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Kejriwal seeks full statehood for Delhi, condemns PM Modi’s media control gimmicks

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One needs not revisit the full story to know as to how a novice in Indian politics, Arvind Kejriwal, has created sleepless nights, deliberately or otherwise, for so many national politicians, especially from Congress and BJP by capturing power in the capital city through ballot box, ousting all big stalwarts from Delhi assembly and Delhi state.

People of Delhi elected Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party) or AAP with overwhelming mandate to rule. All media gimmicks by Congress, BJP and their corporate lords to defeat AAP did fail as people know who these parties are and stood by the new party in their name and its leader Kejriwal.

PM Modi seems to be trying for constant media attention by his world tours along with fantasy rhetoric and Delhi CM Kejriwal accuses him of overusing, rather buying media attention. Many scholars in media say PM Modi is entertaining world public, though not many are interested in any kind of political shows.

In politics however, PM Modi is just like any other big leader trying to sell their ‘talent’ for high prices. Most of his top poll promises to the public made in 2014 are not fulfilled.

BJP and Congress meanwhile are keen to get the Delhi government of Kejriwal removed by hook or crook, forgetting that Delhiites have opted for the AAP as the only credible option.

Conspiracy over statehood

After victory, not only AAP is fulfilling all electoral promises he made during the historic poll campaign, but also tirelessly working for the welfare of the state. Obviously, there have been visible mutual concerns between the state and AAP.

One of the pledges the AAP has made to the Delhiites is to obtain full statehood for Delhi and he is determined to get full statehood for his Delhi state, ntowithstading the reluctance shown by the central government of Modi and main opposition Congress party. When they ruled Delhi state as alternative government they wanted its full statehood as India’s custodians but now both raise objections so that the issue could be raised in the next election as AAP failure.

Thus Delhi state is facing what could be called a statehood problem very similar to what the Palestinians seek from Israel or Kashmiris from India, China and Pakistan that jointly occupy alien nations on false pretexts. While Israel occupies Palestine territories, kills the people there and take away even the lands of those that are killed and use them for illegal colonies for criminal Jews, India, Pakistan and China occupy neighboring Jammu Kashmir according to their military, economic and diplo-triclomatic strength.        

Delhi is an Indian state and also is capital city of independent India. Like Palestine, Delhi state has limited autonomy and unless it is made a full-fledged state, the elected government of Delhi cannot pass laws and use police, which is now under central government control, for the state activities.

Indian Union government has played the usual mischief with the AAP governed Delhi state government by using the police to arrest the CM of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal to showcase its power as both the top national outfits BJP and Congress parties were drowned by the “insignificant and very small party“AAP in Yamuna River in the elections for the state assembly.  

It is not for taking credit that AAP is eager to get full statehood for the Delhi but for the proper functioning of Delhi government as a responsible dispensation supported by necessary infrastructure, like police and land that are now with the central government. As the debate on Delhi’s statehood status heats up, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has made a draft bill seeking full status. In the draft bill, Kejriwal seeks to bring police, land and bureaucracy under its control, a move that may set stage for another confrontation with the Centre. At a press conference, the AAP chief said that they have uploaded the draft bill on their website and urged Delhi residents to give their suggestions through ‘fullstatehood.delhi[at]gov.in’ and ‘full statehood. delhi[at]gmail.com’, which he said will remain activated till 30 June.

An all-party meeting will be held on the issue, Kejriwal said while urging rivals BJP and Congress to “rise above differences” shedding petty mindedness and he went on to quote from old manifestos of BJP wherein the party had promised full statehood.

The central government and the AAP dispensation have been at loggerheads over the transfer and postings of officers in the past. “The BJP has struggled the most on the issue as Delhi’s ruling party. They have consistently raised it. We are merely taking their resolve forward by inviting public opinion on this draft,” Kejriwal told a press conference here, when asked about the AAP’s action plan if the draft is rejected by the Centre. To buttress his point, Kejriwal quoted from BJP manifestos from 1993 till 2014 and statements made by its leaders including Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju.

