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‘Anti-Muslim’ Modi govt banning IRF is politically motivated: Zakir Naik

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) chief Zakir Naik has dubbed the ban on his non-governmental organisation (NGO) as ‘unfortunate’ and alleged that this move of the ‘anti-Muslim’ BJP-led NDA Government is politically motivated. Naik said that the ban would be challenged as soon as possible, adding that his legal team in Delhi and Mumbai are considering all options possible.Responding to a poser as to why he blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government for the ban and not British Prime Minister Theresa May, Naik said, “I am not banned in the UK. I have been ‘excluded’, which means I cannot enter UK. A ban would have meant banning my speeches on television, my NGO as well as my books, audio and video CDs. None of that has happened. My organization and my published materials are very much in circulation in UK and doing some commendable work in spreading the message of peace in Islam.”Naik, however, maintained that even the exclusion in the United Kingdom was politically motivated as when the Labour Party was in power the head of Counter Terrorism had sent a senior officer to request him to help them to reach those Muslims whom they felt were misguided.”In fact, for my work spanning over two decades and even after being excluded from UK. in 2010 I have been awarded some of the highest civilian awards by several countries like Malaysia, Dubai, Sharjah and Gambia including the King Faisal Prize for Service to Islam by King Salman of Saudi Arabia which is the most prestigious award of the Islamic World similar to the Nobel Prize for Peace. My talks continue to attract lakhs of people from all communities,” he added.Expressing grief, Naik said that he has been banned in his homeland India despite attracting hundreds of thousands of audience for several years.”Imagine I was invited twice in the last few years before the Modi government came to power to the National Police Academy in Hyderabad which is the most prestigious training institute for Indian Police to address the IPS officers. Most of the officers I addressed may yet be in service. Do you mean to say that this prestigious institution invited a person who promotes terrorism to address the IPS officers’ This ban is truly unfortunate and undoubtedly politically motivated,” he added.Expressing confidence, Naik said he is positive that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would after a thorough research realise that he is far away from promoting terrorism.”In UK. where the Counter Terrorism head disagreed with the exclusion but had to give in to the then Home Secretary… here in India too, I am positive that the officers in NIA and other departments after doing thorough research for more than four months may have surely realized that I am far away from promoting terrorism have no choice but to give in to the political pressures,” he said. “More unfortunately, it is also indicative of the grim state of affairs existing in my beloved homeland since the Modi government took over two-and-a-half years ago,” he added.Escalating his attack on the Centre, Naik stated that one needs to look at these allegations from a political viewpoint, adding it all began when the Modi government took charge. “Most of my statements quoted for banning me have been made by me 8 to 18 years ago. One needs to look at these allegations from a political viewpoint. These allegations started when the current Modi government took over and that says a lot of things,” he added.Responding to a poser whether the BJP-led NDA government is anti-Muslim, Naik said the last decade and a half has several evidences of the Prime Minister’s anti-Muslim behaviour and actions, adding the most recent one is the banning of IRF while the likes of Rajeshwar Singh, Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi flourished under him.”I don’t think. I know it is anti-Muslim. But why ask me? Ask the hundreds of millions of Indians who will tell you that Modi is anti-Muslim and that makes him a danger to the Indian democracy,” he asserted.

Eight years after 26/11, wait for RPF commando centre continues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, which exposed the limited fighting abilities of the Railway Protection Force, the wait for a specialised commando training centre for the RPF continues to be trapped in the files. The latest plan, to build one at RPF’s Chink Hill facility near Solapur, requires a little over Rs4 crore to create the all-important ‘baffle’ walls. These walls ensure stray bullets don’t hit civilians while the force practices firing.Baffle walls are made up of reinforced cement concrete and steel-fibre infiltrated concrete which give the structure the strength to trap bullets from pistols to assault rifles, said officials.”The plan is to convert the Chink Hill facility into a Specialised Arms Training Centre where up to 60 RPF personnel can be trained in all kinds of firearms as part of their commando training,” explained Rambhau Pawar, Deputy Chief Security Commissioner of the RPF Zonal Training Centre, which oversees the Chink Hill facility.Messages sent to RPF director-general SK Bhagat on when the money for the baffle walls would be sanctioned or what would be the time frame for the completion of the commando training facility project elicited no response.The need for a commando training facility was felt after the nation was subjected to painful images of helplessness of RPF personnel during the 26/11 terror raid on Mumbai in 2008. RPF constables, armed with British-vintage .303 rifles, first tried to ward off the two terrorists at CST that day. But when most of the British-vintage .303 rifles jammed, these personnel had little choice but to duck for cover from the assault rifle fire from the terrorists.The preliminary planning for such a centre took almost two years and on December 9, 2010, the then railway minister of state KH Muniyappa told Parliament that a commando training facility for the RPF would be set up at Canning in the South Parganas district in West Bengal. A sum of Rs26.70 crore was sanctioned and railway construction firm Ircon was given the task of creating a blueprint. By 2013, the plan had to be dropped due to hassles in land acquisition, said officials.”The RPF plans to have a total of 22 commando companies raised from its present personnel and another 12 companies from each battalion of the Railway Protection Special Force. The hallmark of any good commando unit is training day in day out and for that a training facility is essential. Currently, RPF commandos are being trained at facilities as varied as Force One in Mumbai, the Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare Centre in Kanker in Chattisgarh among others. These centres have a long waiting period now,” explained an official.

