Sunday, September 1, 2019
As the Taliban and US negotiate a peace deal, Afghan women fear their rights and freedoms will be traded for stability.
Taliban fighters mounted their second attack in two days on a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, as American and Taliban negotiators finalized the details of a preliminary peace agreement.
Just before the top American negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the two sides were on “the threshold of an agreement,” the Taliban attacked poorly defended provincial capitals and forced the Afghan government to send in commandos to keep the cities from being overrun.
The Taliban attack on Sunday targeted Pul-i-Kumri, the capital of Baghlan Province in northern Afghanistan, about 145 miles north of Kabul. On Saturday, the militants launched an offensive against a neighboring provincial capital, Kunduz, killing the top police spokesman and wounding the police chief, local officials said.
There were no immediate official reports of casualties in Baghlan Province on Sunday. But a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said on Twitter that fighters had entered Pul-i-Kumri after overrunning four government checkpoints and killing several soldiers and police officers. He said heavy fighting continued.
Since peace negotiations began last fall, both sides have ramped up combat operations in order to improve their positions on the ground. But the Taliban have often seized the initiative, as they did this weekend, even as American and Afghan government airstrikes and United States-backed commando raids have inflicted heavy casualties.The Taliban are able to attack government-held centers almost at will because Afghan troops and the police generally hunker down in defensive positions on bases, checkpoints and command centers, leaving most offensive operations to commandos and airstrikes.
Taliban fighters attacked Pul-i-Kumri from two directions early Sunday, said Mahmood Haqmal, a spokesman for the provincial governor. The militants entered homes, killing local Afghans they accused of conspiring against them, said Leqaa Andarabi, a former police chief who commands a local pro-government militia. “They got in because the intelligence people weren’t doing their jobs,” Mr. Andarabi said, echoing frequent complaints from local officials that government military and intelligence commanders have failed to secure provincial capitals.
Safdar Mohseni, the head of the provincial council in Baghlan, said at midday Sunday that no government reinforcements had arrived. He said the city was being defended by pro-government self-defense militias known as uprisers, along with some police units and government intelligence officials.“I’m on the front lines now, and the fighting is very fierce,” Mr. Mohseni said. “The situation in the city is very bad — people are panicking and trying to find ways to flee.”
That Mr. Mohseni, a civilian official, was helping to organize the city’s defenses was an indication that government security forces there were in disarray. The governors of both Baghlan and Kunduz provinces were absent.
The Baghlan governor, Farid Baseem, left for India several days ago without informing provincial officials, Mr. Mohseni said. The Kundz governor, Abdul Jabbar Naemi, was in India on Sunday for medical treatment, said his spokesman, Ismatullah Muradi. Mustafa Mohseni, a former police official and current militia commander in Pul-i-Kumri and Safdar Mohseni’s brother, said Taliban fighters had entered sections of the city as police officers and militiamen fought to hold them off. Mr. Mohseni said that the main highway to Kabul was closed and that residents had remained in their homes as the militants advanced.
“We heard the sounds of gunfire and mortars at 4 a.m.,” said Khadija Yaqeen, who lives in a section of Pul-i-Kumri under attack. Ms. Yaqeen, who leads the local women’s affairs directorate, said that electrical service had been cut, restored and then cut again, and that most cellphone service was down. Government officials said on Sunday that Taliban fighters had been driven out of Kunduz by commandos and airstrikes, with many militants moving south to attack Pul-i-Kumri. Taliban fighters had been able to penetrate deep into Kunduz, briefly occupying the health department and a hospital, said Ehsanullah Fazli, the health director for Kunduz Province.
The fighting killed at least 20 security force members and five civilians, and wounded 85 others, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement. As many as 56 Taliban fighters were killed, the ministry said. Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said in a Twitter post on Sunday that government forces in Pul-i-Kumri had rebuffed the Taliban attack. But government officials have said in the past that they had regained control of cities even as fighting continued in provincial capitals under Taliban attack.