AAP push

Delhi CM narrated how the statehood process went on for years; “LK Advani had tabled the Delhi Statehood Bill in Parliament in 2003. It was referred to a Standing Committee chaired by Pranab Mukherjee which had backed the suggestions. But for some reason it got lapsed. Even Congress has spoken out for statehood in the past. Kiren Rijiju spoke in favour of statehood in 2006. VK Malhotra raised the issue in 2011. In its 2013 national executives, BJP reiterated its resolve in this regard. On 24 May 2014, Harsh Vardhan had said that the first issue he would raise with the new Prime Minister would be statehood,” Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal said that he has written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President Amit Shah and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to garner support for the draft bill, which keeps the high-profile NDMC area, out of its jurisdiction. Arvind met the PM on the matter.

Kejriwal said after 30 June, the final version of the draft would be prepared and a resolution would be passed by the Delhi Assembly to this effect. “We will forward the resolution to the Centre which in turn will have to bring Constitutional Amendment,” he said. “The draft has been put on the Delhi government’s website. Through its passage, we seek to fulfill the dreams of Congress and BJP. We should rise above party lines. A special session of the Assembly may also be called for passing the resolution,” the CM said, flanked by his deputy Manish Sisodia. “The draft primarily says that NDMC area will be with the Centre and the rest should come under the elected government in Delhi. It has been prepared after taking into consideration the older ones,” he said.

In the draft bill, the AAP dispensation will ensure that institutions such as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Police will be accountable to the elected government of the national capital. Granting full statehood to the national capital is one of the major electoral promises of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in the absence of which it has frequently clashed with the BJP-led Centre over matters of jurisdiction since assuming office. In its manifesto, AAP had declared that it will push for full statehood acting within the constitutional framework and using its moral and political authority.

The BJP now ruling India has had an ambivalent stance on the issue, although the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had introduced a bill in Parliament in 2003 to confer full statehood to Delhi, which was never passed.

Last year, AAP had planned to hold a referendum on the issue, which was later shelved after many constitutional experts, argued anything of that sort would be “unconstitutional”.

BJP has successfully use media as the most important and most powerful tool to control politics in India and to regulate propagation of Hindutva and Indian image aboard amid Indian brutal occupational genocides in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May 28 said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is controlling a large chunk of media, while reacting to a tweet that said no mainstream media has covered Rana Ayyub’s book ” Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up “. “What does that tell us? “It tells us that Modi controls a large chunk of media, especially the owners,” Kejriwal wrote on Twitter.

Gujarat riots haunt Modi

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi became known in the country after the riots in Gujarat killing many Muslims fearlessly as he knew Indian government run by the Congress party would oppose the Hindutva strategy to target Muslims that would benefit Congress party in terms of Muslim vote banks. Even judiciary did not find him wrong in getting the defenseless Muslims murdered at will.

Indian media celebrated Modi brand of Hindutva and tried to link all development the state has made since independence –en before he even became a politician- to his own ability and added to his credit. That was a deliberate RSS strategy to make him a PM candidate in due course. RSS and corporate media succeeded in their joint endeavor to make Modi appear a large size leader just like they do in promoting fixed joint cricketism in India and abroad.  

Those Muslims who died have been forgotten by India, even as Modi moved upward to occupy PM chair in New Delhi to pursue the Congress policies. Congress party is too happy that they found a real replacement in BJP which, many Congressmen think, would make Muslims would be silenced to deny their ownership of Babri Mosque, pulled down by Congress-BJP communal duo in 1992 according their conspiracy.  

It is a known fact that those who commit crimes are very cautious and if they have got some power would use it to its full potential to cover up their crimes. No one is a god but everyone can be criminal in this world and government is capable of protecting you from punishment for your crimes. .

PM Modi has been on world tour ever since he assumed power in 2014 as Indian premier, by visiting countries one by one and some countries more than just once and advanced countries like USA as many times as possible.

A recent book, “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up” brings to light the truth about how the BJP government under Modi organized the Gujarat riots. Bureaucrats and top officials in Gujarat who held key positions in the state between 2001 and 2010 and were involved in the Gujarat riots. The book investigates the alleged fake encounters that happened under Modi’s watch as then chief minister of Gujarat between 2001 and 2010.

Like in Israel, judiciary in India also is under pressure to shield the Hindu criminals and try to fix the Muslim victims. Today, a lot of greedy political Muslims prefer money to Babri Mosque- that is the level of Indian faith.

Hindutva media

Bulks of India media, both print and electronic, including TV channels, are essentially pro Hindutva because that helps them target Muslims in India and neighborhoods. This disease can be explained only as sadistic pleasure syndrome.

India media lords who serve MNCs use their portals to insult Islam and Muslims even while they want better ties with Arab world, particularly on “Islamic terrorism”. In fact when they insult and warn Pakistan, it only thinks in terms of Islam and Indian Muslims. So that Muslims serve the cause of state Hindutva; they want to keep Muslims under duress and tension. That is historic sadism that Indian Hindu rulers are so used to. .

While the BJP-RSS has been on rampage on Indians with its Hindutva instructions to follow as to what to eat and how to think etc, Indian PM Modi teaches Yoga in his world trip in order obviously to make Hindutva only a useful soft agenda.

BJP has a wide ranging world media networking to influence the opinion makers about Hindutva, rather than India, while Indian sources pay huge sum to media lords and editors with instructions not to publish anything that is no pro-Indian stuff and reject anything against Indian policies In fact Indians source keep a close watch on what is happening in world scene and detect anything appearing not supporting Indian causes and quick action follows by sending money to the editor and media lords n the form of advertisement fees and special contributions. So much so, some media deliberately publish and run stories against India so that India immediately sends money to them so as to end that scenario developing further. They know how make money.  

India has enormous success as many editors do refuse to publish anything which is not promoting India or propagating Hindutva. More than that, many newspapers abroad also churn-out pro-India stuff on special requests from Indian embassies functioning in the capitals.

The negative mindset of RSS-BJP and allies is evident in making Muslims Islam, Pakistan, Bangladeshi workers, and Babri mosque as their prime target to garner Hindu votes. Along with these, now the RSS-BJP has added the India’s prestigious higher educational institution JNU by calling it anti-national. What s shame? India media support the RSS claims though it has yet to showcase its own real patriotic activities. Anti-Islam or anti-Muslims or anti-JNU or anti-Pakistanis is not a really a patriotic premise. Positivism is important as much as tolerance of other languages religions and cultures.

RSS wants to control humans and their mental and physical activities in entirety so that every Indian behaves exactly how it envisaged for India and world. Ghar wapsi was the beginning of that mind conversion phenomenon. BJP also makes animals their gods and humans as their slaves; they want Indians to worship their favorite animals as neo-gods. However, unfortunately they are unable to apply ‘black magic’ – generally used for possible wins in cricket- to make every Indian a Hindutva person in mind and soul. The black magicians do the ‘magic” and use the network to make that happen so that they get the charges in plenty of money. Their government agencies use remote technology to make many things appear to be happening.

Observation

Why Arvind Kejriwal and AAP are rare phenomenon in Indian as well as global political and governmental scene? None needs a crash course on contemporary Indian politics here to show dirty Indian political scene has been for decades.

As it is well known, one cannot discuss Indian political scene without disclosing the shameful Hindutva communal politics targeting Muslims, harming their legitimate concerns, just for Hindu votes.

AAP made fundamental departure from the usual Hindutva politics by refusing to take shelter under the so-called ‘Muslim threat’ (the theme has been fully exploited since the Sept-11 hoax) or targeting Hindu or Muslim vote banks. AAP brand politics is very simple: it did not pamper the Muslims like the Congress and other so-called secular parties do just for fun nor did it woo Hindus for votes as BJP led Hindutva outfits do deliberately. Instead, Kejriwal’s team focused on real politics and forwarded to the public the real problems the Delhiites face. AAP clearly showcased that in order to get Hindu votes a party needs not to target Muslims, insulting or injuring or killing Muslims as this happens in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere.

In order to loot the nation’s resources and promote bribery-dowry system, Indian politicians have done away with what is very dear to a nation: honesty and truth. That is the crux of negative predicaments of Indian nation. A parliament of rich and agents of corporate lords cannot be honest. The rich lawyers, who become judges by immoral means and after playing all sorts of mischief with the common people that approach them with genuine problems for help, cannot honestly decide the fate of Indian nation, either.

