Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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New York to commemorate 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks

It's been 18 years since the September 11 attacks left nearly 3,000 people dead in the worst act of terrorism the nation has ever experienced. On Wednesday, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum will commemorate the lives lost with a ceremony honoring those killed at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and aboard Flight 93 — as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
As has happened in years past, the names of those killed will be read during Wednesday's ceremony. Last year, some families of victims infused their own, personal messages of remembrance, inspiration and concern.
CBSN New York will live stream the ceremony starting at around 8:25 a.m. ET from the 9/11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan. You will be able to watch the event at the top of this page or on the CBS News app.
During the ceremony at the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, the site will only be accessible to relatives of those killed in the September 11th attacks. That evening, a public ceremony featuring the public art piece Tribute in Light will open to the public as the sun sets. The Memorial plaza will also be open to the public from 3 p.m. to midnight.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is encouraging those commemorating the anniversary to use the hashtag #Honor911 on social media. The center is also providing resources for anyone interested in planning their own commemoration ceremony.
Senate Passes 9/11 First Responders Bill
A look at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/9-11-memorial-ceremony-new-york-commemorate-18th-anniversary-september-11-terror-attacks-watch-live-stream-2019-09-11/

Blast heard near US Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary

A large explosion rocked Afghanistan’s capital near the U.S. Embassy in the early hours of Wednesday on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States.
A plume of smoke rose over Kabul just after midnight and sirens could be heard. An embassy employee reached by phone confirmed the explosion but had no details. There was no immediate official comment.
It would be the first major attack in the Afghan capital since President Donald Trump abruptly called off U.S.-Taliban talks over the weekend, on the brink of an apparent deal to end America’s longest war.
Two Taliban car bombs shook Kabul last week, killing several civilians and two members of the NATO mission. Trump has cited the death of a U.S. service member in one of those blasts as the reason why he now calls the U.S.-Taliban talks “dead.”
The 9/11 anniversary is a sensitive day in Afghanistan’s capital and one on which attacks have occurred. A U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan shortly after the 2001 attack toppled the Taliban, who had harbored Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader and attacks mastermind.
In the nearly 18 years of fighting since then, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan soared to 100,000 and dropped dramatically after bin Laden was killed in neighboring Pakistan in 2011.
Now about 14,000 U.S. troops remain and Trump has called it “ridiculous” that they are still in Afghanistan after so long and so many billions of dollars spent.
It is not clear whether the U.S.-Taliban talks will resume.

#Pakistan: School principal abducts 15-year-old #Christian girl, forces #Islamic conversion

A school principal in Pakistan is accused of abducting a Christian student and taking her to an Islamic madrasa to forcibly convert her to Islam.
The Press Trust of India reports that the girl's father, Mukhtar Masih, filed a complaint at a local police station in the Punjab province after his daughter, 15-year-old Faiza, did not come home from school last Wednesday.
Masih said the family contacted the school to ask where their daughter was. It was then that the class teacher told them that the school's Principal, Saleema Bibi, had taken Faiza to a nearby Islamic madrasa to be converted to Islam. 
The father says he went to three Islamic seminaries before finding his daughter. However, the staff at the madrasa did not allow Faiza to return with her family. 
After Masih filed a complaint, the police raided the madrasa and rescued Faiza. The girl was then taken to a shelter in Sheikhupura. The news agency reports that the family is now appealing for authorities to allow Faiza to return home. 
“We took action and recovered the girl on Mukhtar Masih’s complaint but a [first information report] has not been registered against anyone yet,” police official Muhammad Nawaz told PTI. 
“However, we are investigating the matter.”
Faiza was said to have informed her parents that she was told by a teacher that she’d “automatically become a Muslim” because she read Arabic in school.
“The principal had also offered us to convert to Islam and in return, she would compensate us by paying for our needs but we refused,” Masih was quoted as saying. 
According to journalist Nail Inayat, Faiza is the third reported case of forced religious conversion in Pakistan in just one week. 
“Renuka Kumari, Jagjit Kaur and Faiza Mukhtar. Hindu, Sikh and Christian girls are not 'pure' enough for the land of the pure?” Inayat asked in a Twitter thread.
“The teacher who taught Arabic to the girl in the gov't school told her you can't go back home now as you're a Muslim.”
Faiza’s alleged forced conversion follows reports that a young Hindu woman in the Sindh province was abducted from the Institute of Business Administration in Sukkur and forcibly converted to Islam.  
In late August, a Shikh family alleged that their daughter had been abducted and forced to convert to Islam. However, the girl has claimed publicly that she converted to Islam and married her captor on her own free will. 
Unlawful marriages are punishable by up to seven years in prison, according to the Pakistani penal code. Yet the frequent abductions of Christian and Hindu girls by Muslim men continues to be a problem. 
A 2014 estimate from the nongovernmental organization Movement of Solidarity and Peace suggests that as many as 1,000 Hindu, Christian and other religious minority girls are abducted, raped or forced into Islamic marriages each year.
According to the United Kingdom-based Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, authorities in Pakistan often side with perpetrators of abductions while courts do not give clear judgments because of pressure from radical religious leaders. 
CLAAS voiced an alarm this summer about the abduction of 14-year-old Christian Benish Imran, who was also forced into an Islamic marriage. 
Pakistan ranks as the fifth-worst country in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List. The U.S. State Department has also listed Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” for its religious freedom violations. 

