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Qatar: Saudi led quartet’s pressure tactics failed



[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Alleges Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for supporting terrorism

A senior Qatari official has claimed that the “Saudi Arabia led quartet of boycotters” have failed to bring his country to its knees and reminded that “smear campaign” against his country is only reminiscent of Saudi Arabia’s own ideological support for terror groups.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, had jointly announced severing of diplomatic, business and travel ties with Qatar and also appealed to other “brethren countries” to follow. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is virtually broken after the severe diplomatic move. Kuwait and Oman did not chose to cut ties with Doha. US have been supporting Kuwait’s mediation efforts.

The GCC, consisting of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, was established in 1981 for supporting Saddam Hussein of Iraq in war against Iran.

In the latest move, Mutlaq Majed al-Qahtani, the special envoy of Qatari Foreign Minister has written an opinion piece “Qatar Will Not Be Intimidated.”  Published by New York based Wall Street Journal on Monday, the opinion piece derided “Saudi and Emirati hypocrisy”.  

The senior Qatari diplomat said, “If Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – the countries driving the confrontation, despite the appearance of a unified bloc – hoped to bring Qatar to its knees, they have failed. If they hoped to damage Qatar’s reputation and improve their own, they have failed. If they hoped to enhance their relationship with the US at Qatar’s expense, again, they have failed.” 

The 473 word Al-Qahtani’ opinion piece was sharply worded mainly hitting Saudi Arabia and UAE. He said that “Instead, the anti-Qatar smear campaign has put a spotlight on the shameful history and unsavory practices of the Saudis and Emiratis themselves.”

Al-Qahtani reminded that Saudi Arabia justifies the blockade by alleging that Qatari authorities “support extremists and terrorist organizations”. But the accusation only reminds observers that the Saudis have consistently failed to prevent the radicalization of their citizens.

While elaborating Saudi’s role in spreading terrorism and its sinful support to the worldwide menace, the Qatari diplomat said “Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis. Thousands of Saudi citizens have taken up arms to join Islamic State (IS) and other radical groups.

He also alleged that “Saudi textbooks are used in ISIS schools. Many of the five dozen groups that the US State Department designates as terror organizations are funded by Saudi nationals.”

The Qatari diplomat, who is responsible for country’s counter terrorism and mediation efforts, further alleged that “Emirates have taken a similarly hypocritical stance. While the UAE falsely portrays itself as America’s best ally in the region, its track record is no better than Saudi Arabia’s. Two Emiratis participated in the September 11 hijackings, and the staff report to the 9/11 Commission revealed that much of the funding for the attacks flowed through the UAE, which was a world hub for money laundering.”

The Qatari diplomat detailed about the worst freedom of speech situation in UAE. He said, “The UAE has fared no better with regard to freedom of speech and press. In 2014, authorities arrested a man for plotting a terrorist attack on a Formula One race track in Abu Dhabi. But the Emirates prohibited international media outlets from reporting on the trial. The UAE’s recent clampdown on free speech has been widely condemned, especially after the country’s Justice Ministry said in June that supporting Qatar on social media could be punishable by fines and even prison time.”

Al-Qahtani concluded by saying that “leaked emails show that Emirati officials were conspiring with a variety of interest groups and lobbyists to slander Qatar long before the blockade was imposed. Now, intelligence experts and Qatar’s cyber security services have identified the UAE as the perpetrator of the hacking of Qatar News Agency, which set the entire Gulf crisis in motion.

In late May, hackers had allegedly broke into Qatar News Agency (QNA) and published a fake story quoting Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani calling Iran an “Islamic power” and saying Qatar’s relations with Israel were “good”. However, Qatar had announced that the news website was hacked.

On Tuesday, responding to Qatari diplomat’s opinion piece, Anwar Gargash, the UAE Foreign Minister called Qatar an “arrogant” state.  In his twitter post he wrote, “It is the country’s arrogant position to accuse the United Arab Emirates’ of leading the campaign against it and of opening fronts, including with Saudi Arabia, and at the same time to think that undermining the security of Bahrain and Egypt is a natural right. This is the logic of illogical.”

Meanwhile Sheikh Mohammed Abdurrahman Al-Thani, the Qatari Foreign Minister said on Tuesday that it will take a “lot of time” to rebuild any trust between the GCC members because of the region’s continuing diplomatic crisis.  “Qatar has always been one of the founders of the GCC organization and we still consider that this has a great importance for all of us in the region,” he said.

The Saudi led quartet severed ties with Qatar alleging Doha for supporting terrorist groups: Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas of Palestine. Later these countries put forwarded thirteen-point demands to Qatar, saying that Doha should sever its ties with Tehran, close new Turkish army base in its territory and shut down Aljazeera network.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Pakistan man sentenced to death for sharing blasphemous content on WhatsApp

The accused, identified as Syed Muhammad Zeeshan, was also fined Rs 1.2 million or $4300 and awarded imprisonment of total of 23 years.



