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Taliban announce spring offensive amid Afghan peace push

Afghan Ministry of Defence says the Taliban’s spring offensive is “mere propaganda”

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Amid ongoing dialogue process with the US secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Afghan Taliban Friday announced their annual spring offensive, which comes.

Operation Fath — which means “victory” in Arabic — will be conducted across Afghanistan with the aim of “eradicating occupation” and “cleansing our Muslim homeland from invasion and corruption”, the Taliban said in a statement.

The annual spring offensive traditionally marks the start of the so-called fighting season, though the announcement is largely symbolic as in recent winters the Taliban have continued fighting Afghan and US forces.

“Our Jihadi obligation has not yet ended,” the Taliban said.

“Even as large parts of our homeland have been freed from the enemy, yet the foreign occupying forces continue exercising military and political influence in our Islamic country.”

Qais Mangal, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defence, said the Taliban’s spring offensive is “mere propaganda.”

“The Taliban will not reach their vicious goals and their operations will be defeated like previous years,” Mangal said. After suffering horrific bloodshed in 2018, Kabul has in recent weeks enjoyed something of a lull in violence. But on Monday three US Marines were killed in a Taliban attack at Bagram air base north of the city, and authorities in the capital are on high alert.

The administration of President Ashraf Ghani recently declared its own spring offensive, Operation Khalid, and the Taliban used that announcement as a justification for launching a new push. It shows “the enemy still seeks to attain its malicious objectives through the use of force”, the Taliban said.

The US has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in a bid to bring an end to the war against the insurgents.

Separately, Afghan politicians have met with the Taliban in Moscow, and a fresh round of talks is expected to take place later this month between officials from the Kabul government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha.

The US still has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, nearly 18 years after the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban. While Western forces quickly ousted the group, the insurgents have reclaimed much of Afghanistan over the years, primarily in rural areas.

In 2018 a record 10,993 civilians were wounded or killed in Afghanistan, according to UN figures. US President Donald Trump last year decided to slash the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan, though no such drawdown has happened yet.

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Lahore goes global as London’s 150 Iconic Red Buses showcase city’s rich heritage

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ISLAMABAD – Lahore city has been projected globally as Pakistan’s private real estate company has launched its campaign in London to showcase the rich heritage of Lahore on 150 of London’s iconic red buses to promote ‘LAHORE The Heart of Pakistan’.   

Diyar Homes, the developers of the $30 Million luxury real estate development One Canal Road, Lahore, who recently announced their collaboration with leading Italian fashion house VERSACE Ceramics launched a mega campaign on 150 of London’s iconic red buses to promote ‘LAHORE The Heart of Pakistan’.

Director of Diyar Homes UK Shaan Abbas speaking to the media saidon the occasion that Lahore has undergone a $10 Billion urban transformation in recent years cementing its place as the cultural and economic heart of Pakistan.

“It’s the preferred investment destination of Pakistan and this is the message we wanted to give to the world from London, the global capital,” he concluded.

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Pakistan

UN report reiterates threats posed to Pakistan’s security by Afghan-based TTP, JuA terrorists

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TTP Shehryar Mehsud group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), Hizb-ul-Ahrar, Amjad Farooqi group, Usman Saifullah group atop Afghanistan-based terrorist outfits poised to target CPEC projects, Pakistan’s security, sovereignty, says the UN report

UNITED NATIONS – A new United Nations report on Afghanistan highlights the continued and ever-growing cross-border terrorist threat posed by proscribed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which according to the report, continues to operate from the eastern Nangarhar province of neighbouring country.

The 12th report of the UN monitoring team on Afghanistan submitted to the UN Security Council also notes TTP’s “distinctive anti-Pakistan objectives and China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

Diplomats here noted that the report reinforces similar concerns expressed by an earlier report by the UN Monitoring Team, on various terrorist groups. In that report also, the Monitoring Team had referred to the strengthening of the TTP in Afghanistan as a result of “return of splinter groups to the TTP fold.”

The latest UN report estimates TTP’s strength to be between 2,500 and 6,000 armed fighters, after splinter groups, including “Shehryar Mehsud group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), Hizb-ul-Ahrar, the Amjad Farooqi group and the Usman Saifullah group (formerly known as Lashkar-e Jhangvi)” joined it, which, Pakistan has asserted, was engineered by Indian agencies.

The observations of the Monitoring Team’s report yet again vindicate Pakistan’s repeated concerns regarding the threat posed by the TTP to Pakistan’s security as well as the increase in the number of cross-border terrorist attacks being carried out by the terrorist outfit against Pakistan from the Afghan soil.

The UN earlier this year, had noted that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was responsible for over “100 cross-border attacks between July and October 2020”.

