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India-Pak Tensions: Balochistan likely to inform international community about Indian interference

After Modi's remark on the issue of Balochistan, mixed reactions from the concerned sides, the situation still looks questionable.

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Baloch people. Wikimedia Commons

Sept 12, 2016: Earlier, welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on Balochistan in his Independence Day address, several Baloch activists claimed that the people of the region support him and he should take up the Baloch issue with the international community at the United Nations.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri on Sunday declared in the State capital Quetta that parliamentarians from the province would visit ‘friendly countries’ to notify them and the international community about the interference of the neighboring countries regarding the issues of Balochistan.

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A Quetta datelined report carried by the Pakistan state-run news agency- Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) on Monday quoted the Balochistan Chief Minister as saying that an open letter would also be sent to the United Nations Secretary-General on the subject.

Islamabad has been dynamically and continuously protesting against New Delhi on the issue of Balochistan ever since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi intertwined into his Independence Day speech the issues of Pak-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit in Pak and the professed human rights violations as well as insensitive killings of ordinary citizens by the Pakistani forces in the Balochistan Province.

Before this, no Indian Prime Minister had ever spoken on the issues related to Gilgit and Balochistan during the Independence Day Speech or during any public appearance.

“When you look at things from the scale of human values and humanity when innocent school children were massacred in Peshawar, Indian Parliament wept, every school in India shed tears at this tragedy. On the other hand, we have a situation where some people glorify terrorists in our country,” the Prime Minister had commented.

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APP quoted Mr. Zehri as saying that some rebellious ones had been using the Baloch youth as the “fuel for their so-called freedom fight”.

 “Several misguided youths had joined the national mainstream after leaving mountains. However, some elements were sill talking about the so-called freedom in order to mint money”, he added.

No one would be allowed to enforce his stance and philosophy on gunpoint. The security situation had already been improved to the satisfactory level in Balochistan”, the APP reported.

Balochistan Chief Minister said, “ We are not afraid of India” while stating the statement of Prime Minister Modi had cleared the situation that as to who was behind the disturbances in Balochistan.

“We are not afraid of India. All the nefarious designs of enemies will be foiled at any cost,” the APP reported.

It quoted the CM as saying that a significant development had been witnessed in law and order situation, he said, adding that according to police record some 40 to 50 persons were reported to be missing, most of them were living in Afghanistan and Dubai.

“With the completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and making Gwadar Port completely functional would boost the local and national economy, besides bringing an economic revolution in the region”, the agency reported.

 “We will also make it clear to India that it was India that approached the UN several decades back on Kashmir dispute but now it is not fulfilling its promise,” said Nawaz Sharif.

On the move of Mr. Sharif to send his parliamentarians, the External Affairs Spokesperson had said, “Sending out 22 envoys is not going to make untenable claims legal. They should have sent just one envoy with the right message to the right country of putting an end to cross-border terrorism”.

The spokesperson also said that a part of J&K was illegitimately occupied by Pakistan and was a concern for India.

“The ground reality is that part of J&K is under illegal occupation of Pakistan. Any third party collaboration will be our concern,” Vikas Swarup said.

In its petition to the U.N. Secretary-General, Islamabad had termed Mr. Modi’s remarks on Balochistan and PoK as ‘unwarranted and in complete contravention’ of the U.N. Charter and reasoned that the remarks were aimed at diverting the world attention from the ongoing atrocities in the Kashmir Valley.

Where on one side, Baloch activists are happy that the world’s attention has moved towards the atrocities faced by Baloch civilians but the, on the other hand, Modi’s intervention is criticized heavily.

– prepared by NewsGram Team

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Pakistan Elected to UN Human Rights Council along with 14 other countries

The new members will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018

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UN General Assembly elect 15 new members of Human Rights Council. Wikimedia

United Nations, October 17, 2017 : Fifteen countries, including Pakistan, have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly.

In a vote on Monday, Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine were elected, a Foreign Office statement said.

They will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018. (IANS)

 

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Modi pens foreword for Hema Malini’s biography

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Hema Malini

New Delhi, Oct 13 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has penned a “short, crisp and sweet” foreword for “Beyond The Dreamgirl”, an authorised biography of actress and BJP MP Hema Malini.

The book, by former editor of Stardust and producer Ram Kamal Mukherjee, will be launched on October 16, when the “evergreen beauty” turns 69. Its launch also marks the celebration of Hema Malini’s glorious run of 50 years in Indian showbiz.

“Our PM has written very briefly in the book about his feelings for Hemaji. It’s short, crisp and sweet, not rubble and bubble. It’s an honour for me as an author and for Hemaji also that it is perhaps the first time that an active Prime Minister has written a foreword for a book on a Bollywood actor,” Mukherjee told IANS over the phone from Mumbai.

Having started her film career in 1968 with Raj Kapoor-starrer “Sapno Ka Saudagar”, she regaled movie buffs with roles in films like “Seeta Aur Geeta”, “Sholay”, “Dream Girl” and “Satte Pe Satta”. An accomplished classical dancer, Hema Malini earned the epithet of ‘Dreamgirl’ for her flawless beauty, and became a pioneering female superstar in an otherwise male-oriented film industry.

In 1999, Hema Malini campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in the Lok Sabha elections in Gurdaspur, Punjab. She is now a BJP MP from Mathura constituency.

“I guess it’s all because of Hemaji’s credentials and contribution to art and cinema that Mr Modi agreed to pen the foreword. When I was interacting with his office, they were very happy that Hemaji did not just limit her talk in the book to Bollywood,” said Mukherjee, who had in 2005 released a coffee table book called “Hema Malini Diva Unveiled”.