Mr. Khalilzad, the American negotiator, said he was flying on Sunday from Doha, Qatar, the site of the peace talks, to Kabul, the Afghan capital, to brief Afghan leaders. He said on Twitter that he had warned Taliban negotiators that “violence like this must stop,” referring to the attack on Kunduz.The Afghan government, which the Taliban has called an American puppet, has been excluded from the talks. The ninth round of negotiations ended early Sunday, and an announcement of a final preliminary agreement was expected soon.The agreement is expected to set a timeline for the phased withdrawal of American and NATO troops and to open a path for direct negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan officials over the country’s political future.
Under the deal, the Taliban would agree not to allow Afghanistan to be used as a base for terrorist attacks, and negotiators would attempt to secure a reduction in violence leading to a cease-fire.
Mr. Khalilzad said in a Twitter post early Sunday that the agreement would “reduce violence and open the door for Afghans to sit together and to negotiate an honorable & sustainable peace and a unified, sovereign Afghanistan that does not threaten the United States, its allies or any other country.”
کشمیر کا سودا ٹرمپ،مودی اور عمران نے کرلیا ہے،آج کے آنسو جھوٹ کے آنسو ہیں۔کشمیر کارڈ کھیلتے ہوئے افغان امن مذاکرات کی ناکامی کی بات ہورہی ہے،افغان جنگ نے ہم پختونوں کو تباہ کرکے رکھ دیا ہے،ہم 40 سال سے مررہے ہیں،پاکستان کا امن افغانستان سے جڑا ہے@MianIftikharHus pic.twitter.com/oWmlbT1vzz— Awami National Party (@ANPMarkaz) August 31, 2019
Deen Mohammad is not a unique case, an exception in Pakistan's human rights record. According to the Human Rights Council of Balochistan, 371 people have been disappeared and at least 158 have been killed by Pakistani security forces in the first six months of 2019 alone.
The human rights watchdog Amnesty International reports that since2011, hundreds of Baloch people have been disappeared only to be killed by Pakistani security forces as part of a state policy known as kill and dump.
As of March 2019, Pakistan's Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, a state run agency, had over 2,000 unresolved cases of enforced disappearances.
Confidential documents leaked by Baloch political activists to The New Arab reveal that unreported cases of enforced disappearances exceed reported cases of abduction and extrajudicial killings.
These documents also reveal that Pakistani security forces regularly conduct operations on individual households, physically assault innocent women and children, and rely on extrajudicial death squads to subjugate Baloch civilians.
In March of 2018 alone, 20 military operations – thus far unreported – targeted civilian households and places of worship.
Anees Khaliq, a high school student in Panjgur, was abducted on March 2, 2018, allegedly by Interservice Intelligence (ISI) officials and a state-backed "death squad," revealing troubling allegations that Pakistan relies on paramilitary forces to subjugate civilians within its own territory.
Eyewitness testimony also lends credence to the allegation that Pakistan relies on extrajudicial death squads. Mama Qadeer, a Baloch activist, tells The New Arab, "Pakistan buys local Baloch people to harass, abduct, and kill Baloch activists who are fighting for independence or autonomy. This way they avoid blame."
|Pakistan buys local Baloch people to harass, abduct, and kill Baloch activists who are fighting for independence or autonomy. This way they avoid blame|
Balochistan remains a goldmine for Pakistan with its vast mineral and natural gas fields. Yet despite this natural wealth, the province remains the poorest in the entire country.
The most recent insurgency began in 2004 but escalated after a Baloch woman was raped by a Pakistani army official in 2005. Though a coordinated insurgency was quashed by Pakistan's intelligence and military apparatus, social unrest continues in the province with Baloch separatists viewing Pakistan as an occupying force.
Creating a lost generation
"Our life is nothing [other] than traumatic. There has been no happiness. Sometimes... you remember that your dad is still missing," Mehlab Baloch tells The New Arab.
