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Two injured during robbery attempt in Karachi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: As many as two people including a Rangers personnel were injured in firing during a robbery attempt in Gulshan-e-Johar area of Karachi on late Wednesdaynight.

The private news channel reported that two dacoits were looting people in Kamran Chowrangi area of Gulshan-e-Johar when a Rangers patrolling team reached there and the criminals opened fire on Rangers, in a result an official named Rasheed and a local resident named Mukhtar were injured in the incident.

The criminals managed to escape from the scene after the incident leaving behind their motorcycle. Rangers and police have collected evidences from the crime scene and started investigation.

 

 

 

 

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Three including NBP president indicted in Ishaq Dar corruption case

Tariq Ullah Wardag

ISLAMABAD: An Accountability Court (AC) of Islamabad Thursday indicted three co-accused in a supplementary reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar regarding assets beyond known sources of income and directed the prosecution to present the witnesses.

AC Judge Muhammad Bashir conducted hearing of the reference filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

During the hearing, three accused including President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Saeed Ahmed, Naeem Mehmood and Mansoor Rizvi appeared before the court. All the three are accused of aiding Dar in opening fictitious bank accounts.

Judge Mohammad Bashir read out the charges. However, the accused denied the charges.

Ahmed informed the court that he has challenged the decision of the Islam-abad High Court striking down his plea to quash his indictment in the Supreme Court. However, the judge observed that the proceedings will continue until the apex court rules otherwise.

Moreover, Mansoor Rizvi submitted an unconditional apology in the court over his counsel’s altercation with the judge at the last hearing. He informed the court that Javed Akbar Shah is no longer his legal representative.

The court directed the prosecution to present its witnesses and record, and adjourned the case till April 11.

 

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Trump tells military brass to produce Syria withdrawal plans

Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump instructed his military brass to draw up plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, but agreed to keep them in the war-torn country for the short-term, according to multiple reports published Wednesday.

No firm deadline has yet been set for the withdrawal, reports said.

Trump has repeatedly said he wants to pull out of Syria, but the proposal has raised alarm among Pentagon leaders who have warned it could jeopardize gains against the Daesh terrorist group.

The White House stressed in a statement that ongoing anti-Daesh operations have led to the group’s near eradication in Syria and that “is coming to a rapid end”, but stressed Washington and its allies “remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated.

“We will continue to consult with our allies and frie-nds regarding future plans,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckab-ee Sanders said in a statement. “We expect countries in the region and beyond, plus the United Nations, to work toward peace and ensure that ISIS never re-emerges.”

She was using another name for Daesh.

A decision was made on the U.S.’s Syria presence during a White House meeting Tuesday, according to one report that cited comments from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Shortly before the meeting Trump signaled countries that want the U.S. to remain in Syria may have to pay for the continued military presence, singling out Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom’s officials have indicated they want the U.S. to stay, Trump said, adding he has told them they may have to foot the bill for the continued operations.

“Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision, and I said, ‘well you want us to stay, maybe you’re going to have to pay,’” he told reporters at the White House a day earlier.

“We do a lot of things in this country. We do [them] for a lot of reasons, but it’s very costly for our country and it helps other countries a hell of a lot more than it helps us. So we’re going to be making a decision,” he said.

Trump railed against U.S. spending in the region, claiming Washington has gotten “nothing out of” the $7 trillion it spent. (AA)

 

 

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Over 190 migrants held in Turkey

CANAKKALE (AA): At least 193 undocumented migrants were held across Turkey on Wednesday, according to security sources.

In northwestern province of Canakkale, the coast guards rounded up 17 migrants on a rubber boat off the coast of Ayvacik district, said the sources who refused to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The migrants, including women and children, were trying to cross into Greece’s Lesbos island through illegal means, the sources added.

In the northwestern Edirne province, gendarmerie forces and border units held 176 migrants during operations in Meric, Orhaniye, Yenikadin, Bosnakoy and Ipsala districts of the province. The migrants included Syrians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Iraqis, and Palestinians, the sources added.

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NAB to verify complaints against four leaders

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB chaired a meeting at NAB headquarters and authorized four complaint verifications. First Complaint verification against Amir Muqam, former MNA, Maulana Amir Zaman, Abdul Malik Kakar and District Nazim Peshawar Asim Khan for alleged corruption and having assets beyond know sources of income. The chairman NAB DG NAB, KP for verifying complaint against Amir Muqam former MNA for having assets beyond known sources of income.

