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India Sounds Warning On Afghanistan’s Future



India Sounds Warning On Afghanistan's Future

India Sounds Warning On Afghanistan’s Future

United Nations: As international forces led by the United States prepare to draw down from Afghanistan, India has warned that Kabul still faces an existential threat from terrorist groups ranging from Al Qaeda to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

“It is particularly worrying that the overall security situation remains volatile in the country amidst the ongoing simultaneous security, political and economic transitions,” India’s acting permanent UN representative Manjeev Singh Puri said during a Security Council debate Tuesday.

Even after over a decade of NATO led International Security Assistance Force’s “presence and concerted efforts of the international community, Afghanistan continues to face an existential threat from terrorism,” he said.

“We are yet to isolate and root out the syndicate of terrorism, which includes elements of Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT and other terrorist and extremist groups that operate with impunity from safe havens across Afghanistan’s borders,” Puri said.

“Indeed, as NATO draws down from Afghanistan claiming ‘Mission nearly Accomplished’, judging by the latest acts of terrorism and violence, there is no sign a similar ‘drawdown’ on the part of terrorist outfits across the border,” he said.

Cautioning actions in support of the political transition should not undermine Afghan institutions of governance, Puri stressed the need for a credible government after 2014 as well.

“But most of all, we are yet to see any evidence that supports the notion of a dividing line separating Al Qaeda from other terrorist and extremist groups, or indeed, that these groups and those who support them have either had an epiphany or made a strategic reassessment of their objectives,” he said.

Puri said it made “little sense to draw lines of distinction that most of these groups or their sponsors are themselves not prepared to do, either in word or deed.”

Cautioning the United States and its allies against arriving at a conclusion in Afghanistan, India told the UNSC that as these countries prepare to withdraw from this war-torn nation, there is no similar drawdown on the parts of terrorist outfits from across the border.

“Indeed, as NATO draws down from Afghanistan claiming ‘Mission nearly Accomplished’, judging by the latest acts of terrorism and violence, there is no sign a similar ‘drawdown’ on the part of terrorist outfits across the border,” Puri told the powerful 15-membered body during its special debate on the situation in Afghanistan yesterday.

Puri said the developments in Afghanistan has and will continue to affect security in the region and the world.

“We have not forgotten the terrorist havens that wreaked havoc as Afghanistan descended into chaos in the 1990s. And obviously, we do not want that to happen again,” he said.

“As Afghanistan looks forward to holding Presidential and Provincial elections in April, 2014, we need to bear in mind that short-sighted approaches and quick-fixes guided by political expediency could be a recipe for unmitigated disaster,” Puri said.

On its part, India remains engaged with like-minded countries having the shared goal of peace, security and development in Afghanistan, he said.

And in pursuit of this, India has held a dialogue with the US and Afghanistan in New Delhi and China and Russia in Moscow last month.

“Afghanistan and India are natural strategic partners by virtue of geography and a common vision of peace and cooperation in the region,” Puri said.

“India remains committed to support Afghanistan during the crucial period of transition till end 2014 and thereafter,” he said.


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



Nawaz sharif

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




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



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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