Indelible ink to be ONLY used for people EXCHANGING old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There seems to be some confusion over reports that banks are using indelible ink to mark customers and they won’t be able to withdraw money or use ATMs after that. That’s not true. The move is only there for people exchanging old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes over the counter.The govt said in a press release: The drawing limits against Bank Accounts and from ATMs and over the cash disbursement have also been increased. It was noted that one of the primary reasons for long queues was that the same persons were visiting Bank branches, ATMs etc. repeatedly. It was also noted that certain unscrupulous elements are using the services of poor and innocent people to convert their black money into white. To prevent such misuse of the facility and enable larger number of persons to draw cash, indelible ink used during elections shall be used for over the counter exchange against old Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes. This is not applicable in the case of withdrawal from or deposit into accounts. The move it’s believed is aimed at curbing, individuals who keep on exchanging currency notes for unscrupulous elements and will hinder these elements from sending people to exchange old notes. Decision to use indelible ink mark on hands of people depositing and exchanging scrapped currency is a corrective measure to prevent unscrupulous elements from taking advantage of the demonetisation drive, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said. He said such measures would be taken on continuous basis to deal with the problem of cash crunch.”This is corrective measure (use of indelible ink mark).Some people were coming again and again,” he said. “Corrective measure would be taken on continuous basis so that public gets cash in a smooth manner,” he added. He also appealed to the public that there is no need to panic as there is sufficient cash available in the system. “We are reviewing situation continuously to provide relief and convenience to the public,” Meghwal said. Earlier in the day, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said the government has decided to introduce use of indelible ink mark for customers exchanging defunct currency notes. “It has come to notice of the government that in many places the same people are coming back again and again and we have also received reports that certain unscrupulous elements who are trying to convert black money into white have organised groups of innocent people and are sending them from one branch to another branch to exchange notes and get Rs 4,500,” Das said.Here are some other important decisions taken regarding supply and availability of currency notes:1. Highest importance should continue to be given to ensure convenience for the public. Effort should be made to avoid long queues in Bank branches, ATMs, etc. Already separate queues for senior citizens, divyang persons etc. have been announced. The drawing limits against Bank Accounts and from ATMs and over the cash disbursement have also been increased. It was noted that one of the primary reasons for long queues was that the same persons were visiting Bank branches, ATMs etc. repeatedly. It was also noted that certain unscrupulous elements are using the services of poor and innocent people to convert their black money into white. To prevent such misuse of the facility and enable larger number of persons to draw cash, indelible ink used during elections shall be used for over the counter exchange against old Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes. This is not applicable in the case of withdrawal from or deposit into accounts. Cash disbursement points, especially Bank branches will be advised to put-up notices outside their branches advising people to avoid exchange of old notes over the counter multiple times. 2. Already instructions have been issued permitting District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) for cash withdrawal from existing accounts, subject to limits applicable in the case of Banks. Arrangements have been made to enhance the availability of cash with the DCCBs. 3. Arrangements have been made to make available adequate cash to the Postal Department for their use including the branch Post Offices. There are 1.3 lakh branch Post Offices having wide coverage in the rural areas. Availability of adequate cash with the branch Post Offices will ensure wider coverage of the rural areas. 4. Contributions are made in hundis and separate boxes in places of worship. Such establishments have their accounts with the Bank branches. Bank branches have been advised to approach the concerned authorities in these establishments to obtain the currency notes, especially of lower denomination and put them back into circulation. This will help in improving the circulation of lower denomination currency notes. 5. Information has been received that there is sudden spurt in the quantum of deposits in several Jan Dhan Accounts. There are also reports of unscrupulous elements using Jan Dhan Accounts of poor and innocent persons to convert their black money into white. Such spurt in deposits will be looked into closely. Jan Dhan Account holders are requested not to allow their accounts to be misused by anyone. Further, it is also clarified that Jan Dhan Account holders will not be put to any kind of inconvenience for carrying-out their legitimate activities. 6. Old Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes are accumulating in Post Offices and Bank branches. Special efforts will be made to shift such notes and create space in the Post Offices and Bank branches to receive new notes. 7. A high level Task Force consisting of representatives from various agencies is being set-up to monitor movement/receipt of fake notes in vulnerable areas. This Task Force will also take special efforts to monitor black money being deposited into Bank/Postal Accounts, especially under fictitious and other names. 8. A technology team is being set-up to popularize the use of e-wallets. 9. Government is closely monitoring the supply of essential commodities. 10. A coordination group chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and including representatives of various Departments and major Banks is holding regular meetings to monitor the implementation of all the steps.

MEA rejects criticism, says BRICS declaration ‘strongest ever’ language against terrorism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Against the backdrop of criticism that it could not secure a reference by BRICS leaders to cross-border terror at their Goa summit, the government on Thursday said the joint declaration by the 5-nation grouping contained “strongest ever” language against terrorism.Rejecting criticism, Spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup said terrorism was accorded the “centrality” at the Goa summit in more substantive manner than even the Antalaya G20 Summit which was held in the shadows of the Paris terror attack. “The Goa Declaration contains the strongest-ever language against terrorism among all past BRICS summits. The word terrorism/terror features some 37 times in the declaration,” he said at a media briefing.He said there was “unprecedented condemnation” of terrorism at the summit and that BRICS leaders strongly condemned the recent attacks in India. “BRICS Leaders for the first time called upon all States to prevent terrorist action from their territories. They agreed that religion is no justification for terrorism,” said Swarup, adding “I do not know on what basis it is being said that this was a weak declaration on terrorism.” The Modi government faced intense opposition criticism for its “abject failure” to get a reference to terrorism emanating from Pakistan included in the BRICS declaration.The MEA spokesperson said BRICS leaders, for the first time, called for effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolution on Counter Terrorism and sought enhancing the effectiveness of the UN Counter Terrorism Framework. “They called upon all States to counter terrorism, radicalisation, recruitment, terrorist movement, dismantling of terrorist bases, money laundering, drug trafficking. The leaders also called for expedited adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT),” he said.Swarup said the BRICS leaders also recognised the growing nexus between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. “BRICS as a group (that) focuses on global issues. We are all aware that the current global architecture is not reflected in some of the institutions of global governance.BRICS is one example of a grouping which represents current realities. “G20 is another example. We hope a reformed United Nations Security Council will be another example so that it does not remain mired in the geopolitics of 1945 and reflects and represents the realities of the 21st Century,” he said.

