Category Archives: Human Rights

Pakistan Dismisses US Assertions Fighting Terrorism ‘Selectively’

ISLAMABAD Pakistan has dismissed latest U.S. assertions it is selectively fighting terrorist groups or allowing insurgents to use Pakistani soil for plotting attacks against Afghanistan.

U.S. National Security Adviser McMaster told an American news station Saturday that the Trump administration wants regional countries, particularly Pakistan to stop providing safe haven and support bases to the Taliban and Haqqani Network.

“Pakistan has taken action against all the terrorist elements without discrimination. We have never allowed nor will anybody ever be allowed to use Pakistan’s soil against any other country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria told VOA when asked for his comments on McMaster’s assertions.

The spokesman went on to say that Pakistan and the United States have been cooperating in counterterrorism such such issues came under discussion when the acting American envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan visited Islamabad last week.

We have clarity in this regard, having suffered unparalleled loss of lives of tens of thousands of our citizens and billions of dollars to Pakistan’s economy that we have to eradicate the menace completely and we shall continue to fight the terrorists, irrespective, Zakaria said.

Afghan and U.S. officials have long alleged that Pakistani security forces are fighting anti-state militant groups on their soil but not moving against insurgents plotting cross-border attacks. McMaster in his Saturday’s interview reiterated those concerns.

This is, of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation, right, where Pakistan is taking great losses. They have fought very hard against these groups, but they’ve done so really only selectively, he said.

President Trump’s administration has not yet announced details of its new Afghan strategy and McMaster also declined to discuss any details, though he asserted the president has taken some important decisions.

The strategy is reportedly also exploring a new approach towards Pakistan that could see more U.S. pressure to address the issue of militant safe havens, expanding drone strikes, reducing aid to Islamabad and downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, Dawlat Waziri has welcomed McMaster’s comments on safe havens in Pakistan. He told VOA the Afghan government has long maintained that without ending the sanctuaries on the other side of the border, the war in Afghanistan will not end.

“The U.S. review for the region including Pakistan is still ongoing and we shall await its outcome,” said Zakaria.

Source: Voice of America

About 2,000 Daesh fighters to remain in Syria’s Raqqa: US envoy

Washington (IINA) – About 2,000 Daesh fighters are estimated to remain in the Syrian city of Raqqa, fighting for their survival in the face of an offensive by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a senior US official said on Friday.

Brett McGurk, US special envoy for the coalition against Daesh, said the SDF had cleared about 45 percent of Raqqa since launching an attack in early June to seize Daesh’s stronghold in northern Syria. Today in Raqqa ISIS is fighting for every last block … and fighting for their own survival McGurk told reporters. Some 2,000 ISIS fighters are left in the city and most likely will die in Raqqa, he said.

The assault on Raqqa coincided with the final stages of a campaign to drive Daesh from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where the militants were defeated last month. McGurk said Daesh has lost 27,000 square miles of the territory it once held in the two countries � 78 percent of what they had seized in Iraq and 58 percent of what they held in Syria. Before every military operation, coalition forces surround the area targeted to make sure Daesh’s foreign fighters cannot escape and make their way out of Iraq and Syria, he said.

With the close cooperation of Turkish forces, the entire Syrian-Turkish border was sealed and Daesh can no longer send militants trained in Syria for attacks in Europe and elsewhere, McGurk said.

The coalition has compiled a database of almost 19,000 names of Daesh fighters gathered from cellphones, address books and other documents found on battlefields which it is sharing with the international police agency Interpol, he said. Daesh is also fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is backed by Russian air power and Iranian-backed militias.

McGurk said de-confliction arrangements the US and Russian militaries have made to avoid accidents as they operate separately in Syria were working well despite deteriorating diplomatic relations between the two countries. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the US-Russian relationship was at an all-time and very dangerous low, and Russia said new sanctions imposed by Washington meant an end to hopes for better ties with the Trump administration. So far we have not seen an effect on our engagement with the Russians when it comes to Syria, McGurk said.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

13 dead migrants found on boat in Mediterranean

Madrid, (IINA) – A Spanish rescue group said it has found 167 migrants alive and 13 dead � including pregnant women and children � in a rubber boat drifting in the Mediterranean Sea.

Laura Lanuza, a spokeswoman for Spain’s Proactiva Open Arms aid group, said 40 women and six children were among those rescued Tuesday 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of the Libyan coastal town of Sabratha.

Separately, a boat from the NGO ‘Save the Children’ came to the aid of some 90 migrants aboard a small boat, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

Both rescue operations off Libya were coordinated by the Italian coast guard.

More than 2,200 migrants have died trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

KP GOVT TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST ILLEGAL DONATION COLLECTORS

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has directed all the relevant departments to take stern legal action against those individuals and organizations involved in the collection of illegal donations from general public.

An official handout issued in Peshawar says only those organizations can collect donations, which have been registered with the federal or provincial government and have submitted audit reports of their income and expenditures.

The organizations which have been banned under Counter Terrorism Act 1997 cannot collect donations under any circumstances.

Source: Radio Pakistan

UN envoy calls for de-escalation of tensions and violence in Jerusalem

New York, (IINA) – Expressing deep concern over a surge in tensions and violence around the holy esplanade of Jerusalem’s Old City, the United Nations envoy on Middle East peace on Thursday called for de-escalation of the situation.

“I call on all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation and on moderate voices to speak up against those who try to fuel tensions,” said Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, in a statement.

He welcomed the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to uphold and respect the status quo at the City’s holy sites, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ firm condemnation of violence, specifically the deadly attack on two Israeli policemen on 14th July.

“I hope these affirmations will contribute to resolving the concerns of all parties and put an end to the provocative rhetoric that has added to the escalation over the past week,” Mladenov said.

He also noted the importance of the special role of Jordan and the historical role of King Abdullah II, as Custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

PM condemns Hayatabad terrorist incident

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Monday strongly condemned attack on a vehicle of Frontier Corps at Hayatabad, Peshawar resulting in martyrdom of Major Jamal Sheran and injuries to four other personnel.

The Prime Minister directed the authorities to hunt down the perpetrators of this heinous act and bring them to justice.

He has also directed the provincial government to provide best medical

treatment to the injured.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious life of Major Jamal Sheran in the attack and prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul and grant of courage to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss.

The Prime Minister had stated that such elements deserved no mercy and would meet their fate soon in view of the unflinching and united resolve of the entire nation against terrorism and extremism.

Source: Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage