Saudi women can now start their own business without male permission

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Saudi women can now start their own business without male permission

Saudi Arabia is pushing to expand the country’s private sector, including an expansion of female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era.

WORLD Updated: Feb 18, 2018 19:59 IST

Agence France-Presse, Riyadh
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne, has been leading the drive to expand the role of women in the workforce in recent months.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne, has been leading the drive to expand the role of women in the workforce in recent months. (AFP File Photo)

Women in Saudi Arabia can now open their own businesses without the consent of a husband or male relative, as the kingdom pushes to expand a fast-growing private sector.

The policy change, announced by the Saudi government on Thursday, also marks a major step away from the strict guardianship system that has ruled the country for decades.

“Women can now launch their own businesses and benefit from (governmental) e-services without having to prove consent from a guardian,” the ministry of commerce and investment said on its website.

Under Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system, women are required to present proof of permission from a male “guardian” — normally the husband, father or brother — to do any government paperwork, travel or enrol in classes.

Long dependent on crude production for economic revenue, Saudi Arabia is pushing to expand the country’s private sector, including an expansion of female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era.

While women still face a host of restrictions in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor’s office this month said it would begin recruiting women investigators for the first time.

The kingdom has also opened 140 positions for women at airports and border crossings, a historic first that the government said drew 107,000 female applicants.

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne, has been leading the drive to expand the role of women in the workforce in recent months.

His father, King Salman, in September approved the end of a decades-long ban on driving, which goes into effect in June.

The 32-year-old prince pledged a “moderate, open” Saudi Arabia in October, breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favour of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth.

Prince Mohammed is widely seen as the chief architect behind Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” reform programme, which seeks to elevate the percentage of women in the work force from 22 percent to nearly one-third.

Al Qaeda threatens attacks in Delhi, Mumbai

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Al Qaeda threatens attacks in Delhi, Mumbai for ‘victory’ in Kashmir

In a video interview with al Qaeda’s mouthpiece, released on jihadi online networks, Usama Mehmood, spokesman of al Qaeda in Indian sub-continent, said there could be no easy solution to the Kashmir issue which needs “blood and sweat” of Muslims.

INDIA Updated: Dec 27, 2017 21:51 IST

Indo Asian News Service, New Delhi
Calling for attacks in Delhi and Mumbai, the al Qaeda said it was necessary for “the jihadi movement to strengthen and expand its activities in the region and target Indian interests.”
Calling for attacks in Delhi and Mumbai, the al Qaeda said it was necessary for “the jihadi movement to strengthen and expand its activities in the region and target Indian interests.”(PTI Photo)

Global terror network al Qaeda that formally announced its affiliate in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year has said targeting Indian cities and sidelining Pakistan and its army were key to jihadi success in the state.

In a video interview with Al Qaeda’s mouthpiece, released on jihadi online networks, Usama Mehmood, spokesman of al Qaeda in Indian sub-continent, said there could be no easy solution to the Kashmir issue which needs “blood and sweat” of Muslims.

Mehmood, in the 42-minute video recorded in Urdu, said it was necessary for “the jihadi movement to strengthen and expand its activities in the region and target Indian interests.

“India has protected itself by deploying 600,000 troops in a small place like Kashmir. We will target it and its interests in Kolkata, Bangalore and New Delhi, it will come to its senses, its atrocities will be controlled and its grip on Kashmir will weaken by the will of Allah,” said the group’s second-in-command in the sub-continent.

This is the first detailed al Qaeda talk on its activities in Kashmir since July 27 this year when the group announced it was establishing an affiliate in Jammu and Kashmir called Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, headed by the 23-year-old former Kashmir commander of the pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen, Zakir Musa.

The al Qaeda announcement was promptly rejected by militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen. Even the Hurriyat Conference dismissed it, saying the Kashmir issue was political and had nothing to do with global Islamist jihad even as the longstanding militant outfits also espouse an Islamist outlook for Kashmir.

Mehmood called on all Muslims in the sub-continental region, including from India, to “stand behind the Kashmiri people and perform their duties for jihad in Kashmir”.

