Category Archives: Entertainment

Iran and India Agree to Lease Part of Chabahar Port to New Delhi

India and Iran sealed nine agreements during a visit by the Iranian President to New Delhi including a key accord that leases operational control of part of the Iranian port of Chabahar to New Delhi for 18 months.

India is helping develop the port to create a strategic trade route to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics, bypassing rival Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also agreed to step up efforts to bring stability to war-ravaged Afghanistan after holding talks in New Delhi.

“We both will work for restoring peace, stability, prosperity and a pluralistic system in Afghanistan,” Modi said. We want to see our region free from terrorism.

During his three-day visit to India, the Iranian leader, who faces the threat of reimposition of sanctions, focused on seeking Indian investments as he tries to shore up his country’s economy.

Prime Minister Modi sent out a reassuring message, saying that both countries want to intensify economic cooperation and increase connectivity and trade.

New Delhi has been a key buyer of Iranian oil and gas and maintained trade ties with Tehran even when it faced international sanctions over its nuclear program.

Chabahar is India’s first major overseas port venture and is seen as a counter to China’s development of the Gwadar port in Pakistan. India has committed $85 million for its development and although progress has been slow, the project has taken off the ground with India shipping the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar in October.

Modi called Chabahar a golden gateway to Afghanistan and promised to help in construction of infrastructure that will make it possible to send goods from the port onto Afghanistan, and Central Asian countries.

We will support the construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link so that Chabahar gateway’s potential could be fully utilized, Modi said.

Rouhani said the rail line will be an economic boon for both countries. He also said that both sides “are prepared for joint ventures in gas and petroleum sectors” and sought Indian investments in the industrial and mining sectors.

After sanctions were lifted on Iran in 2015, India had promised to invest billions of dollars in the country in petrochemical plants, railway lines and other industries in the areas. But U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning that he could scuttle the nuclear deal with Tehran has slowed progress on investments, largely because Western banks are hesitant to do business with the country.

According to Indian media reports, India is exploring the option of investing in Iran through its own national currency, the rupee, to bypass potential problems that may arise if sanctions are reimposed.

Rouhani also said in New Delhi that Iran would adhere to commitments under its 2015 international agreement to limit its disputed nuclear program.

Before coming to New Delhi, the Iranian president visited the southern Indian city of Hyderabad where, during an address at a prominent mosque on Friday, he strongly criticized the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Source: Voice of America

Pakistani Human Rights Champion Asma Jahangir Dies

ISLAMABAD Different people called her different things: a fighter who spoke truth to power, a traitor, a champion of human rights, anti-Pakistan, a national icon, anti-Islam, a voice for the voice-less.

Asma Jahangir, the first and so far the only female president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association and a leading human rights attorney, died due to a cardiac arrest at the age of 66 Sunday in Lahore.

A fiery critic of the military in a country that has been under one dictatorship or another for almost half of its existence, Jahangir often found herself in trouble with the institution and its supporters.

In 1983, her pro-democracy struggle against dictator Zia ul Haq landed her in jail. Her time behind bars though, failed to curtail her passion for the rule of law and constitution, according to Pakistani lawyer and political analyst Babar Sattar who tweeted, She stood tall among pigmies, spoke truth to intoxicated power & stood up to fight when she thought she was right.

Her critics, though, accused her of being an agent of Pakistan’s rival India. Zaid Hamid, a controversial political commentator known to have a liking for conspiracy theories, compared her to a Pakistani politician who is accused of treachery and inciting violence.

Jahangir was one of the founders of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a forum that went on to highlight rights violations across the country.

Comments on Twitter, like the one below from a person apparently belonging to Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, where activists often complain of enforced disappearances and other rights violations, show how those in the country who felt oppressed viewed her.

“Asma Jahangir YOU’RE MY PRIDE, tweeted someone who went by the name Arya Stark Khan, with a profile picture of Arya Stark of the famous HBO series Game of Thrones.

Another tweet expressed how she was viewed as a safety blanket by many activists across the country.

