Wednesday January 17, 2018
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Two Hindu Teenagers shot in communal tension at Pakistan’s Sindh province

Dewan Sateesh Kumar who was 17 years old, succumbed to his injuries while his friend Avinash is in a critical condition

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Image Source :media2.intoday.in/
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  • There has been rapid radicalisation and an increase in communal tensions after the entry of groups such as Jamaat-ud-Dawah
  • After some burnt pages of the Quran were found outside an old mosque, local religious leaders along with several agitated people took the fight to the streets
  • Two Hindu youths who were sitting outside a tea stall in Mirpur Mathelo area were shot by some men riding on motorbikes

Sindh, where most of Pakistan’s Hindu minority group lives had been more peaceful than the other provinces of Pakistan until now. There has been rapid radicalisation and an increase in communal tensions after the entry of groups such as Jamaat-ud-Dawah. After few burnt pages of the Quran were found outside an old mosque near Daharki town on Tuesday, July 26, local religious leaders along with several agitated people took the fight to the streets. Even though the culprit was arrested, the protests continued resulting in shootings that left one Hindu teenager dead and the other in a critical condition.

The shooting took place outside a tea stall in Mirpur Mathelo area on Wednesday, July 27. Dewan Sateesh Kumar who was 17 years old, succumbed to his injuries while his friend Avinash is in a critical condition, Dawn.com reported.

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When the desecration of the Holy Quran became known to the public, angry protesters assembled on the National Highway and held a sit-in for five hours, demanding the arrest of the culprit.

Police deployed after the protest. Image Source: Bing News
Police deployed after the protest. Image Source: Bing News

According to the news portal, the police arrested their prime suspect Amar in the Ghotki area of the province, which shares its border with India. on charges of blasphemy. According to the police, Amar is a drug addict suffering from the psychotic disorder. He is said to be living in a mosque after converting to Islam a few months ago.

Shops remained shut and other daily activities remained suspended in Ghotki. Shops owned by Hindus also remained shut.

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Section 295 (B) of the Pakistan Penal Code deals with blasphemy under which over 1,300 people have been accused of blasphemy from 1987 to 2014. The vast majority of the accusations were lodged for desecration of the Quran.

Two Hindu youths who were sitting outside a tea stall in Mirpur Mathelo area were shot by some men riding on motorbikes and in the attack, Dewan Sateesh Kumar was killed while Avinash was critically injured.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump's Tough stand on Pak
American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump's Tough stand on Pak. wikimedia commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.