Though only nine-years-old when her father was taken, Mehlab has become a full time activist fighting for the release of men like her father who now constitute a lost generation in Pakistan, a collective of men and women who have simply disappeared into thin air with no official state record.
In October 2013, Baloch activist, Mama Qadeer Baloch, led men, women, and children on a 'Long March' from Quetta to Pakistan's coastal city, Karachi. A grieving father himself, Mama Qadeer lost his own son to abduction in 2009.
"My son was abducted on February 13, 2009. Men showed up in four cars and took him. He stayed in the ISI's custody for three years and in 2012, his body was returned with torture marks, with cigarette burns on his back," Qadeer tells The New Arab.
As expected, activists on the 'Long March' faced violence from both Pakistani civilians and state institutions such as the ISI and Military Intelligence (MI).
Speaking about the march, Mama Qadeer told The New Arab, "We were harassed and attacked by the Pakistani army, ISI, and death squads, but we persisted. In Punjab, we faced the most difficulty. We could not find a place to stay and people would not even serve us food. Those who helped us were threatened by the ISI."
The ISI also tried to run us over with trucks and though I survived, I lost two or three of my companions," he goes on to say.
|Those who helped us were threatened by the ISI|
"I used to look at other girls my age who would hold their dad's hand as they walked to school. Better than fear, I need to do something for my dad," Mehlab Baloch said.
In 2017, Mehlab Baloch, along with her sister Sammi who was one of the leaders of the 2013 'Long March,' went on a hunger strike at the Karachi Press Club, where they demanded the release of their father.
Since 2009, Mehlab Baloch has made extensive use of social media to advocate for her father. They have organised press conferences, protests, and pursued democratic channels to secure the release of her father. Nothing, however, has worked.
Mehlab herself has faced threats and violence from Pakistan's military apparatus. In August 2018, Pakistani military officers conducted a raid on Mehlab's home where they stole family belongings and burned items they did not want to confiscate. The military even followed her to her school, where they forbade her from taking her exams, supposedly as an intimidation tactic.
"We are slaves. We have nothing. But at the end of the day, we too are humans we deserve our human rights," Mehlab says.
|We are slaves. We have nothing. But at the end of the day, we too are humans we deserve our human rights|
In 2015, China and Pakistan agreed on what became known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a collection of infrastructure projects to be built in Pakistan.
As of 2017, CPEC was valued at 62 billion US dollars, a major investment for Prime Minister Imran Khan's government.
Since China's involvement in the fragile South Asian country, a state-sponsored policy of disappearing Baloch people has only become worse.
Balochistan serves as an important territory in China's Belt-and-Road Initiative, a component of the larger economic corridor that ends with the Gwadar Port, also located in Balochistan.
By and large, the Baloch people remain staunchly opposed to CPEC, viewing it as yet another policy by the central government that will siphon Balochistan's natural resources, land, and property.
There is also an additional fear that the central government in Islamabad is attempting a demographic transformation of the province, much like India is accused of preparing to carry out in the Kashmir Valley.
For decades, the Baloch people have accused Islamabad of exploitative resource extraction, aimed at fulfilling consumer needs in urban centers such as Lahore and Islamabad.
Though Prime Minister Imran Khan has spoken about the need for more development in the troubled province, Baloch activists remain sceptical, viewing these projects as yet another policy designed to strip the Baloch from their territorial sovereignty and their resources.
Pakistan's escalation in enforced disappearances has not quelled concerns among the Baloch people.
|The Baloch have been forcibly removed from their homes so that the Chinese can build their highways. But no development has actually come to this province. It is all for the Punjabis, for the military state; they are the ones making the money|
"I don't know [if my father is still alive], but my heart doesn't accept that he's dead. I am alive with the hope that he still is," says Mehlab Baloch.
Nothing seems to be standing in the way of Pakistan new infrastructure projects. Pakistan will update its infrastructure and China, in addition to an unprecedented return on its investment, will entrench itself as an empire builder in South Asia.