Jahangir also served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights. On its website, the international rights body praised her for her contribution to the cause of human rights for which she received multiple awards both nationally and internationally.

“We have lost a human rights giant,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement about Jahangir. “She was a tireless advocate for inalienable rights of all people and for equality – whether in her capacity as a Pakistani lawyer in the domestic justice system, as a global civil society activist, or as a Special Rapporteur. Guterres said Jahangir was “brilliant, deeply principled, courageous and kind.”

As soon as the news of her death broke, #AsmaJahangir started trending on Twitter in Pakistan.

A female member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Nafisa Shah, called her the founder of Pakistan’s homegrown human rights movement , a bold, fearless voice of the downtrodden &dispossessed.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of Pakistan’s recently ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif tweeted, Democracy, human rights and resistance against oppression lost a great soldier- Asma Jehangir. It’s everyone’s loss. What a sad day!

Pakistan’s former foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, tweeted, There’ s no one who can match her bravery and courage. Pakistan is poorer today.

And Adil Najam, the Dean of the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University tweeted she was not just the voice of our collective conscience. She was our conscience. Her spirit will live as long as that voice in our head keeps telling us what is not right, what must not be tolerated,why not to give in or give up.

Several actors, writers, and poets from India’s famous film industry expressed grief over her death, calling it a loss for the entire region. She is survived by a son and two daughters.

Source: Voice of America

Sacrifices of Police will not go waste: Bizenjo

Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo has said that the sacrifices rendered by police personnel and officers for restoration of peace in the province will not go waste.

Addressing a police Darbar at Police Line in Quetta on Saturday, he said the people of Balochistan are standing side by side by Police to restore durable peace in the province.

The Chief Minister assured the participants of the Darbar to take every possible step for giving maximum relief to police force.

Source: Radio Pakistan

US Treasury Adds 3 Pakistanis to Global Terrorist List

WASHINGTON � The U.S. Treasury on Thursday imposed sanctions on three Pakistani nationals for suspected links with al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Taliban.

Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, Hizbullah Astam Khan and Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan were added to the Specially Designated Global Terrorists list for providing operational and financial assistance to terrorists or acts of terrorism.

Treasury continues to aggressively pursue and expose radicals who support terrorist organizations and run illicit financial networks across South Asia, Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary of the U.S Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Thursday.

We are targeting operatives who have provided logistical support, improvised explosive devices and other technological assistance to al-Qaida, Lashkar-e Taiba, the Taliban and other terrorist groups, Mandelker added.

The sanctions imposed by the assets control office bar U.S. companies and U.S nationals from conducting any business with the cited individuals. The designation also blocks the financial accounts and assets of the three individuals.

Law enforcement targets

The Treasury directive placed the three Pakistanis as high-profile targets for law enforcement worldwide.

The men are said to have served as close aides and confidants for a U.S.-designated international terrorist, Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshawari, commonly known by the alias Sheikh Aminullah, who allegedly ran a recruitment and training center for many terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Taliban in Peshawar under the guise of a religious institution.

Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad reportedly provided financial, technical and logistical support to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based U.S. and U.N.-designated terror group.

Lashkar-e-Taiba was founded by Hafiz Saeed in 1987 with the goal of liberating Indian-administered Kashmir and subsequently merging it with Pakistan. The group’s main focus had remained on Kashmir, but it also expanded its operations to neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan is accused of turning a blind eye to the activities of the group in the country since the group poses security threat to only India and Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies.

LeT is accused of being behind Mumbai’s 2008 terror attacks in which 166 people were killed, including six Americans.

LeT Middle East

Rehman Zeb, Treasury said, ran a network for the LeT in the Middle East for many years in which he collected funds on behalf of the terror group and administered the group’s financial operations in Afghanistan.

Rehman Zeb reportedly made travel arrangements for Sheikh Aminullah from Pakistan to the Gulf in 2014.

Hizbullah Astam Khan, usually referred to as Hizbullah, is suspected by U.S. authorities of being a longtime ally of Sheikh Aminullah and of helping Aminullah run the financial affairs of his Peshawar-based religious seminary since 2016.