The meeting authorized Director General NAB, Balochistan to verify complaint against MNA Ameer Zaman for alleged misappropriation in development funds and having assets beyond known sources of income.

The meeting authorized Director General NAB Balochistan to verify yet another complaint against Balochistan MPA Abdul Malik Kakar for allegedly misappropriating development funds.

The meeting authorized Director General NAB, KP to conduct complaint verification against district Nazim, Peshawar Asim for alleged illegal use of government funds and distributing honorarium among employees without completing legal requirements.

 

 

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Over 500 settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound

JERUSALEM (AA): Hundreds of Jewish settlers forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Wednesday, according to a Palestinian official.

“Over 542 Jewish extremists stormed the compound since morning,” Al-Aqsa Mo-sque Director Omar Kiswani told Anadolu Agency.

He said the settlers broke into the compound through Al-Mugharbah gate under the protection of Israeli security forces.

“The settlers toured the compound and preformed Talmudic rituals near the Dome of the Rock mosque,” he said. Kiswani said Israeli police restricted the entry of Muslim men into the compound by confiscating their ID cards at the mosque gates.

Since Friday, over 2,040 Israeli settlers forced their way into the compound as part of celebrations of the Jewish Passover holiday, which ends on April 7.

Passover, which commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt during the time of Prophet Moses, is considered one of the most important holidays on the Jewish religious calendar.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.

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France, Germany, UK, US condemn use of chemical weapons

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON: A joint statement by the foreign ministers of the U.K., France, Germany and the U.S. on Wednesday condemned the “use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere.”

The statement was released on the anniversary of a deadly chemical attack on Syrian people in Khan Sheikoun by Syrian regime forces.

“Today marks one year since the heinous attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, where Assad’s forces unleashed sarin nerve gas with tragic consequences for hundreds of men, women and children,” the statement said.

The joint statement by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his French and German counterparts Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas, as well as John Sullivan, Acting Secretary of State of the U.S. said: “For more than seven long years there has been no let-up in the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime […] in flagrant violation of international law.”

“The suffering that has been inflicted on the Syrian people by the Assad regime and its backers is abhorrent,” it said, adding: “In 2013, Russia promised to ensure Syria would abandon all of its chemical weapons.”

Reminding that the international investigators mandated by the UNSC have found Assad regime “responsible for using poison gas in four separate attacks,” the statement said Russia reacted “by using its Security Council veto to sh-ut down the investigation” ins-tead of fulfilling its promise.

“Each time a chemical weapon is used, it undermines the global consensus against their employment,” it said.

Syrian regime forces carried out 214 chemical attacks against the opposition since 2011, according to a Syrian watchdog. In a statement on Wednesday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said these attacks have claimed the lives of at least 1,421 people.

A total of 187 children and 244 women were among the victims, the SNHR added.

The Syrian regime has carried out 11 chemical attacks since the Khan Sheikhoun attack, according to the NGO.

“Further, any such use in clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention gravely undermines the rules-based international order,” the joint statement said.

“We condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere,” it said, adding: “We are committed to ensuring that all those responsible for their use are held to account. We will not rest in our efforts to seek justice for the victims of these abhorrent attacks in Syria.”

Last year, a UN investigation panel has concluded that Syrian regime forces were responsible for the sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun. (AA)

 

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N. Korean FM to visit Russia

Elena Teslova

MOSCOW: North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Young-ho will visit Russia between April 9-11, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zaharova announced on Wednesday.

A meeting with the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov is planned for April 10, Zaharova added, speaking in a news conference in Moscow.

“On April 9-11, the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] foreign minister will pay an official visit to Russia. On April 10 the heads of the foreign services will hold talks. They plan to discuss the current situation and prospects of bilateral relations, and exchange opinions on key international issues with an emphasis on resolving the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” she said.

Ri Young-ho will be visiting Russia for the first time in four years, his previous visit to Moscow being in 2014.