What no one will stop to think about is what it took to achieve this: a state-sponsored policy, not of systematic genocide, but one in which the Baloch people simply disappeared.
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari had to wrestle with the guards holding her back while her father watched by, ill and confined to bed. This is not an ideal scene for a democracy. This incident could have been gone unreported but Ms Aseefa released its details on social media. She also held a press conference in the hospital, flanked by PPP leaders Farooq H Naek and Nayyer Bukhari to explain how rudely she was denied a meeting with her ailing father.
Ms Aseefa said that the police not only held her back but also manhandled her. She said family members and lawyers of the former president were not allowed to meet him in jail. Reportedly, Mr Zardari has been suffering from heart and backbone problems in addition to many other diseases. PIMS has a history with the former president. When he was jailed for over a decade by PPP’s archrivals PML-N, he was brought to this same hospital for medical treatment and his family members used to come to this place then. Ms Aseefa has grown up seeing his father behind bars and in the hospital for a considerable period of her life. Her mother Benazir Bhutto had seen her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in jail in a very tragic manner.
It seems history has taken a queer turn at this time. But the country cannot afford any more tragedies. The impression that accountability has gained a personal colour is not for nothing. The sooner the government lays off this impression, the better.
Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior Rehman Malik on Saturday sought a report on misconduct with Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari and manhandling of elected public representatives by security personnel and other staff and stopping her from meeting her ailing father — former president Asif Ali Zardari — at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad, though she had permission from the court.
Mr Malik has asked the interior secretary to submit a report on the incident in a week at the next meeting of the committee and directed the chief commissioner and the inspector general of Islamabad police, IG (prisons) of Punjab and executive director of PIMS to probe the incident and identify those involved in the incident.
Incident smacks of political vendetta, dictatorial tendencies, says PPP.
The notice says that the committee chairman is of the view that according to the jail manual, the room in a hospital where an under-trial prison is kept during his judicial remand becomes a sub-jail and the family members cannot be stopped from meeting the accused after issuance of permission from the court. He said that it was against the jail manual to stop the family members to see the accused despite having permission from the court.Senator Malik said that it was an inhumane act to stop a daughter from meeting her ailing father despite having court orders. He said that the government was indulging in vendetta against former president Zardari which is evident from the harsh attitude to his daughter, who was physically restrained from visiting her father in the hospital despite having a court order in her hand.
He also observed that violation of court orders came in the purview of contempt of court.
Meanwhile PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman has demanded immediate shifting of Mr Zardari to hospital from jail. She regretted that Mr Zardari had clandestinely been moved to jail on a wheelchair.
She said that heart arteries of the former president were blocked and deplored that his recent medical reports had not been given to his family yet.
She said the National Accountability Bureau itself had described Mr Zardari’s health as critical.
Ms Rehman said that the former president was being denied basic facilities just to torment him. However, she added, the government’s attitude to Mr Zardari and the PPP could not defeat the party’s morale.
PPP secretary general Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari has said that the country is suffering from the worst form of dictatorship as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government is blatantly victimising its political opponents.
He said in a statement that the mistreatment with Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari was proof of moral corruption of the government.
As per which law a daughter was not allowed to meet her father despite having a court order, he asked and said that this act was a violation of human rights. “Such acts are always a weapon of dictatorial regimes,” Mr Bukhari said.
He concluded by saying that the “selected” government was victimising its political opponents and that this attitude of theirs sprang from a dictatorial mindset.
Meanwhile, Asif Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur met with her family members and lawyers.
After the meeting, Advocate Zia-ul-Hussain Lanjar said that Ms Talpur had not been provided B-class in jail as per the court order and also had been denied healthcare facilities. Due to a recent heatwave in Rawalpindi, he said, Ms Faryal was suffering from skin allergy and had developed a cataract in her eye along with prior heart problems.