Before joining the seminary in Peshawar, Hizbullah previously worked for Aminullah “as an improvised explosive device (IED) expert in Kunar province, Afghanistan, where he deployed IEDs targeting Afghan and coalition forces, the Treasury statement said.

Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan is also said to be a close aide of Aminullah who worked as his assistant and took care of Aminullah’s activities inside and outside Pakistan, including Aminullah’s finances, accommodation and travel arrangements.

New sanctions

The new sanctions follow another set of sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury against six Taliban and Haqqani network militants. The series of sanctions are seen as part of the efforts to put more pressure on Pakistan to crack down on the terror financing network.

The recent U.S. sanctions came amid growing tensions between Washington and Islamabad. Washington blames Pakistan for tolerating terror safe havens on its soil and targeting terror groups selectively, overlooking those that carry out attacks in Afghanistan against Afghan and NATO forces in the country.

Pakistan denies the charges and maintains that it has carried out military operations against terror groups throughout the country indiscriminately and that there are no safe havens in the country.

Source: Voice of America

Death anniversary of Sufi Tabassum being observed today

One of the great Urdu poets, Sufi Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum, is being remembered on his death anniversary today on 7th February. Sufi Tabassum was born in Amritsar on August 4, 1899. In 1927, he joined the Central Training College, Lahore, as a Lecturer, where he worked till 1931. In 1931, Sufi Tabassum joined Government College, Lahore, from where he retired as Head of the Persian Department in 1954. During this period he matured into a great poet, critic and teacher. He taught three generations of students, including Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Noon Meem Rashid and Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, who later became renowned poets.

It was during this period that the best Urdu and Persian poems of Sufi Tabassum were written. After retirement, he formed the Iranian Cultural Centre in 1955. He devoted all his energies to modernise the Persian used by the scholars of the sub-continent an effort that has borne fruit. He handed over the Iranian Cultural Centre to the Iranian Government in 1958 after serving as its Director for three years. In 1958, he joined the weekly Magazine called Lail-o-Nahar as its Editor.

During his editorship, Sufi Tabassum devoted a lot of time to writing for children. When his editorship ended, Sufi Tabassum joined Radio Pakistan as a Script Adviser. There again he distinguished himself as a broadcaster and commentator of literary subjects.

Thereafter, he became Chairman of the Pakistan Arts Council, Lahore, and Vice-Chairman of Iqbal Academy. He worked tirelessly for both the organizations, building for the first time a magnificent building to mature into a national institution, while for the latter he laboured relentlessly to organize the Iqbal Centenary Celebrations and to get extensive research done on all aspects of the great poet’s life. He died on 7 February 1978.

In 1962, he received the Pride of Performance Award from the President of Pakistan.

In 1966, he received the Tamgha-e-Nishan-e-Sipaas award of the Government of Iran.

He was also awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Award.

He died on 7 February 1978.

Source: Radio Pakistan


ISLAMABAD, At least 11 Pakistani army officers and soldiers were killed and 13 others injured, in a suicide blast inside an army unit, in Pakistan’s north-west Swat district, on Saturday night.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistani army’s media wing, said in a statement that, the attack happened in a sports area of the unit, in Kabal town of Swat, a district located in the country’s north-west Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Local reports said, the death toll may further increase, as several were in critical condition, among the injured.

Local media said, the attack happened when soldiers were playing volleyball there. The injured soldiers have been shifted to Kabal hospital.

The outlawed militant group of Pakistani Taliban, claimed the attack, according to local reports.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, has strongly condemned the suicide attack.

The prime minister said, no cowardly attack can deter Pakistan, in pursuing struggle against the menace of terrorism to its logical conclusion. “We will continue our fight till the last trace is rooted out,” stated the prime minster, in a statement.

Pakistani security forces had cleared Swat valley in a major operation in 2009. Earlier, the Pakistani Taliban militants had strong influence, in most parts of Swat.