Today Picture

Slogan for independent Balochistan raised during Imran Khan's address

Washington DC: A group of Baloch activists disrupted the speech of Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan at the Capital one Arena here on Sunday (local time).

Khan was addressing a massive gathering of around 30,000 people when a group of Baloch activists inside the venue stood up from their seats and started raising the slogans, demanding the independence of Balochistan.

Khan is on a three-day visit to the United States and he is scheduled to meet President Donald Trump tomorrow. A day before his arrival in the US, the World Baloch Organisation (WBO) and the Baloch Republican Party had launched an awareness campaign on the enforced disappearances in Balochistan.

The campaign was aimed at urging Trump to help ensure an end to human rights abuses and help end enforced disappearances in the Pakistani province, stated WBO.

Human rights activists from various Baloch organisations have been continuing their campaigns around the world to highlight the worsening human rights situation in Pakistan.


Baloch activists disrupt Pakistan PM Imran Khan's speech during a community event in Washington DC, USA.

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For long, Pakistan's establishment has been criticised over its practice of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings by international bodies and local human rights organisations that dare to speak out on the issue.

According to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, an entity established by the Pakistani government, about 5,000 cases of enforced disappearances have been registered since 2014. Most of them are still unresolved.

Independent local and international human rights organisations put the numbers much higher. Around 20,000 have reportedly been abducted only from Balochistan, out of which more than 2,500 have turned up dead as bullet-riddled dead bodies, bearing signs of extreme torture.


Sheila Dikshit, Former Delhi Chief Minister and Congress Leader, Passes Away at 81

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit died on Saturday at the age of 81 years, news agency ANI reported.

Dikshit, a veteran politician, was the Delhi party chief during the Lok Sabha elections.\

"We regret to hear of the passing of Smt Sheila Dikshit," the Congress said in a tweet. "Lifelong congresswoman and as three time CM of Delhi she transformed the face of Delhi. Our condolences to her family and friends. Hope they find strength in this time of grief."

A number of politicians, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, National Conference's Omar Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party's Mehbooba expressed their grief and offered their condolences.



Just now got to know about the extremely terrible news about the passing away of Mrs Sheila Dikshit ji. It is a huge loss for Delhi and her contribution will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to her family members. May her soul rest in peace



Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described Dikshit as "a very and affectionate lady".



Just heard about the tragic demise of @SheilaDikshit ji. What terrible terrible news. I’ve always known her as a very warm & affectionate lady. She did wonders for Delhi as CM & will be greatly missed by all who knew her. May her soul rest in peace.



Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also expressed his shock at the demise. "In her death, the country has lost a dedicated Congress Leader of the masses. People of Delhi will always remember her contribution to the development Delhi during her tenure as Chief Minister for three years," he said in a statement.


WEA Group Sign exclusive MOU with Government of Iran to promote International Exhibitions

Ministry of Trade , Industry & Mines (Govt of Iran ) & WEA Group signed exclusive MOU with WEA gmbH and WEA Asia in Tehran today. WEA Group, after signing this MOU becomes exclusive Agency to represents ninety annual exhibitions organised by Iranian Government in a year in Iran and will represent as exclusive Agency for Iranian Pavilions in 16 countries across Europe, Middle East,Asia and Africa. WEA will have a full fledged office at Iran International Exhibition Centre to facilitate and handhold Iranian Exhibition Organisers and Exhibitors. The exhibition Venues and Organising in Iran falls under the Ministry of Trade Mines and Industry IT Government of Iran. Mr B Hosenzadeh, Dy. Minister; Mr Claudio Cottone , Founder & CEO of WEA GmbH (Switzerland) and Mr M Q Syed, Managing Director of WEA Asia Ltd ( Hong Kong) signed the MOU at a ceremony held at Tehran International Exhibition Center. Dr Ezzati Rad, Dy CEO for Exhibitions , Mr Saeed Seifi , Managing Director of Mashhad International Exhibition Company , Mr M Deillan, Head of International Exhibitions were present during the ceremony along with other government officials of Iran.

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh accepts cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's resignation

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Saturday accepted Navjot Singh Sidhu's resignation, an official said here. He further said Sidhu's resignation has been forwarded to Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore.

The acceptance of the resignation came days after Sidhu resigned from Punjab Cabinet. Singh, who was in Delhi earlier this week, had said Tuesday he would decide on Sidhu's resignation after going through the contents of the letter once he reached Chandigarh. The chief minister returned to Chandigarh Wednesday evening. Sidhu, who had been at loggerheads with the chief minister and was stripped off key portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle on June 6, took to Twitter on Sunday, making public his June 10 resignation letter from the state cabinet addressed to the then Congress president.

