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US Lawmakers Condemn Dhaka Terror Attack




The White House on Saturday condemned the terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which 20 people were killed, including an American and Indian citizen.

“We remain in contact with Bangladeshi authorities and have offered any assistance necessary,” quoted White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as saying.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we hope for a speedy recovery for those wounded,” a statement from the White House continued.

“This is a despicable act of terrorism, and the United States stands with Bangladesh and the international community in our resolve to confront terrorism wherever it occurs,” the statement added.

All the attackers in the assault on a cafe in Dhaka were Bangladeshi citizens and five of them were wanted by police.

Police Inspector General Shahidul Hoque told CNN that police had tried to arrest these five militants previously.

Authorities also released the nationalities of the 20 hostages who were found dead inside the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe after Bangladeshi troops stormed the cafe early Saturday morning, ending an overnight siege.

According to the country’s Joint Force Command, nine of the victims were Italian, seven were Japanese, one was from India, two were Bangladeshi and one was a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin. Eleven of the victims were male and nine were female.

Two police officers were also killed in a gunfire exchange earlier in the standoff, authorities said.

Security forces rescued 13 hostages and killed six gunmen on Saturday morning, ending the nation’s worst hostage crisis, being termed as Bangladesh’s ‘7/16’.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called a two-day state mourning for the victims, who included nine Italians, seven Japanese, three Bangladeshis and an Indian teenager, at the Holey Artisan café in the diplomatic area of Gulshan in Dhaka.

One of the gunmen, injured in the shootout, was captured, while 13 hostages were rescued at the end of the 12-hour siege. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have condemned the attack.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed the killing of 19-year-old Tarishi Jain of Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh.

“Tarishi was 19 years old. She passed out from American School Dhaka. Presently, she was a student at Berkeley,” Sushma posted.

The attack began at 8.45 p.m. when around 20-22 guests were at the Holey Artisan Bakery downstairs and the O’Kitchen Restaurant upstairs, a cafe popular with foreigners.

The gunmen, shouting “Allahu Akbar” raided the cafe and took hostages, and slaughtered those who were unable to recite the Quran, said rescued hostages.

Officials said the 13 rescued hostages included a Japanese and two Sri Lankans.

The Bangladeshi branch of the Islamic State claimed the attack through its mouthpiece, the Amaq news agency, saying 24 people “of different nationalities” were killed and 40 others were injured.

The Daily Star reported that hostages were made to recite verses from the Quran and those who could were not harmed.

The attack has also been condemned by other countries, including Pakistan and Malaysia, while the European Union has also voiced condemnation.

South Asia

Pakistan Supreme Court orders ex-PM Nawaz Sharif removed as head of his political party – judge



nawaz sharief

ISLAMABAD: In another blow to the ruling PML-N, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday ruled that a disqualified individual cannot head a political party.

The apex court elaborated that a person disqualified under Article 62, 63 of the Constitution can not head the party. As a result of this verdict, all decisions taken by Nawaz as PML-N’s president stand null and void.

As a consequence, Senate tickets issued by Nawaz are also declared void, throwing the fate of March 3 Senate elections in doubt.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar concluded on Thursday the hearings of several petitions against the recently-passed Elections Act 2017.

A three-member bench had been hearing several petitions challenging specific clauses of the act that led to Nawaz Sharif’s appointment as party president following his dismissal as prime minister last year.

During today’s hearing, the chief justice remarked that the country’s leadership is respectable, adding that the media misreported the court’s remarks.

Chief Justice Nisar also observed that there is no reason for the apex court to use words like thief, adding that the fallout of the issue is unacceptable.

Addressing the Pakistan Peoples Party counsel Latif Khosa during the hearing, the chief justice remarked that there would be a difference in rallies held by you or [slain party leader and former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto.

Another petitioner’s counsel, Farogh Naseem, argued that there is a precedent of a court order against a political party’s head.