“Beyond The Dreamgirl”, published by HarperCollins India, will give readers an in-depth look into her life.

“It is divided into 23 chapters, covering her childhood, teens, Bollywood, rise as an actor, romance, colleagues, marriage, her second innings, launching Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Dil Aashna Hai’ — which she directed — her ballet, her political journey and spiritual journey. There are two chapters dedicated to her daughters Esha and Ahana.

“She has also spoken about her Agra accident and her singing career. We have summed it all up with a chapter called ‘Bliss’. This book will also have Hemaji’s family tree, which has not been published earlier, and there will be a lot of exclusive unseen photographs from her personal, professional and political spheres,” Mukherjee said.

The ageless talent has shared an insight into her life with Dharmendra as well as spoken on political figures like Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj.

How did Mukherjee get Modi to pen the foreword?

“It was not something thought of when I started writing the book two years ago. I started my research and wanted somebody else to do the foreword,” he said, without naming the film industry person whom he had approached.

“It was almost like a miracle to have Mr Modi write for us. When I discussed it with Hemaji, her first expression was, ‘I hope you know what you’re saying. I know you’re under pressure, but I think you’re losing your mind’.

“When I said there’s no harm in trying, she said, ‘You try and do whatever you want to do’. Then it was a process.”

The writer feels it’s the actress’ constant effort in promoting Indian classical music and dance through her ballets on Hindu mythological characters like Durga and Meera, which Modi appreciates.

“I think Mr Modi liked her inclination towards classical dance and music and how she promotes it at international platforms. I think this is a USP of Hema Maliniji, apart from she being Hema Malini. And I guess that’s also what justifies the title of the book.”(IANS)

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Pakistan Electoral Body Bars Political Party Due to Terror Ties

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Sheikh Yaqub
Sheikh Yaqub (C) candidate of the newly-formed Milli Muslim League party, waves to his supporters at an election rally in Lahore, Pakistan. voa

Pakistan’s Election Commission (ECP) on Wednesday rejected the registration application of a newly established political party with alleged ties to a banned militant group in the country.

Milli Muslim League (MML) has been disqualified to participate in the country’s state and general elections.

The electoral commission’s decision is said to be based on a request made earlier by the country’s Ministry of Interior Affairs, stating that Milli Muslim League is a front organization for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a U.S.-designated terror sponsoring organization in Pakistan.

“The government is vigilant and under no circumstances will allow any political party with a proven record of promoting violence and terrorism to spread their extremist ideology through democracy and political means,” Tallal Chaudhry, Pakistan’s minister of state for Interior Affairs, told VOA.

Saif Ullah Khalid, president of Milli Muslim League, dismissed the election commission’s decision and said the party will take the matter to the country’s judiciary.

Political wing

Milli Muslim League was established in August 2017 as a political wing for the controversial Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which is believed to be a front organization for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group led by Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed was accused of masterminding Mumbai’s 2008 terror attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The U.S. government has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Saeed has been reportedly under house arrest in the eastern city of Lahore for the past eight months.

In September, during an important by-election in Lahore, when the National Assembly’s seat fell vacant following the disqualification of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the newly launched MML backed an independent candidate who finished fourth in the race for Sharif’s seat.

At the time, Pakistan’s upper house of parliament strongly criticized the country’s election commission for allowing JuD’s political wing, MML, to participate in the Lahore by-election.

Some experts were concerned about the emergence of militant groups joining mainstream politics in Pakistan. They maintain that the political trend seen in Lahore’s by-election, where parties linked to militant groups are able to mobilize and generate sufficient numbers of votes within a very short period of time, as alarming.

“There should be a debate on this sensitive issue through social, political and media channels. By allowing militant-based political parties to integrate into mainstream politics, it will only escalate radicalization in the society,” Khadim Hussain, a Peshawar based political analyst, told VOA.

“There are people who believe with the merger of such militant groups into politics, we’ll provide them an avenue to maintain a political presence without leaving their extreme ideologies,” Hussain added.

Army’s support

Earlier last week, Pakistan’s army acknowledged they are mulling over plans to blend the militant-linked political groups into the mainstream political arena.

Some analysts side with MML, arguing the party should be allowed to participate in elections.

“I do not understand in what capacity the election commission has rejected MML’s application to register as a party,” said Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, the head of Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT).

“Did they (MML) break any law? If not, how can you bar MML from entering the mainstream politics when they’re doing it through legitimate ways,” Mehboob emphasized.

Zubair Iqbal, a Washington-based South Asia expert, also raised concerns over the validity of the decision.

“This is how democracy works. … There are some extreme groups, some moderate groups and no one should be stopped because of their extreme ideologies,” Iqbal told VOA. “The extremist groups can be barred from entering into the politics only through people and democracy.”

“Unless these parties and individuals are allowed to participate in the political system they might never change their extreme ideologies and might continue operating underground which will prove to be more dangerous,” Iqbal added.

International pressure

In the past few years, Pakistan has faced escalating pressure from the international community for not being able to crackdown on militant groups enjoying safe havens in Pakistan and launching attacks in neighboring countries.

In his recent speech on the region, U.S President Trump put Pakistan on notice to take actions against safe havens in Pakistan. Pakistani officials deny the existence of safe havens on its soil.

Pakistan is also accused of being selective in its pursuit of terror groups. It allegedly goes after only those groups that pose a threat to the country’s national security, ignoring others that threat India and Afghanistan.

Pakistan rejects the allegations and reiterates its stance of having no sympathy for any terror group operating in the country.(VOA)