Uri effect: Parliamentary Panel on Home Affairs to review border security

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Against the backdrop of Uri terror attack and heightened tensions with Pakistan, the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs on Wednesday decided to take up urgently the review of border security as well as internal security capabilities.The newly-reconstituted committee, headed by former Home Minister P Chidambaram, which met here today for the first time, decided to have meetings on October 6 and 13 to discuss such subjects, sources told PTI here.On October 13, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi are expected to attend the meeting of the committee, the sources said. At the first meeting of the committee which was to decide on subjects to be taken up, opposition members pressed to discussing urgently the issues of border security and internal security in the country against the backdrop of Uri terror attack which has triggered tensions between India and Pakistan. “There are aspects which cannot wait,” a source said.The aspects to be reviewed include capacity of the paramilitary forces and police forces and status of the National Counter terrorism Centre (NCTC) and NATGRID which were supposed to strengthen the internal security, the sources said. The opposition members, including Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress, Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M), wanted to know about the proposal of police modernisation which has been hanging fire for long, the sources said. Chidambaram then told the meeting that the Finance Ministry had not released funds for it and thus the proposal was held up, the sources said.

Uri attack: Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs to review border, internal security

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of Uri terror attack and heightened tensions with Pakistan, the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs on Wednesday decided to take up urgently the review of border security as well as internal security capabilities.

The Parliamentary Committee will be headed by P Chidambaram. PTI

The Parliamentary Committee will be headed by P Chidambaram. PTI

The newly-reconstituted committee, headed by former Home Minister P Chidambaram, which met on Wednesday for the first time, decided to have meetings on 6 and 13 October to discuss such subjects, sources told PTI. On 13 October, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi are expected to attend the meeting of the committee, the sources said.

At the first meeting of the committee which was to decide on subjects to be taken up, opposition members pressed to discussing urgently the issues of border security and internal security in the country against the backdrop of Uri terror attack which has triggered tensions between India and Pakistan.

“There are aspects which cannot wait,” a source said. The aspects to be reviewed include capacity of the paramilitary forces and police forces and status of the National Counter terrorism Centre (NCTC) and NATGRID which were supposed to strengthen the internal security, the sources said.

The opposition members, including Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress, Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M), wanted to know about the proposal of police modernisation which has been hanging fire for long, the sources said. Chidambaram then told the meeting that the Finance Ministry had not released funds for it and thus the proposal was held up, the sources said.

Jaish-e-Mohammed leader who handled Pathankot attack flees to Afghanistan

The Jaish-e-Mohammed leader who gave directions over phone to the terrorists during the attack on the Pathankot airbase has reportedly managed to flee to Afghanistan from Pakistan, an official said.”The alleged JeM handler who communicated by telephone more than two-dozen times with the terrorists in Pathankot before they carried out the attack on the airbase on January 2 has managed to cross into Afghan border,” a member of the Joint Investigation Team probing the attack told PTI on Thursday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the JeM handler, who is in late 20s, was in the tribal area of Pakistan when he communicated about 18 times with the terrorists.”The law enforcement agencies tried to trace him (in the tribal belt) but there are reports that he managed to escape to Afghanistan,” he said, without disclosing the JeM leader’s identity.Interestingly, during interrogation JeM chief Masood Azhar claimed that the handler of the Pathankot operation had quit the organisation sometimes ago.”Azhar disowns the JeM handler (to prove his innocence),” another source privy to the development told PTI.He said the investigation agencies have been under “immense pressure” from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to thoroughly probe the matter and come up with “true facts” of the Pathankot incident.Although the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab police had registered an FIR against the alleged attackers of the Pathankot airbase and their abettors, not a single person has been charged in this regard.The FIR was registered in the CTD police station Gujranwala under sections 302, 324 and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code, and sections 7 and 21-I of the Anti-Terrorism Act.The FIR says Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval informed authorities that the four attackers had come from Pakistan and had “probably crossed the border adjacent to the Pathankot general area”.The NSA says the terrorists made phone calls to cell phones and belonged to a proscribed organisation.Five terrorists and seven Indian army personnel were killed in a gun battle at the Pathankot airbase.The attack occurred just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a ‘surprise’ visit to Sharif on his birthday on December 25 and the occasion of his granddaughter’s wedding – a move that appeared to promise better ties between the two countries in future.Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also confirmed that one of the mobile phone numbers linked to those who attacked the airbase had been traced to the JeM headquarters in Bahawalpur, some 400-km from Lahore.JeM chief Azhar, who has been named by India as the mastermind of the airbase attack, had been under protective custody since January 14.Aziz said that Azhar, along with a few other operatives of JeM, had been kept under protective custody and that some of the JeMs premises had been sealed.He said action would follow against Azhar and others the moment evidence became available.However despite the Pathankot visit of five-member JIT team of Pak Punjab government headed by CTD Additional Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tahir Rai, no progress has been made in the investigation so far.

Need ‘genuine’ global cooperation to fight terror: India

Describing the challenge posed by the growing terror threat as ‘daunting’, India has called on the UN to do more to combat the scourge and emphasised that ‘genuine and effective’ global cooperation is essential for achieving zero tolerance towards terrorism.”The scale of challenge facing all our countries is daunting. No state is immune to this threat as continuing terrorist attacks across the world, many of them with links beyond the borders of the affected state, continue to demonstrate,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said on Monday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing a meeting of the Advisory Board of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), he said no single country, however rich or powerful, would be able to defeat the menace of terrorism acting alone.Having been a victim of terrorism for the past several decades, India is not only cognizant of the nature of the menace but also of the critical need for a collective international effort to counter terrorism, he said.”Genuine and effective international cooperation is absolutely essential to meeting this challenge and is in our collective interest,” he said.Akbaruddin said while the United Nations is providing a “useful avenue” for such international cooperation to fight terrorism, the world body “requires to do more”.”We look forward to the UNCCT playing a useful part in contributing to the collective quest of ‘zero tolerance for terrorism’,” he said, adding that India attaches high importance to working towards strengthening of international cooperation in countering terrorism.He emphasised that growth of the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters poses increasing threats and challenges and needs to be effectively countered.Akbaruddin said tackling financing of terrorism is crucial in the fight against terrorism.With foreign terrorist fighters originating from more than 100 countries, Akbaruddin said UNCCT’s work needs to take into account this “widespread malaise” and requires to be expanded to cover all affected regions.He reiterated that strengthening the legal capacities of member states to counter terrorism is “very important” in the fight to ensure the rule of law.”The UNCCT working in unison with other UN agencies can be of assistance in strengthening the capacity of national legal systems to effectively prosecute and punish acts of terrorism,” Akbaruddin said.India, a member of UNCCT’s Advisory Board, supports its work in contributing to the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTF) of the United Nations through the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), he said.