“It is imperative to wage jihad against India. It can only happen when jihadi activities are strengthened in the entire region.

“We should help our Kashmiri brothers first, defend our jihad from apostatic forces like Pakistan Army and its policies and then expand the jihadi activities,” he said, terming the Pakistan Army “an obstacle in the path of victory, is an enemy of the sharia and a slave of global infidels”.

“It fights only for its salary, personal aggrandisement and plots of land. It is the same army that spills the blood of the mujahideen for American dollars.”

Citing al Qaeda’s attacks against the US within and outside America, he said: “Look at America. Securing itself has become difficult for America throughout the world. We will make it difficult for the Indian Army and Indian government the same way and make its peaceful world a war zone.”

The video also shows clips of slain al Qaeda military commander Illyas Kashmiri and frequently cites quotes from the book of Afzal Guru, who was hanged for his involvement in the 2001 Parliament attack.

Rajasthan murder caught on video: Cops say ‘premeditated killing’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Rajasthan murder caught on video: Cops say ‘premeditated killing’, family wants accused to be hanged publicly

Video clips showed the accused hitting and stabbing a man, burning his body and warning “jihadis” to leave India or meet a similar fate.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2017 22:53 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur/Malda
The clips, circulated on WhatsApp, emerged from the western state’s Rajsamand district on Wednesday, police said.
The clips, circulated on WhatsApp, emerged from the western state’s Rajsamand district on Wednesday, police said.(Video screengrab )

Rajasthan police on Thursday arrested an unemployed man purportedly seen in a series of video clips hitting and stabbing a man, burning the body and warning “jihadis” to leave India or meet a similar fate.

The accused, Shambhu Lal Regar, allegedly told police he killed 50-year-old Afrazul Islam, a migrant worker from West Bengal, to save a woman from ‘love jihad’, a term used by right-wing Hindu groups to describe inter-faith marriages which they claim is an Islamist conspiracy to convert Hindu women through marriage or coercion.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the “inhuman” act while Islam’s distraught family demanded a public hanging of the accused.

We strongly condemn the heinous killing of a labourer from Bengal in Rajasthan. How can people be so inhuman. Sad

Besides Regar, police also arrested his nephew who is believed to have shot the videos in a wooded area in the western state’s Rajsamand district. Hindustan Times couldn’t independently verify the authenticity of the videos.

The video clips, circulated on WhatsApp, sparked outrage across the country and several rights organisations demanded the resignation of chief minister Vasundhara Raje and home minister Gulab Chand Kataria.

“The video is gut-wrenching. Strict action will be taken against him (the perpetrator) once caught,” Kataria told a news agency before Regar was arrested.

A special investigation team (SIT) has been set up to probe the case, he added.

“Prima facie, it appears that Regar killed the man and the man was dead when he set the body on fire,” Rajsamand superintendent of police said Manoj Kumar said.

The charred body was found on Wednesday afternoon by a passerby who informed the police.

In one of the clips, Regar — dressed in a red shirt, a pair of white trousers and white shoes — attacks the man with an iron rod and stabs the man when he falls to the ground.

In another one-minute footage, Regar pours a liquid, most likely petrol, over the body in a deserted area lined with trees amid chirping of birds.

“Jihadiyo hamare desh se hat jao (jihadis, leave our country),” he is heard shouting before he lights a match stick and throws it on the body.

In another clip, a man who looks like Regar rants about launching a war against “Islamic jihad in Mewar”.

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“This day, 25 years ago Babri Masjid was razed but nothing has happened even 25 years later,” the man can be heard saying.

In Islam’s native village Saidapur in Malda district — more than 310 km from Kolkata – grief turned to anger overnight as the brutality of the crime sunk in among shocked family members and neighbours.

“Yesterday (Wednesday), we got the news that he was murdered. I am sure he had no love affair with anyone. I want the culprits to be hanged publicly,” Islam’s wife, Gul Bahar Bibi, said on Thursday.

“The government should hang my father’s killer. If they can’t do it, they should bring him back to life,” said Rezina Khatun, Afrazul’s daughter.