How can a corrupt and dishonest lawyer become a honest and lawful after becoming a judge or justice? No wonder corruption has become a part of Indian justice delivery system and jurisprudence

When dishonest lawyers become judges they continue to mint money and this explains as to why many judges are being caught across the globe in bribery scandals.

Won’t there be murder of judgments in courts? Why politicians and top bureaucrats boldly take bribes and make illegal wealth so openly?

When corrupt and greedy lawyers are the judges in courts, people cannot expect real and honest judgments

Can thieves and criminals become police and judges? But that perhaps is happening. The judiciary and jurisprudence has fallen a mute victim (Your lord!).

Politicians and government functionaries take undue advantage of this disastrous lacuna, detrimental to the honest upbringing of a society. .

Of course, no suggestion is made here that Indian system would be fair and honest if judges are trained right from the beginning after their excellent degrees in law (unlike the shameful practice of undergoing a law course just for obtaining degrees without proper attendance, at times on payment basis to practice law) especially as future hopes of Indian honest and fair judiciary judges. Much more is required to make the system work honestly.

That is cause of all problems Indians suffer for too long – created partly by politicians, partly by the governments and elected representatives of people, partly by the parliament and state assemblies, partly by the media lords, partly by mafias, partly by illogical police, partly by the judiciary and partly by the helpless people of India.

Judiciary can do a lot for the benefits of people and nation of India.

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Ancestral Lineage of Hazaras: from Afghanistan to Pakistan

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While the origins of Hazaras are much debated, opinions differ when it comes to the ancestral lineage of Hazara community. According to some historians, Hazaras are the original inhabitants of Hazarajat (now central Afghanistan).Among Hassan Pouladi, Prof. Shah Ali Akbar, Fletcher, and Abdul HaiHabibi, J. P. Ferrier who was a renowned French scholar was the first who argued based on his explanations of the Greek historian Quintus Curtius about the battles of Alexander the Great and his travels to these areas, now Afghanistan that Hazaras were native inhabitants of Afghanistan since the time of Alexander the Great and have not migrated from any other places to this land.

Whereas, according to some, Hazaras have Mongolian ancestry under Genghis Khan. This notion that Hazaras have Mongolian origin takes its origin in the 19th century when European came to Afghanistan, and they distinguish people with Mongolian featured faces among other Caucasian faces. Hazaras were originally represented by the word ‘Ozala’ or ‘Hosala’ which, with the passing of time became ‘Hazara’. The very word ‘Hazara’ then was used to refer to the counting system in the armed forces of Genghis Khan i.e. ‘hazara’ that meant thousand, which comprised one level of the troops.

Yet, few opinionate, Hazaras have Persian and Turko-Mongolian ancestry. According to a report they descended from Genghis Khan’s Army that mixed with Persian and Turkic locals whom as a result of conflict had been settled in now Hazara inhabited areas of Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, some think, Hazaras have ancestral lineage with theKushan Dynasty that goes back two millennia when Bamiyan in Afghanistan was home to the largest statues of ancient Buddhist civilization. Patrons of this idea highlight the similar facial features of Hazaras to those of Buddhist murals and statues in the region. Whilst, some of the Hazaras believe that they are the descendants of one of the sons of Noah.

Although, all the above mentioned theories might differ when it comes to ancestral lineage of Hazara community, but they have one thing in common and that is the land of Hazaras which now constitute parts of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. People of Hazaras settled in the mountainous regions of central Afghanistan as early as the 19th century, with the majority of their inhabitants living in Hazarajat (the land of Hazara), which is situated in the rough central mountainous core of Afghanistan with an area stretch over 50,000 sq.km.The Hazaras speak a dialect of Persian (Dari dialect) that is called Hazaragi. Hazaragi was one of the two largest languages of Afghanistan. Hazaragi includes many Mongolian and Turkic words, which also maintains the theory that they have Mongolian ancestry.

Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country with almost 8 major and 10 minor different ethnic groups; among major ethnic groups are Pashtun, Tajiks, and Hazaras etc. Hazaras were once the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and constituted approximately 67% of the total population, but today their population hardly makes up around 9% of Afghan population. The reason for their massacred lies in their off target political action when they backed the wrong candidate in the accession struggle in the late 19th century, that had changed the life of Hazaras and their role in Afghan politics and ultimately in Afghan government.

Reports from the 20th century depict that arm forces of Afghanistan made pyramids out of Hazaras heads after some of the massacres, as a form of warning to the remaining Hazaras, yet this could not be regarded as the last savage and barbaric government repression of the Hazaras. Towards the end of 20th century during the rule of Taliban in Afghanistan, government specifically targeted the Hazaras for persecution and even genocide. This brutal history of persecution of Hazaras in Afghanistan resulted in killing more than half of their population with some migrating to neighboring countries like Pakistan and Iran.

Whereas, according to historical evidence migration of Hazaras from Afghanistan to Baluchistan province, Pakistan took place about 150 years ago, initially due to economic purposes. But mass migration of Hazara population took place in the late 19th century, mainly due to their persecution and targeted killing at the hands of different afghan rulers and Taliban government that forced them to migrate to Pakistan, and so they settled here.

In Pakistan, the estimated number of people of Hazara community is between 0.6-0.9 million, living and residing in different parts of the country including Karachi, Parachinar, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Hyderabad, also in different parts of GilgitBaltistan and Punjab. In Baluchistan province, the bulk of Hazara population are residing in Quetta and other parts of Baluchistan such as Sanjawi, Much, Zhob, Harnai, Loralai, and Dukki, where their population makes up around 0.4-0.5 million.Unfortunately, along with their migration, the Hazara community brought with them the history of their persecutions based on their ethnicity, religious orientation of sect and also their ethnically unique facial curvatures, and so, their tenure of oppression at the hands Taliban and other terrorist organization like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah Sahabah, al-Qaeda and other Sunni radical militants organization that also includes ISIS in its list is on-going in Pakistan.

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Pakistan PM visited Sri Lanka to further strengthen the existing friendship to new heights

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Prime Minister Imran Khan during the Sri Lanka visit. PHOTO COURTESY: FACEBOOK/IMRAN KHAN

At the formal invitation of the Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, H.E. Imran Khan, paid a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka on 23-24 February 2021.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was accompanied by an elevated-level delegation comprising Federal Ministers and senior Government officials. The first-ever visit by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to Sri Lanka since the formation of the new governments in both countries clearly reflects the warmth and goodwill between the two countries’ governments and peoples. Prime Minister Imran Khan received a warm traditional welcome from the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Sri Lanka’s Ministers.

During the visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan held delegation-level discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka. Both sides comprehensively appraised the multifaceted bilateral relationship in various fields of cooperation. The talks were held in a warm and cordial environment, marked by mutual trust and respect. The visit offeredboth sides a timely opportunity to further shape upon their close and regular consultations, particularly in the areas identified during the recently held Foreign Secretary level Bilateral Political Consultations, Joint Economic Commission session, and the Commerce Secretaries-level Talks.

Both sides reached a wide-ranging consensus on ways and means to strengthen cooperation further comprehensively and decided to hold frequent meetings; promote high-level and delegation-level exchanges; and enhance the process of consultations, collaboration, and synchronization between their respective institutions. Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated Pakistan’s support for the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka in line with the vision of a “peaceful neighborhood.”

The two sides reviewed the all-encompassing engagement between the two countries in promoting cultural linkages, human resource development, capacity building in diverse areas, and educational and technical cooperation. The Pakistan side announced 100 scholarships in health sciences and medicines (MBBS and BDS) as part of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Higher Education Cooperation Programme (PSLHECP). The Sri Lankan side appreciated the cooperation being extended by Pakistan in human resource development and capacity building.