Sushma Swaraj raises Masood Azhar veto issue with China

Moscow: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday strongly raised with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi the issue of China blocking its bid to have JeM chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN.

Swaraj took up the issue with Wang at a bilateral meeting in Moscow on the sidelines of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting of their foreign ministers.

Official sources said the issue was raised by Swaraj besides deliberations on a range of issues.

Earlier this month, China stopped UN sanctions committee from designating Azhar as terrorist, maintaining that the case “did not meet the requirements” of the Security Council.

Sushma Swaraj meets China's External Affairs Minister Wang Yi. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndiaSushma Swaraj meets China's External Affairs Minister Wang Yi. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Sushma Swaraj meets China’s External Affairs Minister Wang Yi. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

This is not the first time China has blocked India’s bid to get Pakistan-based militant groups and leaders proscribed by the UN.

The UN had banned the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in 2001 but India’s efforts for slapping sanctions on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks also did not fructify as China, that has veto powers, did not allow it apparently at the behest of Pakistan.

Last July, China had similarly halted India’s move in the UN to take action against Pakistan for its release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, saying its stand was “based on facts and in the spirit of objectiveness and fairness” with Beijing again claiming at the time that it was in touch with New Delhi.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar last week had said in New Delhi that India has taken up at a “fairly high level” with China the issue of Beijing blocking its bid to have Azhar designated as terrorist by the UN but the issue will not “overflow” into other areas of bilateral ties.

China had defended its decision, saying that it acts on such issues based on facts and rules in an “objective and just manner”.

After the attack on the airbase in Pathankot on 2 January, India had in February written to the UN calling for immediate action to list Azhar under the UN Sanctions Committee.

The Indian submission was considered by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) for technical aspects of the evidence provided.

The technical team then with the support of the US, the UK and France had sent it to all the members. All were told that if there are no objections, the designation will be announced after the expiry of the deadline but just hours before the deadline, China requested the UN committee to keep on hold the designation.

Earlier this week, India had slammed the use of “hidden veto” and demanded accountability, saying the world body’s general members are never informed of the reason for not acceding to requests for sanctioning terrorists.

Pakistan claims arresting 2 ‘RAW agents’ from Sindh

Pakistani police on Saturday claimed to have arrested two alleged “RAW agents” from the southern Sindh province.SSP Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Naveed Khawaja said the “RAW agents” were arrested from Thatta city during a raid on a tip off, the News International reported. Khawaja identified those arrested as Saddam Hussain and Bachal who he said were working for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the guise of fishermen in the area.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing a press conference, the police officer claimed that India had provided codes to Saddam and Bachal. Police have seized photographs of sensitive installations from the possession of the “spies”, he said.Khawaja claimed that the alleged agents were planning to disrupt the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

‘RAW spy’ arrested: Pakistan slaps terror, sabotage charges on Kulbhushan Jadhav

Even as India is still awaiting the consular access to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan government has gone ahead with filing an FIR against him charging him with terrorism and sabotage. Whether a coincidence or another sign of chill in relations, an Indian national Kirpal Singh (50) of Gurdaspur, who was languishing at a Lahore jail for more than 20 years almost on similar charges was found dead in his cell on Monday evening.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>FIR filed by the Counter Terrorism Department of Balochistan The FIR filed against him by the Counter Terrorism Department of Balochistan government stated that Jadhav was reportedly arrested after he entered the province from Iran. Without specifying the date of the FIR, media reports from Pakistan alleged that Jadav was arrested last month form Chaman area of Balochistan which lies near the border with Afghanistan. Terrorism, foreign act violation and sabotage charges have been included in the FIR, agencies quoting the sources said. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death under the various charges.
ALSO READ RAW ‘spy’ arrested: Pakistan cautions media over linking Iran with the arrestIndia denies allegationIndia has denied the allegation, only admitting that Jadhav was a former navy officer. Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup, while rejecting charges, said they were still awaiting consular access to ascertain the truth behind his arrest. “The said individual has no link with government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy. We have sought consular access to him,” he said.
ALSO READ ‘Indian RAW spy’ row: Pakistan cooking stories, doctoring videos to defame India, says governmentThe government is also seeking repatriation of the body of Kirpal Sigh, who died in a Lahore jail, under mysterious circumstances. A resident of Gurdaspur, he had allegedly crossed Wagah border into Pakistan in 1992. He was subsequently sentenced to death in a serial bomb blasts case in Punjab province, by the trial court. Later the Lahore High Court acquitted him from bomb blast charges, but continued his death sentence citing other charges. Earlier, in April, 2013, another prisoner on death row Sarabjit Singh was brutally attacked and murdered by his fellow prisoners at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail. Sarabjit was also arrested on charges of conducting four bomb blasts in Faisalabad, Multan and Lahore. He was also sentenced to death.Pakistan commutes sentence of SurjeetIn July last year, Pakistan commuted sentence of another alleged Indian spy Surjeet, who upon his return accused intelligence agencies for not taking caring of their moles and their families, once they get caught. Similar allegations were leveled by Roop Lal Saharia, and Kashmir Singh, who returned in 2008 after spending spending three decades in a Pakistan jail.Though Indian intelligence establishment is completely tongue-tied on sending spies, former security officials say, that often the Indian Army, Border Security Force the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and others do hire local villagers to report on the movement of Pakistani forces, or to drop dead letters etc. But they can be hardly called deep-penetration agents, whose actions and missions form a plot for spy thrillers.Tales of agentsThe tales of deep-penetration agents, who merge in backgrounds hardly come to fore. Former spy masters also say, it is unlikely, that their arrests is reported so publicly. “Once a spy is roped in for gathering offensive intelligence, he is told to remember that his umbilical cord with his parent agency and the government is cut forever,” said a former intelligence officer.So far only the case of Ravindra Kaushik of Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan could be categorised as a spy thriller. Hired by the IB, trained, sent to Dubai where he was given a fake Pakistani passport, he was reported to have joined the Pakistani army as an officer known as Nabi Ahmed.Ravindra Kaushik of Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan could be categorised as a spy thriller. Hired by the IB, trained, sent to Dubai where he was given a fake Pakistani passport, he was reported to have joined the Pakistani army as an officer known as Nabi Ahmed.In September 1983, Indian intelligence agencies had sent a low level operative, Inyat Masih, to get in touch with him. But the agent was caught and blew Kaushik’s cover. At the age of 50, Kaushik died in a Multan jail in 2002, the year a former IB officer M K Dhar published a fiction, making him its central character. He is stated to have written to his brother Rajeshwar before death: “Had I been an American, I would have been out of this jail in three days.”

