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Afghan minister should face probe: HRW

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human rights watch

NEW YORK: A prominent international watchdog body has called for the prosecution of new Afghan Defence Minister Assadullah Khalid, saying there is “credible evidence” linking him to serious human rights abuses.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Khalid’s appointment by President Ashraf Ghani last month “should have rung alarm bells not only in Kabul but in the capitals of Afghanistan’s major donors.” “That it didn’t say a lot about how little human rights matter to an increasingly shaky government, and to donors looking for an exit from the long Afghan war,” it added. The defense minister, who previously had governed volatile Kandahar and Ghazni provinces and served as the Afghan spy chief, is also accused of ordering the killing of five United Nations workers in a roadside bombing in April 2007 in Kandahar.
“Credible evidence of serious human rights abuses and war crimes linked to Khalid have followed him throughout his government career,” HRW said. “Reports first came to light during Khalid’s tenure as governor of Kandahar – a time when thousands of Canadian troops were based in the province.” “There is also strong evidence directly implicating Khalid in acts of sexual violence against women and girls when he was governor of Ghazni and Kandahar,” HRW said. “Khalid allegedly threatened his victims, saying ‘they would be killed and their families destroyed if they told anyone what had happened’.” The HRW report denounced Khalid’s appointment as an “opportunistic and callous move” by President Ghani to score to “short-term gains” in the upcoming Afghan presidential elections. President Ghani’s government has proved unwilling to criminally investigate Khalid but the United States and Canada have the authority under their respective laws to impose financial and travel sanctions on him, HRW insisted.
“The European Union and other donors should impose similar sanctions to send a clear message that returning a known human rights abuser to a position of authority is simply unacceptable.” The allegations against Khalid initially stemmed from his stint as the governor of Kandahar a decade ago – a time when thousands of Canadian troops were based in the province as part of the U.S.-led military coalition. “An official internal Canadian document described the allegations of human rights abuses attributable to Khalid as numerous and consistent,” the statement said. Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin had testified before a Canadian parliamentary commission in 2009 that Khalid perpetrated enforced disappearances and held people in private prisons. “The testimony included evidence of Khalid’s personal involvement in the torture of detainees. Chris Alexander, a senior Canadian official working with the United Nations in Afghanistan at the time, alleged that Khalid ordered the killing of five UN workers in a roadside bombing in Kandahar in April 2007.”

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Pakistan

Accountability court acquits PTI’s Babar Awan

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Babar Awan

ISLAMABAD: PTI’s leader Babar Awan has been acquitted by an accountability court here today in Nandipur PP corruption reference. 

It is pertinent to mention here that the accountability court has not entertained the acquittal appeal of Ex-PM Raja Pervez Ashraf.

One may recall that last year NAB had filed a case accusing Babar Awan, Raja Pervez Ashraf and many others. The charges included causing losses worth billions of rupees to the national exchequer by means of delay according approval to the in Nandipur PP project.

 

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Crime

SHC grants bail to Sharjeel Memon

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Memon Copy

KARACHI: SHC has today granted bail to Sharjeel Memon (former Sindh Information Minister) in a corruption reference.

The reference pertains to abusing power by means of awarding advertisements at exorbitant rates. However, the IO had conceded during today’s hearing before the court that it had not been proven that Memon had received kickbacks from the deal.

The two-member bench after hearing the arguments granted bail to Sharjeel Memon against a surety of Rs. 5 million. One may recall that a NAB team nabbed Memon on 23rd October following SHC’s rejection of his bail application. 

Relevant pieces published earlier: 

Grant of advt at exorbitant rates: SHC rejects Sharjeel Memon’s interim bail plea!

KARACHI: A two-judge SHC bench has rejected the interim bail application of former information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon and other 12 co-accused in a graft case here today.

According to details, following the NAB special persecutor’s arguments regarding the corruption case against Sharjeel Memon and others, the court has accepted the bail of one of the thirteen accused only.

Sharjeel Memon is accused of inflicting losses to the national exchequer by resorting to corrupt practices in granting (SID) advertisements – related to awareness – to the electronic media between July 2013 till 2015.

He will be arrested by the NAB team as soon as he emerges from SHC building as legally one could not be detained from the premises of the court.

Readers may recall that Sharjeel Memon is also facing charges in connection with illegal allotment of land.

It is pertinent to mention here that Memon fled the country in 2015 when NAB commenced an inquiry against him regarding five billion rupee corruption. But he returned to Pakistan last March and managed to obtain interim bail.  

Sharjeel Memon arrested by NAB from the SHC gate

Sharjeel Memon produced before NAB court in corruption case

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Pakistan

Pak role in Afghan peace process lauded by SG of NATO

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NATO

BRUSSELS: Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg during a meeting with Pakistani FM Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has noted that Pakistan had played a positive role in regional peace. 

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO wanted to work with Pakistan on bilateral understanding. 

GS NATO and FM Pakistan profoundly discussed security matters being faced by Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir. 

Relevant pieces published earlier: 

Pak Foreign Minister arrives in Brussels

BRUSSELS: Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister (FM) of Pakistan, has arrived here today on a two-day official visit. 

Here he will be signing a comprehensive strategic plan with EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. He will also meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at its headquarters in Brussels.

Strategic plan agreed with EU: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi has informed that a strategic plan had been agreed with the European Union (EU).

FM said this while talking to the journalists here today before leaving for Brussels. FM further told that he would sign this agreement with EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Terming it a positive development Qureshi said it would begin long-term cooperation with the EU. 

Qureshi, who is scheduled to meet NATO General Secretary at its headquarters in Brussels, said Pakistan had been cooperating with NATO and extended unprecedented help to US and NATO forces in matters pertaining to Afghanistan.  FM reiterated that Pakistan had played a key role in the war against terrorism and NATO had acknowledged that fact.  

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