Earlier this week, Amarinder had said if the cricketer-turned politician did not want to do his job, there was nothing he could do about it. On July 15, Sidhu said he had sent his resignation letter to Amarinder. On June 6, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments and allotted him the power and new and renewable energy portfolio. Ever since the portfolio reshuffle exercise, Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur have been maintaining a distance from the media.

The tension between Singh and his cabinet colleague had come out in the open last month when the CM blamed Sidhu for the "inept handling" of the Local Government Department, claiming that it resulted in "poor performance" of the Congress in urban areas in the Lok Sabha polls. The cricketer-turned-politician however, had said that his department was being "singled out publicly" while asserting that he could not be taken for granted as he had been a "performer throughout."


Muslims are being punished for not migrating to Pakistan, says Azam Khan


TMC delegation going to Sonebhadra stopped at Varanasi airport

Varanasi: A four-member delegation of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was on Saturday stopped from visiting the Sonebhadra district in Uttar Pradesh, where 10 people died in a caste violence on Wednesday.

The TMC said that a delegation comprising party senior leaders, including Derek O'Brien, Sunil Mondal, Abhir Ranjan Biswas and former MP Uma Saren, were stopped at the Varanasi airport after they deboarded the plane in Varanasi. The TMC in its tweet quoted Brien as saying: "Trinamool Parliamentary delegation detained at Varanasi airport. ADM, SP have not told us under which section. ("Doing as told from topmost"). We have told them that we will cooperate, wish to meet injured and then proceed to Sonbhadra to meet and give confidence to grieving families."

On Friday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi was detained in Mirzapur and taken to Chunar guest house. She was also not allowed to go and meet the victims families in Sonebhadra. At least 10 people, including three women, died and over 24 were injured in a clash between Gond and Gujjar communities over a land dispute in Sonebhadra on Wednesday. The police have arrested 29 people, including the kingpin Yogesh Dutt, in connection with the violence in Sonebhadra. A case has been filed against 78 people.


Allahabad High Court issues notice to PM Narendra Modi on plea challenging his election to Lok Sabha

Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh): Allahabad High Court has issued a notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with a petition challenging his election from Varanasi constituency in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The petition was filed by Tej Bahadur, ex-BSF jawan and SP candidate, whose nomination to contest from Varanasi was rejected by the Election Commission. The court will hear the case on August 21. On May 1, Yadav's candidature was rejected by the returning officer after he failed to submit a certificate on whether or not he was dismissed from the service for corruption or disloyalty to the government.

In his petition, Yadav alleged that his nomination papers were "wrongly" rejected and urged the court to declare Modi's election null and void as a member of Parliament from Varanasi. On May 9, the apex court had dismissed Yadav's plea challenging the rejection of his nomination by the Election Commission from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said, "We don't find any merit to entertain this petition." Samajwadi Party had fielded Yadav as its candidate against Prime Minister Modi in Varanasi on April 29. Prior to that, he was in the fray as an independent candidate.


Karnataka Assembly adjourned till Monday without floor test

Bengaluru: The Karnataka Assembly was on Friday adjourned till Monday without a floor test despite Governor Vajubhai Vala extending the deadline he gave on Thursday to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy for proving his majority.

"The Assembly will reconvene on Monday to conclude the debate on the confidence motion the Chief Minister moved on Thursday to prove a majority," Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar told the legislators and adjourned the House after extending the day-long session by over two hours amid a ruckus. Protesting the House adjournment to Monday, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members sought the floor test by midnight, saying members of the ruling Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) had debated the motion for two days and were deliberately delaying the trust vote, as they know they don't have a majority in the 225-member House.

Yielding to the treasury benches after Kumaraswamy, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Krishna Byre Gowda assured the House that the ruling combine would conclude the debate on Monday for the floor test, the Speaker reluctantly agreed to adjourn the session to Monday. "There will be no more adjournments and extension for the floor test which will be held on Monday after the debate ends," Kumar told the lawmakers.

