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Taliban terrorist behind attack on Malala escapes jail in Pakistan

Ehsanullah is also a prime accused in the 2014 attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar which killed 134 school children and 15 staff members.

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Ehsanullah Ehsan and Malala

New Delhi/Islamabad, Feb 6 : Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan, who was responsible for the terror attacks on Malala Yousafzai and at the Peshawar Army School, has escaped from the custody of military in Pakistan.

In an audio recording released on Thursday and shared via an online private messaging platform, Ehsanullah claimed that he along with his family had managed to escape from the custody of Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies on January 11.

Sources in Pakistan confirmed that Ehsanullah has escaped from a safe house where he was detained along with his wife and two daughters. The Pakistan Army got to know about his escape on January 12 and soon after raided his home in Sagibala village in Mohamand tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.

His father Sher Mohamad, brother Shafiq and uncle Sher Badshah were arrested and are being interrogated, sources said, adding that an investigation into the matter has also been initiated.

Ehsanullah, also the spokesperson of another dreaded group Jamaat ul Ahrar, is responsible for several terror attacks in Pakistan and had a bounty of $ 1 million on him. In 2012, he was involved in the attack on Malala, who later won the Nobel prize for peace. She was shot in the head for defying Taliban diktats and pursuing her education and highlighting the atrocities of the militant outfit.

Ehsanullah is also a prime accused in the 2014 attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar which killed 134 school children and 15 staff members.

Ehsanullah was involved in the suicide bombing of Shiites in Rawalpindi and Karachi, killing of nine foreign tourists and their guide in Gilgit-Baltistan area, twin blasts targeting peace committee volunteers in Mohmand agency, suicide attack near the Wagah border and the 2016 bombing of an Easter gathering in a Lahore park that killed at least 75 people and injured more than 300 others.

In 2017, he surrendered before the Pakistan Army under “mysterious circumstances”. Soon after his surrender, a Pakistani TV channel was allowed to interview Ehsanullah who at the time claimed that he was working for India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). However, after three years in custody, Pakistan Army was yet to file a charge-sheet against him, sources in Islamabad said.

The sources also confirmed that the audio clipping was Ehsanullah’s voice. Speaking in Urdu, Ehsanullah claimed that he had followed the law in the last three years but Pakistan’s dishonest and corrupt institutions had betrayed him.

Ehsanullah said he was forced to give statements, perhaps alluding to the TV news interview, under an agreement between him and Pakistani authorities but none of the promises were kept.

The agreement had been arranged by an influential person, he said, adding that he would soon answer all the questions related to his confinement and also expose all the plans of the Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Middle East

UNSC fails to extend authorization for aid access to Syria

The current authorization for the cross-border mechanism, agreed at the last minute in January after lengthy negotiations, expires on Friday.

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United Nations, July 11 : The UN Security Council (UNSC) has failed on its third attempt this week to extend its authorization for the access of lifesaving food, medicine and shelter into Syria from Turkey.

Meeting via video-teleconference, the Council took up a draft resolution, presented by Belgium and Germany, that would have kept humanitarian aid flowing through the Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa crossing points until January 10, 2021, reports Xinhua news agency.

Thirteen of the Council”s 15 members voted in favour, but the text failed to be adopted owing to the negative votes cast by Russia and China, two permanent council members with veto power.

The current authorization for the cross-border mechanism, agreed at the last minute in January after lengthy negotiations, expires on Friday.

Belgium and Germany, the council”s penholders on the humanitarian aspects of the Syrian conflict, had initially put forward a largely similar draft that would have extended the so-called cross-border mechanism, for a full year.

A competing draft resolution from Russia that would have authorized deliveries only through Bab al-Hawa until January 10, 2021, failed to be adopted on Thursday as it lacked the required number of votes.

The result was four in favour (China, Russia, South Africa, Vietnam) to seven against (Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, UK, US), with four abstentions (Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia).

Bab al-Salam is the humanitarian gateway to northern Aleppo while Bab al-Hawa serves Idlib.

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Pakistan PM urges coordinated national response to cope with locust attack

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Imran Khan at UNGA

Islamabad, July 11 : Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan urged a coordinated national response of federal and provincial governments and organizations to cope with locust attack to ensure food safety, the Prime Minister Office said.

While visiting the National Locust Control Center in Islamabad to review the locust situation, Khan said locust attack in parts of the country combined with COVID-19 has become a huge challenge for Pakistan, according to a statement released by the office on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The prime minister was briefed about the efforts being made for monitoring, survey and control, inter-organisational coordination, resource allocation and mobilization and awareness campaign for locust control in the country.

Khan said his government will undertake every possible effort for locust control since it involves food security of the country, according to the statement.

Due to the trans-boundary nature of locust swarm movement, Pakistan has maintained close liaison with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and affected countries in the region to take timely pre-emptive measures, the statement said.

At a briefing to the diplomatic community in Islamabad, Pakistan had called for regional and international cooperation to combat desert locusts in Pakistan and beyond, the country”s foreign ministry said late Thursday.

The Pakistani government earlier this year declared national emergency over locust swarms after the pest destroyed large quantities of crops across the country.

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India

India, China are partners not rivals: Chinese Ambassador

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H E Sun Weidong and JP Nadda

New Delhi, July 10 : Amid ongoing tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, Chinese Ambassador to India, H.E. Sun Weidong, on Friday said that India and China should be partner and not rivals.

Weidong released a video message talking about the recent stand-off between the two countries in Galwan region in eastern Ladakh.

The Ambassador said that the June 15 violent clash in Galwan Valley, which caused casualties on both sides, was not seen as coming by either China, or India.

Weidong also said that Chinese frontline troops were disengaging from the ground in accordance with the consensus reached.

On July 5, China”s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and India”s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had talked over the phone and reached a positive consensus on easing the border tension.

The Ambassador added that some quarters in India have raised doubts about the consensus reached by the leaders and have a wrong perception about China-India ties.

These have brought disruptions in the bilateral relations. “In this regard, it is imperative for us to clarify some fundamental points,” he said.

He pointed out that India and China should be partners rather than rivals, and both the countries have a history of friendly exchanges of more than 2,000 years.

He also said that during the Wuhan Informal Summit in 2018, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed that the two countries provide each other with development opportunities instead of posing threats, which the two sides should adhere to.

“This is the fundamental judgment on China-India relations charting the course for the development of our bilateral relations,” he said.

The Ambassador pointed out that he has noticed some emerging opinions in recent days, which repudiate the essence of China-India relationship due to the border-related incidents, make false assumptions about China”s intentions, exaggerate conflicts and provoke confrontation.

He said, “It is not the fact. It is harmful indeed and not helpful. China and India have jointly advocated the five principals of peaceful coexistence and uphold independent foreign policies. We should naturally see each other as positive factor in the changing global landscape and as well as partners in realising our respective dream of development.”

The Ambassador said that the two countries should not allow differences to interfere with bilateral relations.

He added that since the boundary question has been left by history, it is now necessary to find a fair and reasonable solution that is acceptable to both countries through consultation and negotiations.

“In the absence of the ultimate solution, both the countries agreed to maintain peace and tranquility in the border area,” he said.

The Ambassador pointed out that for China, peace was of paramount importance.

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