‘RAW spy’ arrested: Balochistan govt slaps Kulbhushan Jadhav with terrorism and sabotage charges

An alleged Indian ‘spy’ arrested in Pakistan has been charged with terrorism and sabotage in an FIR filed against him by the provincial Balochistan government, a media report said on Tuesday.Kulbhushan Jadhav was reportedly arrested in Balochistan after he entered from Iran and was accused by Pakistan of planning “subversive activities” in the country. Counter Terrorism Department, Quetta, has lodged a case against Indian “spy” Jadhav, the News International reported.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Counter Terrorism Department lodged the case in provincial capital of Quetta, the report said without specifying on what date was the First Information Report (FIR) registered. The alleged “RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent” was arrested last month from Chaman area of Balochistan which lies near the border with Afghanistan.The case against him has been registered on the complaint of the provincial home department on the directives of the federal government, the report said quoting police sources. Terrorism, foreign act violation and sabotage charges have been included in the FIR, the sources said. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death under the various charges.Pakistan Army had also released a “confessional video” of Jadhav, who said he was a serving Indian Navy officer. India has acknowledged Jadhav as a retired Indian Navy officer, but denied the allegation that he was in any way connected to the government.Pakistan last week said it was still considering India’s request for consular access to Jadhav and the issue would be considered under bilateral agreement on such matters.

HCU VC residence ransack: Students bail pleas to be heard on March 28

A local court on Thursday posted for March 28 hearing on bail pleas of 25 students and two faculty members of Hyderabad Central University (HCU) arrested in connection with ransacking of Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile’s official residence and stone pelting on policemen.M A Shakeel, representing one of the arrested students, said bail applications were filed in the court and after arguments and counter-arguments, the matter was posted to March 28 to enable the police to file their counter by that date.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The public prosecutor, who opposed the bail petitions sought time to file the counter and the court posted the matter to March 28,” Shakeel said.The 25 students and two faculty members arrested on Wednesday in connection with incidents of March 22 were sent to judicial remand last night and are lodged in Cherlapally Central Prison.Cases were booked against the students and faculty members on charges of damage to public property, trespass and preventing government officials from performing their duties and other relevant sections of IPC in connection with both the incidents.

Pakistan team to complete Pathankot probe this week: official

The Pakistani team investigating the Pathankot terror attack will complete its probe this week, a top official said on Monday, days after three suspects in the high-profile case were remanded to police custody. “The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) will complete probe into Pathankot incident this week,” Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan last week set up a five-member JIT to probe the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, a week after it lodged an FIR over the assault without naming Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike. Earlier, a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up by the federal government for the initial probe into the January 2 attack based on the leads given by India.Three men arrested for their alleged role in the attack were sent to a six-day police remand by an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala city of Punjab on Saturday. The FIR by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police has been lodged on the basis of information provided by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval that four attackers crossed from Pakistan into India and attacked the airbase. The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. Since then, no date has been fixed for the talks. Meanwhile, Fatemi also said the dates for the upcoming SAARC Summit in Islamabad are being worked out in consultation with member states. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to attend the summit.

Pathankot attack: Pakistan jails three suspects, sent to six day custody

The Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan on Sunday sent three suspects said to be involved in the Pathankot airbase attack to six-day custody.”Judge Bushra Zaman granted six-day physical remand of three suspects and handed them over to the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), reported Dawn news.The suspects – Khalid Mahmood, Irshadul Haque and Muhammad Shoaib – were arrested by the CTD from a rented house near Chand Da Qila bypass over suspicion that they were facilitators of the attack.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, they have reportedly denied the charges and were shifted to an undisclosed location for investigation, said report.Pakistan has set up a five-member Joint Investigation Team to probe the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, a week after it lodged an FIR over the assault without naming JeM chief Masood Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike.The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is expected to visit India ‘shortly’ to gather evidence if the Indian government gives it permission.According to Dawn News, the probe team comprises Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Additional Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Tahir Rai (convener), Lahore Deputy Director General (DDG) Intelligence Bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, Military Intelligence Lt Col Irfan Mirza and Gujjaranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer.The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. Since then, no date has been fixed for the talks.

Pakistan forms new team to probe Pathankot terror attack

Pakistan has set up a five-member Joint Investigation Team to probe the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, a week after it lodged an FIR over the assault without naming JeM chief Masood Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike.The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which was formed by the Punjab government yesterday, is expected to visit India “shortly” to gather evidence if the Indian government gives it permission. According to Dawn News, the probe team comprises Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Additional Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Tahir Rai (convener), Lahore Deputy Director General (DDG) Intelligence Bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, Military Intelligence Lt Col Irfan Mirza and Gujjaranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up by the federal government for the initial probe into the case based on the leads given by India. A police official said the SIT would become dysfunctional once government formally transfers its powers to the JIT.Pakistan on February 18 lodged an FIR in connection with the Pathankot terror attack without naming JeM chief Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike. The FIR by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police has been lodged on the basis of information provided by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval that four attackers crossed from Pakistan into India and attacked the airbase on January 2. The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. Since then, no date has been fixed for the talks.

