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Archive for Pakistan

Newsline: Top Pakistani Diplomat Involved In Visa Scam In Europe

A high-ranking Pakistani diplomat, who faced serious allegations of human smuggling in March, is at the core of a visa scam as he tried to persuade the European embassies in Islamabad to illegally get visas for Pakistan nationals. A complaint was filed against the high-ranking Pakistani diplomat Israr Husain by Tariq Javid Khan, a former government servant who is in the visa business. Several emails issued to different embassies along with proofs of payment made to the accused diplomat were attached to the application, The News International reported. (https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/top-pak-diplomat-involved-in-visa-scam-in-europe-report-3215112) Husain used to work as an additional secretary of Europe and he would try to persuade the European embassies in Islamabad to get visas for Pakistan nationals. He allegedly tried to send around 11 individuals to Spain. Husain had earlier also served as Pakistan’s ambassador in Czech Republic. Khan alleged that Husain “made an offer to facilitate the issuance of visit, work and residency visas for Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland and South Korea. He also introduced me to the ambassadors of these countries in Pakistan.” He added that he has the complete record of all payments he made to Hussain in the form of bank receipts, local media reported. The visa was not issued and the Pakistani diplomat had refused to return the money and warned him of dire consequences in case the word went out. The complaint added that the ambassador of Italy, Czech Republic and Spain “will be happy to confirm Husain’s disorderly conduct and they will provide evidence regarding his continuous requests for the illegal issuances of visas.” A formal complaint regarding Husain’s deceptive conduct was submitted to the foreign office by the ambassador of Czech Republic in Pakistan and the ambassador of Pakistan in Czech Republic.

Newsline: Pakistani protesters call for French ambassador to be expelled from country

Thousands of supporters of a radical Islamist party in Pakistan continued to protest over depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in France that they deem blasphemous. They were angered by remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron in the wake of the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty. Macron defended the freedom of expression to produce the cartoons and attacked “Islamist separatism”. The protesters in Pakistan — supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party — called for the expulsion of the French ambassador in Islamabad. They also want to cut diplomatic relations with France and withdraw their ambassador from the country. Muhammad Latif, a protester at the event in Islamabad, said: “We love our prophet, we will give our life for the respect and honour of Prophet Muhammad, we will give our life but can’t accept the French ambassador’s presence here.” (https://www.euronews.com/2020/11/16/pakistani-protesters-call-for-french-ambassador-to-be-expelled-from-country) The sit-in, which has continued at an important intersection, started unplanned at the end of a protest march from Rawalpindi led by TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, despite resistance by police on Sunday night. TLP supporters defied the security arrangements of police and the administration and clashed with security forces at different points on the way to the Faizabad intersection.

Newsline: U.S. Embassy in Pakistan Apologizes for Retweeting Anti-Trump Post

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad apologized on Wednesday after saying that its official Twitter account had been used without permission to retweet an anti-Trump post from a Pakistani opposition politician and rival of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “The U.S. Embassy Islamabad Twitter account was accessed last night without authorization,” the American diplomatic mission said in a message on Twitter. “The U.S. Embassy does not endorse the posting or retweeting of political messages,” the post added. “We apologize for any confusion that may have resulted.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/11/world/asia/pakistan-embassy-retweet.html) The opposition politician who was retweeted, Ahsan Iqbal, is a former federal minister who is a member of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party. On Tuesday night, Mr. Iqbal posted an image of a Washington Post headline, “Trump’s defeat is a blow to world’s demagogues and dictators,” with the comment: “We have one in Pakistan too. He will be shown way out soon,” referring to Mr. Khan, the prime minister. The U.S. Embassy’s account retweeted Mr. Iqbal’s message, causing an uproar on social media in Pakistan. The hashtag #ApologiseUSembassy was trending on Twitter in the country on Wednesday, when the retweet was deleted. There was no immediate indication that the account had been hacked, but the embassy declined to comment further.

Newsline: U.S. Embassy in Pakistan Apologizes for Retweeting Anti-Trump Post

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad apologized on Wednesday after saying that its official Twitter account had been used without permission to retweet an anti-Trump post from a Pakistani opposition politician and rival of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “The U.S. Embassy Islamabad Twitter account was accessed last night without authorization,” the American diplomatic mission said in a message on Twitter. “The U.S. Embassy does not endorse the posting or retweeting of political messages,” the post added. “We apologize for any confusion that may have resulted.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/11/world/asia/pakistan-embassy-retweet.html) The opposition politician who was retweeted, Ahsan Iqbal, is a former federal minister who is a member of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party. On Tuesday night, Mr. Iqbal posted an image of a Washington Post headline, “Trump’s defeat is a blow to world’s demagogues and dictators,” with the comment: “We have one in Pakistan too. He will be shown way out soon,” referring to Mr. Khan, the prime minister. The U.S. Embassy’s account retweeted Mr. Iqbal’s message, causing an uproar on social media in Pakistan. The hashtag #ApologiseUSembassy was trending on Twitter in the country on Wednesday, when the retweet was deleted. There was no immediate indication that the account had been hacked, but the embassy declined to comment further.