Illegally Detained Christian Tortured to Death in Custody in Pakistan, Family Says

Police in Lahore, Pakistan tortured to death the Christian father of 14-day-old and 7-year-old sons, relatives said.
Officers on Aug. 28 illegally detained 28-year-old Amir Masih on a false charge of theft and tortured him for four days before he died in a hospital on Sept. 2, his brother Sunny Masih told Morning Star News.
Interrogating officers in the 96-percent Muslim country “urinated on Amir’s face and body and mocked his Christian faith” while trying to torture him into a false confession, Masih said.
After filing an application with police on Aug. 31 alleging forced disappearance of Amir Masih, relatives were informed that he had been taken into custody by a sub-inspector identified only as Zeeshan in connection with a theft case. Their repeated attempts to meet Sub-Inspector Zeeshan were blocked. They did know of Amir Masih’s whereabouts until an officer phoned Sunny Masih on Sept. 2 to tell him that his brother was not well and that they should come and take him to the hospital, Masih said.
“We rushed to the police station, where we were handed a semi-conscious Amir,” he said. “He was beaten up mercilessly, and his body was full of bruises. While we were taking him to the hospital, Amir told us that Inspector Nasir Baig, Sub-Inspector Zeeshan and four unidentified constables had tortured him continuously for four days.”
Sunny Masih said that while police released without a scratch all other employees who worked with Amir Masih, a gardener, after they were summoned about the alleged theft, his brother was subjected to severe torture because he was a poor Christian whom police believed could be coerced into a false confession.
“He told us that the police officials had urinated on him while cursing him for being a Christian and tried to force him to confess to the crime,” he said. “But my brother was innocent, and he refused to admit to something that he had not done, which further infuriated his interrogators. They increased the intensity of the violence, also subjecting him to electric shocks.”
Doctors at Services Hospital tried to save his life, but he succumbed to his injuries after a couple of hours, Masih said.
Working as a gardener in PAF Colony, Amir Masih was summoned to North Cantt Police Station in a phone call from Zeeshan regarding a theft case registered by his employer, Rana Mohammad Hanif, Masih said.
“Amir was present at Hanif’s house when he received the inspector’s call,” he said. “The watchman of the house told him that all employees had been summoned by the police to record their statements, and he should do the same. My brother went to the police station of his own will, but when he reached there the cops seized his phone, bundled him into a vehicle and spirited him to some unknown place.”
When he did not return home that evening, Sunny Masih and other relatives went out to search for him, he said.
“When I reached Hanif’s house to inquire about Amir, the watchman told me that he had been summoned by Sub-Inspector Zeeshan to record his statement,” he said. “For the next two days, we continued to search for both Amir and the police officer but failed to find any trace of their whereabouts.” 
A post-mortem report on the death states that torture marks were visible on his hands, feet, back and arms. His ribs were also broken.
After news of the killing in custody spread on mainstream and social media and drew public ire, Punjab Inspector General of Police Captain Arif Nawaz Khan ordered registration of a case against Inspector Nasir Baig, Zeeshan and four other police officers and ordered a detailed report on the case.
Police have taken Baig and Zeeshan into custody, but the four other officers accused are still at large as no serious efforts have been made to arrest them, Masih said. Police at the same station where his brother was tortured registered his complaint for murder, illegal detention and torture.
Both Punjab Minister for Minorities and Human Rights Aijaz Alam Augustine and Shunila Ruth, a member of the National Assembly, said that they were making efforts to ensure justice for the grieving family of Amir Masih. Both officials are Christians.
Augustine said that he had visited the family and was in contact with police officials to ensure arrest of the absconding accused.
“This is a grave crime, and the accused police officers will be severely punished,” Augustine said, adding that the government would not show any leniency in cases of torture and custodial killings.
Ruth, who visited the victim’s family along with Punjab Gov. Muhammad Sarwar, said she would raise the matter in the National Assembly.
“The family’s claim that Amir was subjected to torture because of his Christian faith is not unfounded,” she said. “Unfortunately, there are segments in our society who continue to be prejudicial towards members of the marginalized communities.”
The two Christian officials said they believe they’ll be able to bring the perpetrators to justice, but attorney Saiful Malook, who gained fame for securing freedom for high-profile Christian blasphemy convict Aasiya Noreen (commonly known as Asia Bibi), said he feared the case would be swept under the carpet after the media hype dies because “police are known to protect their own.”
“Amir Masih’s murder in police custody is not only a serious crime but also a severe violation of the constitution,” he said. “Therefore, it should be taken up very seriously, and the police alone should not be trusted in this regard.”
Malook said that the First Information Report of the case also should have included the names of the deputy superintendent of police of the zone and the station house officer, as they were the supervisory officers and it was their responsibility to ensure that no citizen was subjected to illegal detention and torture.
“I’m sure the police misguided the complainant into naming only the six accused in order to save their seniors,” he said. “I am ready to provide pro-bono legal assistance to Amir Masih’s family, because I believe that they deserve justice on merit.”
Pakistan ranked fifth on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, and on Nov. 28, 2018, the United States added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom. 