Pathankot terror attack: Pakistan sets up five-member Joint Investigation Team

Pakistan has set up a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Pathankot airbase terror attack, a week after it lodged an FIR into the incident.The JIT would be visiting the airbase next month to gather evidence subject to permission by the Indian government to conduct its own investigation.The probe team comprises Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Additional Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Tahir Rai (convener), Lahore Deputy Director General (DDG) Intelligence Bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Col Tanvir Ahmed, Military Intelligence Lt-Col Irfan Mirza and Gujjaranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer (members).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up by the government to carry out initial probe into the case based on the leads given by India.A police official said that the SIT would become dysfunctional once government formally transferred its powers to the JIT.The Pakistani team of experts is expected to visit India “shortly” to collect more evidence into the attack.Pakistan on February 18 lodged an FIR in connection with the Pathankot terror attack without naming JeM chief Masood Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike.The FIR by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police has been lodged on the basis of information provided by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval that four attackers probably crossed from Pakistan into India and attacked the airbase on January 2.The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. Since then, no date has been fixed for talks.

Pathankot probe team to visit India soon: Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday said a team of special investigators probing the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase will visit India soon to collect evidence.”The special investigation team will shortly visit India to collect evidence on the airbase attack,” Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said. He, however did not give any date for the visit. The special investigation team, that included experts from civilian and military intelligence agencies, was set up by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month to probe the January 2 attack. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said last week that India had already agreed to the visit of Pakistani experts to collect evidence.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has already lodged an FIR into the Pathankot attack which has paved the way for the prosecution of anyone who is found guilty of involvement in the attack. The FIR by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police, however, did not name Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, whom India has accused of having masterminded the deadly assault. On the meeting of the foreign secretaries of the two countries, Zakaria said there was no hurdle for it.He, however, refused to give any date for such a meeting, which was initially planned for mid-January but was postponed due to the Pathankot attack. Zakaria said the officials of the two countries were in touch to work out the date for the meeting.Responding to a question, Zakaria rejected that the “struggle in Kashmir” was anyway linked to terrorism. He also expressed concern over the “exceptional treatment” given to India by the Nuclear Supplier Group.”Pakistan is a peaceful country and also wants peace in this region. We are, therefore, against any arms race,” Zakaria said.

Pakistan receives India’s nod to visit Pathankot

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday said Islamabad has received a nod from Indian authorities regarding the Special Investigation Team’s intention to visit India in connection with the Pathankot terror attack.Khan said Pakistan had approached India to seek permission for Pakistan’s SIT to visit Pathankot, and Indian authorities had given their nod to the SIT’s proposed visit to India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The first step is that we take the record of these numbers from the service providers. This information should be handed over to the investigation team. Secondly, the few names that have been informally given to us from the other side, what is the connection between these names and the phone numbers. This will be examined,” he said.”There are some questions, some missing links that have come out in the initial investigation. Our Special Investigation Team (SIT) will go to India, along with all this information. Another thing that I want to clarify about which there is a lot of confusion: A letter has already been written to India by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating that our SIT would like to visit India, and especially Pathankot, in order to complete this investigation. In a reply to our letter, they have agreed to this, but have also said that they should be informed five days ahead of whenever the team is planning to come. Now that the FIR has been lodged, and the initial investigation is complete, in the next few days communications will be exchanged and with a gap of five days, the SIT will go there,” he added.On Friday, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) filed the FIR against unnamed suspects involved in Pathankot Airbase India attack, a move that did not receive a positive response from Pakistani security analysts. Khan said all the insinuations about the FIR from both sides of the border were a ‘storm in a teacup’. He added that the FIR was registered on the basis of some phone numbers which India had shared with Pakistan.”Some numbers were shared with us in connection with Pathankot. Those numbers have formally been made a part of the FIR. Who the numbers belong to, as well as what is the connection of these telephone numbers to the names that were shared informally with the government of Pakistan from across the border. All this will come out after the investigations. Initial investigations have been carried out on those phone numbers, but the actual probe can only go on when we get a proper telephone record of those numbers from the service providers,” the minister said.He said he expected a decision regarding the visit of the SIT to India will be made in the next few days.In reply to a question, Khan said some arrests have been made, however the authorities will be able to reach a correct conclusion after conducting a thorough investigation.”I want to also clarify that some arrests have also been made, but what connection these arrests have with those names or those telephone numbers that were given to us by the other side, this will also have to be investigated before we can reach any results,” Khan said.The Foreign Secretary level talks between the two nations scheduled for January 15 were postponed on January 2, after the Indian airbase in Pathankot near Pakistan’s border was stormed by terrorists, killing seven Indian security personnel.Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to meet in the United States next month during the nuclear summit in Washington.

Pathankot attacks: India ‘disappointed’ as Pakistan FIR omits JeM, Masood Azhar names

India on Friday expressed disappointment that neither terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed nor its chief Masood Azhar were named in an FIR registered in Pakistan to probe last month’s Pathankot terror strike.”It is a small step in the right direction. But it is disappointing that neither the name of Jaish nor Masood Azhar was incorporated in the FIR,” a senior government official said. Pakistan filed the FIR against “unknown persons” after weeks of probe into the attack on the air base on January 2 in which seven security personnel were killed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was registered at the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Gujranwala in the neighbouring country’s Punjab province. “We have failed to understand why Jaish and its chief’s names were not included in the FIR despite India giving adequate evidence about their involvement,” the official said.According to Pakistan’s CTD, the FIR is needed for starting police and judicial proceedings on the basis of evidence collected in connection with the attack for which India has blamed Pakistan-based JeM. India has identified Azhar as the mastermind behind the attack. It has also blamed his brother Rauf and five others for carrying out the attack.Law Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Rana Sanaullah, said if anyone, including Azhar, is found guilty of involvement in the attack, they will be prosecuted. “No one becomes guilty upon naming (in a case). I don’t want to name anyone at this stage. Let the probe be completed and if Masood Azhar is involved, action will be taken,” Sanaullah said. He also urged India to provide any evidence it has on Azhar or anybody else’s involvement in the attack.

Most terror attacks in India come from Pakistan, says Rajnath Singh

Jaipur: India on Wednesday blamed Pakistan for most of the terror attacks in the country but said it would stand by the neighbour if it takes action against terrorists operating from there.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFPHome Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

Home Minister Rajnath Singh also said if Pakistan takes concrete action against terrorists on its territory it will not only improve bilateral relations but also bring peace and stability in the South Asian region.