The chief justice remarked that in other countries intra-party elections are held but the situation is different in Pakistan.

“The party head is an important position,” the chief justice observed, adding that in Pakistan people are willing to sacrifice their lives for their leaders.

Disqualification to party president
Following Nawaz’s disqualification as prime minister in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case, the ruling party managed to amend the Constitution to allow the former premier to retain his chairmanship of the PML-N.

As a result, the Elections Act 2017 was passed by Parliament bringing Nawaz back as the party president despite his disqualification from the National Assembly.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, MNA Jamshaid Dasti, National Party and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), among others, challenged the law for allowing a disqualified parliamentarian to become a party head.

The petitions, challenging specific clauses of the Elections Act 2017, state that Nawaz’s appointment as party president is in violation of Clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.

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South Asia

Imran Khan gets married for a third time, marries faith healer Bushra Maneka.



Imran Khan

Imran Khan is no more single, and it’s official. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has confirmed that their chairman has tied the knot for a third time.

Photographs of Imran Khan’s Nikah with Bushra Wattoo have been unveiled. The photographs show Imran and a veiled Bushra along with several others, including PTI leaders Awn Chaudhry and Zulfi Bukhari.

On January 3, media was abuzz with reports of the PTI chief having contracted a third Nikah with the lady he used to visit for spiritual guidance.

But the party said that the Nikah ceremony was solemnised in Lahore on Sunday by Mufti Saeed.

Party spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry has wished the couple a happy married life.


After much drama, Imran had broken his silence about his third marriage last month, clarifying that he had only sent a wedding proposal to Bushra and was awaiting her response.

According to a statement issued by the spokesperson for the PTI chief, Imran had sent a marriage proposal and the lady had sought time to consult her family, especially her children, before making any decision.

The statement insisted that the PTI chief would announce it publicly if Bushra accepted the marriage proposal.


Last month, a local newspaper had claimed that Imran had already married for a third time and the woman in question was someone he used to visit for spiritual guidance.

The report also claimed that the wedding was held in Lahore on January 1 and was attended by Imran’s close aides.

In response, the PTI said an extremely private and sensitive matter was made the subject of an erroneous story leading to all manner of public conjecture.

“This has put an unacceptable burden, especially on the children of Bushra and Khan, who have had to learn of such a private and intimate issue from the media,” the statement said.

Stressing the need for restraint, Imran had urged the media to “give the two families, especially the children, their privacy”.

Imran Khan was previously married twice, but neither of his marriages lasted. He married Jemima Goldsmith, a British socialite, in 1995. The relationship ended in divorce in 2004. He then married journalist Reham Khan in 2015, but the marriage ended after just 10 months.

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Lavrov, Tillerson discuss need for urgent North Korea negotiations: Moscow



Lavrov Tillerson

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday discussed North Korea’s nuclear programme with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, stressing the need to start a negotiations process.

“The sides were united in the opinion that nuclear missile projects in North Korea violate the demands of the UN Security Council,” the Russian foreign ministry said after the two men spoke by telephone.

Lavrov “once again highlighted that it is unacceptable to exacerbate tensions around the Korean peninsula with Washington’s aggressive rhetoric toward Pyongyang and increasing military preparations in the region,” it said.

“It was underlined that it is necessary to move from the language of sanctions to the negotiating process as soon as possible,” the statement said, adding that it was Tillerson who initiated the call.

The UN Security Council on Friday slapped new sanctions on North Korea that will restrict oil supplies vital for its missile and nuclear programmes, the latest response to Pyongyang’s ICBM test last month.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacks the United States, while North Korea insists the world must now accept that it is a nuclear power.

Pyongyang has slammed the UN sanctions as an “act of war”.

Moscow has called for talks between North Korea and the United States, warning of a “risk of uncontrolled escalation”. Russia has also criticised Washington’s military drills with South Korea saying it provokes Pyongyang.

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