”

Cricket gained popularity in the country during the 1980s and 1990s, brought back by refugees who had fled to Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

ICC chief David Richardson said Afghanistan and Ireland deserved full membership based on “their dedication to improving performance both off and on the field, resulting in the significant development and growth of cricket in their respective countries.”

The last country to be bestowed the honor was Bangladesh in 2000.

Other countries in the elite group are founder members Australia and England, along with South Africa, New Zealand, the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe.

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.