She added: “I don’t know how I will arrange money for the marriage of my daughter”, whose marriage was scheduled within a couple of months. Islam was working in Rajasthan for the past 12 years.

Rajasthan director general of police, OP Galhotra, said the prosecution will demand death for the “cold-blooded” and “premeditated killing” which he described as a rarest of rare case.

“No normal human being can do such act. Such person can only be insane,” he said.

In a joint statement, several rights groups said the chief minister and home minister allegedly giving impunity to the accused of a series of hate crimes against Muslims.

The statement mentioned the lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan on April 3 in Alwar, the lynching of Zafar Khan in Pratapgarh by municipality chairperson and sanitary staff on June 16 and murder of Umar Mohammad by alleged gau rakshaks on November 10 in Alwar.

“We would also like to state that there have been many incidents where Muslims have been attacked as part of hate crimes and not been killed so the number of incidents are huge,” the statement said.

“The BJP, which is in power with 160 MLA out of 200, needs to stop giving protection to these killers,” the statement added.

Raje has been accused by opposition and critics of not condemning such hate attacks, a charge she denies.

(With agency inputs)

BJP candidate sparks row, says ‘need to reduce population of topi and dadhiwalas’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

 

Gujarat elections: BJP candidate sparks row, says ‘need to reduce population of topi and dadhiwalas’

Shailesh Sotta also said that he wanted to “instil fear” and that if sporadic communal clashes were not stopped, a “befitting reply” would be given.

GUJARATELECTION2017 Updated: Dec 07, 2017 21:18 IST

PTI, Vadodara
Screengrab of Shailesh Sotta addressing a crowd in Dabhoi.
Screengrab of Shailesh Sotta addressing a crowd in Dabhoi.

BJP contestant from Dabhoi assembly seat in Gujarat, Shailesh Sotta, on Thursday courted controversy by allegedly saying the population of “topi and dadhiwalas”, an apparent reference to Muslims, should be “reduced”.

He also said that he came to Dabhoi to “instil fear” and that if sporadic communal clashes were not stopped, a “befitting reply” would be given.

“If any ‘topi, daadhiwala’ (anybody wearing a cap and sporting beard) is sitting here (in the crowd), then pardon me, but there is a need to reduce their population. Many leaders asked me not to say this, as it may go against me but if 90% of people are supporting me, then why shall I stop speaking about the 10% people?” Sotta purportedly said at what appeared to be a small gathering in Dabhoi town in Vadodara district.

The video of the speech he made in Gujarati has been circulating online.

@shailesh_sotta can you specify your “kaum” as you mentioned in this speech? Should Dalits, adivasis and OBCs and be afraid of you?

“(They say) don’t talk about the community in which you are born (Hindu), and if you want to talk about that (the community), then don’t contest election. But I will fight election for the religion in which I am born,” Sotta purportedly said.

Sotta, a Vadodara councillor who is contesting Assembly polls for the first time, said they (Muslims) will have to stop sporadic clashes (communal incidents) or they will get ‘eent ka jawab pathhar se (tit for tat response).

Dabhoi is going to polls in the second phase on December 14.

“There was a meeting of a peace committee in which a ‘tadipaar’ (externed criminal) said that he is scared of the BJP candidate (Sotta). There is nothing wrong in this,” he said.

He said he came to Dabhoi to “scare people” and not the other way round.

“I came here to scare people. I am here not to get frightened, but to make others frightened. And if anti-social elements remain scared, then it is required for this place,” he said.

Sotta could not be contacted on phone for his reaction.

He is pitted against senior Congress leader Siddharth Patel.

After Sotta’s video was aired by some news channels, Ahmedabad-based social worker Nishant Varma filed a complaint with the State Election Commission against Sotta over his “highly communal and instigating” comments against the Muslim community and for “violating the poll code”.

“He (Sotta) is clearly heard saying that Muslim population must be reduced in the area, and that Muslims will face ‘eent ka jawab pathhar se’. He is saying all this to appease 90% (Hindu) voters and not the rest 10%,” Varma said in his complaint.

“He (Sotta) is referring to Muslims as ‘topi and daadhiwala’ which is completely unacceptable and a clear violation of the model code of conduct as well as various provisions of the CrPC and IPC,” he said.