Regrettably, since the very creation of Pakistan in August 1947, the so-called defeated religious assemblages like Ihraris, Jamat-i-Islami and Jamayat-i-Ulma-i-Islam played the religion card as a face-saving act to regain their influence in the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” All these religious entities had failed badly in their anti-Pakistan political agenda; leaving them with only the religion card. For that reason, they started invoking the differences within various Islamic factions and sects, exploiting the nation of Pakistan. The Shia-Sunni issues and particularly Anti-Ahmadiyya campaigns enormously distressed the social fabric of the country.
In a famous policy speech, Mr Jinnah on August 11, 1947, emphasised that “The first and the foremost thing that I would like to emphasize in this: remember that you are now a sovereign legislative body and you have got all the powers. It, therefore, places on you the gravest responsibility as to how you should take your decisions…” but unfortunately Pakistani Parliament in 1974 misused her powers conferred by the independent state of Pakistan.
On September 7, 1947, the Bhutto regime declared Ahmadis “non-Muslim” even though Ahmadiyya delegation, under Mirza Nasir Ahmad (the head of Ahmadis), proved them “Muslims” in Parliament of Pakistan. In effect, this matter was dealt with politically, not religiously. Religious forces used the parliamentary platform to regulate the beliefs and the faith of Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan, while no court of law or parliament holds the right to determine the religion, faith, beliefs of any individual or community.Dr Mubashir Hasan, the finance minister in the Bhutto Cabinet, has confessed that it was all due to the Saudi pressure, which was an open violation of the articles 6 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
The self-made Ameer-ul-Momineen Gen Zia-ul-Haq practised his extremist Islamisation policy during his 11 years rule, which augmented the miseries of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan. The implementation of his Anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance of April 1984 (Ordinance No. XX of 1984) is also known as “the Anti-Islamic Activities of the Quadidiani Group, Lahori Group and Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance, 1984.” This step exposed his peculiar resentment and hatred to counter the Ahmadis. Zia, as the power seeker, wanted the support of religious factions to prolong his rule and boost his strength. He used religion as a tool to attain his personal and political objectives. This above title of the ordinance is also reflecting its hatred for Ahmadis and their religious practices in Pakistan.
In 1984, the UN Human Rights Commission also took notice of this barbaric Ordinance, violating the basic human rights of Ahmadis. Later in 1985, the UN Human Rights Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities investigated and found it to be the violation of the International Human Rights Charter of UN 1948.Under this Ordinance, two new sections 298-B and 298-C were added in Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) particularly against the Ahmadis in Pakistan. They dealt with the “misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc. reserved for certain holy personages or places” and “person of Quadiani group, etc. calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith respectively”. This is an obstruction of the basic rights conferred by a state to her citizens. In the modern state system, no state has official religion but only its citizens. The state’s intervention in religious matters is considered the exploitation of the religious communities and individual’s rights.
Since 1947, no Ahmadi has ever found involved in anti-state and terrorist activities. No Ahmadi has never passed any derogatory remarks or actions against any Islamic teaching, faith or belief. They ever remain faithful to the State and the Constitution of Pakistan. Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, Dr Abdul Salam and M M Ahmad are the pride of Pakistan. Ahmadis have always participated positively to ease the agonies of the beloved state of Pakistan. On the other hand, anti-Ahmadiyya laws are steadily increasing the anguishes of the Ahmadis, which are also the violation of Article 20 of the Constitution of 1973.
Moreover, many Ahmadis also have been convicted under sections 295, 295-A, 295-B and 295-C of PPC. The misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan is a common practice, creating a sense of uncertainty and disruption in minorities because of the death penalty and life imprisonment with fine. Fanatics and extremist Mullahs are frequently using blasphemy laws to impend the minorities and tiny communities in the country. Moreover, article 260 of the Constitution of 1973 provides the definition of a Muslim in Pakistan, which Islam had defined 1400 years ago. Such a definition in the Constitution of 1973 is only imparting and augmenting the differences among the citizens of Pakistan. This pained behaviour as a nation among the fanatic classes is dividing Pakistan among Muslims and non-Muslims which is damaging the nationalism.
