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Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar In ‘Protective Custody’:Pakistan

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Maulana Masood Azhar, blamed by India for the Pathankot air force base terror attack, has been taken into “protective custody” , Pakistan’s Punjab province law minister Rana Sanaullah said.”Masood Azhar has been taken into protective custody by the Punjab police counter-terrorism department,” Sanaullah told

Earlier, the government chose not to confirm or deny the reports that Azhar has been taken into “protective custody”.

“We have taken Maulana Azhar and his fellows under protective custody in connection with the Pathankot incident. However, we will arrest him if his involvement in the Pathankot attack is proved,” Sanaullah said.

He added that operation against banned outfits including JeM would continue under the National Action Programme.

India has identified Azhar as the mastermind of the Pathankot attack on January 2. It has also blamed his brother Rauf and five others for carrying out the attack in which seven Indian soldiers were killed along with all the six terrorists.

India has shared this information along with two Pakistani phone numbers that were made calls to by the terrorists.

According to reports, security agencies have arrested 31 activists of JeM from different parts of the province.

After a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday, his office issued a statement which said that “several individuals” belonging to JeM have been apprehended in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and some of its offices traced and sealed.

Pakistan said that the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks will not take place as scheduled.

Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah told a news briefing that both sides were holding consultations to reschedule the talks

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Prachanda faction expels Prime Minister Oli from party

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Discord and division continue inside the Nepal Communist Party, which has not split formally but has virtually fallen apart after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli unilaterally decided to dissolve the House of Representatives on December 20 without the party’s consent.

Since then, the Nepal Communist Party is acting like two parties — one headed by Oli himself and the other led by former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal. Both sides are running separate programmes across the country under the same banner as they await official recognition from the Election Commission.

Amid this row, the Prachanda-Nepal faction has taken disciplinary action against Oli.

A Standing Committee meeting of the faction held on Sunday decided to expel Oli from the party, its spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the media.

The dissident faction has alleged Oli breached the party discipline and is liable to expulsion from the party. It had earlier relieved him from the post of party Chairman.

According to Pampha Bhusal, leader of the dissident faction, Sunday’s meeting decided to expel Oli even from the general membership, accusing him of violating the party statutes.

“He (Oli) is not even an ordinary member of the party now,” Bhusal said.

The faction had earlier asked Oli to furnish, within three days, an explanation why not action should be not taken against him for anti-party activities.

The faction had handed over this notice to the Prime Minister’s residence. However, Oli did not respond to the letter. Sunday’s meeting also reviewed the protest programme and discussed a new protest plan.

The faction had taken to the streets against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, terming the move unconstitutional and undemocratic.

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Pak okays Russian vaccine for ’emergency use’

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The Sputnik V has become the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in the country — the first one being the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the second one by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. 

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” Dawn news reported on Sunday citing the official as saying. 
“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official. 

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine. 
The development comes as Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 532,412 as of Sunday, while the death toll stood at 11,295.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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