Hafiz Saeed release: Pakistan moving from state sponsor of terror to state run by terrorists

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Hafiz Saeed release: Pakistan moving from state sponsor of terror to state run by terrorists

The failure of the Pakistani government to press a charge against Hafiz Saeed signifies Nawaz Sharif’s decline and the court judgment reflects the military’s ascension

EDITORIALS Updated: Nov 24, 2017 16:27 IST

Hindustan Times
Hafiz Saeed gestures outside a court in Lahore, Pakistan, November 22
Hafiz Saeed gestures outside a court in Lahore, Pakistan, November 22(AP)

It is no surprise that a Pakistani court has allowed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed to walk the streets again. From the start, his detention was little more than an eyewash by the Pakistani administration in response to the fierce global criticism of LeT’s role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Saeed was never formally charged with any terror crimes; his detention was based on minor public order rules. The judges argued that if Islamabad would not charge Saeed with a crime, then it was time to end his four-year long detention.

While there is speculation about whether Saeed’s release was linked to a lack of pressure from Washington, it is more likely that his release is the outcome of a changed domestic political landscape in Pakistan. LeT is the terrorist group most closely associated with the Pakistani military, so any serious action against Saeed was unlikely. The battle over his detention helped highlight Pakistan’s state sponsorship of terror to the rest of the world and promoted a broader, long-term policy of isolating Pakistan within the international community. That policy has been successful: Islamabad still has friends, but a lot fewer than in the past.

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What precipitated Saeed’s release is the ongoing power struggle between former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the military establishment. One could almost say the failure of the government to press a charge against Saeed signifies Sharif’s decline. The judgment is just as much a reflection of the military’s heightened power. Part of the military’s strategy is promoting a cluster of political parties to undermine Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). These have included a party built around former cricketer, Imran Khan, but today also include a political party structured around LeT. With Pakistani general elections scheduled for next year, it was necessary for Saeed to be released so that the LeT chief could effect the transition from a pretend prisoner to an authentic politician.

While Saeed’s release is reprehensible, it should be recognised that his conviction on terror charges would have meant a fundamental shift in the mindset of the Pakistani military establishment. His release indicates that if there is any change, it is only for the worse. Rawalpindi’s generals seem to have concluded that it makes sense for the future of their country to bring Saeed and his murderous cohorts into the political mainstream. Pakistan may now cease being a state sponsor of terrorism and instead become a state run by terrorists.

Egypt mosque attack: At least 235 killed during Friday prayers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Egypt mosque attack: At least 235 killed in bomb blast, gunfire during Friday prayers

The state media said that the attack on Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed had left more than 125 injured.

INDIA Updated: Nov 24, 2017 23:42 IST

AFP, Cairo
Egyptians walk past bodies following a gun and bombing attack at the Rawda mosque on Friday.
Egyptians walk past bodies following a gun and bombing attack at the Rawda mosque on Friday.(AFP Photo)

Militants killed 235 people at a mosque in Egypt’s north Sinai region on Friday, detonating a bomb and shooting at fleeing worshippers and ambulances, the state television reported, quoting the public prosecutor.

It was one of the deadliest attacks in the region’s Islamist insurgency. No group claimed immediate responsibility, but since 2014 Egyptian security forces have battled a stubborn Islamic State affiliate in the north of the mainly desert Sinai, where militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.

State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of the city of El Arish.

State television and the official news agency MENA reported that 235 people had been killed. Another 125 were wounded, according to state media.

“They were shooting at people as they left the mosque,” a local resident whose relatives were at the scene told Reuters. “They were shooting at the ambulances too.”

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former armed forces commander who presents himself as a bulwark against Islamist militants, convened an emergency meeting with his defence and interior ministers and intelligence chief soon after the attack, the presidency’s Facebook page and state television said.

The government also declared three days of mourning.

Militants have mostly targeted security forces in their attacks since bloodshed in the Sinai worsened after 2013 when Sisi, then an armed forces commander, led the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But jihadists have also targeted local Sinai tribes that are working with the armed forces, branding them traitors for cooperating with the army and police.