North and South Koreas have experienced a positive shift since the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in Feb. 2018. The DPRK has considerably softened its warlike rhetoric and its leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to meetings with South Korean and U.S. presidents. The first inter-Korean summit is scheduled for April 27 in the demilitarized zone between the two countries. (AA)

 

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Anger grows in Kabul over deadly seminary bombing

Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL: The reported killings of dozens of civilians in Monday’s air raid on a religious seminary by Afghan forces have sparked an outcry in the country.

As the government promised to thoroughly investigate the deadly incident in northern Kunduz province’s Dasht-e-Archi district, Hezb-e-Islami party led by former Mujahedeen leader Gulbu-ddin Hekmatyar on Wednesd-ay labeled the air raid as “in-human war crime.”

The Afghan officials insist the raid only killed suspected militants. But local media outlets said over 100 civilians were killed in the deadly air raid on the religious seminary, which was adjacent to a mosque, in the Taliban-controlled area of Dasht-e-Archi district.

“The entire Afghan nation believe that blasts in cities and mosques, targeted killing of Ulema (religious scholars] and Jihadi leaders, bombardment on seminaries was carried out from one address that wanted the continuation of war and considered peace something against their interests,” the Hezb-e-Islami noted blaming elements within the government for fueling the conflict.

According to the Afghan military, an alleged gathering of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura had been hit during an air raid this morning in Dasht-e-Archi district.

“In the air raids by the Afghan Air Force at around 11 a.m. [0630 GMT], 15 Taliban terrorists, including a member of the Quetta Shura, Mawlawi Baryal, were killed and 10 others wounded,” the statement said about Monday’s deadly raid.

The images of children from the religious ceremony at the facility in Dasht-e-Archi wearing traditional turbans and the ones after the raid with blood-littered bodies have been widely circulated on the social media.

Angry Afghans have blasted the Kabul government and its western-backers on the social media while the local print media has dubbed the lethal bombing in a public place as a “catastrophic mistake”.

A number of civil society organizations are backing reports of civilian casualties.

Qareebur Rehman, a member of the Justice and Security for Civilians, told Anadolu Agency their findings indicate that up to 300 people, mostly civilians were present in the seminary when the attack took place, and around 50 civilians lost their lives in the raid.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani chaired a late-evening National Security Council meeting over the matter on Tuesday. Flanked by top government officials, including power-sharing Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, ministers and senior advisers, Ghani ordered comprehensive investigations into the incident.

Backed by American military’s airpower, the Afghan forces have launched an extensive military campaign against the Taliban who have so far not responded to the landmark peace offer extended by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in February.

Kunduz remains one of the strongest bastions for the Taliban. The provincial capital of the province twice briefly fell to the Taliban in the past three years. (AA)

 

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Global response required to fight terrorism: Nasir

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: National Security Advisor Lt Gen (R) Nasir Khan Janjua Wednesday said terrorism required International and global response as it could not be fought individually or state or group of countries.

“Despite losing children, senior leadership and thousands innocent people in war against terrorism, our resilient is intact,” he said while speaking at  a session “Dynamic of Internal Security” at International Counter Terrorism Forum (IICTF) organized by National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA).

The NACTA is organizing the Forum to provide an ample opportunity to portray the country’s positive and soft image and a nation of cou-rage, perseverance and resi-lience. He said there was dire need to work to gather to purge the menace of terrorism.

Appreciating NACTA for organizing such an even, he said the whole world was suffering from terrorism and Pakistan was a victim country of it. He said unfortunately despite main suffer in war against terrorism, Pakistan was being blamed for playing double standard.

He said Pakistan remained at front line state against terrorism and its people and personal of security forces rendered matchless sacrifices in this war.

He said unfortunately USA and its allied forces abandoned  Afghanistan after the collapse of former Soviet Union (USSR) resulting creation of vacuum. Later the vacuum was filled by radical groups, he added.

Janjua said Pakistani leadership formulated National Action Plan (NAP) to tackle the menace of terrorism, adding all the provinces and other stakeholders contributed well and stood like a rock.

He said various operations including Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasad were launched to get required results and now all FATA and others areas had fully been cleared from terrorists.

He said Karachi operation had also normalized life in the port city.

Earlier, one minute silence was observed for victims of terrorism.

A documentary, depicting efforts of people, the government and security agencies of the country against terrorism, was also shown on the occasion.