Earlier, senior BJP legislator Madhuswamy told the Speaker as 20 of their legislators abstained from the Assembly since Thursday, the ruling allies knew they don't have the numbers to prove a majority. Of the 20 legislators, 12 are from Congress, three of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) who resigned, two Congress who are unwell and in hospitals, two are independents and one is from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Though the two independents switched loyalties and expressed support to the BJP, they were conspicuously absent in the Assembly since it was convened on July 12 for the 10-day monsoon session to pass the state budget for fiscal year 2019-20. "As the Assembly strength is reduced by 20 to 205 from 225, with 103 as the halfway mark for a simple majority, the defeat of the motion is certain if the ruling combine members don't turn up for the trust vote on Monday," asserted Madhuswamy.

The Congress' strength was reduced to 65 from 79, including the Speaker, JD-S to 34 from 37 and their combined strength to 99. In contrast, the BJP has 105 of its own and a total of 107 with the support of the two independents. Earlier in the day, the Governor directed the Chief Minister to prove the majority by 6 p.m. after the 1:30 p.m. deadline he set on Thursday night lapsed, as discussions on the motion continued till the Speaker adjourned the House till 3 p.m. for lunch.

In response to the demand of the ruling lawmakers to allow them to participate in the discussions, the Speaker said he would extend the session for a couple of hours, but pleaded with them to end the debate by Friday and conduct the floor test. Resuming the inconclusive debate on the motion, stalled on Thursday for six times due to ruckus between the lawmakers of the ruling allies and the BJP, Kumaraswamy said it was for the Speaker to decide on the Governor's order as to when he should prove the majority in the House.

"It is not for me to decide by when I should prove the majority. It is the Speaker who is the custodian of the House and has the supreme authority to decide how the session should be conducted," said Kumaraswamy. Intervening in the debate, Byre Gowda said the Governor cannot give such an order on the motion which was being debated by the ruling parties and the opposition members.

"We fail to understand how the Governor could direct the Chief Minister to prove majority in a limited timeframe without completing the debate by both sides and hearing the reply on it by the Chief Minister as mentioned in the rule book," said Gowda. A restive BJP told the Speaker not to allow the ruling combine to further delay the floor test as there was no stay on it from the Supreme Court on the trial of strength. Rejecting the BJP's demand, ruling lawmakers asked the Governor to go back and accused him of being a BJP agent who was converting the Raj Bhavan into a BJP office.


NIA raids home of accused in Ansarulla terror case

Madurai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday morning carried out raids at the residence of one of the accused in connection with the Ansarulla terror group case.

Sleuth of the investigating agency raided the home of Mohamed Sheik Maitheen who was arrested on July 15 for his alleged links with the case.

The case pertains to forming a terror organisation with an intention to carry out terrorist activities in India by some people allegedly associated with proscribed terrorist organisations like ISIS, Al-Qaeda and SIMI.

According to the NIA, "The accused had collected funds and made preparations to carry out terrorist attacks in India, with the intention of establishing Islamic rule in India.

The accused persons have been actively recruiting individuals to strike terror in India and have also been routinely posting videos and other jihadi propaganda material exhorting their supporters to conduct terrorist attacks using various methods including the use of explosives, poison, knives and vehicles, as means of attack.

The agency has arrested 16 people so far in the case from different districts of Tamil Nadu. On Friday, a special NIA Court in Chennai granted eight days custody to the accused for interrogation.

A case was registered on July 9 against 16 accused and their associates under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and UA (P) Act, based on credible information received by the NIA.

On July 13, the NIA had arrested nine persons in this case namely Hassan Ali, Harish Mohamed, Mohamed Ibrahim, Meeran Ghani, Rafi Ahamed, Munthasir, Umar Barook and Farook.

Subsequently, on July 15, the NIA arrested seven more accused persons in the case namely Mohamed Sheik Maitheen, Ahamed Azarudhen, Toufiq Ahmed, Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohammed Afzar, Mohideen Seeni Shahul Hameed and Faizal Sharief.


Detention of Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan illegal: S Jaishankar in Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: Describing the detention of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan as "illegal" and under "fabricated" charges, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Thursday urged Islamabad to release and repatriate him immediately.

Making a statement in Rajya Sabha, he said the verdict of the International Court of Justice is not only a vindication for Jadhav but also for all those who believe in the rule of law.

In a major victory for India, the International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence for Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism".

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017.

A bench led by President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an "effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav".

The bench also ruled by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had violated India's rights to consular visits after Jadhav's arrest.

Pakistan "deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation", the judges had said.

Pakistan was under the obligation to inform India about the arrest and detention of Jadhav under the Vienna Convention, Judge Yusuf had ruled.