Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pakistan PM Imran Khan's silence on Safdar Awan's arrest annoys opposition

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan 

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 21 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's silence over the arrest of Maryam Nawaz Sharif's husband Captain Safdar Awan from a hotel in Karachi has drawn the ire of opposition leaders such as former PMs Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Raja Pervez Ashraf, and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who have asked why the PM has not spoken on the matter.

"But did the prime minister deliver a speech? Did he issue a statement?" Abbasi asked at a press conference, as quoted by The News.

Addressing Khan directly, Abbasi asked: "Do you not care about the federation? Are you worried at all about the provinces?"

He further stated that the PM was completely unaware of the pain and misery of the common man, and further alleged that he was resorting to any means possible to torturing his political opponents.

"We condemn all of this," he declared.

Ashraf, addressing the media, also seconded Abbasi in questioning why there had been no statement from any government representative -- ministers or the prime minister himself, according to The News.

"The prime minister should have come forward and laid down the facts before the nation. He should have spoken to Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah," the PPP leader said.

He further stated that Khan instead "has gone into hiding and adopted an indifferent stance".

Meanwhile, Durrani said that the country is going through a "grave crisis". "Such incidents have never before occurred in the country's history."

Earlier, the police had "arrested" Safdar Awan, from the hotel they were staying in Karachi, hours after the PML-N vice-president had lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan and the PTI government at second power show of 11-party opposition alliance People's Democratic Movement (PDM), which was attended by thousands of people.

"Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt. Safdar," Maryam tweeted early Monday.

Several police officers on Tuesday applied for leave in order to "come out of the [...] shock" caused by the registration of an FIR and arrest of Safdar, according to Dawn. (ANI)

Deputy police chief killed, dozen security forces injured in Taliban offensive in north Afghanistan

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Takhar [Afghanistan], October 21 (ANI): Clashes broke out between the Taliban and the security forces in Takhar in northeastern Afghanistan on Tuesday night, which killed Takhar's deputy police chief, Raz Mohammad Doorandish, and "several security guards", local officials said.

The fighting began with Taliban attacks on security forces in Baharak district, according to local officials, TOLOnews reported.

Officials added that the Taliban has also endured massive casualties though no exact information is available.

According to a source, the number of security force members who were killed or are missing is large.

"Around 60 security force members were sent on an operation in Baharak district to clear the insurgents, but the bodies of 12 of them were wounded while 48 other security forces still missing," the source added.

As per TOLOnews, yhe local official has not yet commented on the number of casualties of the security forces.

The Taliban is yet to comment on the clashes. (ANI)

Putin says vaccination of Russians against coronavirus top priority, above vaccine export

Russia President Vladimir Putin (File photo)

Moscow [Russia], October 21 (ANI/Sputnik): Vaccination of Russians against coronavirus is the top priority, which is more important than export of vaccines, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"Vaccination in Russia, for us this is task number one. Exports and so on are important, but this is the second question," Putin said at a meeting with board members of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

"The main task today is to create production capacities to increase output. And these production capacities should be aimed at vaccinating citizens of Russia in the first place. As for export work, this is an important task, but, of course, you can just sell it, but better decide how: let our partners create such production facilities in their countries, and we will organize for them the production of our vaccine there, at their production facilities," the president said. (ANI/Sputnik)

'Looking forward to meet with our Indian friends', Mike Pompeo on 2+2 India-US ministerial dialogue

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at a press briefing. (Photo: ANI)

Washington [US], October 21 (ANI): US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Wednesday (local time) said that he is looking forward to the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue "with our Indian friends".

"I am looking forward to our 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue with our Indian friends. It was postponed because of the virus. I'm glad that we will be able to execute that in person in just a few days," said Pompeo during a press briefing here.

He added that during the meetings, the discussions would be focussing on thwarting the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

"I'm also sure that my meetings will also include discussions on how free nations can work together to thwart the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party," the US State Department secretary added.

India will host the third round of the strategic India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on October 27 in Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs announced today.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper in the national capital Delhi.

" India will be hosting the third India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on 27 October 2020 in New Delhi," read a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs, which added that Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper will be visiting India on October 26 and 27 for the talks (ANI)

Libyan parties reach agreement during UN-sponsored joint military talks

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Tripoli [Libya], Oct 21 (ANI/Xinhua): The Acting Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to libya, Stephanie Williams, on Wednesday proclaimed that the Libyan parties engaged in talks in Geneva have reached agreement on many important issues.

"After 2 days of the primary face-to-face direct talks between the 2 Libyan delegations to the 5+5 Joint certification ... the 2 sides have reached agreement on many vital problems that directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan folks," Williams aforementioned in an exceedingly statement.

The parties have united to open up all land routes that connect all the regions and cities of African nation with joint security arrangements, and to out-of-doors routes throughout the country, particularly to Sebha, the most important southern Libyan town, the statement aforementioned.