In July this year, at least 23 soldiers were killed when suicide car bombs hit two military checkpoints in the Sinai, an attack claimed by Islamic State.

Militants have tried to expand beyond the largely barren, Sinai Peninsula into Egypt’s heavily populated mainland, hitting Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims.

In May, gunmen attacked a Coptic group travelling to a monastery in southern Egypt, killing 29.

India drops plan to buy Israeli Spike anti-tank missiles

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS PAPER)

 

India drops plan to buy Israeli Spike anti-tank missiles

India was negotiating the purchase of 321 launchers and 8,356 fire-and-forget missiles with Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd.

INDIA Updated: Nov 20, 2017 23:22 IST

Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
T-90 (Bhishma) army tanks during a dress rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi in January 2014.
T-90 (Bhishma) army tanks during a dress rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi in January 2014. (Mohd Zakir/HT File Photo)

India has dropped plans to buy Spike anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems worth Rs 3,200 crore from Israel, defence ministry sources said on Monday. Instead, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been asked to develop the ATGMs for the army’s infantry and mechanised infantry units to provide impetus to the Make in India plan, the sources said.

India was negotiating the purchase of 321 launchers and 8,356 fire-and-forget missiles with Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd.

However, a report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a Rafael spokesperson as saying that the Israeli firm had not been officially informed of any change in the decision to buy Spike missiles. Rafael already “began the transfer of development and manufacturing knowledge as part of the Make-in-India program. This activity will continue as planned,” Rafael deputy spokesman Ishai David told Haaretz.

With the defence ministry retracting the tender to buy the ATGM systems, the army’s wait to induct the weapon is likely to get longer, army sources said. The DRDO could take up to four years to develop the next-generation ATGMs.

The Spike missile can destroy armoured vehicles and bunkers from a distance of 2.5 km and the army was planning to equip more than 400 units with the third-generation ATGM systems.

The decision not to buy the missiles comes around 10 months after the defence ministry appointed a committee, headed by a major-general, to examine various aspects related to the deal.

India had chosen the Israeli ATGM over US defence and aerospace firm Raytheon’s Javelin system nearly four years ago. The army currently uses the older Milan and Konkur ATGMs built by public sector undertaking Bharat Dynamics Limited under license from French and Russian firms, respectively.

Hoping that it would bag the order, Rafael had stitched up an alliance with India’s Kalyani Group to produce the missiles in Hyderabad.

China’s Fickle Government Whines About Neighbors Democracy: Constantly

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS AGENCY)

((oped) THE PEOPLE OF TIBET AND PRADESH DO NOT RECOGNIZE CHINA AS THEIR SOVEREIGN SO IT IS THEY WHO NEED TO QUIT WHINING, AND SHUT UP THEMSELVES!) (trs)

China objects to Pres Kovind’s Arunachal trip, says bilateral ties at ‘crucial’ juncture

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Tibet and routinely criticises India if its leaders visit the state.

INDIA Updated: Nov 20, 2017 23:22 IST

Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Beijing, Hindustan Times
President Ram Nath Kovind at the valedictory function of 40 years of celebrations of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, at Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar on Sunday.
President Ram Nath Kovind at the valedictory function of 40 years of celebrations of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, at Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar on Sunday. (PTI)

China on Monday strongly criticised President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying Sino-India relations were at a “crucial moment” and that New Delhi should not complicate the dispute.

“China firmly opposes the Indian leader’s relevant activities in the relevant region,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a regular briefing.

“The Chinese government (has) never acknowledged the so-called Arunachal Pradesh,” Lu said, responding to a question from the Chinese state media on Kovind’s visit to the northeastern state.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Tibet and routinely criticises India if its leaders visit the state.

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Barely two weeks ago, Beijing had criticised defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to the state.

The official Xinhua news agency went on to describe Arunachal Pradesh as being “illegally” established in areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Kovind had said on Sunday that if the northeast is the crown of the country, Arunachal Pradesh is the “jewel in the crown”. The President was on a four-day tour of the northeast.

On Monday, Lu continued the tirade.

