Demos in Kokernag after CRPF vehicle hits van carrying students

Srinagar, March 20, 2018 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, forceful demonstrations erupted near Hangalgund in Kokernag area of Islamabad district, today, after a vehicle of Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) hit a private vehicle ferrying school children. Scores of locals assembled at main road Hangalgund in Kokernag and staged protests against the Indian forces. The protesters demanded stern action against the erring driver of the CRPF vehicle.

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India forced Kashmiris to fight back

Srinagar, March 20, 2018 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Gilani has said that the Indian oppression has forced the people of Jammu and Kashmir to fight back with more will and vigour for liberation of their motherland from its illegal occupation. Syed Ali Gilani while addressing the members of Majlis-e-Shoora of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar said that entire pro-freedom camp, especially Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, was facing testing times at the hands of Indian occupational forces.

The Hurriyat forum led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a statement in Srinagar, today, expressed solidarity with the Sikh community on the sorrowful anniversary of Chittisinghpora massacre, which took place on this day in 2000 on the eve of the then US President, Bill Clinton’s visit to India. The forum said that the failure of India and its puppets in conducting any probe into Chattisinghpora-like mass murders had proved that efforts were being made at government level to hush up the facts.

The Sikh representative body, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee, in a statement also demanded a probe into the slaughter of their 35 Sikh brethren by Indian troops in disguise in the territory, eighteen years ago.

Hurriyat leader Mukhtar Ahmad Waza and Jamaat-e-Islami of occupied Kashmir in their statements sought intervention of the United Nations to address the Kashmir dispute, which is the root cause of bloodshed in Kashmir. Zafar Akbar Butt visited the affected families of the recent crackdown operation at Balhama in Srinagar and expressed solidarity with them.

Meanwhile, anti-India protests broke out in Kokernag area of Islamabad district after an Indian army vehicle deliberately hit a school bus ferrying children. Scores of people took to the streets at Machil in Kupwara district against the apathy of puppet authorities towards the grievances of the local population.

An Indian soldier committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifle at his army camp in Qazigund area of Kulgam district. This incident has raised the number of such deaths amongst Indian troops and police personnel to 398 in occupied Kashmir since January 2007.

In London, Kashmiri representatives, Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl and Barrister Abdul Majeed Tramboo, in a joint letter to fifty two heads of the Commonwealth countries sought a desirable and workable initiative by the Commonwealth to address seven-decade-old Kashmir dispute. The letter has been sent ahead of the Commonwealth summit, scheduled from April 16 to 20 in London.

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Pakistan Navy Ship HIMMAT and Pakistan Maritime Security Ship BASOL participate in Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Exercise Asad Al Bahr-I at Qatar

Islamabad, March 20, 2018 (PPI-OT): Pakistan Navy Ship HIMMAT and Pakistan Maritime Security Ship BASOL headed by Mission Commander Commodore M Faisal Abbasi arrived Port Hamad Qatar on 11 Mar 18 to participate in Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition (DIMDEX-2018) and maiden Bilateral Exercise Asad Al Bahr-I between Pakistan and Qatar Emiri Naval Forces (QENF).

PNS HIMMAT is state of the art indigenously built Fast Attack Craft (Missile) of Pakistan Navy whereas PMSS BASOL belongs to latest HINGOL Class Maritime Patrol Vessels of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) also being indigenously constructed in Pakistan.

Upon arrival of ships at Port Hamad, Doha, Pakistani ships actively participated in DIMDEX-2018 which was hosted by Qatar Armed Forces. Various events were arranged under DIMDEX-2018, which were attended by Defence and Security Ministers, Chief of Staffs, Chiefs of Navies, Coastguard Commanders and representatives of Defence Ministries of the region and beyond. In addition to PN units, ships from Bangladesh, Italy, India, Oman, Qatar, UK and USA participated in DIMDEX-2018.

During this period, a reception dinner was also hosted on-board PMSS BASOL with an overwhelming response.The event was attended by Minister of Defence Production of Pakistan, DG PMSA, Ambassadors, Defence/ Naval Attaches and embassy officials from several foreign countries. In addition, Commander QENF and prominent members of Pakistani diasporas also attended the reception.

After culmination of DIMDEX-2018, first-ever Bilateral Exercise Asad Al Bahr-I between Pakistan Navy and QENF was conducted from 15-18 Mar 18.Besides Pakistani ships, QENF ships HUWAR, AL DEEBEL and AL LUWSAIL along with two MRTPs (Multi-Role Tactical Platform) participated in the exercise.The exercise is considered a historic benchmark which will certainly further solidify existing defence relations between the two brotherly Muslim countries.

Exercise Asad Al Bahr-I was planned to mutually benefit from each other’s experiences and enhance interoperability between the two navies.The exercise involved tactical to operational level exercises in harbour and at sea including Air Defence, Force Protection and Maritime Infrastructure Protection exercises. The exercise also laid a special focus on Combat Search and Rescue and Boarding Operations.

The exercise remained professionally rewarding and will grow in scale, complexity and participation level of forces in times to come. After successful visit to Qatar, ships left Port Hamad, Doha on 19 Mar 18 and were seen off by QENF officers and Defence Attaché of Pakistan in Doha, Qatar.

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Rights group: Jewish town’s cancellation of land sale is racist act

Tel Aviv, A Jewish town’s cancellation of land sale for new home construction because most of the would-be buyers were Arabs is racist, a rights group charged on Monday, according to WAFA.