“Most of the terror attacks in India emanate from Pakistan and it will have to show some sincerity and take concrete steps to rein in the various terror groups operating against India from its soil.

“The government of India will stand by Pakistan if it takes decisive action against terrorists and their organisations,” he said addressing the second edition of counter-terrorism conference organised by the India Foundation in collaboration with the government of Rajasthan.

The Home Minister said for India, Mumbai (26/11) and Pathankot terror attacks have signified a “tectonic shift”. The Mumbai terror attack in 2008 brought terror across the seas to country’s economic capital, causing a large number of casualties among the innocent civilian population.

“Likewise, in the recent attack on Pathankot air base, there was a conscious effort to target sensitive assets of the country and also cause large-scale casualties, thus taking the dynamics of terror attack in India a notch higher,” he said. Singh said the challenge of terrorism gets compounded when certain states use it as an instrument of their foreign policy. “They make perverse distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists. When the states begin covertly raising and indoctrinating bands of youth and equipping them with lethal weapons and weapon systems of mass destruction to promote their geo-political agenda, the magnitude of threat amplifies many times. It makes the task of defeating terrorism much more difficult,” he said.

The Home Minister said so long as some countries continue using terrorists as instruments to promote their geo-political agenda, the fight against terrorism will lack due resolve. “The world must accept the reality without any loss of time that there is no ‘good’ terrorist,” he said. Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar while addressing the conference said India was in touch with Pakistan after the Pathankot attack and dialogue between the two countries on the terror assault would continue.

“Since Pathankot attack happened, we have been in touch with Pakistan. We have been in touch at my level and the NSA level because only by remaining in touch, we can expect them to progress on the basis of information which we have provided to them,” Jaishankar told the Counter Terrorism Conference. Referring to the terror attack on Pathankot air base, the Home Minister said after the incident the government is reviewing its counter-terrorism strategy. “We are now formulating an effective strategy which would help in protecting our country from such terror attacks in future.

“We are fully equipped and prepared to deal with cross-border terrorism or any kind of terrorism. We are working on a National Security Strategy aiming to achieve seamless coordination between all the agencies,” he said. Singh complimented the security forces and intelligence agencies for successfully preventing any major damage to the air force assets, with “minimum casualties”.

“Security forces also ensured that there were no casualties to families including trainees from friendly foreign countries. For such a brave act they deserve the highest accolades. “I can say this with conviction as terror attacks in the past on air bases of other countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka had led to major damages to their air assets including large number of casualties,” he said.

The Home Minister said proper assimilation, analysis and timely sharing of intelligence inputs hold key to any successful strategy against terrorism. “The government is increasing its capabilities in this area as well. We are also stepping up vigil at our international borders and strengthening our border infrastructure to ensure fool proof security in the border areas,” he said. Singh said terrorism is a “hydra-headed monster” fed by a massive supply of funds through different routes and there is a need to put a plug on the flow of funds to curb terrorism.

“Drug trafficking, hawala transactions and supply of counterfeit currency are some of the known sources of terror funding. It is a big challenge to cut the supply lines of terrorist organisations and their activities.

“There has to be a global strategy and better coordination among like-minded nations against terrorism, if we want to disrupt the supply of funds for terror activities,” he said. The Home Minister said due to the ever increasing threat of terrorism in India, the country’s National Security Strategy is now aiming at creating an environment which provides full opportunity for unhindered growth and development to every section of the society.

“We are also looking forward to creating appropriate legal and structural frameworks to fight against the menace of terrorism. We want to ensure that all terror-related cases are thoroughly investigated and followed up properly and regularly in the courts.

“Our guiding principle while handling terror-related cases should be ‘Koi Begunaah Fanse Nahi, Aur Koi Gunahgaar Bache Nahi’ (No innocent should be punished and no guilty escapes,” he said. Singh said government solicits and appeals for full cooperation on issues pertaining to national security from opposition too because there is a need to rise above partisan politics on issues of national importance. “Lack of consensus on matters like national security will adversely affect the country’s national interest,” he said. The Home Minister said the country is full of diversity with multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-ethnic society.

“These conditions are actively utilised by anti-national elements and other enemies to foment trouble in our country. To counter such threats we need to undertake sound preventive and responsive security measures,” he said. From traditional forms of terrorism, we are now witnessing cyber terrorism, narco–terrorism and bio-terrorism. Use of dirty bombs also cannot be ruled out. Modern weapons, technology, and communications are being used by terror groups to enhance their lethality and impact, he said. “Terrorism is seeking to destabilise the geo-political order in several parts of the world. It is doing so in pursuit of an insane interpretation of faith and philosophy that is violently anarchic and allergic to diversity which is the essence of humanity and its habitat,” he said.

Singh said he firmly believes that terrorism is a byproduct of a perverse mind and this perversion has no love for human beings or the humanity. “Terrorism has no religion because religions do not allow crimes against humanity. Simply put, terrorism is a crime against humanity,” he said. The Home Minister said even though the world acknowledges the threat of terrorism, there is no consensus even on the definition of terrorism.

“The UN has adopted numerous resolutions to fight terrorism. All these resolutions amply show the resolve of the world. Sanctions stipulated by UN Security Council resolutions are often rendered ineffective by vested interests of some countries in the absence of a consensus definition of terrorism,” he said.

