Counter-terrorism officials on three continents consider Ilyas Kashmiri, leader of an anti-India Pakistani terror group, as one of the most dangerous men in the world, according to CNN.
Kashmiri considers India his number one enemy. His group was thought responsible for the bombing of a bakery popular with foreigners in Pune in 2009. But there is plenty of evidence he has ambitions beyond South Asia, the US TV channel said.
“He has one eye, a thick beard streaked with henna and has lost a finger. He wears thick aviator-style dark glasses,” it said Wednesday citing sources. There are very few photographs of the 40-something militant.
As commander of “Brigade 313,” part of Harakat-ul-Jihad-Islami (Movement for an Islamic Holy War), he formed a close relationship with Al Qaeda in the wild frontier territory of Pakistan.
Now intelligence sources on both sides of the Atlantic believe Kashmiri is trying to get teams into Europe that would launch coordinated Mumbai-style attacks in several cities, CNN said.
There are plenty of foreign fighters in the Pakistani tribal territories — as many as 10,000 according to a Pakistani military commander.
One of them, Ahmed Sidiqi, was detained in Kabul last July and interrogated by US forces at the Bagram Airfield. According to European counter-terrorism sources cited by CNN, Sidiqi said he had met Kashmiri, though there is no confirmation that he did.
Another man alleged to have sought out Kashmiri is Chicago taxi driver Raja Lahrasib Khan, who travelled to Pakistan in 2008 and 2009, CNN said. He was arrested this year in the United States and charged with attempting to provide support to Al Qaeda.
Intelligence officials cited by CNN say that besides being an experienced operator, Kashmiri has also managed to navigate the often perilous waters of jihadist rivalries, attracting members of other Pakistani groups to his “313 Brigade” and retaining a measure of autonomy despite pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda.
If Osama bin Laden is Al Qaeda’s “spiritual” leader and Egyptian cleric Ayman al Zawahiri its philosopher, Kashmiri is the organization’s military brain, they say.
As one US official cited by CNN put it recently, Kashmiri is “the key ingredient in the bad stew of senior terrorists who are planning operations in the region and beyond.”
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.
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