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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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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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Pompeo, Taliban deputy leader discuss intra-Afghan talks

The prisoners in question were named on a 5,000-member list given to the government by the Taliban.

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Kabul, Aug 4 : US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Talibans deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar discussed the much-awaited intra-Afghan talks and the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, a spokesman of the group said.

The talks took place on Monday via video conference.

“Both sides talked about the inception of intra-Afghan negotiations and the status quo emphasizing that release of the remaining prisoners are essential for commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations,” Khaame Press quoted spokesman Suhail Shaheen as saying.

“The Secretary of State also welcomed announcement of ceasefire by the Islamic Emirate on the eve of the current Eid.”

This comes as the both the Afghan government and Taliban have released hundreds of prisoners following the signing of peace deal between Washington and Taliban earlier this year.

Meanwhile, senior government official said on Monday that Afghan government is convening the consultative Loya Jirga, the grand assembly of Afghan elders and representatives, to find a consensus on the decision to release the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners who are accused of crimes including murder, drug trafficking and abduction, TOLO News reported.

The prisoners in question were named on a 5,000-member list given to the government by the Taliban.

The Afghan government has so far released 4,600 prisoners on this list but has refrained from releasing the remaining 400.

At least 3,200 people will attend the Jirga, according to presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

The prisoners, he said, are accused of murder and also for abduction, as well as other crimes.

The Afghan government has not made public any further details about the Jirga and its committees or its duration.

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Saudi Arabia concludes Hajj amid COVID-19 pandemic

This season is only limited to domestic pilgrims who are residents and citizens living in Saudi Arabia.

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Riyadh: Pilgrims on Monday bade farewell to Mecca after Hajj rituals were concluded, Xinhua news agency reported.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque had provided all relevant facilities for the pilgrims while ensuring precautionary measures against COVID-19.

The kingdom has organized an exceptional Hajj season with a limited number of pilgrims amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This season is only limited to domestic pilgrims who are residents and citizens living in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry announced on Monday 1,258 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the accumulated infections to 280,093.

The total recovered cases rose to 242,053 with the registration of 1,972 newly recovered cases.

The total death toll reached 2,949 with 32 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours.

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UNSC to focus on counter-terrorism issues in August

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country on earth after China, India, and the US, has been elected four times as non-permanent member to the Security Council.

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United Nations, Aug 4 : UN Security Council (UNSC) is expected to have focus on counter-terrorism issues in August, it was reported.

The Council will hold a ministerial-level open debate on “the linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime” on Thursday, Dian Triansyah Djani, permanent representative of Indonesia to the UN and president of the Council for the month of August, said at a virtual press conference on the Council’s program of work on Monday.

There will also be a briefing on Secretary-Gneral’s biannual strategic-level report on the threat posed by the Islamic State terror group on August 24, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Council’s other open debate is “pandemics and the challenges to peacebuilding and sustaining peace”.

The likely briefers include Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sarah Cliffe, director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, according to the program of work.

Several regular Middle East meetings are on the program of work as well.

There will be the three monthly Syria meetings: open and closed video-conferences on the political and humanitarian situation and a closed VTC on the use of chemical weapons.

The monthly meetings on developments in Yemen and on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question, are also planned in both open and closed format.

In addition, the Council will meet for a briefing on recent developments in Iraq and on the two latest secretary-general’s reports, on the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq and on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives.

Meetings in open and closed format are also planned ahead of adoptions to renew the UN missions in Lebanon and Somalia.

An adoption is also expected to renew the Mali sanctions regime, as well as the mandate of its Panel of Experts.

The Council will be briefed on the latest secretary-general’s report on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau, as well as developments in the country following the post-electoral crisis earlier in the year.

Council members may also participate in a “virtual visiting mission” to meet with key stakeholders in Somalia ahead of the adoption, according to the Security Council Report (SCR), whose mission is to advance the transparency and effectiveness of the Council.

The Council will be watching developments in Burundi, Iran, Libya, Myanmar and Sudan, as well as those related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and additional meetings may be added as necessary, the SCR said.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country on earth after China, India, and the US, has been elected four times as non-permanent member to the Security Council.

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