PTI

Pakistan to seek more proof from India on Pathankot attack: Report

With no headway made in the probe into the Pathankot terror attack, Pakistan plans to seek more evidence from India, a media report said on Monday, days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the outcome of the investigation into the assault would be made public soon.A Pakistani government team investigating the Pathankot airbase attack will ask the foreign ministry to seek more evidence from India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The team has almost completed its investigation into five cellphone numbers (allegedly used for making calls from Pakistan to India) provided by the Indian government. No further leads were found from these numbers because they were unregistered and had fake identities,” Dawn newspaper quoted a source as saying.”The probe is not heading further. The team needs more evidence. Therefore, it has written to the government to speak to India and apprise it of the situation and demand more evidence to move forward in investigation here,” he said.Answering a question about the people, including banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, detained in connection with the Pathankot incident, the source said “Let first more evidence come from India”.Pathankot incident, the source said “Let first more evidence come from India”.Sharif had formed the six-member investigation team headed by the Additional Inspector General of Punjab’s Counter- Terrorism Department (CTD) in the second week of January to look into India’s allegations that the JeM was behind the January 2 attack.The team headed by AIG Counter Terror Department, Punjab Rai Tahir has so far held two meetings.The prime minister told reporters in Lahore on Saturday that the investigation was underway and its findings would be made public.”Whatever facts come out we will bring them forth before everyone,” he said, adding that Pakistan would go to “any length” to uncover the alleged use of its soil in the Pathankot attack.”It is our responsibility to uncover if our soil was used in the attack. We will do this and the ongoing investigation will be completed soon,” he said.Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have not produced before court any of the suspects arrested in connection with the attack over the past two weeks since their detention.The government has not disclosed the number of suspects detained. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah only confirmed that Maulana Masood Azhar had been taken into “protective custody”, along with some of his “accomplices”.”He (Masood) is not arrested,” the minister clarified.India says Masood Azhar was the mastermind of the attack. It alleges that his brother Rauf and five others were also involved in the attack which killed all six terrorists and seven Indian soldiers.

US will counter ISIS terror plotters in any country, says Obama

The US will continue to counter terror plotters of Islamic State militant group in any country where necessary, President Barack Obama has said while directing his national security team to intensify its ongoing counter-terrorism campaign to destroy the terror outfit.In a meeting with his National Security Council, Obama discussed intensification of US campaign to degrade and destroy Islamic State (ISIS).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The President emphasised that the US will continue to counter ISIL (another name of ISIS) terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary,” the White House said.Noting that ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) affiliates and other violent extremists attempt to find safe haven in areas with limited or poor governance, he directed his national security team to continue efforts to strengthen governance and support ongoing counter-terrorism efforts in Libya and other countries where ISIL has sought to establish a presence.”Degrading and destroying ISIL will continue to require coordination and cooperation among a wide range of global partners, and the US is strongly committed to continuing to lead the shared efforts of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL,” the White House said.Obama was briefed on ways the US and its partners in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL continue to accelerate and integrate the military campaign and diplomatic efforts on all possible fronts, including working with international partners to counter ISIL’s stated goal of expansion beyond Iraq and Syria, the White House added.Meanwhile, GOP presidential candidates continued to slam Obama administration for its ISIS policies.”We have to have an honest discussion with the American people about the nature of the threat that we confront. This president says that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, and as a result has put together a strategy that doesn’t take care of what the reality is, which is ISIS has established a caliphate,” Rick Santorum, a Republican presidential candidate said during the undercard debate.Another presidential aspirant Carly Fiorina described ISIS as the main threat to the US.”Let me tell you this: news flash, President Obama, news flash, Mrs Clinton — climate change is not our most pressing national security threat.Actually it is ISIS, followed closely by Iran,” she said.Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called for a comprehensive ISIS policy.”First of all, take away their access to social media platforms. They are using the same social media platforms to recruit, and to train, and to direct people as I use to see pictures of my grandkids. That’s ridiculous,” he said.

Pakistan shuts down seminaries run by Jaish-e-Mohammad accused of Pathankot air base attack

Pakistani authorities have shut down several religious schools run by the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group accused of masterminding an attack this month on an air base in India, the provincial law minister said on Friday.The crackdown in Punjab province, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s power base and the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammad, follows the arrest this week of several members of the militant group, including its leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, an Islamist hardliner.Pakistan has said it is clamping down on Azhar’s group, which India has long accused Pakistani authorities of tolerating, while it investigates Indian assertions that the January 2 attack on the Pathankot air base was the work of the Pakistan-based militants. “Officials of the Counter-Terrorism Department raided the Jamiatul Nur seminary in the Daska area on Thursday and arrested more than a dozen people,” Rana Sanaullah, the law minister of the Punjab province where Jaish-e-Mohammad is headquartered, told Reuters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The seminary has been sealed off and documents and literature have been confiscated from the premises.” Sanaullah said several other offices and seminaries run by Jaish-e-Mohammad had also been raided and shut down, with many of its staff arrested. He declined to share further details. In a TV interview on Thursday, Sanaullah confirmed that Azhar had been taken into “protective custody” and said legal action would be taken against him if his involvement in the Pathankot attack was proved “beyond doubt.”The January 2 attack on the base in Pathankot was followed by a raid on an Indian consulate in Afghanistan that has also been linked to Jaish-e-Mohammad, or the Army of Mohammad.India has demanded that Pakistan take action against the group and on Thursday announced that the two countries would reschedule talks between their foreign secretaries while the investigation into the air base attack was carried out. Jaish-e-Mohammad militants are blamed for a 2001 attack on India’s parliament that nearly led to a war between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan constitutes Joint Investigation Team to probe links to Pathankot attack

Pakistan on Wednesday set up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising security and military officials to probe whether any Pakistani individual or organisation was involved in the Pathankot terror attack in India.The JIT was set up following an order of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to ensure a thorough and fair probe by Pakistan. According to an official of the Prime Minister’s Office, the JIT would be led by Additional IG Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab, Rai Tahir.Other members of the team are Director, Intelligence Bureau (IB) Lahore Azeem Arshad, Additional Inspector General, Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Salahuddin Khan, Director, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Lahore, Usman Anwar, Brigadier Noman Saeed, ISI, and Lt Col Irfan Mirza, Military Intelligence (MI). The team will investigate the involvement of any individual or organisation from Pakistan in the Pathankot airbase attack on January 2 in which seven Indian security personnel were killed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Pathankot terror attack: Nawaz Sharif orders probe on leads given by India

He said the meeting agreed that strong action would be taken after probe against anyone found guilty of involvement in the attack. The official said that the meeting also decided to speed up implementation of National Action Plan.

PTI
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PETA slams Centre’s decision to allow Jallikattu

The animal rights body said that its online petition that was urging the government to keep the ban on jallikattu, bull races and bullfights had been signed by nearly 60,000 people in India alone.

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