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20 killed in Pakistan blast targeting Hazaras

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Pakistan Blast
Rescuers inspect the blast site in southwest Pakistan's Quetta on April 12, 2019. (Photo Credit- IANS)
Islamabad, April 12: At least 20 people were killed and 48 others injured in a blast that targeted members of the ethnic Hazara community at a market in Pakistan’s Quetta city on Friday, police said.

Deputy Inspector General Abdul Razzaq Cheema told Dawn News that eight of the victims belonged to the community that has been targeted by sectarian violence as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance.

“The attack took place in a (greengrocer’s) shop (in Hazarganji area). An improvised explosive device (IED) was planted in a gunny sack filled with potatoes. We are yet to ascertain if it was timed or remote-controlled. An investigation is on,” Cheema said.

The victims also included a Frontier Corps soldier.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Nearly half a million Hazaras have settled in Quetta since fleeing Afghanistan to escape violence in their homeland during the past four decades. The city’s Hazarganji area has been witness to similar attacks in the past.

Hazara shopkeepers are known to stock vegetables and fruits from the Hazarganji bazaar to sell at their own shops. They are provided security escorts to and from Hazarganji since they are constantly under threat of attack.

Cheema told Dawn that “people from the Hazara community come here daily in a convoy from Hazara town to buy vegetables. They are escorted by police and FC, and then they return there. It was the same today”.

Following the blast, Qadir Nayil, a Hazara community leader, asked the Pakistan government to ensure better protection for them.

“Once again our people were the target… We demand more security from the government and all those involved in today’s act of terrorism should be found and punished,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the killings and sought a report into the attack while Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal promised that those involved in the attack would be strictly dealt with.

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Pakistanis sing ‘Vande Mataram’ alongside Indians in London protest against China

The growing outrage against China is quite visible on the streets of London too. In fact, Saturday night saw an image reading ‘Free Tibet, Free Hong Kong, Free Uyghurs’ projected onto the Chinese Embassy building in central London.

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Free Tibet

New Delhi, Jul7 July 13 : Pakistanis singing Indian national song is rare. But Sunday saw quite a few of them joining hundreds of Indians, literally hand in hand, in a protest organised outside the Chinese Embassy in London.

Arif Aajakia, a Pakistani human rights activist who believes in speaking “bitter and naked truth” about his country, shouted “boycott China” and “down with China” along with the members of several Indian diaspora groups protesting against China’s expansionist policies.

“Today was also the first time in my life that I sang Vande Mataram,” said Aajakia.

Joining him also was Amjad Ayub Mirza, who hails from Mirpur in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), a few others from Karachi and many from Iran, all pretty upset with China meddling in their affairs too.

“I have travelled all the way from Glasgow for this protest. I am from PoK, an Indian living under Pakistani occupation. The Chinese are wreaking havoc across Gilgit-Baltistan through CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and the Pakistani government continues to work hand in glove with them,” said Mirza, who has been quite vocal against oppression and injustice meted out to the people of PoK by Pakistani authorities.

The Indians, who’ve organised similar protests against China in the US, Canada and other parts of the world, carried posters and placards against Chinese President Xi Jinping, asking him to control his over-ambitious power play.

The growing outrage against China is quite visible on the streets of London too. In fact, Saturday night saw an image reading ‘Free Tibet, Free Hong Kong, Free Uyghurs’ projected onto the Chinese Embassy building in central London.

With the US sanctioning the Chinese government and its officials for their connection to serious human rights abuse against ethnic Uyghur Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, the world condemning China’s ‘brutal, sweeping crackdown’ against Hong Kong’s people, Indians boycotting Chinese products after People’s Liberation Army intruded the Indian territory and killed Indian soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley and countries from Japan till Australia up against the dragon, the noose is gradually tightening around the authoritarian regime.

(This content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

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Pakistan marks July 13 as Kashmir Martyrs Day

Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted, saluting the people of Kashmir for fighting against what he called “illegal and oppressive Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir”.

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Imran Khan Pakistan PM

Islamabad, July 13 : July 13, 2020 is being marked as Kashmir Martyrs Day in Pakistan with homage being paid to the people of Kashmir, who lost their lives in the revolt against the Dogra dynasty in 1931.

The day is being marked as an opportunity for Pakistan to ponder more on what it calls the ongoing struggle of the people of Kashmir, first during Dogra Maharaja of British colonial rule in the sub-continent 89 years ago and then by the Indian forces.

Pakistan military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said the day was declared as national day soon after the birth of India and Pakistan in 1947 and was observed by all sections cutting across political and ideological affiliations.

“Every single drop of blood shed shall not be forgotten nor forgiven,” Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG Maj-Gen Babar Iftikhar said in a tweet.

“KashmirMartyrsDay is reminiscent of utmost price paid 4 freedom by brave Kashmiris. Every single drop of blood shed, shall not be forgotten nor forgiven. Decades of Indian atrocities failed 2 suppress insurmountable spirit & legitimate freedom struggle, destined to succeed.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan also tweeted, saluting the people of Kashmir for fighting against what he called “illegal and oppressive Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir”.

“Today, on the occasion of Kashmir Martyrs’ Day, we salute the people of Kashmir for their ongoing struggle against the illegal and oppressive Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. The martyrs of July 13, 1931 were the ancestors of today’s Kashmiri resistance,” he said.

On the other hand, Sardar Masood Khan, President of Pakistan Administered Kashmir, has written off any chances of table talks between India and Pakistan, owing to India’s conduct in Kashmir.

He said: “India has changed dynamics of the area unilaterally. So we would not sit with them around the negotiating table.”

Sardar Masood Khan insisted that the issue of Kashmir should not be taken as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan anymore, adding that the Kashmir issue has been internationalized and multi-lateralized.

“So, I think that we have this new space in the international domain. We should use it, not lose it,” he said.

He declared the Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan as redundant because of “unilateral Indian actions in Jammu and Kashmir”.

Sardar Masood Khan maintained that Pakistan is ready for a third-party intervention and mediation on Kashmir dispute.

“I think that as citizens of Pakistan, we are ready for the diplomacy of any kind. I believe that the starting point of such diplomacy should be the UNSecurity Council resolutions because these were drawn after prolonged deliberations and should not be set aside.

“Further, the Kashmiris should be associated with any direct or indirect negotiations on Kashmir. They are the real party to the dispute,” he added.

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Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zindzi dies at 59

State television South African Broadcasting Corporation has reported that Mandela died at a Johannesburg hospital early Monday morning.

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Nelson Mandela daughter Zindzi

Johannesburg, July 13 : Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of South Africa’s anti-apartheid icons Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, died here on Monday, according to the country’s public broadcaster SABC reported.

State television South African Broadcasting Corporation has reported that Mandela died at a Johannesburg hospital early Monday morning.

She had been South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark since 2015.

The Mandelas’ daughter came to international prominence in 1985, when the white minority government offered to release Nelson Mandela from prison if he denounced violence perpetrated by his movement, the Africa National Congress, against apartheid, the brutal system of racial discrimination enforced in South Africa at that time.

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