Kfar Vradim, a Jewish town in the Galilee region of northern Israel, has canceled the sale of land for new home construction in the community after it became clear that more than 50 percent of those purchasing the plots were Arab citizens, reported the Israeli daily Haaretz.

It said Kfar Vradim local council leader Sivan Yehiel canceled the town’s land tenders and informed residents that he is “trusted with preserving the Zionist-Jewish-secular character of Kfar Vradim [and that I have decided] to bring to the relevant government ministries our demand to create solutions that will enable the preservation of demographic balances.”

Yehiel also promised in his statement to residents, according to Haaretz, that he would not sell any more land plots in the town “until we find a worthy solution that will ensure our ability to preserve the community life and character of Kfar Vradim as it is today.”

Adalah the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – condemned in a statement what it described as the racist actions of Kfar Vradim’s council leader.

“The words and actions of Kfar Vradim’s local council leader are motivated by racism, it said. To prevent Arab citizens of Israel from purchasing homes due strictly to their national identity is an illegitimate act and stands in absolute contradiction to the principles of equality to which the local council is obligated.

Adalah attributed the racist behavior of the council leader to the climate in which the Israeli Knesset (the parliament) continues to promote racist legislation targeting Arab citizens.

It said Kfar Vradim’s council leader feels emboldened to promote racist policies and to trample the most basic of democratic principles. Successive Israeli governments have confiscated lands from Arab citizens and intentionally prevented the development of Arab communities. This racism continues today via resident selection practices and the exclusion of Arab citizens of Israel.”

It added: Kfar Vradim’s racist move, aimed to keep Arab citizens out and ‘preserve town’s Zionist-Jewish-secular character,’ tramples most basic tenets of democracy.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

Sisi, Bashir agree to resolve Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue

Cairo Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said on Monday that he agreed with his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir on joint action between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, to resolve the issue of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

This came in a joint press conference following a meeting with President Bashir, who arrived in Cairo on Monday for an official visit, two weeks after the return of Sudanese Ambassador Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim to Egypt.

Sisi revealed efforts to enhance cooperation between Egypt and Sudan in various fields and activate the joint work of a number of Egyptian-Sudanese bodies and committees. He also noted that Cairo and Khartoum agreed to hold regular periodic meetings, with a view to promoting the interests of both countries.

For his part, President Bashir stressed the strength of the ties between Sudan and Egypt, saying: The Sudanese-Egyptian relationship is a responsibility because it is historic one”. He added that the two countries are linked together by common history, geography, destiny, culture and religion as well as the Nile, pointing out that all of these are strong links that would contribute to further cooperation.

Bashir went on to say that the two countries “don’t have any choice but to cooperate because truthfully this is the interest and confirmed demand of our peoples”. He stated that it was agreed to facilitate the movement of citizens and goods between both countries by road and railway.

He explained that there is a strong political will to settle any differences between Khartoum and Cairo, adding that he had talked with Sisi about projects linking Sudan and Egypt, whether by road, river or sea, in addition to the proposed railway line to link the two countries.

Bashir said he timed his trip to coincide with the Egyptian presidential election, in order to reiterate his support to Egypt and its security as well as to President Sisi.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

15 children killed in airstrike on school in Eastern Ghouta: monitor

Beirut, At least fifteen children were killed late Monday when an airstrike hit a school shelter in Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, a conflict monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said planes believed to be Russian hit the school shelter, which was being used by civilians.

“Usually regime planes do not fly at night, but Russian warplanes do,” said activist Nour Adam.

Fifty-two people were wounded in the strike on the enclave, which has been a rebel stronghold since 2012. Syrian government forces backed by Russian air power began a major operation to retake Eastern Ghouta a month ago.

Activists in the area described the scene as “horrific” and said the bodies of small children were everywhere. The death toll was likely to increase as some of the injured have serious wounds, Observatory head Rami Abdel-Rahman said, according to DPA.

“Those people were hiding in the basement of the school thinking schools will not be hit, but for this tyrant [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] and his allies the Russians there are no safe areas inside Eastern Ghouta, all for them are terrorists, even the children,” Abdel-Rahman said.

Since launching their assault, Syrian government forces have advanced deep inside the enclave and split it up, triggering a mass exodus from the area, which UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called “hell on earth.”

Around 50,000 civilians have fled the embattled region to government-controlled areas since Thursday alone, according to Observatory estimates.

And at least 1,454 people are thought to have been killed in Eastern Ghouta, including 297 children and 183 women, the Britain-based watchdog said.

The humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta is dire, according to the United Nations and the Red Cross. The two organizations have only been able to bring in small amounts of aid recently, reporting hunger and medicine shortages there.

The UN Security Council last month voted for a nationwide ceasefire that has been ignored by government forces and rebel groups.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

Abbas, Sisi underline need to achieve reconciliation between Fatah, Hamas

Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed on Monday in a telephone call he received from his Egyptian counterpart Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, issues of common interest and the latest developments in the region, WAFA reported.

According to a statement issued by al-Sisi’s office, the two leaders stressed the need to achieve reconciliation between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas, and overcome outstanding differences between them.

Abbas, for his part, voiced appreciation for Egyptian mediation efforts between the two rivals and its longstanding support for the Palestinian cause.

The two leaders discussed also the stalled political process, the situation in the Gaza Strip and the latest developments related to the Palestinian issue and the region. They also discussed bilateral relations.

Source: International Islamic News Agency