Peshawar, Jan 3: Pakistani police have arrested 45 more people for their alleged involvement in the vandalisation of a Hindu temple by a mob led by members of a radical Islamist party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
With the latest arrests, the number of accused arrested in the case has risen to 100. Over 350 people have been named in the FIR after the temple in Terri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district was vandalised and set on fire on Wednesday by a mob protesting against its expansion work.
The arrested people were produced in the anti-terrorist court (ATC) where the police secured three days remand of the accused.
The temple, which also has a samadhi of a Hindu religious leader, was attacked by the mob after members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate its decades-old building.
The mob, led by some local clerics and supporters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group), demolished the newly constructed work alongside the old structure.
The attack on the temple drew strong condemnation from human rights activists and the minority Hindu community leaders.
India has also lodged a protest with Pakistan over the vandalisation of the temple and sought strict action against those responsible for the incident.
The protest was conveyed to Pakistan through diplomatic channels, sources in New Delhi said on Friday. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has assured that his government would reconstruct the damaged temple and the Samadhi at the shortest possible time.
According to a notification issued by the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on late Saturday night, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has constituted a four-member committee to assess the damages caused to the temple and develop its reconstruction plan in consultation with the Hindu community.
The committee has been asked to complete the work in 10 days. Pakistan’s Supreme Court has also ordered the local authorities to appear before it on January 5.
The court has issued directions to one-man Commission on Minorities Rights, KP chief secretary and KP inspector general of police to visit the site and submit a report on January 4.
Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country.
The majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with Muslim residents. They often complain of harassment by the extremists.
Australia adds U.S.-based neo-nazi group to list of banned Terrorist organizations
(Asian News Hub) – The Australian government added the neo-Nazi extremist group The Base, based in the United States, to their list of banned terrorist organizations Wednesday as the country struggles with increased neo-Nazi extremists, the Associated Press reported.
The Base is a far-right, neo-Nazi and white supremest group that was formed in the United States in 2018. It is the second far-right group to make the Australian banned terrorist organization list, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said.
“I have sufficient information in front of me to be concerned and to understand that The Base meets the threshold for listing as a terrorist organization,” Andrews said. “We will look closely at their membership and we will take action once they are fully listed under the Criminal Code.”
Once a group is added to the list of banned terrorist organizations being a member, participating in activities or supporting the cause is a criminal offense. Anyone who is found guilty can face up to 25 years in prison. There are currently 26 organizations listed as terrorists for the country, according to the Australian Government Attorney General’s Department.
“We know there is a threat of terrorism here in Australia and that there is a threat of terrorism right across the world,” Andrews said.
Pakistan to allow India to send wheat to Afghanistan through its territory: PM Imran Khan
(Asian News Hub) – Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Monday that his government will allow India to send a humanitarian shipment of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to neighbouring Afghanistan through its territory after finalisation of the transit modalities, PTI reported.
Khan, who chaired the first Apex Committee meeting of the newly established Afghanistan Inter-ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) in Islamabad, also took the opportunity to remind the international community of the collective responsibility to support Afghanistan to avoid a humanitarian crisis.
During the meeting, Khan announced Pakistan’s decision to allow the 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat India has offered to provide Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance to go through Pakistan as soon as modalities are finalised with the Indian side, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
Currently, Pakistan only allows Afghanistan to export goods to India but doesn’t allow any other two-way trade through the border crossing. Last month, India announced 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat for Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance and requested Pakistan to ship the food grain via the Wagah border.
Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi had also requested Prime Minister Khan to allow India to transport wheat via Pakistan, suggesting that the Taliban government was willing to accept the humanitarian assistance from India. India has contributed to the humanitarian requirements of the Afghan people.
This included providing more than 1 million metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan over the past decade. Last year too India assisted Afghanistan with 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on the Humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in September. However, there were reports that Pakistan has blocked India’s efforts to provide wheat to the Afghan people, amidst the chill in relations between New Delhi and Islamabad over the Kashmir issue.
Khan also ordered immediate shipment of humanitarian assistance worth Rs 5 billion comprising wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters and other supplies to Afghanistan, Radio Pakistan reported. He instructed all ministries to facilitate Afghans to the maximum and also approved in-principle tariff and sales tax reduction on key Afghan exports to Pakistan. Khan ordered that the facility of free COVID vaccination for all Afghans entering Pakistan from land borders be continued.
National Security Adviser Dr. Moeed Yusuf, who is also the Convener of AICC, made a detailed presentation to brief the civil and military leadership on the current economic situation in Afghanistan and the progress made by AICC in coordinating national efforts for humanitarian assistance and border facilitation for Afghans.
Prime Minister Khan also directed that bus service between Peshawar and Jalalabad in Afghanistan be revived to facilitate travellers on both sides. To further facilitate Afghans, the visa duration will be relaxed such that visas are granted within three weeks at the most, the report said. Khan also instructed the National Security Adviser to visit Afghanistan to hold delegation-level talks and agree on specific areas where immediate capacity building support shall be provided to Afghans.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tarin, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and senior civil and military officers.
UAE Princess calls zee news anchor ‘terrorist’
(Asian News Hub) – UAE princess Hend bint Faisal Al Qasim has lashed out at an organiser for inviting Zee News anchor Sudhir Chaudhary to her country despite the latter’s role in promoting Islamophobia through his TV broadcasts.
Addressing Chaudhary as a ‘terrorist,’ the UAE princess reminded the organiser how the controversial TV anchor had been routinely defaming Islam and its followers.
On twitter she wrote “how dare how dare you invite an Islamophobe to my peaceful country”
In her subsequent social media post, she tweeted, “In 2019 & 2020, Sudhir Chaudhry ran shows on Zee News where he spewed venom against Muslims for leading anti-citizenship protests. He ran fake stories, targeting Muslim students and women for leading the citizenship protest in Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi & other parts of the country.”
She asked the organiser, the Indian Charter Accountants Association’s Abu Dhabi chapter, why they were ‘bringing an Islamophobe and hater to my peaceful country?’
She wrote, “Sudhir Chaudhary is a Hindu rightwing anchor known for his deeply Islamophobic shows that target India’s 200 million Muslims. Many of his prime time shows have directly contributed to real world violence against Muslims across the country.”
She tagged Institute of Chartered Accountants of India to ask, “Why are you bringing an intolerant terrorist to the UAE?!”
Chaudhary has been at the forefront of Indian TV anchors, often referred to as lapdogs or TV criminals, in fuelling hatred against Muslims in India. He had led a campaign to defame Indian Muslims by blaming them for spreading coronavirus in 2020. Several Indian high courts later concluded that blaming the members of the Tablighi Jamaat for the spread of the virus was part of propaganda.
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