"They united ... to halt the employment of hate speech and urged the judicial authorities to require necessary measures to carry responsible the channels and social media platforms promoting hate and inciting violence, whereas guaranteeing that freedom of expression and speech is protected," the statement more.

They conjointly united to support this calm on the frontlines and to avoid any military increase, and to support efforts aimed to exchange detainees.

The eastern-based army and also the UN-backed government had been engaged in an exceedingly deadly armed conflict for quite a year in and round the capital Tripoli, that resulted in early June with the UN-backed government asserting takeover of all western African nation when withdrawal of the eastern-based army. (ANI/Xinhua)

Bangkok protesters moving to Government House, reach foreign ministry building

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Bangkok [Thailand], October 21 (ANI/Sputnik): The participants of the Bangkok anti-government protests have gathered near the Victory Monument, which is situated in the center of the Thai capital, and headed to the Government House, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Wednesday.

The protesters' actions were coordinated via Facebook, Twitter and Telegram. The mob was moving in a column formation, the head of which reached the Foreign Ministry building that is halfway to the Government House.

The protesters, which closed the rear, only left the Monument Square, when the column stretched for more than 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles).

The mob demanded that the powers of the king be curbed and called on Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who came to power after a coup in 2014, to resign.

The protesters chanted slogans, such as "Down with Prayut," "Away with feudalism, hail to the people!" and "Out with the dictatorship, long live democracy!"

The police blocked traffic near the foreign ministry building and constructed road barriers, but are expected to not prevent the protesters from moving further and instead ensure order. Meanwhile, security forces began to set up a barbed-wire fence around the Government House.

According to daily newspaper, Thai Rath, Prayut left the Government House earlier than usual.

The demonstrations were ignited back in February when the constitutional court banned opposition party Future Forward, which was popular among students. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and imposition of a lockdown in early April hampered the protest movement.

However, the pandemic has also affected the economic situation in the country and deepened public resentment with the authorities. The protesters demanded political reforms, namely the revision of the monarch's immunity from prosecution, and called on the prime minister, who had been the chief of the Thai army before the 2014 coup, to step down. (ANI/Sputnik)

Pakistan indulged in ethnic cleansing of local Kashmiris in October 1947, says CRPF medico

A billboard by Centre for Inclusive and Sustainable Development. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], October 21 (ANI): Pakistan's obsession with Kashmir has weakened its economy and polity and led to a "paranoid" domination of its military in all spheres of life, said Suneem Khan senior medico serving with Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Srinagar, who also accused Islamabad of ethnic cleansing in Kashmir during the Pakistani invasion of October 1947.

"The constant peddling of the idea that Kashmir is not a part of India, just what Pakistan always claims, has been drilled into the narrative, the media discourse, the politics and the psychology of the valley and its residents. The Indian government is the 'interfering outside force', 'Hindus are snatching away jobs from us', 'Pandits were grabbing wealth', the central government is bringing 'other people to live here' etc are all the different notes of the same music that is being played for decades, to keep the populace constantly on the edge, to create an atmosphere of edgy distrust and hatred, to keep them isolated mentally, so that Pakistan and other extremist forces find easy clays to mould into their puppets," he wrote.

Recalling the book 'Raiders in Kashmir' by a former Pakistan Army General, he said that it presents the real narrative "otherwise unheard of earlier". "The author, a retired Maj Gen of Pakistan Army, Akbar Khan, is himself admitting the role of Pakistan in stoking the conflict in Kashmir. He minces no words to audaciously convey that Pakistan played the role of an aggressor and even justifies to his readers the pressing compulsions to adopt that military stance," he wrote.

He further wrote that Akbar "no longer kept it a secret" that at the beginning of September 1947 he was asked to prepare a plan as to how to take over Kashmir. "Serving at the time as director of weapons and equipment (DW&E) in GHQ, he was aware of the quantum of weapons and ammunition while some of it was brought from Italy after obtaining the concurrence of political leadership owing to the financial implications. These weapons were secretly diverted to the people of Kashmir," he said.

Akbar was appointed military adviser to the Prime Minister-to cover his absence from duty, Khan wrote further.

"The operation formally commenced on 22 October 1947, when the Pakistani forces crossed the border and attacked Muzaffarabad and Domel on October 24 from where the Dogra troops had to withdraw. These advancing troops moved forward in the Srinagar road the next day and again took on the Dogras at Uri. On October 26, they captured Baramulla, where out of 14,000 only 3,000 survived. It clearly indicates that these advancing forces indulged in ethnic cleansing of local Kashmiris. Thus, Pakistan has old record of ethnic cleansing in Kashmir," Khan said.

The senior medico wrote further that on the evening of October 27, the Prime Minister of Pakistan held a conference in Lahore to consider the situation arising out of Kashmir's accession and India's military intervention and said that the changed narrative in Kashmir required altering the military strategy at Pakistan's end.