In response, after the promulgation of Ordinance XX of 1984 to till July 2019, 765 Ahmadis have been booked for displaying Kalima, 38 for calling Azan, 447 for posing themselves as Muslims, 161 for using Islamic epithets, 93 for offering prayers, 820 for preaching, 27 for celebrating Ahmadiyya Centenary (1989), 50 for celebrating 100 years anniversary of eclipses of sun and moon occurred in 1894 as a sign of Promised Mahdi, 315 for Blasphemy Law and 1191 booked for other cases. Furthermore, from 1984 to December 2018, 264 Ahmadis have been killed, 388assaulted for their faith, 28 Ahmadiyya worship places (Mosques) demolished, 39 sealed by authorities, 23 set on fire or damaged, 17 forcibly occupied and 58 Ahmadiyya worship places’ construction was barred by the authorities, 39 Ahmadis bodies exhumed after burial, 70 Ahmadis’ burial was denied in common cemetery, 43 cases of incidents of Kalima removal from Ahmadis’ house and shops and 103 cases of Kalima removal from Ahmadi worship places have been reported.
The discriminatory decision of March 9, 2018, by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court also appears as the next version of the Ordinance XX of 1984, in which he focused to identify the Ahmadis socially particularly in high-rank govt jobs with a mandatory affidavit in this regard. He banned Ahmadis to use word “Ahmadi” and also the Islamic names. His judgement bound the Ahmadis to add the word “Mirzai” or “Ghulaman-i-Mirza” in their names to differentiate with other Pakistani Muslims. In short, it was a step forward to corner the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan. These standards of justice raising a sense of complexity in the Ahmadis. They have ever been sincere and loyal to the State of Pakistan but State has a disgusting attitude towards Ahmadis treating them as untouchables.
Ahmadis in Pakistan face discrimination and suffering from certain grave situations, Anti-Ahmadiyya laws and state-supported hatred swell their agonies. The role of extremist and fanatic Mullahs and religious assemblages further increase the hatred against Ahmadis. Ahmadis are facing discrimination in daily livelihood, jobs and particularly in the academics. In public places particularly in markets, discriminatory behaviour is a common practice. Ahmadis are denied from shops either verbally or by exhibiting stickers with discriminatory public notices; rebuking Ahmadis particularly to push them away from their shops. 1974 to 2019 democratic and authoritarian regimes are failed to improve the Ahmadiyya situations and provide them with equal stands in the social fabric of Pakistan. In spite of all this, Ahmadis are peacefully standing with the State willing to participate for the prosperity of Pakistan.
Despite improved security in recent years, partly because most Hazaras have moved into the guarded enclaves, hardline Sunni militants keep up attacks, such as a blast in April that killed 24 people, among them eight Hazaras.
“We are living under siege for more than one-and-a-half decades due to sectarian attacks,” says Sardar Sahil, a Hazara lawyer and rights activist. “Though all these checkposts were established for our security, we feel we were ourselves also cut off from other communities.”
Sahil carries a pistol whenever he leaves home, and relies on his faith as a second layer of security. “I kiss my mother’s hand and she kisses me too and says goodbye with her prayers and good wishes,” Sahil told Reuters at his home.
Hazaras, said to be descendants of the Mongols who swept out of central Asia to rule the subcontinent for many centuries, are easily distinguishable in Pakistan by their facial features.
That has made them vulnerable to attacks by groups such as Pakistan’s banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), and Sunni militant group Islamic State, which has attacked them in both Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, also home to many Hazaras.
Many community businesses that flourished in Quetta’s bustling wholesale markets have shuttered and relocated to Hazara Town or Mari Abad, another Hazara neighbourhood. But the community is defiant. Some still venture out into Quetta in search of work, while others keep businesses running.
