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Prominent Pakistani cleric arrested, charged with sexual abuse



(Last Updated On: June 21, 2021)

Pakistan police on Sunday arrested Mufti Azizur Rehman, former vice-president of the main opposition party of Pakistan Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Lahore and a “Sheikh-al-Hadith” or “Scholar of Hadith” of Lahore’s seminary Jamia Manzoorul Islamia, on charges of sexual abuse.

According to the UAE’s Gulf News, a police team from Lahore carried out a raid on a house Rehman was reportedly hiding in and also took his two sons into custody.

Rehman is accused of sexually assaulting one of his students at his seminary.

The case was registered against Rehman after a video clip showing him allegedly sexually assaulting one of his students went viral on social media.

The JUI-F dissociated itself with the suspect immediately after the scandal came to light and demands were made on social media for exemplary action against the cleric, Gulf News reported.

The complainant said in his statement to police he had been studying at the Jamia when Rehman banned him from writing three exams.

Gulf News reported that the complainant said he pleaded with Rehman to reconsider the decision upon which the cleric agreed but on condition of sexual favour.

“It was purely for the sake of passing the exam and under duress that I agreed to become a victim. He also promised me that he would have my ban removed and get me to pass the Wifaqul Madaris exam,” the complainant said.

“I lodged complaints with the administration of the seminary several times but no one was ready to believe me,” said the complainant.

It was then that he started to secretly film the abuse and collected evidence.

“When Mufti Aziz came to know that, he threatened to kill me,” the young man told the police. “A few days ago, when someone uploaded the video on social media, I got scared and went into hiding,” the student further said in the charge-sheet.

Rehman denies the allegations and said in a video statement that he was drugged by his student, Gulf News reported.

“In fact, the boy gave me sedatives in my tea and after that I lost all my senses,” he said, adding the biggest proof of his ‘piety’ was that in the video footage it could be seen that his body was not even moving.

“If I were in my senses, how could I remain ignorant of the fact that he was making a video from his phone,” asked the cleric in his video statement.

Rehman is expected to appear in court on Monday.


NATO’s Stoltenberg says Russia’s Ukraine offensive not going to plan



(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine is failing and its operation in the Donbass region has stalled, NATO’s secretary general said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as Moscow had planned. They failed to take Kyiv,” Jens Stoltenberg told reporters by video link. “They are pulling back from Kharkiv and their major offensive in Donbass has stalled.”

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Churchgoers hog-tie gunman after shooting in California kills one



(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

A gunman opened fire in a Southern California church during a lunch banquet on Sunday, killing one person and wounding five, before churchgoers detained the suspect and hog-tied his legs with an electrical cord, authorities said.

Police responded to the incident that unfolded at about 1:30 p.m. local time (2039 GMT) at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods and arrested an unidentified suspect in his 60s, Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock told a news conference.

“That group of churchgoers displayed … exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities,” he said.

One person died at the scene while four other victims were critically wounded. Another person suffered minor injuries, he said. All of the injured were taken to hospitals.

About 30 to 40 people were in the church when the shooting occurred, Hallock said.

“At this time, we do not know what the suspect’s motive may be or whether he had an intended target, or whether this is even a hate-related incident,” Hallock said, adding that authorities believe the suspect does not live in the area.

Two handguns were found at the scene.

“No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event,” Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said on Twitter.

It was at least the second mass shooting of the weekend in the United States, which has been plagued with gun violence in recent years. In Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, a white 18-year-old man opened fire at a supermarket in a mostly Black neighborhood, killing 10 and wounding three in what authorities described as a purely racist attack.

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Britain says Russia has lost a third of its forces in Ukraine



(Last Updated On: May 15, 2022)

Russia has probably lost around a third of the ground forces it deployed to Ukraine and its offensive in the Donbas region “has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule”, British military intelligence said on Sunday.

“Despite small-scale initial advances, Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high levels of attrition,” the British defence ministry said on Twitter.

“Russia has now likely suffered losses of one third of the ground combat force it committed in February.”

It said Russia was unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days, Reuters reported.

Since Russia’s invasion on February 24, Ukraine’s military has forced Russia’s commanders to abandon an advance on the capital Kyiv, before making rapid gains in the northeast and driving them away from the second biggest city of Kharkiv.

A Ukrainian counteroffensive has been under way near the Russian-held town of Izium, though Ukraine’s military reported on Sunday that Russian forces were advancing elsewhere in the Donbas region, the main theatre of war over the past month.

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