While comprehending the existence of boundless potential of religious tourism to Buddhist archeological sites and perceiving the close ancient and cultural ties dating back to Gandhara civilization, the two sides emphasized the importance of augmenting cooperation in the field of tourism and highlighted the benefits of sharing expertise in the hospitality industry, including training and capacity building. The Pakistan side declared its initiative of establishing the Asian Civilization and Culture Centre at the University of Peradeniya, Kandy. Both sides recognized the importance of enhancing air connectivity to promote people-to-people contact, tourism, trade, and culture.

In order to explore new avenues for enhancing bilateral trade and investment between the two countries, a high-level Pakistan-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Conference was held on 24 February 2021. The Conference provided an opportunity for effective and meaningful engagement between the business communities of the two countries. At the Conference, both Pakistan and Sri Lanka sides reiterated the importance of strengthening economic relations in critical areas of mutual interest and diversifying trade and investment. The two sides emphasized the importance of realizing the goal of achieving a US$ 1 billion bilateral trade target and also agreed to work towards broadening and deepening of Pakistan Sri Lank Free Trade Agreement.

During the visit, the following MoUs between Pakistan and Sri Lanka were signed:

i. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Cooperation in Tourism

ii. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation between the Board of Investment of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Board of Investment of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

iii. Memorandum of Understanding between Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi Islamic Republic of Pakistan

iv Intent Cooperation between Industrial Technology Institute of Sri Lanka and COMSATS University Islamabad

v. Memorandum of Understanding between University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and Lahore School of Economics, Pakistan

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa together accredited the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Association reconstitution. Both sides highlighted the need to strengthen parliamentary cooperation between two sides.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the existing bilateral cooperation in the field of defense. They noted that the elevation of staff-level talks to Defence Dialogue has further provided a prospect to expand security sector relations. Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a new $50 million defense credit line facility. The two sides stressed the need for a strengthened partnership to support and coordinate with each other to deal with matters related to security, terrorism, organized crime, drug and narcotic trafficking, and intelligence-sharing.

In his efforts to strengthen sports diplomacy, Prime Minister Imran Khan participated in a shared session with the sports community of Sri Lanka on 24 February 2021. At this event, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Sports and Youth Namal Rajapaksa, in the Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane, stated the commissioning of the “Imran Khan High-Performance Sports Centre” in Colombo.

The Pakistan side declared its decision to provide PKR 52 million to promote sports in Sri Lanka, including through training and equipment.

Both sides stressed the importance of inter-religious dialogue and harmony as a key to promoting cultural diversity, peaceful co-existence, and mutual empathy.

The two sides observed the close cooperation between the two countries at regional and international fora on mutual interest issues. They agreed to strengthen a coordinated approach on such matters further.

Both sides restated their commitment to the principles and intents of the SAARC Charter. They stressed the need for SAARC Member countries to build on convergences for the region’s people’s greater good. Both sides emphasized the need to convene the Charter Based bodies and agreed to take forward the SAARC process for further strengthening regional cooperation to achieve prosperity in the region.

Discussing the regional and global environment developments, the two sides restated their shared commitment to regional peace, security, and stability. Prime Minister Imran Khan underscored the need for peaceful resolution of unresolved disputes through constructive dialogue in accordance with international legitimacy.

In the context of regional connectivity, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted the opportunities presented by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of BRI, for regional economic growth and prosperity.

Discussing the extraordinary challenges postured by Covid – 19, the two sides highlighted the need for combined efforts to deal with the pandemic. Sri Lanka thanked Pakistan for the tremendous assistance extended to the return of stranded Sri Lankans in Pakistan since the Covid pandemic outbreak.

While echoing the new government’s commitment to strengthen the bilateral relations further, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka thanked the government and people of Pakistan for the persistent support extended by Pakistan to defend the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan extended an invitation to the President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to visit Pakistan at their earliest convenience and thanked Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa for the warm cordiality extended to him and his delegation.