Khan said the book is "full of several sensational accounts" that focus on how the wrong moves and misadventure of the Pakistani army and political leaders led them nowhere. "Over ambition and utter desperation to take Kashmir by sheer force were the reasons for its role as an 'aggressor'," he wrote.

"It seems that the Pakistani General has no remorse over the great loss of human lives and material wealth in Kashmir inflicted by Pakistan army. The book is a must-read for the young generation of Kashmir who have little or no knowledge of Kashmir's history and politics," he added. (ANI)

England Police begin search as fifteen left with injuries when unknown substance sprayed

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Moscow [Russia], Oct 21 (ANI/Sputnik): Police in European country have begun a look for a personal WHO left fifteen folks with injuries once spraying AN unknown substance in 3 industrial premises, West Midlands Police aforesaid in an exceedingly handout on Wed. "We ar investigation once AN unknown substance was sprayed in 3 business premises in higher Gornal simply once 7pm [18:00 GMT] last night (20 Oct). 

Paramedics treated fourteen folks at the scene with respiration difficulties and one different was taken to hospital. fortuitously none have suffered any lasting effects," West Midlands Police wrote. enforcement officers ar presently consulting video police investigation footage and conducting interviews with witnesses, the police aforesaid. consistent with domestic media reports, the individual sprayed the substance within branches of the dish Hut and McDonald's restaurants, in addition because the Tesco market. 

A Tesco representative told the BBC broadcaster that the affected store has reopened once it had been quickly closed for thorough cleanup. higher Gornal is found within the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, just about eleven miles from the close town of Birmingham. (ANI/Sputnik) 

Kangana dazzles in pastel lehenga for cousin's wedding

Actor Kangana Ranaut (Image Source: Instagram)

New Delhi [India], Oct 21 (ANI): Actor Kangana Ranaut was on Wednesday seen dazzling in a very pastel colored lehenga as she attended the marriage ceremony of her cousin-german brother in her town Manali.

The 'Queen' actor took to Instagram to share 2 photoes of her look from the marriage function.

The pictures see Kangana in a very blue pastel colored lehenga, that she paired with a choker decorated with pearls.

Kangana selected to stay her make-up minimalist and got her hair loosely curled for the occasion.

"Kangana wore a pastel lehanga adorned with pearls for her cousin's wedding nowadays," she wrote within the caption.

She additionally as an alternative shared videos from the marriage perform on Twitter. (ANI)

Randeep Hooda sights leopard on first outing after lockdown

Actor Randeep Hooda (Image Source: Instagram)

New Delhi [India], October 21 (ANI): Actor Randeep Hooda on Wednesday fulfilled his long time dream of sighting a leopard during a visit to Jaipur's Jhalana Leopard Reserve.

On his very first outing after the lifting up of coronavirus induced lockdown, the 'Jims 2,' actor took to Instagram to share a short video from his outing where he is seen seated in a jeep as he photographs two leopards from a distance.

He further revealed in the caption, that he had gone to Jaipur's Jhalana for the outing.

"On my first outing after lockdown, my long time dream of sighting a #leopard in the wild finally came true on my maiden visit to #Jhalana - a leopard trove within the heart of Jaipur," the 44-year-old actor wrote in the caption.

He ended the post by stating that pictures from the outing and related write-ups will follow soon on his social media. (ANI)

US President Trump abruptly leaves CBS interview after 45 minutes

US President Donald Trump (Photo: ANI)

Washington [US], October 21 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump abruptly concluded a solo interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" on Tuesday, and did not return for an appearance he was scheduled to shoot with US Vice President Mike Pence, sources said.

After camera crews set up at the White House on Monday, Trump sat down with host Lesley Stahl for about 45 minutes on Tuesday before leaving abruptly the interview and told the network he believed they had enough material to use, according to two sources, CNN reported.

CBS News did not instantly respond to a CNN request for comment. When reached for comment, the White House did not dispute CNN's reporting.

Later, Trump posted on Twitter a clip of the reporter at the White House attacking her for not wearing a face mask.

"I am pleased to inform you that, for the sake of accuracy in reporting, I am considering posting my interview with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, PRIOR TO AIRTIME! " he added. "This will be done so that everybody can get a glimpse of what a FAKE and BIASED interview is all about ... " Trump tweeted.

However, a source later informed CNN that Stahl had a mask on from the time she entered the White House to when the interview started. The image from the tweet only showed her standing with her producers before she went back to her belongings to wear the mask.

According to CNN, with about two weeks until the election, "Trump has spent this week lobbing scatter-shot attacks and growing upset at depictions portraying his campaign as doomed. His truncated taping on "60 Minutes" seemed an extension of what has been Trump's visible irritation as he enters the campaign's final days."

