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Pakistan govt to table ‘Kulbhushan ordinance’ in National Assembly

The Imran Khan government is expected to table the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Review and Re-consideration Ordinance 2020 in the National Assembly on Monday, even as it faces intense heat from the opposition on the issue.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav

Islamabad: The ordinance seeks to allow alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav the facility to file an appeal in a high court against his conviction. The government maintains that this is necessary in view of the ICJ’s ruling in June last year, in which it had asked Pakistan to give Jadhav consular access while hearing an appeal filed by India against the death sentence handed to him through a military court trial process.

However, the opposition parties describes the ordinance as an attempt to facilitate a reprieve for Jadhav, who they call an Indian spy working for Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), in a sneaky manner through a suspected secret deal.

Major opposition parties are geared up to strongly oppose the ordinance in the Senate, the upper house of parliament, calling it a matter of “national security”.

Passing the ordinance in the lower house has become a major issue for the government as it has failed to present it at least twice in May, due to strong opposition.

“We want to be on the right side of the history. The government faces compulsion; we don’t have any compulsion,” said opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif.

Asif reminded that Prime Minister Imran Khan was quick to accuse former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of making a secret deal with Indian businessman Sajjan Jindal on Jadhav during his meeting with him in Murree.

“Purely political announcements were made by Imran Khan before coming in power in 2018. He did not realise the consequences of his accusations back then,” he said.

“In May 2017, Imran had told a political gathering at Ayub Stadium in Quetta that the execution of the convicted Indian spy had been withheld after Jindal visited Pakistan and met Nawaz Sharif,” he said adding that Imran Khan had even asked the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to probe the Sharif family’s foreign assets to also trace their business interests in India.

On the other hand, the government will be taking the matter up in a cabinet meeting before the ordinance is sent to the National Assembly for approval.

Federal Law Minister Dr. Farogh Naseem called on the opposition parties to avoid politics on the matter, insisting that “India will gain if an ordinance in line with the ICJ verdict is not passed”.

“This issue is highly sensitive and a matter of national importance. Promulgation of the ordinance is neither a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) nor an appeal,” he said.

While the government has a compulsion to abide by the ICJ ruling, opposition parties are adamant at not allowing the measure easy transit through the legislature.

Opposition parties do not have majority in the lower house but they have a clear majority in the upper house, and warn that if the government succeeds in passing the ordinance in the lower house, they will ensure the upper house rejects it.

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France’s Macron urges UN mission to visit China’s Xinjiang region

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,”

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Uighur Muslim rights

PARIS : France’s president on Tuesday called for an international mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit China’s Xinjiang due to concerns over the Muslim Uighur minority.

U.N. experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centres helping stamp out terrorism and extremism and giving people new skills.

“Fundamental rights are not a Western idea that one could oppose as an interference … these are the principles of our organisation, enshrined in texts that the member states of the United Nations have freely consented to sign and to respect,” Emmanuel Macron said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,” he said.

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Disaster

Israel reports 2,445 new Covid-19 cases; 193,374 in total

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israel coronavirus

Jerusalem, Sep 23 : Israel’s Ministry of Health reported 2,445 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 193,374.

The total count of deaths from the coronavirus in Israel rose by 12 to 1,285, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 653 to 668, out of 1,352 patients currently hospitalised, Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of recoveries in the country increased by 3,971 to 140,751, while the number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 51,338.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli government approved a plan to expand the national economic safety net to deal with the pandemic’s impact.

“Expanding the plan will enable immediate economic assistance for businesses and wage-earners who are expected to be hurt by the current Covid-19 nationwide lockdown,” said a joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry.

The expansion includes the lowering of damage threshold for businesses to receive fixed expenditure grants to 25 per cent, providing advances against the fixed expenditure grants, a comprehensive worker retention plan, and deferring the reduction in unemployment benefits.

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Disaster

United States Covid deaths top 200,000 as questions linger over halting virus spread

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Coronavirus Death US

The US death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 200,000, as some guidelines and practices for stopping the disease’s spread have been called into question.

While the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that 52,000 new cases had been reported on Monday, some 21,800 of those new cases came from the release of backlogged data in Texas.

The US logged 36,695 new cases on Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused uncertainty Monday when it removed from its website newly posted guidelines saying the coronavirus could be transmitted by tiny particles that linger in the air.

The agency said a draft version of proposed changes was posted in error.

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