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Huge blast on the Afghanistan-Iran border

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Migrants at the IOM Islam Qala Reception Centre. The Centre provided services to thousands of Afghan returnees daily, prior to the catastrophic fire on 13 February. IOM/Nick Bishop

On Saturday 13 February the Islam Qala reception center owned by the IOM was demolished at the border between Afghanistan and Iran, leading to a pause to repatriation service for afghans. This led to a devastating burn. At least 40 people were killed because of this huge blast, while 17 were wounded. Tens of thousands of repatriated Afghans obtained humanitarian relief from the center International Organization of Migration, (IOM) in 2020. None were injured in the fire by IOM workers or migrants returning from Iran.Whatever sparked this explosion was not instantly apparent. The provincial governor of Herat, Wahid Qatali, said the Afghan first responders did not have the means to light the enormous fires and required Iran’s assistance by firefighting aircraft.”We can’t even discuss the victims for the time being,” Qatali told The Associated Press. Emergency crews and Afghan security services moved hundreds of fuel and gas tankers from the region, while an appeal for air-firefighting assistance was made available to the International Resolute Support Mission, quoted by Reuters as quoted by Katali.

Mohammad Rafiq shirzy, spokesperson for the district hospitals of Herat’s Provincial capital and also called Herat, said that more than 500 trucks were carrying natural gas and diesel that have been destroyed by the severity of the fire, and he said that it was impossible for ambulances to reach the injured or to reach the explosion site. Hossein Akhundzadeh, a regional Iranian trade official, told Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) about the explosion of more than 300 coal, diesel, and petrol cars. The flash has not yet been contained, and precise evidence was not provided,”It’s not known whether the drivers were able to escape or not. The blaze has not been contained yet and exact information is not available,”We don’t know whether the driver might escape or not.The Power Supply Ministry Spokesman, Wahidullah Tawhidi, said the fire was continuing after nightfall and that Afghanistan was pressuring Iran to close down its electricity supply. It has been said that the burning of two pylons has disconnected 100 tons of electricity imported into the Herat Province by Iran. He said 60% of Herat, one of Afghanistan’s leading provinces, was powerless.A dangerous route Afghan people often pursue overnight because of fear of gangs of violence, attacks between Herat City and Islam Qalah. Taliban gunmen, on the other hand, travel freely across the area.Afghan government troops assembled defensive positions and aided emergency ambulances and cars from and to the border. According to Iranian State TV, the fire spread to the Irish customs facilities Dogharoon, and first responders, including the fire departments, the Iranian army, and the border guards, managed to extinguish the fire. The natural gas and diesel trucks were sent away from the scene.As part of a national concession exempting Kabul from US sanctions against Iran, the United States permits Afghanistan to import fuel and oil from Iran.

According to a statement from the Aghan organization, on Monday, “IOM anticipates a substantial decline in rates of return through the Islam Qala in the days to come as migrants are now re-routed from Iran into the main border crossing of Milak province of Nimroz, which lies over 1,000 km south-west.They have shown that in 2020, there returned a high number of Afghans.Nick Bishop, program manager of IOM reported in a cross-border return reply that “the initial inspection of reception centers for the return showed significant damage to the roof and walls.”The staff of the Afghan Ministry for Refugees and Returns (MoRR) are relocating people in need here to the IOM transit center in Herat before IOM staff are back, awaiting a full assessment and inspection of the safety situation before IOM staff can resume their work from here. “The organization takes exceptional steps to secure the continuing humanitarian assistance can take place.

Unfortunately, as the fire began all the returning residents, who had already moved to their next location at our reception center, that day.There was a drastic rise in return rates last year, as COVID-19 caused many Afghans residing in neighboring Iran to lose jobs and livelihoods. By 2020, the largest year of return was almost 860,000 illegal Afghan immigrants back from Iran.Approximately 15,000 people cross the Islam Qala border point daily, while nearly 1,500 per day need humanitarian assistance. Approximately 60% of Herat province was helpless as a result of flames, said DABS, an Afghan power supplier.Islam Qala is one of the main ports of Afghanistan that traffic most officially with Iran. Afghanistan has earned concessions from Washington to buy oil and gas from Iran amid the sanctions of the United States.A risky stretch of highway between Herat and Islam Qala, where Afghans barely ride by night for fear of criminal gang attacks. In the area, the Taliban are still free to work.Hope to rapidly repair all damage to the reception facility as soon as possible and continue vital humanitarian services to Afghans returning through this major transit route, but we will require increased support to do so.

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