“China and India and are in the process of settling this issue (border dispute) through negotiation and consultation, and seek to reach a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to all. Pending final settlement all parties should work for peace and tranquillity,” Lu said.

“China firmly opposes the Indian leader’s relevant activities in the relevant region,” he said, adding: “China and India’s relations are at a crucial moment and we hope India could work in the same direction and maintain general picture of bilateral ties and refrain from complicating border issue.”

Lu also said India should “work to create favourable conditions for border negotiations and for the sound and stable development of bilateral ties”.

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The Xinhua report said, “The so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ was established largely on three areas of China’s Tibet – Monyul, Loyul and Lower Tsayul – which are currently under India’s illegal occupation.”

It added, “In 1914, British colonialists secretly instigated the illegal ‘McMahon Line’ in an attempt to incorporate into India the above-mentioned three areas of Chinese territory. None of the successive Chinese governments have ever recognised this line.”

Meanwhile, an official statement from China on last week’s border dialogue between officials of the two countries said it was in the “fundamental interest of both countries to maintain the healthy and stable development” of bilateral relations and this is the “common expectation of both the region and the international community”.

Diplomats from the two countries met in Beijing on Friday for the 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), initiated in 2012 with a focus on maintaining peace along the frontier.

It added that in the next phase, the two sides will continue to implement the important consensus reached by leaders of the two sides.

Because Pakistan Defense Forums Fake News Issues their FB & Twitter Accounts Are Suspended

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Fake news, morphed pics get Pak Defense Forum’s Twitter, FB accounts suspended

Pakistan Defence Forum, which describes itself as “a one-stop resource for Pakistan defense, strategic affairs, security issues, world defense and military affairs” has been repeatedly accused of putting out anti-India propaganda.

WORLD Updated: Nov 19, 2017 07:51 IST

Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A doctored image of a student activist of Delhi University which was posted by Pakistan Defence Forum’s Twitter handle.
A doctored image of a student activist of Delhi University which was posted by Pakistan Defence Forum’s Twitter handle.(Photo courtesy: Twitter)

The Twitter account and Facebook page of Pakistan Defence Forum, one of the longest-running forums devoted to Pakistan’s armed forces, were suspended on Saturday shortly after it posted fake news involving Kulbhushan Jadhav and a morphed image of a Delhi University activist.

Over the years, Pakistan Defence Forum, which describes itself as “a one-stop resource for Pakistan defense, strategic affairs, security issues, world defense and military affairs” and is better known by its website url of “defense.pk”, has been repeatedly accused of putting out anti-India propaganda.

Though retired and serving Pakistani military personnel are among the forum’s members, it is not an official website of the armed forces.

Searches for the forum’s Twitter handle, which was verified, and their Facebook page turned up messages that they had both been suspended.

The message showing that Pakistan Defence Forum’s Facebook page has been suspended. (Facebook)

On Saturday, numerous Indian Twitter users complained about Pakistan Defence Forum’s Twitter handle when it posted a doctored image of Kawalpreet Kaur, a student activist of Delhi University that purported to show her standing in front of Delhi’s Jama Masjid with a poster that read: “I am an Indian but I hate India…”

The poster used by Kaur in an image that she had herself posted on Twitter on June 27 this year had read: “I am a citizen of India and I stand with secular values of our Constitution.” At the time, Kaur had said she was asking Indians to change their profile images to “protest mob lynching”.

True story, there goes the Defence of Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/HV4K9bwpUm

Other than running malicious campaigns against several Pakistani journalists/activists, defencepk was also morphing photos to further its propaganda: pic.twitter.com/qK7ZLQM29G

The issue of Kaur’s photo being doctored by flagged by Shehla Rashid, the former vice president of the JNU Students Union, who contended that forum should not use such images in the name of the Kashmir issue.

I hope this is not official defence page of Pakistan otherwise there is a real security concern if you use morphed pictures just to spread hate across nations. Please put it down.

Also on Saturday, Pakistan Defence Forum had tweeted that India had “refused to avail the generous offer made by #Pakistan to facilitate a meeting” between Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court for alleged involvement in espionage, and his wife.

