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Imran’s Mission Kashmir: Pak Generals dance with pop singer at GHQ

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pop singer Humaira Arshad

Rawalpindi/New Delhi, Oct 28 : Throwing basic military disciplines to the wind, top officers of the Pakistan Army danced along with Punjabi pop singer Humaira Arshad at the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army on Sunday evening to observe “Kashmir Black Day”.

October 26 is the day the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to the Dominion of India. The show was organised by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan armed forces, for the officers to show solidarity for Kashmiris.

However, the event, which got leaked through Humaira’s tweets, drew sharp reactions from the Pakistani Twitterati. Later, Humaira deleted her tweet, which by the time caused enough embarrassment for Islamabad. You can visit the following link — https://www.trendsmap.com/twitter/tweet/1188658108421292032 — to see Humaira’s reactions to her tweet which was later deleted.

Talking over the phone with IANS, Humaria’s public relations manager Rizwan confirmed that she had performed on Sunday. However, he did not elaborate on the venue of the event.

https://twitter.com/ShahidQuetta/status/1188726982575562752?s=20

Rizwan, who manages Humaira’s shows, revealed that the pop singer charges Rs 8 lakh to Rs 9 lakh for performing for a two to three-hour show in Pakistan. He refused to comment on whether ISPR made any payment to Humaira for the show.

In its desperate bid to raise the Kashmir issue and seek the support of Pakistanis from around the world, Prime Minister Imran Khan had decided to observe a black day on Sunday.

Demanding immediate “lifting of curfew’ in Kashmir, Imran Khan had reaffirmed Pakistan’s “unflinching moral, political and diplomatic support” to the people of Kashmir.

The state-run Radio Pakistan had reported that several programmes, including rallies and seminars, were planned throughout the country to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

However, the manner in which top army generals expressed their solidarity in support of Kashmir has embarrassed the Pakistani establishment. Sources said that an enquiry has been initiated to find out why a pop singer was invited at the GHQ.

In a damage control exercise, the army also instructed Lahore-based Punjabi pop singer Humaira to delete her tweet relating to her performance at the GHQ.

The tweet, which carried two photographs of the event, drew sharp reactions from social media users.

A prominent social media activist in Pakistan, A. Kiyani, replied to Humaira’s tweet: “Item songs and music for Pak Generals but bullets & bombs for Kashmiris. Welcoming Punjabis from Kartarpur while making Kashmir a battlefield and graveyard for kashmiris. We know every evil play of these Generals. About time AJK starts its own Azadi movement from Pakistan.”

One of Humaira’s followers, Nida Kirmani, reacted: “Zoom in on the uncles dancing in the front and the half-filled auditorium of uncomfortable looking people. Want to be angry, but it’s just too sad.”

Ali Azmat Malik, another social media activist, commented: “What ???? #ISPR is managing stage shows at GHQ? Really?? Is this happening in any other Army? #DGISPR I’m big fan of Pak Army but this is totally wrong.”

Meanwhile, the local media in Pakistan did not carry any news of the ‘Humaira night’ even as the Twitterati was abuzz with the controversial show.

Lifestyle

More people could slip into hunger as result of COVID-19: UN Chief

The COVID-19 pandemic is making things even worse. Many more people could slip into hunger this year, he said.

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, July 14 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that many more people could slip into hunger this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He sounded the alarm in a video message on Monday during the launch of “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020” report, which says almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019, up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years, Xinhua news agency reported.

“This year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report sends a sobering message. In much of the world, hunger remains deeply entrenched and is rising,” said Guterres in the video message.

The COVID-19 pandemic is making things even worse. Many more people could slip into hunger this year, he said.

“The report is clear: if the current trend continues, we will not achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 — zero hunger — by 2030.”

Guterres said transformation can begin now. Investments in COVID-19 response and recovery need to help deliver on the longer-term goal of a more inclusive and sustainable world.

“We must make food systems more sustainable, resilient and inclusive — for people and the planet.”

He said he will convene a Food Systems Summit next year. “We must make healthy diets affordable and accessible for everyone.”

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Politics

Indian-origin leader elected Suriname President

Suriname has had a chequered history after its independence in 1975 marked by ethnic polarisation, a coup and a civil war.

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Chandrikapersad Santokhi

New York, Jul 14 : Chandrikapersad Santokhi has been elected the President of Suriname by the Latin American country’s National Assembly, according to media reports.

A former Justice Minister, Santokhi of the Progressive Reform Party (PRP) was elected unopposed on Monday, the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) reported on Monday.

He will succeed Desi Bouterse, a former military strongman, whose National Party of Suriname (NPS) lost the election in May as he sent the country to an economic precipice.

Suriname is a former Dutch colony where people of Indian descent make up the largest ethnic group comprising 27.4 per cent of the population of 587,000.