The Quetta community held its first Hazara Culture Day recently to celebrate and showcase its history, music and traditions. The community strives to keep its protests peaceful, despite unrest stirred up by militants looking to pit people of different sects against each other, said Abdul Khaliq Hazara, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), which has two provincial assembly representatives.
Domestic media often portray the Hazaras as targets of sectarian attacks or holding sit-ins to demand greater protection, but the community is developing and growing, says martial arts specialist Nargis Hazara. “Every one of us has a dream, a target and aim in our heart, to change the image of Hazaras in the world, and especially in Pakistan,” added the 20-year-old who last year became Pakistan’s first winner of an Asian Games medal in karate.
Many Hazaras have joined the armed forces in Pakistan, where the community’s past and future will stay rooted despite any violence, says another martial arts expert, Mubarak Ali Shan.
“We want to serve Pakistan and despite suffering tragedies and incidents, our love for peace has not diminished,” he added.
The Shia community observes Muharram by taking out processions. Shia Muslims are a minority in Kashmir.
As a precautionary measure, an alert has been issued to scale up security around Shia mosques in the Valley that could be targeted by terrorists to incite violence, said sources.
Most of the Shia mosques are located in the Budgam and Bandipora districts, and Hajin area near Srinagar.
With heavy lockdown and restrictions in the Valley, it remains unclear whether the permission for taking out processions will be granted this Muharram.
The development comes amid strict restrictions in the Valley since August 5, barring working of a few landline services. Heavy restrictions were imposed in the Valley soon after the Centre on August 5 announced the withdrawal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which was passed by a Presidential Order in 1954.
The Narendra Modi-led government also announced the bifurcation of J&K into two Union Terrorities - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Article 370 granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, under which the state had its own flag, rights and laws.
Pakistan Peoples Party leader and Sindh provincial Minister for Information and Labor Saeed Ghani has said that never in history it has happened that the case was tried in another province on the charges concerning Sindh Province and the accused are also being kept in a prison of another province.
Saeed Ghani was addressing a press conference with Nazir Dhoki at Sindh House Islamabad on Sunday afternoon. Information Minister Sindh Saeed Ghani said that if Peoples Party leaders are being tried and kept in jail then why not the PTI leaders from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Aleema Khan, Jahangir Tareen, Asad Qaisar, Zulfi Bukhari and Punjab. Speaker Pervaiz Ilahi’s cases be tried in Sindh and they all should be incarcerated in Sindh.
He said that PPP leaders are being arrested only on charges which have neither been investigated yet nor proved but the PTI members of federal, Punjab and KP cabinets have not been arrested or tried despite charges of mega corruption. President Zardari and Ms. Faryal Talpur are being treated worse than Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian pilot Abhi Nandan and former spokesman of TTP Ihsanullah Ihsan. Ms. Faryal Talpur was not taken to attend Sindh Assembly session by the Punjab authorities despite her production order was issued. This is the way federation is treating representatives of Sindh, he said.
He said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was also tried in Punjab. President Asif Ali Zardari was exonerated in all cases and had to suffer nearly twelve years in jail for the crimes he had never committed. Not a single accusation against him was proved in court of law. Similarly, the accusation on which President Zardari and Ms. Talpur are languishing in prison concerns Sindh but they are being kept in jail in Punjab.
The decision to send this case to Punjab was against the law and constitution, Saeed Ghani said. Saeed Ghani said that it is a joke when PTI says that PPP is not serious on Kashmir issue. No one can match the stand on Kashmir by the Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. PTI has nothing to show except false promises and shattered dreams of people of Pakistan.
Saeed Ghani said that PPP won record seats in 2018 elections in Sindh and recently defeated ‘Bhan Mati Ka tola’ in Gothki by-election. Nazir Dhoki said that the day Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari went to Muzaffarabad to offer Eid prayers with his Kashmiri brethren, the very same day Ms. Faryal Talpur was shifted from hospital bed to prison at midnight. Is this is not victimization of political opponent then what could be, he asked.