Along with Trump and Pence, former Vice President Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris also gave interviews with CBS and all four are scheduled to appear in a programme on Sunday. Trump and Pence were scheduled to appear on the Sunday programme together, as they did four years ago for a walk and talk session before Trump decided to end the interview without reason. Biden and Harris, however, filmed their interviews separately.

Trump is facing a massive national polling shortage against Biden.

He even called the director of NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) Dr. Anthony Fauci a "disaster" on Monday, and called the news media "criminals" for not reporting unproven accusations against Biden.

Trump also demanded his attorney general to work "fast" to investigate the unfounded accusations against Biden before the elections. After the panel organizing Thursday's debate announced that the candidates' microphones would be muted for certain parts of the event, Trump accused them of bias.

Trump has also expressed anger over news stories commenting that his campaign is fated for defeat. He has even questioned why the Republicans are appearing to distance themselves.
Trump told reporters, "I'm not running scared," "I think I'm running angry."

Polling in states where Trump won in 2016, shows Biden to be ahead this time. Trump admitted that he was upset while standing on the tarmac in Arizona on Monday.

While speaking to Trump off-camera in 2016, Stahl said that he admitted his attacks on the press were meant to demean negative stories that are published about him.

As per CNN, "He said, 'You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.' He said that," Stahl said. (ANI)

PM Narendra Modi speaks to South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, discusses diversification of international value chains

Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the reconstructed "Rani Pokhari". (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], October 21 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday spoke on phone with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and reviewed important global developments including the progress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing diversification of international value chains.

A PMO release said that the two leaders also reviewed the need to preserve a transparent, rules-based global trading order and the important role of WTO.

"The two leaders reviewed important global developments including the progress of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing diversification of international value chains, the need to preserve a transparent, development-oriented and rules-based global trading order, and the important role of the World Trade Organisation," the release said.

The two leaders agreed to remain in touch on these and to further accelerate bilateral cooperation in all areas. (ANI)

Nepal completes reconstruction of historical "Rani Pokhari", inaugurated by President

Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the reconstructed the reconstructed "Rani Pokhari". (Photo: ANI)

Kathmandu [Nepal], October 21 (ANI): Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the reconstructed "Rani Pokhari" or the "Queens Pond" during a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon despite the rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

President Bhandari along with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and other cabinet ministers attended the procession held on Wednesday afternoon. The Malla era pond, which witnessed structural damage due to the 2015 earthquake got a new look after undergoing reconstruction.

"We can and we will rebuild our structures damaged by earthquake with increased security and stronger than before. We will further rebuild our cultural heritages that would be stronger but as per the historical structure," President Bidhya Devi Bhandari said while addressing the program.

"Other damaged structures which are in need of reconstruction, will be completed in a planned way and sooner," President Bhandari added.

It was the first public program held out of the spheres of President Residence or Office, which he attended after the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

President Bhandari had laid the foundation stone of Balgopaleshwor Temple on January 16, 2016, formally beginning the start of the reconstruction drive of heritages around the nation. (ANI)

Quibi apps arrive on Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV

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California [US], October 21 (ANI): American short-form mobile video platform Quibi has just launched apps for Apple TV, Android TV and Fire TV. The streaming service company announced the change in an updated support article.

According to The Verge, these apps follow Quibi's ongoing attempts to get more eyes on its content after launching as a mobile-only app. The company first made the content more shareable in May and followed that soon after with AirPlay and Chromecast support.

A new report in The Information claims that co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has attempted to sell Quibi's programming to Facebook and NBCUniversal while telling others he may have to shut down the company entirely.

As reported by The Verge, Quibi has struggled to scale since its launch, dealing with a lackluster reaction to its first collection of content and a drop in subscribers after its 90-day trial offered at launch ended. (ANI)

12 women killed at stampede for Pakistani visas in Afghanistan's Jalalabad

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Jalalabad [Afghanistan], October 21 (ANI): At least 12 women were killed and 12 others were injured during a stampede, which occurred in Jalalabad city, capital of Nangarhar province among a huge crowd of people seeking Pakistani visas, said local officials.

The crowd had gathered close to the Pakistan Embassy in Jalalabad when the incident occurred, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, reported TOLO News.

"Deeply saddened at the reports of casualties at a stadium in Jalalabad 5 km from Pakistani Consulate where visa applicants were being organized by Afghan provincial authorities. We sympathize with the families of the victims," said Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan, in a tweet following the stampede.

"We are engaged with Afghan authorities for better facilitation of visa applicants. We are committed to continue visa issuance to Afghan nationals under new visa policy while making the process smoother and streamlined at our end," he said.

