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Khandu Funeral Expected To Buck Tradition

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Khandu Funeral Expected To Buck TraditionArunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu, who died in a chopper crash on April 30, was to be accorded a state funeral in Itanagar on Friday. The last rites were expected to be a departure from the tradition his tribe, Monpa, adheres to. The Monpa funeral entails chopping a body into 108 pieces – equal to the number of beads in a rosary for Buddhist prayers – and throwing them into the rivers for fish and other aquatic creatures to feed on. The belief is that a lifeless human body should be of utility to lesser beings. “Khandu was against the traditional system and rooted for a shift to eco-friendly cremation,” said Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi, former bureaucrat and litterateur. He is an authority on customs of northwestern Arunachal Pradesh.

The chief minister’s body was airlifted to Itanagar on Thursday afternoon, after it was recovered from Lobotang, 30 km north of the 13,700 feet Sela Pass in Tawang district, where the wreckage of the crash was found. His body and those of the other four crash victims were first flown to Tawang, 60 km northeast of the crash site.

After four days of search by over 3,000 security forces and choppers, it was finally a group of tribals who on Wednesday found the wreckage of the helicopter that went missing Saturday, with the mutilated bodies of Khandu and four others. Grieving family members also reached the crash site in a remote hilly region and identified Khandu. But the other four bodies were mutilated and charred beyond recognition, officials said. Even as Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters hovered over the cloudy skies, a small team of tribals led by community leader Phukten telephoned Itanagar at 10 am on Wednesday to inform that they had sighted the wreckage, 96 hours after the Pawan Hans AS350 B-3 helicopter lost contact with ground control after taking off from Tawang at 9.50am on Saturday.

The arrival of top AICC leaders on Friday was also expected to erase the suspense over who would be Khandu’s successors. Five names including former chief minister and Rajya Sabha MP Mukut Mithi, PCC president Nabam Tuki and Gamlin are doing the rounds.

Earlier, a pall of gloom had descended in the mountainous state with news of the wreckage being found. “The news is heartbreaking and we are sad as the chief minister was a real visionary and honest politician. His death has shaken us,” said Bamang Tago, a civil rights campaigner.

 

 

 

 

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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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SOUTH ASIA

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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