The tweet posted by Pakistan Defence Forum about India purportedly refusing Pakistan’s offer to arrange a meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife. (Twitter screengrab)

The reality was that India had accepted the offer and asked for Jadhav’s mother to be included in the meeting. Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman had even acknowledged, in a tweet, that India had sent in a reply to the offer to facilitate the meeting.

Indian Reply to Pakistan’s Humanitarian offer for Commander Jadhav received & is being considered

Following the suspension of the Twitter handle and Facebook pages, a thread on Pakistan Defence Forum was devoted to discussing the matter and numerous members hurled abuse at India and Indian nationals.

The various threads in Pakistan Defence Forum are devoted to discussing issues such as Pakistan’s politics, operations against terrorists, and also problems faced by Muslims around the world. The threads are also replete with the conspiracy theories that often find space in mainstream Pakistani media and discussions about India’s domestic politics.

In the past, Pakistan Defence Forum has also been accused of running malicious campaigns against Pakistani journalists, commentators, and activists who have been critical of the powerful military and intelligence agencies.

Pakistan Is Learning The Price Of Working With China: Their Sovereignty!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Not aware of Pakistan’s move to exclude PoK dam from CPEC, says China

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), runs through PoK and India has raised objections to the project.

WORLD Updated: Nov 16, 2017 18:54 IST

Press Trust of India, Beijing
In this photograph taken on October 4, 2017, Pakistani naval personnel stand guard near a ship carrying containers at Gwadar Port. Remote and impoverished, Pakistan's Gwadar port at first glance seems an unlikely crown jewel in a multi-billion dollar development project. with China aiming at constructing a 21st century Silk Road.
In this photograph taken on October 4, 2017, Pakistani naval personnel stands guard near a ship carrying containers at Gwadar Port. Remote and impoverished, Pakistan’s Gwadar port at first glance seems an unlikely crown jewel in a multi-billion dollar development project. with China aiming at constructing a 21st century Silk Road.(AFP)

Amid reports of Pakistan’s move to withdraw its bid to include Diamer-Bhasha Dam in PoK from the CPEC framework, China said on Thursday it was not aware of Islamabad’s decision but the project to connect Xinjiang and Gwadar port is “progressing smoothly for the time being”.

Pakistan’s water and power development authority (Wapda) chairman Muzammil Hussain was on Wednesday quoted by the Pakistan media as saying that “Chinese conditions for financing the Diamer-Bhasha Dam were not doable and against our interests.”

“I am not aware of the information mentioned by you,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media in Beijing when asked about Pakistan’s decision to take the dam project off the table contending that the conditions proposed by Beijing is “not doable” and goes against its interest.

“I can tell you that China and Pakistan cooperation is extensive and profound,” Geng said. “As far as I know CPEC is progressing smoothly for the time being.”

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Briefing the Public Accounts Committee on the status of the mega water and power project, Hussain had said the Chinese conditions were about taking ownership of the project, operation and maintenance cost and securitization of the Diamer-Bhasha project by pledging another operational dam.

These conditions were unacceptable, therefore, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi approved a report to finance the dam from the country’s own resources, Hussain said.

Pakistan’s decision to publicise Chinese conditions came as a surprise, considering it shares close and “all weather” ties with China.

The announcement by the Pakistan government came days before the 7th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting with China, which is scheduled for November 21 in Islamabad.

The JCC is the highest decision-making body of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through which China is infusing over $50 billion cash into Pakistan financing a host of energy projects. The CPEC passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Defending the connectivity project, Geng said “as for the CPEC we follow the principle of extensive consultation and joint shared benefits to promote the building of the CPEC. It is conducive to promote connectivity of the two countries and connectivity of the whole region. As far as I know CPEC is progressing smoothly for the time being.”

Pakistan has been struggling to raise money from international institutions like the World Bank in the face of Indian opposition to the project on the Indus River in PoK.

Neither the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) nor China would finance the dam, therefore, the government decided to construct the reservoir from its own resources, Pakistan’s Express Tribune daily yesterday quoted Water Resources Secretary Shumail Khawaja as saying.