According to TOLO News, hundreds of people gather for Pakistani visas outside the Pakistan Consulate every day, with some people even spending the whole night waiting in line.
On October 13, Pakistan's embassy in Kabul at a press release said it had taken urgent measures to facilitate Pakistani visas for Afghan nationals. (ANI)

Fazlur Rehman says, army should stop interfering or there will be no unity in Pakistan

Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. (Photo: ANI)

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 21 (ANI): Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday issued a warning to Pakistan Army asking it stop interfering in civilian matters of the government and police or there will be no unity in the country.

Rehman told reporters that the recent Karachi incident proves the strict control of Army on everything in Pakistan.

"The army has control over the whole country. In every tehsil, there is a major sitting, in every district, there is a colonel. In every apex body in the country, there is an army officer and in front of them, these commissioners, DIGs look helpless," he said.

"Yesterday's incident has proved the strict control of the Army. Pakistan Army should vacate all tehsils, districts, towns and divisions and stop interfering in civilian matters of governments and police or else there will be no unity in the country," he added.

Rehman remarks come a day after almost all police officers in Sindh police applied for leave in protest against the humiliation meted out to the Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mehr, during the PML-N leader Safdar Awan's arrest saga, The News International reported.

PML-N leader and spokesman for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz's and former Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair said that the IGP Sindh was "kidnapped" by Rangers who forced him to file an FIR for Safdar's arrest.

The development caused extreme bitterness among the police officers who retaliated by submitting leave of absence.

The incident sent shockwaves in top Army brass with Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa himself stepping in and ordering an inquiry into the "Karachi incident".

Recently, political parties including Jamiat Ulema-e Islam under the banner joint opposition alliance--Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-- protested against the "puppet" government of Prime Minister Imran Khan and demanded his resignation.

Following the rally, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz's husband Safdar Awan was arrested from his hotel room.

Almost the entire top brass of the police, including three Additional IGs, 25 DIGs, 30 SSPs and dozens of SPs, DSPs and SHOs across Sindh, tendered leave applications, as a protest against the "resentment and heartache caused to all ranks of the force" by the unfortunate incident of October 18/19.

In a tweet, the Sindh Police termed their reaction of filing leave application "as a spontaneous and heartfelt reaction and made on an individual basis rather than on a collective basis."

Following the meeting with the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto at the IGP's residence, the IGP deferred his own leave and ordered his officers to set aside their leave applications for 10 days in the larger national interest, pending the conclusion of the inquiry. (ANI)

NATO allies to stand together regardless of US election result: Stoltenberg

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Washington [US], October 21 (ANI/Sputnik): NATO allies will stand together regardless of who wins the upcoming US presidential election, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

"Regardless of differences we see on burden-sharing or trade, climate change, and all the issues, is that NATO allies always are able to stand united and stand together on the main tasks of NATO, that is to protect and defend each other. And that is exactly what we have done over the last years and I am absolutely certain that regardless of the outcome of the US election that will also be the case," Stoltenberg told a press conference. (ANI/Sputnik)

Pakistan will not be able to escape FATF grey-list : Afghan lawmaker

Mariam Solaimankhail, a member of Afghanistan parliament. (Photo: ANI)

Washington [US], October 21 (ANI): Despite high-level diplomacy, hiring a top lobbying firm and offering its leverage with the Taliban to the United States for reduction of violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan will not be able to escape the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list, said Mariam Solaimankhail, a member of Afghanistan parliament.

The FATF, the global money-laundering and terror-financing watchdog, is holding its plenary session from October 21 where it will decide the fate of Pakistan. The country is in grey-list since 2018.

In an opinion piece in US-based magazine 'The Diplomat', Solaimankhail writes: "Despite high-level diplomacy and hiring a top lobbying firm and offering its leverage with the Taliban to the U.S. for reduction of violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan will not be able to escape the grey list this time. But that is simply not enough.

Early this month, the FATF's Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering has kept Pakistan on "Enhanced Follow-up List" for its slow progress on the technical recommendations of the FATF to fight terror financing. Pakistan's progress has remained unchanged -- non-compliant on four counts.

According to the FATF rules, Islamabad must meet at least 13 of the 27 parameters laid down by the watchdog to come out of the "grey list."

While it may have gotten the three votes -- China, Turkey, and Malaysia - needed to escape the blacklist, it would also need approval from 12 out of the FATF's 39 members to exit the "grey list," which it has not been able to get so far, Solaimankhail said.

There is little doubt that the FATF is "unhappy with Pakistan's performance", diplomatic sources monitoring the subject say.

The assessment is that Pakistan is keen to somehow retain its position on the grey list and not be dragged to the blacklist that brings serious economic repercussions.

Beyond stepping up its lobbying efforts, the Afghan lawmaker said that Pakistan has also taken care that it does not annoy the United States amidst a toxic election campaign. The Pakistan Supreme Court has extended by three months the custody of a suspect in the killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl, accepting an appeal by Pearl's parents for justice, despite the suspect's acquittal by a lower court.

