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India Lifts Travel Ban On 17th Karmapa

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India Lifts Travel Ban On 17th KarmapaAmidst hectic lobbying by his followers in the corridors of power, the Indian government has finally given clearance for Ogyen Trinley Dorje- the17th Karmapa, who is parallel head of powerful Kagyu karma sect of Tibetan Buddhist to travel to United States to attend Kalchakra. Under scanner of investigating agencies for huge stacks of foreign currency recovered from his monastery, Ogyen Trinley Dorje had earlier expressed his desire to visit United States along with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the – Dalai Lama for Kalchakra which commences from July 6th in Washington D.C.

According to Buddhist beliefs, the Kalachakra was first given by Shakyamuni Buddha, in ancient India. The Kalchakra in Washington will last for 11 days. During the first three days of the Kalachakra, from July 6 through 8, the Dalai Lama, along with the monks of Namgyal Monastery and senior lamas, will conduct rituals, which prepare and consecrate the venue. Karmapa’s administration- Tsurphu Labrang in Dharamsala had written to the ministry of home affairs seeking permission to travel abroad.  It was late in the afternoon on Tuesday that Karmapa’s administration received intimation about the clearance given by home ministry. “ We have got clearance from the Indian government. We are extremely grateful to the Indian authorities” said Sonam, a Karmapa aide in Delhi.

The twenty-six year–old monk- 17th Karmapa himself  had been camping in Delhi since the past one week.  Karmapa’s high profile followers hectically lobbied in New Delhi to ensure that the spiritual leader is allowed to go abroad. This will be Karmapa’s second visit abroad ever since he escaped from Tsurphu in   China-controlled Tibet a decade ago. Karmapa is likely to stay in United States for over two weeks and would return back to Dharamsala on July 25. Viewed with suspicion, Karmapa lives under the watchful eyes of the Indian agencies in the backside of  Gyuto Tantric monastery in Dharamsala. His movements within the country remains restricted his travel schedule is cleared by the home ministry. Karmapa made his maiden trip to United States in the 2008. He had visited the seat of his predecessor – the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, who is largely credited for introducing Tibetan Buddhism in western countries. Rigpe Dorje had escaped to Bhutan in 1959 along with 150 of his students. Later he set up a monastery in Rumtek in Sikkim. Rigpe Dorje who lived in United States died of cancer in Chicago in 1981. He was cremated at the Rumtek monastery, that remains forbidden for the two claimants-  Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Shamar Rinpoche enthrone parallel Karmapa- Thaye Dorje.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje had made headlines in India in January, since police during the raid in the monastery had recovered Rs 6.5 crore from the possession of   Rabjey Choesang treasurer of Karmapa headed Karmae Garchen Trust.  What surprised the investigating agencies was the recovery of 12 lakh Chinese Yuan. Karmapa’s followers denied the spiritual leader had anything to do with the money, which they claimed was donated by devotees.

-HT

 

 

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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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.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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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.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

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.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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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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