Milk at Rs 140/litre, costlier than petrol in Pakistan

The price of milk has gone out of control across major cities of Pakistan on the day when Muharram is observed, according to Pakistani media reports.

The price of milk has gone out of control across major cities of Pakistan on the day when Muharram is observed, according to Pakistani media reports. The price of milk has reached Rs 140 per litre in Karachi and the Sindh Province.

Interestingly, petrol and diesel prices in Pakistan are lower than that of milk. Petrol was selling Rs 113 per litre, while diesel was Rs 91 per litre in Pakistan, just two days ago.

There have been even reports that milk is sold for as high as Rs 140 a litre in some parts of Sindh.

"Milk is being sold between Rs 120 and Rs 140 across the city of Karachi due to the sharp increase in demand," said a shopkeeper.

During Moharram, Sabeels (stalls) are set up in different parts of the city to offer milk, juices and cold water to the participants of the holy month's processions. For this, there is a huge demand for milk. Due to the increased demand, the milk hike of milk due to Muharram.

Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani, who is responsible for controlling the price of milk, seems to have done nothing about the exorbitant rates, according to reports.

Ironically, the official price of milk set by the Commissioner Office is still Rs 94 a litre.

Pakistan’s former legislator seeks asylum in India

Baldev Kumar (43), along with his wife and two children came to India last month and is presently staying at Khanna in Punjab’s Ludhiana district.

A former legislator from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has sought asylum in India, claiming that minorities were deprived of their rights in the neighbouring nation.
Baldev Kumar (43), along with his wife and two children came to India last month and is presently staying at Khanna in Punjab’s Ludhiana district.
“I have come here to seek asylum and will request [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi Sahib to help us,” Mr. Kumar told reporters in Khanna on Tuesday.
When asked why he left his country and came to India, Mr. Kumar said, “the whole world is watching what is the situation in Pakistan now. We were expecting from [Pakistan PM Imran] Khan Sahib that when he came [to power], the fate of Pakistan will change, he said, claiming Mr. Imran failed to do so.
“You are watching the situation [in Pakistan] and I am also watching the same. That day our Sikh girl was kidnapped. Such things should not take place,” said Mr. Kumar.
Notably, in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a teenage Sikh girl, the daughter of granthi (priest) of a Gurdwara there, was abducted and converted to Islam at gunpoint before she was married to a Muslim man, her family had alleged.
A video of the girl’s family had gone viral on social media in which one of her family members had alleged that a group of men attacked their house and she was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam.
He said, “had minorities been getting rights in Pakistan, such situation should not have arisen.”
He further said he has also requested his other family members to leave Pakistan.
Mr. Kumar said that there were several families in Sindh and Nankana Sahib which told him that if he got asylum there (India), then they would also try to leave Pakistan.
Mr. Kumar was a former Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Barikot seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.
India had expressed strong concern over the incidents of forced conversion and asked the neighbouring country to take remedial action to stop such cases.