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Sharif Demands More Accountability From ISI

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Sharif Demands More Accountability From ISI

Sharif Demands More Accountability From ISI

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was in for a shocker earlier this week when he learnt that the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Frontier Corps (FC) had never been questioned about their operations in Balochistan province.

Sharif was holding a high-level meeting in Quetta Tuesday to discuss the law and order situation there when this reality dawned on him, The News International reported Thursday.

According to the report, Sharif came to know that the ISI and the FC were never asked about their operations in Balochistan for 16 years now nor had any government taken any ownership for their actions.

“For the first time in 16 years, we have been asked to explain our doings and the government is ready to take the political ownership,” an insider said quoting the inspector general of the FC and the ISI chief of Balochistan, according to the report.

“Now you will see results of this ownership,” they were quoted as saying by The News.

Sharif’s visit to Quetta took place two days after a suicide attack claimed 30 lives in the Hazara neighbourhood of the city. The area has seen a series of terrorist acts since January.

The prime minister had also undertaken a short tour of the city along with the directors-general of the ISI and the Intelligence Bureau (IB), “something that happened for the first time in recent history as otherwise the political leadership keep whispering about the questionable activities of the agencies without holding them accountable”, the newspaper report said.

According to the FC inspector-general, this was the first time that the governments at the federal and provincial levels had asked about their activities as no previous regime had acknowledged the sacrifices made by the FC troopers in Balchistan.

According to the insider, the FC inspector-general also said that Balochistan Chief Minister Abduk Malik was the first chief executive of the province to regularly convene meetings with the FC, exchanging views and looking for solutions.

During the course of Tuesday’s meeting, Sharif had ordered the ISI and the IB to bring the perpetrators behind certain terrorist activities in Quetta to book.

The province of Balochistan is also witness to people going missing under mysterious circumstances and the general public there allege that such people are in the custody of security agencies.

After learning that the FC and the ISI’s activities in Balochistan had gone unquestioned, Sharif decided to call a meeting of all political parties having representation in parliament July 12 to discuss the overall law and order situation, including Balochistan.

SOUTH ASIA

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

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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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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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SOUTH ASIA

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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