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Modi is ‘chowkidar’ of corrupt, says Congress

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New Delhi: The Congress on Monday accused the Narendra Modi government of “doing nothing” on issues it held dear, saying he has become “chowkidar of the corrupt”.

Before he took over as prime minister, Narendra Modi would say that parliament would be rid of corrupt people, even if they belonged to his own Bharatiya Janata Party, former union minister Kapil Sibal told a press conference here on the eve of beginning of monsoon session of parliament.

“He (Modi) said he was a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) of the nation’s wealth and would not allow the corrupt to steal it. But now he has become the ‘chowkidar’ of the corrupt,” claimed Sibal.

He alleged that eight of new faces inducted in the government had declared criminal cases.

“There are twice as many ministers facing criminal cases as the previous UPA,” he said.

Sibal also alleged that there was confusion in the government over its policy concerning Pakistan and China, while it was not giving due importance to African and West Asian countries in its foreign policy.

On the smooth functioning of parliament, Sibal said the BJP when in opposition would maintain that obstruction was part of its parliamentary strategy, but now it seemed to be thinking otherwise.

“Top BJP leaders used to say obstruction is part of parliamentary strategy,” he noted.

(IANS)

 

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Pakistan In U.S. Blacklist For Religious Freedom Violations

Russia has increasingly drawn concern in the United States over its treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses

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Pakistan, Religious Freedom
Members and supporters of the Muslim Student Organization (MSO) chant slogans during a protest after the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam, in Islamabad, Pakistan. VOA

The United States said Tuesday it has added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom, ramping up pressure over its treatment of minorities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had designated Pakistan among “countries of particular concern” in a congressionally mandated annual report, meaning the U.S. government is obliged to exert pressure to end freedom violations.

Pompeo a year earlier had placed Pakistan on a special watch list – a step short of the designation – in what had been seen as a U.S. tactic to press Islamabad into reforms.

Human rights advocates have long voiced worry about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan, including Shiites, Ahmadis and Christians.

Sikh, Religious Freedom
A Sikh pilgrim visits the shrine of their spiritual leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan. VOA

But the timing of the full designation may be jarring as it comes after Pakistan moved to resolve its most high-profile case, with the Supreme Court in October releasing Asia Bibi – a Christian woman on death row for eight years for blasphemy.

The government recently charged a hardline cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, with terrorism and sedition after he led violent protests against Bibi’s acquittal.

“In far too many places across the globe, individuals continue to face harassment, arrests or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“The United States will not stand by as spectators in the face of such oppression,” he said.

Nine countries remained for another year on the list of Countries of Particular Concern – China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

pakistan,Sikh, Religious Freedom
Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, center, arrives along with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, second left, brother Atal Yousafzai, left, and the principal of all-boys Swat Cadet College Guli Bagh, during her hometown visit, March 31, 2018. VOA

The United States removed one country from the list – Uzbekistan– but kept it on the watch list.

Pompeo also put on the watch list Russia, adding another item of contention to the relationship between the two powers.

Also Read: The Hindu Temple of Gulyana and Sikh Samadhi in Pakistan

Russia has increasingly drawn concern in the United States over its treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the heterodox Christian group known for proselytization.

Also on the watch list was the Comoros, the Indian Ocean archipelago that is almost exclusively Sunni Muslim. (VOA)