Besides weighing India's complaints along with placating American concerns, the FATF will have to factor in Pakistan's performance in enacting legislation aimed at curbing money flow into terrorism. The unstated part here is that the actual enforcing of these laws would also need to be monitored, she said. (ANI)

FDI India successfully enabled over 150 Indian businesses gain access to soft loans by foreign investors

FDI India logo

New Delhi [India], October 21 (ANI/NewsVoir): FDI India, a one-of-its-kind startup has been at the forefront in providing consultancy to over 150 Indian businesses to accelerate business growth.

Through its interactive platform, FDI India enabled financial strength to these businesses through an array of services including Financial Planning and assistance, connecting them to the right foreign investors, obtaining government permissions, and project planning.

The company facilitated soft loans from foreign investors from across 15 countries through the most credible route. Dedicatedly serving 27 plus sectors including Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Solar and Hydro Plants, Construction, Hospitality, Education, Mining and Metal, Food Processing Sectors, etc, the company enabled thriving Indian businesses to obtain soft loans with a minimum ticket size of Rs 25 crore at 3.25 per cent per annum on reducing balance.

This involved a detailed process right from the screening of the loan applicants to helping them build their portfolios and effectively present credentials to potential investors and guiding them in their financial and project plans.

"Being the world's sixth-largest consumer market, India is an attractive investment destination for foreign investors. However, the pandemic and the resultant economic slowdown has posed multiple challenges for businesses of all size and scale. With the view to combating the same, FDI India aims to bridge the market gap allowing enterprises to boost their business by providing the most credible investment route enabling the market towards economic growth," said Vishal Yadav, CEO and Founder, FDI India, while commenting on the same.

Some of the major challenges Indian businesses are witnessing in the course of their business lifecycle include assistance in managing their fund accounts, gaining access to foreign credit, etc. FDI India with a strong track record has helped address this with its cornerstone technology platform reaching across demographics and geographies to provide convenient, low-cost, and process-driven Foreign Direct Investment.

The company is backed by 50 plus passionate and committed professionals with comprehensive experience to deliver expertise in fund projects.

FDI India is a one-of-its-kind startup that provides consultancy to Indian businesses to accelerate business growth by obtaining soft loans from foreign investors through the most credible route. Aiming to transform the country's investment climate by simplifying the business environment for investors, FDI India enables financial strength to its clients through quality and conflict-free Foreign Investments with their range of services including financial planning and assistance, connecting to right investors, government permissions, and project planning.

This involves a rigorous process right from the screening of the loan applicants to helping them build their portfolios and effectively present credentials to potential investors in guiding them in their financial and project plans.

In lieu of combating the current economic slowdown, FDI India is driven to strengthen the financial capability of its clients, through handholding them in the investment lifecycle right from pre-investment to after-care which includes a background check of applicants, drafting a proposal for an investor pitch, consulting them throughout their investment life-cycle, etc.

FDI India holds a strong reputation for providing exceptional consulting services to Indian businesses and connecting them to the right foreign investors from across 15 countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Ireland among others.

This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

John Abraham, Divya Khosla Kumar kick-start shooting of 'Satyameva Jayate 2'

John Abraham, Divya Khosla Kumar and director Milap Zaveri. (Photo: ANI)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 21 (ANI): Actor John Abraham and Divya Khosla Kumar on Wednesday kick-started the shooting for the upcoming action-thriller film 'Satyameva Jayate 2' in Lucknow.

The 'Dishoom' actor along with Divya and producer Milap Javeri has commenced the shoot for the much-anticipated sequel.

In the pictures from Day 1 of the film, John is seen clad in a white kurta and a grey bandhgala jacket. He is also sporting a badge featuring the Indian flag above his left pocket. On the other hand, Divya looks stunningly beautiful in a red-bordered white saree. The actors have posed with the director Milap Zaveri in the first picture.

On the sets of the film, producer Nikkhil Advani was also captured giving the Mahurat clap to initiate the shooting.

Before the coronavirus struck, 'Satyameva Jayate 2 'was based in Mumbai. The director Milap Zaveri - confided that the roots of John's character in the film are in Varanasi. The transition will give the film a pan-India feel, appealing even to the viewers in the interiors, he said.

The team will also be shooting for a few days at a Mumbai studio early next year before calling it a wrap.

Produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar (T-Series), Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani and Nikkhil Advani (Emmay Entertainment), Satyameva Jayate 2 is slated to release on May 12, 2021. (ANI)

October 22nd is the real Black Day for Kashmir, not 27th

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New Delhi [India], October 21 (ANI): Pakistan had entered into a Standstill Agreement with the Maharaja of Kashmir on August 12, 1947. On October 22, 1947, Pakistan unilaterally broke the Agreement and launched an invasion to forcibly capture Jammu and Kashmir using tribal raiders. The raiders, as is well known, looted and pillaged the state with a ferocity that shocked the people till the Indian army came to the rescue and decisively threw them back.

