Category Archives: Human Rights

Pakistan Parties Vow to Oppose Khan, Say Vote Was ‘Rigged’

At least four Pakistani political parties said Monday they will join hands against the “stolen mandate” of Imran Khan, whose party won the most votes in an election marred by allegations of fraud.

But it’s unclear whether they have the political will or the seats to prevent Khan � a former cricket star who is believed to be backed by the military � from becoming the next prime minister.

Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaf Party won the most seats, with 115, but fell short of a majority in the 242-seat assembly. His party says it has enough support to form the national government as well as two provincial governments.

The Pakistan Muslim League of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which came in second with 64 seats, along with the Pakistan People’s Party, which won 43, a religious alliance known as the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal or MMA, with 12 seats, and the secular Awami National Party issued a joint declaration against the alleged vote rigging and suppression of the media. They condemned the interference of “state agencies” in the election, a veiled reference to the military and intelligence apparatus.

Along with another small party that has protested the election, they would have 125 seats, enough to theoretically prevent Khan from becoming prime minister. But the Pakistan People’s Party has said he should be allowed to form a government, and the parties opposed to Khan are ideologically at odds with one another.

Fazlur Rehman, a hard-line cleric who heads the MMA, said the parties rejected the interference of state agencies in the vote and the suppression of the media. Former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, of the Pakistan People’s Party, called the July 25 election the “worst rigged” in history. Supporters of the Awami National Party, which won a single seat, have held demonstrations in different cities against the alleged vote rigging.

Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for Khan’s party, said that with independents it has the support of 168 members of the national parliament. He said it also has a majority in the Punjab province � the country’s largest � and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northeast, bordering Afghanistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Khan on Monday and congratulated him on his party’s victory in the elections. Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry, said Modi expressed hope that democracy would take deeper root in Pakistan.

The two nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain.

Source: Voice of America

Political stability in Pakistan will give new impetus to Kashmiris’ struggle: Masood

President Azad Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan says political stability and economic prosperity in Pakistan will give a new impetus to freedom struggle in Kashmir.

In a meeting with vice President of Muslim League Azad Jammu and Kashmir Syed Akram Shah in Islamabad today (Saturday), he said India should end its atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

He asked India to give the right of self-determination to the people of occupied Kashmir.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Nigeria replaces commander of fight against Boko Haram: Army spokesman

Nigeria has replaced commander of fight, Major General A.M. Dikko against Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of the country.

Nigerian army spokesman said Dikko will be the fourth person at the helm of counter-insurgency in little more than a year.

Source: Radio Pakistan

US launches campaign to erode support for Iran’s leaders

The Trump administration has launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said.

More than half a dozen current and former officials said the campaign, supported by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, is meant to work in concert with U.S. President Donald Trump’s push to economically throttle Iran by re-imposing tough sanctions. The drive has intensified since Trump withdrew on May 8 from a 2015 seven-nation deal to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The current and former officials said the campaign paints Iranian leaders in a harsh light, at times using information that is exaggerated or contradicts other official pronouncements, including comments by previous administrations.

The White House declined comment on the campaign. The State Department also declined to comment on the campaign specifically, including on Pompeo’s role.

A senior Iranian official dismissed the campaign, saying the United States had sought in vain to undermine the government since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

Their efforts will fail again, the official said.

Source: Radio Pakistan

EU welcomes lifting of state of emergency in Turkey

The European Union on Thursday welcomed Turkey’s move to lift the state of emergency, imposed after 15 July 2016 defeated coup attempt in the country.

In a written statement, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said: The end of the state of emergency in place in Turkey since the coup attempt of 2016 is a welcome step.

At the same time, we believe the adoption of new legislative proposals granting extraordinary powers to the authorities and retaining several restrictive elements of the state of emergency would dampen any positive effect of its termination, she added.

Her remarks came after Turkey lifted its two-year-old state of emergency as of Thursday at 01.00 a.m. local time (2200 GMT Wednesday).

Turkish government declared a state of emergency for the first time on 20 July 2016, following a defeated coup attempt orchestrated by the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its US-based leader Fethullah Gulen which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. In April, the government renewed the state of emergency for the seventh time.

In her statement, Mogherini also reaffirmed the EU’s expectations that Turkey implements the key recommendations of the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission and other relevant institutions and to respect the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.

We also expect Turkey to follow through and reverse all measures that continue to impact negatively on the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and the fundamental freedoms that are at the core of any democratic state, the EU foreign policy chief noted.

She also stressed that concrete and lasting improvements in the area of rule of law and fundamental freedoms remain essential to the prospects of EU-Turkey relations.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

General Officer-Level Talks Between the United States and the DPRK on the Repatriation of Remains

On Sunday, July 15, representatives from the United States held the first General Officer-level talks with the DPRK since 2009. They met to discuss the return of U.S. service members’ remains missing since the Korean War. This meeting was aimed at fulfilling one of the commitments made by Chairman Kim at the Singapore Summit. Today’s talks were productive and cooperative and resulted in firm commitments.

Working level meetings between U.S. and North Korean officials will begin on Monday, July 16, to ?coordinate the next steps, including the transfer of remains already collected in the DPRK.

Additionally, both sides agreed to re-commence field operations in the DPRK to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who never returned home.

Source: U.S. Department of State