The PRP, known in the Dutch language as Vooruitstrevende Hervormingspartij or VHP by its initials, largely represents the Indian community and had originally been called the United Hindustani Party.

Santokhi inherits an economy run to the ground by the populist Bouterse, who mismanaged the country while forging closer ties with China and Venezuela.

Speaking at the National Assembly on Monday, Santokhi acknowledged that the country faced an economic collapse and said his government will reorient policies to work for Suriname’s recovery.

Suriname had depended on bauxite exports but recently vast oil reserves have been found in its territorial waters and they could help the country tide over the economic crisis when they eventually come on line.

Till then it may need bailouts from international financial institutions and the Netherlands, whose colony it once was.

Relations with the Netherlands and other western countries had deteriorated under Bouterse, first because of the coup and after his election due to his convictions and his drift to Venezuela and China.

Sanotokhi will have to try to repair relations with the west.

He also faces the strange task of having to deal with Bouterse’s conviction by a Suriname court for the killing of 15 opponents after the 1980 coup in which he overthrew the elected government and seized power.

Sentenced to 20 years, Bouterse had appealed the conviction while he was President. Santokhi had investigated the case while he was with the police.

Suriname’s economy depended on bauxite exports but recent oil finds

Santokhi, 61, was trained in a police academy in the Netherlands and rose to be the chief police commissioner of Suriname.

He later served as the Justice Minister in an earlier administration in 2005.

After Santokhi became Pts president in 2011, the PRP began to broaden its base reaching out to people of other ethnicities with its centre-left policies.

The PRP is in a coalitition with the General Liberation and Development Party (GLDP) and its head Ronnie Brunswijk, who is of African descent was elected Vice President, CMC reported..

Suriname has had a chequered history after its independence in 1975 marked by ethnic polarisation, a coup and a civil war.

After a brief return to democracy in 1987 following the 1980 coup, Surinam had another coup 1990, but democracy was restored a year later.

Meanwhile, a brutal civil war took place between the government and rebels led by Brunswijk known as the Surinamese Liberation Army from 1986 to 1992.

Bouterse’s army brutally suppressed Brunswijk’s forces.

In a strange twist, Bouterse became President in a democratic election in 2010 with the support of Brunswijk and was re-elected in 2015.

Both of them have been convicted in the Netherlands on drug-smuggling charges but remain free in Suriname.

The NPS is dominated by Surinamese of African and mixed ancestry, while the GLDP is mostly made up of people of African ethnicity who are descendants of runaway slaves who settled in the interior and are known as Maroons.

Indians were brought over by the Dutch as indentured labourers after slavery was abolished in the colony in 1863 in an arrangement similar to that in neighbouring Guyana, a former British colony.

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World

US strengthening Indo-Pacific policies against Chinese threats: Pompeo

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mike pompeo

Accusing China of posing an “unprecedented threat” to the Indo-Pacific region, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared that the US was strengthening its policies there and dismissed Beijing’s maritime claims against its neighbours.

He said on Monday, “The United States champions a free and open Indo-Pacific. Today we are strengthening US policy in a vital, contentious part of that region — the South China Sea.”

“In the South China Sea, we seek to preserve peace and stability, uphold freedom of the seas in a manner consistent with international law, maintain the unimpeded flow of commerce, and oppose any attempt to use coercion or force to settle disputes,” his statement said.

He said that Washington was making clear to Beijing that its claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea “are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them”.

Pompeo categorically dismissed all the various claims China has made in south-east Asia involving Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei.

With the failure to make progress before the November elections in the trade negotiations on which President Donald Trump had expended a lot of diplomacy and the China-originated Covid-19 economic catastrophe, Washington is on the offensive, especially because under the cover of the pandemic Beijing has become more aggressive towards its neighbours.

Pompeo has put several Chinese officials under a visa ban over Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong, human rights violations of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, interference in the South China Sea and trade restrictions.

He has launched a campaign to stop its technology inroads into countries, particularly the advanced 5G cell phone system, and warned of the dangers of its aid programmes that in reality push the recipients into a debt trap that forces them to hand over their resources.

Washington has imposed restrictions on Beijing’s access to US technology.

The US has also sent three aircraft carrier strike groups that include other ships to the Indo-Pacific zone in a show of force.

Pompeo said last week that the Chinese confrontation in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh was a part of a pattern of Beijing’s aggressiveness and said the world must unite to confront it.

In his statement on Monday, Pompeo said the 2016 decisions of the arbitration tribunal set up under the Law of the Sea Convention, which China has signed, should stand.

In recent months, China has sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat, interfered with a Malaysian exploration vessel and intrusions by Chinese boats in Indonesian maritime economic zone.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

Source: IANS

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