However, despite its direct responsibility, Pakistan has managed to spin a narrative that concealed its role in the 1947 invasion calling it a 'spontaneous' attack by the tribals in response to the communal killings in J&K. In addition, it has sought to throw doubts about the genuineness of the accession of J&K to India, labelling the entry of Indian troops on October 27, 1947 in Kashmir as illegal. Pakistan has observed this day as a 'Black Day' for decades in Pakistan, in Pakistan occupied J&K (POJK) and in the diaspora in order to bolster its narrative.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, there is documentary evidence in terms of eyewitness accounts of the tribal invasion that demolishes its case. One such is of Akbar Khan (later a Maj. General and involved in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case) whose book 'Raiders in Kashmir' leaves no doubt about how Pakistan planned the invasion and was directly involved in it.

Akbar Khan was then Director, Weapons and Equipment at GHQ. He devised a plan to use a previous government sanction for the issue of 4,000 military rifles to the Punjab Police and have the rifles transferred from the police to the raiders. Likewise, old ammunition was secretly diverted for use in Kashmir. He even devised a plan titled 'Armed Revolt inside Kashmir' to strengthen Kashmiris internally and at the same time taking steps to prevent the arrival of armed civilians or military assistance from India into Kashmir, either by road or air.

The plan was discussed, first at a preliminary conference at the Provincial government secretariat in the office of Shaukat Hayat Khan, then a minister in the Punjab government. However, there was also another plan devised by the latter based on using the officers and other ranks of the former Indian National Army (INA). Zaman Kiani was to lead operations across the Punjab border and Khurshid Anwar of the Muslim League guards north of Rawalpindi. Both sectors were under the overall command of Shaukat Hayat Khan.

Later, Akbar Khan attended a meeting chaired by prime minister former Liaquat Ali. Others who attended were Finance Minister Ghulam Mohd., Mian Iftikharuddin, a Muslim League leader, Zaman Kiani, Khurshid Anwar, Shaukat Hayat. According to his book, several army and air force officers as also the Commissioner Rawalpindi were involved.

Another book is of Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) author Mohammad Saeed Asad titled 'Yaadon ke Zakhm' (Wounded Memories). Asad has managed to collect a series of first-hand accounts that graphically reveal the brutalities inflicted by the raiders on the people.

What Saeed's account emphasizes is the tolerant and peaceful nature of society that existed in Kashmir before the tribal invasion. All the three communities- the majority of Muslims and the minority Hindus and Sikhs - lived in peace and harmony. The friendship between the communities extended to all aspects of social interaction- festivals, marriages and funerals.

Let alone coming to the aid of their religious brethren, Saeed's book makes clear that the raiders did not distinguish between Muslims and non-Muslims. Shops and homes of all communities were equally plundered. No home was spared the tribal carnage just because it belonged to a Muslim. In Baramulla, for example, only 3,000 survived out of a population of 14,000. In places, even the holy Quran was desecrated. No village en-route escaped plunder and devastation. Many Muslim women read the kalma and pleaded for their lives but the raiders took no heed. A large number of them were taken back to the Frontier and sold.

A third book is of Humayun Mirza who revealed in 'From Plassey to Pakistan' that his father Iskander Mirza (later Governor-General of Pakistan) was tasked by Jinnah to raise a tribal Lashkar in February 1947 to wage a jihad against the British if they did not concede Pakistan. Mirza identified the tribesmen from Waziristan, Tirah and the Mohmand country for this purpose. He asked for a sum of Rs one crore (or Pounds 750,000 at the then exchange rate) to achieve this objective. Jinnah gave him Rs 20,000 for immediate expenses and told him that the Nawab of Bhopal would provide the rest.

In the event, the British conceded Pakistan and so the plan did not have to be put into action. However, by October 1947, Iskandar Mirza was Defence Secretary and his earlier experience with the tribesmen would have come in use to organize the invasion. The book also reveals that Jinnah was very much in the know about the events in Kashmir.

That is why 22 October matters because for too long has Pakistan got away with a false narrative, hiding its culpability in the tribal invasion. That's why it is so necessary to sensitize people, especially the youth in Kashmir who may otherwise not be aware of the history of the event. They need to be reminded of the brutalities that Pakistan had subjected their forefathers to and what Pakistan's real intentions were then and are even today.

Thus, if there is a 'Black Day' in Kashmir it has to be October 22 when its history was permanently distorted. This was the day when the princely state became an 'issue' and a 'question', this was the day when the truth was masked to further the Pakistani agenda, this was the day when Pakistan deliberately destroyed the unity, integrity and civilizational ethos of Kashmir and this was the day when a deceitful and conniving Pakistan betrayed the people of Kashmir but projected itself as the champion of their rights.

