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US ‘Martyred’ Osama bin Laden: Imran Khan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2020)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said Thursday that the former Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had been “martyred” by US forces in 2011, a term that reflected a subtle stab at the US as it’s mainly used for honorable figures slain in battle.

Khan used the word during a rambling budget speech in parliament, attacking his predecessors’ foreign policies and saying that Pakistan’s partnership with the United States in the war on terror was a mistake, Pakistani news agencies reported. 

Khan also said that the US used abusive language against Pakistan, blaming Islamabad for its failures in neighboring Afghanistan and most of all — refused to tell Islamabad of its operation against bin Laden in 2011 before carrying out the Navy SEALs nighttime raid. 

The special operations force swooped into Pakistan’s military garrison town of Abbottabad in the middle of the night on May 2, 2011, killing bin Laden and several of his operatives.

“We sided with the U.S. in the War on Terror but they came here and killed him, martyred him and … used abusive language against us (and) did not inform us (of the raid), despite the fact that we lost 70,000 people in war on terror,” Khan told Parliament.

“The way we supported America in the war on terror, and the insults we had to face in return… They blamed us for every failure in Afghanistan. They openly held us responsible because they did not succeed in Afghanistan,” he added.

It comes as the US has repeatedly accused Pakistan of harboring the “ regionally focused terrorist groups.”

“It (Pakistan) allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated Haqqani Network, as well as groups targeting India, including Lashkar e-Tayyiba and its affiliated front organizations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), to operate from its territory,” the US State Department said in a report.

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were the only countries to recognize the Taliban government, which had harbored bin Laden as he planned terrorist attacks against the U.S. After the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan turned and became an ally of the United States.

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Pakistan president says peace talks are a ‘watershed’ moment

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(Last Updated On: September 30, 2020)

Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah met with Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi on Wednesday to discuss progress regarding the current intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, Qatar. 

During the meeting, Alvi stated that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and said a politically negotiated settlement was the only way forward. 

Alvi also said the start of long-awaited peace talks was a “watershed” in Afghanistan’s history. 

He stressed that the “Afghan leadership must seize this historic opportunity to work together constructively and secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement”.

He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to supporting the Afghan peace process. 

Abdullah also met with a delegation of religious scholars in Islamabad on Wednesday – his final day of an official three-day visit. 

Among the scholars, he met was Hanif Jalandhari, the general secretary for the federation of Madrassas, who pledged support for the intra-Afghan talks. 

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Tensions mount as Armenia and Azerbaijan clashes continue

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(Last Updated On: September 30, 2020)

NATO allies France and Turkey traded angry accusations on Wednesday as international tensions mounted over clashes between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. 

Clashes broke out on Sunday and since then dozens have been killed and hundreds wounded on both sides in clashes that have now spread beyond the enclave’s territory. 

The skirmishes have raised concerns about stability in the South Caucasus region, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets, and raised fears that regional powers Russia and Turkey could be drawn in, Reuters reported.

Some of Turkey’s NATO allies are increasingly alarmed by Ankara’s stance on Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region inside Turkey’s close ally Azerbaijan that is run by ethnic Armenians but is not recognised by any country as an independent republic.

Echoing remarks by President Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday Turkey would “do what is necessary” when asked whether Ankara would offer military support if Azerbaijan requested it.

Cavusoglu also said French solidarity with Armenia amounted to supporting Armenian occupation in Azerbaijan, Reuters reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country is home to many people of Armenian ancestry, hit back during a visit to Latvia. He said France was extremely concerned by “warlike messages” from Turkey.

“And that we won’t accept,” he said.

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Afghan talks team meets with religious council in Doha

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(Last Updated On: September 30, 2020)

Afghanistan’s negotiating team on Wednesday met with the Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Ahmad al-Raysuni, in Doha, Qatar, to issues around the peace talks. 

The State Ministry for Peace said in a statement following the meeting that al-Raysuni told the delegation the organization was ready to provide any cooperation needed and that they fully support the peace process. 

“We wish Afghanistan to emerge as a good example among Islamic countries and the world,” said al-Raysuni.

Members of the Afghan negotiating team provided clarification on the current status of talks with the Taliban, which appears to have stalled. 

The team also called on the organization to use its influence to fully support the peace negotiations, read the statement. 

“Their support can bring a ceasefire, an end to the killing of Afghans and an end to bloodshed in Afghanistan,” the ministry stated. 

Ali Muhiuddin, Head of the Secretariat of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said during the meeting that Afghanistan is the homeland of Imam Abu Hanifa, who was an 8th-century Sunni Muslim theologian and jurist of Persian origin. He became the eponymous founder of the Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence.

Hanafi jurisprudence has become a stumbling block in talks between the two sides as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan team wants talks to be based on a broader platform so as to be inclusive. 

The International Union of Muslim Scholars was established in 2004 in Qatar and has branches in 93 Islamic countries. Often, issues of contention within the Islamic world are referred to the organization for advice.

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