It would be recalled that last year, Pakistan handed over a dossier to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the Indian sponsorship of terrorist groups TTP and JuA, both of which have been proscribed and sanctioned by the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the Security Council. Any direct or indirect support to TTP and JuA constitutes a grave violation of the UN Security Council counter-terrorism regime.

The latest report, according to the diplomats, is likely to further reinforce Pakistan’s demand that the international community needs to do more to prevent terrorist threats against Pakistan from externally financed and supported terrorist outfits operating from the soil of certain neighbouring countries.

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PM Khan rejects judicial probe, says Tareen would be given fair trial

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Tareen group submits ‘charge-sheet’ against Shehzad Akbar, others

PM rejects judicial commission demand, assures justice to Tareen family

Tareen group says Mills of Sharifs, Haroon Akhtar not included in FIA probe

 

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday told a group of ruling party lawmakers raising voice for party stalwart Jahangir Tareen that justice would be served with Tareen family but the investigation would continue.

Jahangir Tareen is one of the closest aides of Prime Minister Imran Khan who is termed as the architect of Imran Khan’s coming to power. However, Tareen fell out of the power corridors once disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for concealment of assets.

Sources in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) told DiploMag that the Tareen group urged the premier to form a judicial commission to probe the matter. However, the sources said that the prime minister rejected the request and said that justice would be served to Tareen family.

The sources said that the PTI group contended that state minister for interior Shehzad Akbar was allegedly misusing the FIA against Jahangir Tareen and the mills of Khusro Bakhtiar and Haroon Akhtar were not made part of the investigation.

Once inseparable, now Imran Khan and Tareen are estranged partners.

Jahangir Tareen group presented a charge sheet against Shehzad Akbar to the Prime Minister. The sources said that the prime minister directed Senator Ali Zafar to note all points raised by the Tareen group and said he himself would ensure that justice is done in Tareen’s case.

According to the copy of the charge sheet of Jahangir Tareen group, it has been alleged by Tareen group that Shehzad Akbar is using FIA against Jahangir Tareen and all the mills of the group were not included in the investigation while all the mills of Omni Group and Sharif family were also not included in the investigation.

Tareen group claimed that all demands were accepted by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

After meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan, Tareen group members Raja Riaz and Nazir Chauhan told media that Prime Minister had assured that justice would be done in any case and he would not allow anyone to abuse power.

Raja Riaz said that the delegation has put all the reservations about Shahzad Akbar before the Prime Minister and that they have confidence in the captain (Imran Khan) that he will do justice.

“The prime minister told us to leave the matter to me, I will not allow anyone to be abused,” he said. Nazir Chauhan said that the Prime Minister listened to us in detail, we put our reservations before him, the Prime Minister accepted all his words.

He said that during the meeting, the delegation demanded to take cases from Shehzad Akbar’s team and hand over the matter to an impartial team. Nazir Chauhan further said that on the concerns regarding Shahzad Akbar, Premier said he would monitor the case himself.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was also consulted by the members supporting Jahangir Tareen and a strategy was formulated.

Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry later told media that it has been made clear to the supporters of Jahangir Tareen that the investigation will not be stopped. He said that Jahangir Tareen is an important leader of PTI and he is highly respected in the party.

The federal minister added that Prime Minister Imran Khan had made it clear in a meeting with his supporters that the FIA ​​would not be stopped from investigating. He said that the Prime Minister had clearly stated that the requirements of justice would be met.

Fawad Chaudhry also said that the supporters of Jahangir Tareen were told that a party which has come into being in the name of justice and accountability cannot maintain double standards of justice for itself and others.

He confirmed that the lawmakers had lodged a complaint against some government personalities and Senator Ali Zafar would prepare a report on those complaints.

The Federal Minister said that the Prime Minister has said that neither the FIA ​​nor any other agency will be asked to be lenient with Jahangir Tareen and the requirements of justice will be met.

According to sources, the Tareen group which met the premier included 29 lawmakers including ten Members of National Assembly (MNAs) and 19 Members of Punjab Assembly (MPAs).

The MNAs include Raja Riaz, Sami Gillani, Riaz Mazari, Khwaja Sheeraz, Mobeen Alam Anwar, Javed Waraich, Ghulam Lali, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Faizul Hassan Shah and Sahibzada Ameer Sultan.

The MPAs included two provincial ministers – Nauman Langrial and Ajmal Cheema and four provincial advisers – Abdul Hai Dasti, Ameer M Khan, Rafaqat Gillani and Faisal Jabuwana.

Other MPAs are Khurran Laghari, Aslam Bharwana, Nazir Chohan, Asif Majeed, Bilal Waraich, Umar Aftab, Tahir Randawa, Zawar Waraich, Nazir Baloch, Umer Tanveer Butt, Amin Chaudry, Chaudhary Iftikhar Gondal, Ghulam Rasool Sangha, Qasim Langah, Saeed Akbar Niwani, Salman Naeem and others.

 

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