Disclaimer: The author of this opinion article is Tilak Devasher, who is the author of three widely acclaimed books on Pakistan and a Member of the National Security Advisory Board. (ANI)

FATF needs to take hard and objective look at Pakistan to ensure it comply with terror-related obligation: Report

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Islamabad [Pakistan], October 21 (ANI): The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) needs to take a hard and objective look at Pakistan's attempts to leverage "nuisance value" to ensure that the country fully complies with terror financing and money laundering obligations before it can be de-listed, Global Watch Analysis reported.

The FATF, the global money-laundering and terror-financing watchdog, is holding its plenary session from October 21 where it will decide the fate of Pakistan. The country is in grey-list since 2018.

Early this month, the FATF's Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering has kept Pakistan on "Enhanced Follow-up List" for its slow progress on the technical recommendations of the FATF to fight terror financing. Pakistan's progress has remained unchanged -- non-compliant on four counts.

According to a report by Roland Jacquard, Chairman of Roland Jacquard Global Security Consulting (RJGSC), published in Global Watch Analysis, the APG's latest report of September 2020, based on the evaluation conducted after a year, Pakistan's report card remained more or less unchanged with the country being able to move one of its partially compliant parameters to fully compliant.

"The APG has a stringent set of monitoring processes while evaluating a country's compliance with AML/CFT measures. It has a scale of 40 parameters based on which it prepares its evaluation report on any country. These parameters range from the presence of effective laws and supervision to prevent terror financing or money laundering to identifying non-profit organisations that act as fronts for terror groups," he said.

"In Pakistan's case, the APG, in its Mutual Evaluation Report in October 2019 had found the country compliant on 1, non-compliant on 4, partially compliant on 26 and largely compliant on 9 of these 40 parameters. In the APG's latest report of September 2020, based on the evaluation conducted after a year, Pakistan's report card remained more or less unchanged with the country being able to move 1 of its partially compliant parameters to fully compliant," he added.

Jacquard said that the APG is a non-political body and its opinion is not binding on the final decision of the FATF, adding that the FATF's Joint Group Progress Report of October 2020 has taken a more "lenient stance" on Pakistan.

Pakistan is in the FATF's grey list since June 2018 and the government was given a final warning in February to complete the remaining action points by June 2020. Another review meeting will be held later this month.

The FATF extended the June deadline to September due to the spread of coronavirus that disrupted the FATF plenary meetings.

The country is facing the difficult task of clearing its name from the FATF grey list. As things stand, Islamabad is finding it difficult to shield terror perpetrators and implement the FATF action plan at the same time.

In recent weeks, Pakistan has been trying to paint a picture that it has started the reforms, including the passing of some Bills in order to prevent blacklisting by the FATF.

In late July, Pakistan Financial Monitoring Unit Director-general Lubna Farooq told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance that the country is yet to comply with 13 conditions out of the 27-point Action Plan of the FATF, including curbing terror financing, enforcement of the laws against the proscribed organisations and improving the legal systems.

Jacquard said the reason for the FATF leniency is Trump administration's hurry to leave Afghanistan and therefore its dependence on Pakistan to convince the Taliban for an honourable exit.

"However, since the APG is a non-political body, its opinion is not binding on the final decision of the FATF. As a result, despite APG's recent evaluation, the FATF's Joint Group Progress Report of October 2020 has taken a more lenient stance on Pakistan," he writes.

"As per this group's assessment, Pakistan has fully complied with 21 of the 27 action points and more or less complied with the remaining 6, thereby indicating that it was more or less on the path of being de-listed. The reasons for this tempered position on Pakistan can only be speculated. The most obvious reason is the Trump administration's hurry to leave Afghanistan and therefore its dependence on Pakistan to convince the Taliban for an honourable exit," he adds.

Jacquard said that the important institutions like the FATF should not be allowed to be pressured into taking a decision based on political considerations.

"Whatever may be the case, important institutions like the FATF should not be allowed to be pressured into taking a decision based on political considerations, especially when the ground situation in Pakistan tells an alarming story," he noted.

A closer look at the Pakistan-based social media accounts conveys a different tale of UN proscribed Pakistani terrorist groups like the Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and their leaders being allowed freedom of movement and activity in the country, Jacquard highlighted.

While these groups openly collect fund in the name of jihad, the Pakistan government tries to convince the FATF that its recently passed Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism laws were evidence of its commitment to act against terror groups, he said.

"The FATF, therefore, needs to take a hard and objective look at Pakistan's attempts to leverage its nuisance value, in the larger interest of preserving its credibility as a global financial watchdog and ensure that Islamabad fully complies with terror financing and money laundering obligations before it can be de-listed In this connection, one is reminded of the case of Iceland that was 'greylisted' for lesser infractions and took more than a year to get delisted," he concludes. (ANI)

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