Pakistan man sentenced to death for sharing blasphemous content on WhatsApp

Pakistan court on Friday gave a death sentence to a Muslim man for posting blasphemous content in a WhatsApp group. The accused was convicted under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and Anti-Terrorist Act by a Peshawar court.

The accused, identified as Syed Muhammad Zeeshan, was also fined Rs 1.2 million or $4300 and awarded imprisonment of total of 23 years.

The court in an order said that an accused Syed Muhammad Zeeshan, son of Syed Zakaullah in custody has been convicted and sentenced after being found guilty. Zeeshan, a resident of the northwest city of Mardan, has the right to appeal against the court’s conviction order on the highly-sensitive issue of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive topic in Pakistan, a country with a majority of Muslims, where even unverified accusations can incite mobs and violence.

Zeeshan was undergoing court proceedings in the same case for almost two years after Muhammad Saeed, a resident of Talagang in Punjab province, accused him of posting blasphemous content in a WhatsApp group. Saeed filed an application with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in 2021 againsy Zeeshan for blasphemous content.

As per the reports, the FIA had confiscated Zeeshan’s cell-phone and its forensic examination proved him guilty.

In the past 20 years, 774 Muslims and 760 members of various minority religious groups have reportedly faced blasphemy charges, according to the National Commission of Justice and Peace, a human rights and legal help organisation in Pakistan.

Last month, Pakistan banned Wikipedia after it refused to remove the allegedly offensive or blasphemy material from the website.

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Latest world news

Five news stations receive letter bombs in Ecuador, one explodes in journalist’s face

Minister says the bombs were sent as a clear message to silence journalists in violence-ridden Ecuador



Police officials searching for bombs in a new station in Ecuador

Ecuadorean authorities have reported that a series of letter bombs were mailed to five different TV and radio new stations in Ecaudor. The explosive devices were delivered to journalists on Monday, March 20.

Interior Minister Juan Zapata informed that one of these letters exploded in Guayaquil’s Ecuavisa private TV station. The bomb burst in the middle of the newsroom in presenter Lenin Artieda’s face. He was injured but not severely. Lenin informed the police that the device was structured like a USB drive, and it exploded as he plugged it into his computer.

Zapata added that all the devices were similar and sent from the town of Quimsaloma, on the Los Rios coast. The Ecuadorean attorney-general’s department has begun their investigation on the letters as an act of terrorism. Journalists have said that the bombs were sent to intimidate the free press and silence the media.

 Zapata also said that the government condemns such attacks and freedom of expression is a right that must be respected. The other four explosives sent through post never exploded as they failed or were never opened.

Police officer Xavier Chango informed the USB drive sent to Artieda seemed to be loaded with a military-type explosive RDX.

Ecuador lies between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine producers, and has become a hub for global drug trade in the recent years. The increased violence is a result of competition and clashes between drug criminal gangs for territory and charge.

In 2022, the RTS TV station came under gunfire attack and in 2020, a bomb exploded at Teleamazonas. President Guillermo Lasso had declared war on the gangs controlling drug trade from prisons, and has led to the death of more than 400 inmates since 2021. Ecuador’s murder rate has jumped from 14 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021 to 25 per 100,000 in 2022.

Two local gangs, the Lobos and Los Tiguerones, working with Mexico’s Jalisco New Generation cartel, have been responsible for these deadly prison riots. The Jalisco cartel is considered one of the five most dangerous criminal organizations in the world and its leader, Nemesio Oseguera, aka El Mencho, is among the most wanted by both Mexican and U.S. authorities.

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India News

Earthquake leaves 11 dead in Pakistan, tremors shake North India

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.



Pakistan Earthquake

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.

According to reports by Pakistani media, tremors were felt in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, and other areas of the country. In a statement, Pakistan Meteorological Department said the epicenter of the quake—which hit at a depth of 180 kilometers, at a latitude of 36.09 and a longitude of 71.35. — was the seismically active Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan.

Reports said that tremors and aftershocks were also witnessed in Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Kot Momin, Madh Ranjha, Chakwal, Kohat and in Gilgit-Baltistan areas.

Pakistani news channels showed panicked citizens running out of their home and on the streets to seek refuge from the tremors.

According to a report by Pakistan-based Geo News, eleven people, including two women were killed while over 160 people were injured due to the earthquake.

Read Also: Delhi Police crackdown on anti-Modi posters, police arrest 4 including owner of printing press, 44 cases registered

The strong jolts also led to the collapse of several buildings in impacted regions while a stamped was witnessed in markets of Rawalpindi when the earthquake hit, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.

State-run Associated Press of Pakistan released a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has directed disaster management authorities to remain vigilant to handle any situation while Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel declared an emergency in Islamabad hospitals.

A statement by the international seismological centre said that apart from Pakistan, tremors were also felt in India, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.

Tremors of the earthquake, that hit at around 10:17 pm on Tuesday night, were felt across Northern India including Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. However, no casualties were reported. However, reports of damages to buildings are coming in from different parts of North India.

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits Delhi-NCR

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