Newsline: Pakistan’s parliament urges to recall ambassador from France

Pakistan’s parliament on Monday passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris over the publication of images of the Prophet Mohammad in France, accusing President Emmanuel Macron of “hate-mongering” against Muslims. The National Assembly resolution, which is non-binding, came hours after the French ambassador in Islamabad was summoned to the foreign office for Pakistan to register its protest. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-security-pakistan/pakistans-parliament-urges-government-to-withdraw-envoy-from-france-idUSKBN27B2BO) The developments were the latest expression of anger in the Muslim world over France displaying images of the Prophet Mohammad that Muslims consider blasphemous. The resolution expressed “serious concern at the highly disturbing statements and hate-mongering, specially by leaders like President Macron, justifying unlawful provocation and insult to the sentiments of more than a billion Muslims”. The resolution also urged the government to ask other Muslim countries to boycott French products.

Newsline: Afghans jostling for Pakistan’s visas sparks stampede killing 15

At least 15 people were killed in stampede among thousands of Afghans gathered near Pakistan’s consulate on Tuesday as jostling broke out between people applying for visas, officials in the eastern city of Jalalabad said. An estimated 3,000 Afghans had congregated on the open ground, usually used for sports or pubic gatherings, outside the consulate, waiting to collect tokens needed to apply for a visa. An Afghan news channel transmitted images of them holding passports aloft to secure a token. Images taken after the stampede showed scores of passports strewn across the ground. “The visa applicants jostled to secure their token from the consulate officials…the crowd got out of control, leading to a stampede,” said an Afghan official. (https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2760J0) A survivor described to Reuters how tempers frayed and the crowd became unruly in the lead up to the stampede. “I stood in the queue all night but at some point people got angry and started pushing, many of us fell on the ground,” said Farmanullah, who goes by a single name. Eleven of the 15 victims were women, and several senior citizens were among more than a dozen injured, Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member, said. Tens of thousands of Afghans every year travel to neighbouring Pakistan to secure medical treatment, education and jobs. The two countries share a nearly 2,600-kilometre border. The Pakistan embassy in Kabul issued a statement expressing “deep grief and sadness”, and officials said Afghan authorities had been responsible for marshalling the crowd on the sports ground.

Newsline: Pakistan summons Indian diplomat to lodge protest

Pakistan on Saturday summoned a senior Indian diplomat to register strong protest over ceasefire violation by India along the Line of Control (LoC) on August 14 resulting in serious injuries to a civilian. “Due to indiscriminate and unprovoked firing by the Indian occupation forces in Dhudhnial Sector along the LoC, three-year-old Zulekha, resident of Village Tejian, sustained serious injuries,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office said. (https://tribune.com.pk/story/2259639/pakistan-summons-indian-diplomat-to-lodge-protest-over-cfv) Pakistan has accused Indian forces of committing 1,980 ceasefire violations in 2020.

Newsline: 38 Indian embassy officials in Pakistan reach border to return home

After India asked Pakistan to reduce its diplomatic staff in India by half following the detention of two Pakistani spies this month, Pakistan sent back over three dozen Indian officials to India in a clear tit-for-tat response. As many as 38 Indian High Commission officials, including six diplomats, reached the Wagah border to return home. The officials reached the border in two buses and a truck. Among them were a first secretary, two second secretaries and three attaches. (https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/38-indian-embassy-officials-in-pakistan-reach-attari-wagah-border-to-return-home/614170) Meanwhile, around 143 officials of Pakistan High Commission in India also reached the Attari-Wagah border to return to their own country. While speaking to media, Protocol Officer Arun Pal Singh said, “As per our information, 143 people have reached Wagah Border to go to Pakistan. They are Pakistani citizens, who used to work at the Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi.”

Newsline: India, Pakistan to expel embassy staff in tit-for-tat spy row

India said it would expel half the staff in Pakistan’s embassy in New Delhi over alleged spying by officials there, prompting Islamabad to say it would respond in kind. Relations between the nuclear-armed rivals are strained and tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats, often on charges of espionage, are common. Neither country has a permanent ambassador in place and in the last month each country has accused the other of illegally detaining and torturing its diplomats. “They (Pakistan) have been engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organisations,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-pakistan/india-pakistan-to-expel-embassy-staff-in-tit-for-tat-spy-row-idUSKBN23U1XR) In response, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said its staff had acted lawfully, and that it would expel half of India’s embassy in Islamabad “as a reciprocal measure”. India earlier said it intended to voluntarily cut staff at its embassy in Islamabad by the same amount. Both countries said the affected officials had been asked to leave within a week.

Newsline: Pakistan summons Indian diplomat to condemn truce violations

Pakistan on Sunday summoned Indian top diplomat and registered a strong protest over ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC), leaving one civilian martyred and two others critically injured. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Indian Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned by Director General (South Asia and Saarc) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri to protest the “indiscriminate and unprovoked” firing by the Indian forces in in Hajipir and Bedori sectors of the LoC. (https://tribune.com.pk/story/2247490/1-pakistan-summons-indian-diplomat-condemn-truce-violations/) The Indian forces along the LoC and the Working Boundary (WB) have been continuously targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars and automatic weapons, the FO said, adding that India has committed 1,440 ceasefire violations to date, resulting in 13 shahadats and serious injuries to 104 innocent civilians.